Kendall-Jackson Wine Center (Fulton, CA) – The best food I had on my San Francisco Trip
J was treated to a wine tasting tour by her colleagues in Calgary. It was very generous of them to offer this to both of us on our visit to San Francisco recently. We started at Mantanzas Creek Winery which was enjoyable. We were expecting a day of touring wineries and getting lightly inebriated. But the Kendall-Jackon Wine Center was something else entirely.
As you can see, the estate is beautiful. It reminds me very much of Mission Hill, in Kelowna, BC. Mission Hill has nicer architecture though.
This is the interior. You can do a wine tasting by itself, a wine-cheese pairing, or a wine-food pairing, or both. Of course… we had all 3. Kendall-Jackson was very good to us. In the end, we had a total of 14 wines. It was ridiculous.
We opted to eat outside. It was February when we went so we were surprised to get any sun at all. J actually got a burn out there! These are the 5 wines that we started with. You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day to enjoy wine in the outdoors.
We started with the Lobster-Pumpkin Bisque which was served with the Buckwheat Crepe with Prosciutto, House-made Apple-Pear Butter and Bellwether Farms Carmody Cheese. This was just delicious. The bisque was hearty and satisfying with some sweetness. The Buckwheat Crepe was so tasty that I wish it was way bigger. It was hot, crispy, light, gently salted, with some intense richness from the butter and cheese.
This was the Seared Trumpet Royale Mushrooms with Fried-Shallots. Just a beautifully made dish. Again, I wish there was more but I suppose that is the point of tastings… just enough to make you want more. The mushroom was beautifully seared, tender, meaty and rich. I loved the earthiness of the rice combined with the mushrooms. I basically devoured this thing.
This was the Sweet Tea Brined Niman Ranch Pork Belly Slider with Syrah BBQ Sauce. This was a perfectly cooked pork belly. Crispy, tender, juicy, with the fat just melting in your mouth. They even made the bread perfect, nicely crunchy with a lot of give. And their housemade BBQ sauce was tangy and sweet. God this was good. I am salivating just writing about it.
This was the Cabernet Braised Short Ribs (braised low and slow in Trace Ridge Cabernet until they fall off the bone and create a succulent sauce). It was served with grits from Old Mill of Guilford, North Carolina. Again, such a perfect dish. Hearty grits served with the rich and sweet braised short rib. Just bite after bite of delicious fattiness.
This is a photo of our next pairing: the wine and cheese! 5 new wines. 5 cheeses. I was getting drunker and drunker under the sun. Each cheese was served with an accompaniment that really clensed the palate so you could move onto the next cheese.
We finished with this wonderfully light and sweet popcorn. All in all, a really wonderful dish. Apparently, this won a food competition. It really goes to show how Kendall-Jackson takes something simple and is able to elevate it.
Overall, our experience at Kendall-Jackson was amazing. I am not a wine snob by any means but after 14 different wines, I was finally getting to understand the different grapes. But it was the food that really impressed me. They don’t really have a restaurant so these little bites were really meant to complement wine. But that didn’t mean that they didn’t take their food seriously. This was some of the best food that we had on our trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Kendall-Jackson Wine Center, 5007 Fulton Rd, Fulton, CA 95439, (707) 571-8100, www.kj.com