Paul from Red Car; me, my husband, John
I recently sat down with Paul Sequeira, director of viticulture and sales for Red Car Wine. He was at Lakewood Country Club for a wine dinner planned by Tony Zaranti, clubhouse manager, who always does a great job in finding “off the beaten path” wineries.
Red Car wine traces its roots to show business. The winery founders, Carroll Kemp and Mark Estrin, worked in Hollywood and shared a love for wine. You’ll see that influence reflected in some of the naming of their wines. The winery was founded in 2000 with the name meant as a tribute to the red electric trolley cars that operated in Los Angeles until the 1960’s.
We started with the 08 Red Car “Trolley Car” Pinot Noir from Sonoma. The wine had big stone fruit, floral notes, licorice and an earthiness to it. It was made in the Burgundian style and was blended beautifully.
Paul talked about the approach of the winery and that “great wine is made in the vineyard” and how their wines are reflective of the “essence of place and time.” I was surprised how Old World this wine tasted in comparison of some of the others. But, then again, the Sonoma Coast produces some diverse flavors.
Our meal began with a Jerusalem Artichoke, Celery Root Bisque, Veal Shank with Croutons paired with the Red Car “Box Car” Chardonnay from Santa Maria. I usually do not gravitate toward Chardonnay, but this was a perfect match with the bisque. This wine had tropical fruits, apple, almond, hints of vanilla and a buttery flavor.
Our next course was the 07 Red Car “Aphorist” Reserve Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast paired with Seared Sea Scallop, Braised Veggies, and Grana Cheese with Chicken Jus. This was a full flavored Pinot, but it wasn’t heavy. Lots of fruit and a little earthy. Very nice and elegant.
We then moved to a few big boy Syrahs to go with a substantial meat dish. The third course paired 07 Red Car “Tomorrowland” Syrah from Sonoma County with a Dry Aged Prime New York Strip with Bacon, Shallot, Thyme, Potato, Arugula, Roasted Beets and Coco Bean Syrah. It was a powerful syrah, but wasn’t what I consider a “berry bomb.” In fact, it was pretty light bodied with spice, pepper and earthiness.
The grand finale on dinner was the Goat Cheese Pana Cotta, Mini Coffee Cake and Orange Ice. It was my intention to take one bite and push away the plate. But, Chef William Koval had worked his magic and I was halfway through the dessert before I realized what I had done. This was paired with a 06 Red Car “Speakeasy” Syrah. This was a totally different style from the other syrah with notes of dark chocolate, tobacco and plum.
The goal of Red Car Wine is to transport folks back to another time and place and evoke nostalgia. I must say that I was happy to remain in the present with this great food and wine experience.