By Rick Riozza

Last year we had the real privilege of hanging out and following the mind set and maneuvers of Miramonte Resort’s Executive Chef Robert Nyerick as he shared with us his technique and approach in the preparation and service of the resort’s fabulous wine dinner series.

Well, I guess we’ve all been good boys & girls this year because—just like that! we’re all blessed with a whole new season of extraordinary wine pairing dinners and events with Chef Robert again at the helm.

As you’ll remember last year, Miramonte held nothing back when procuring the likes of the most notable winemaking dynasties around like Antinori, Justin, Terlato, and the like. And Chef Robert came to play with his A-game matching tit for tat and pairing magnificently with all the red, white, rosé, gold, and sparkling flavors, savors, and culinary mélanges.

Actually I just got the news from the lovely public relations gal, Chris Martello at Cord Media. She alerted me about Miramonte’s new 2013-2014 wine dinner series affectionately titled: “Le Serate di Vino” which we’ve come to know means, “the Evenings of Wine”.

Chris assured that, again, “Guests will have their palates immersed in some of the world’s finest wines, complemented by the culinary specialties of Executive Chef Robert Nyerick.  Then she added that, “Each “evening of wine” event has its own theme and personality – no two are alike.  All will offer the opportunity to indulge in incredible food and wine pairings in an alluring environment of the resort’s charming Mediterranean architecture and décor.”

The series begins this October 25th with what is titled an “Oyster Bay Progressive Wine Dinner”.  Again, I’m just getting this off the wire but we are told that, “A crescendo of five New Zealand wines and delectable seafood-inspired cuisine begins with hors d’oeuvres, progressing through three courses and divine dessert.”  

You know—one can learn almost everything about a chef by the way he or she prepares fish and seafood. Last year’s dinner series, Chef Robert served up quite an array of courses of fresh Pacific Ocean fare, and every time it was spot-on as to doneness, tenderness and flavor.

And not to disparage his fine cookery at the resort’s Grove Artisan Kitchen with its farm to table organic culinary focus that includes a scrumptious Slow Braised Pork Osso Bucco, but when dining there, I simply love to fill up on his Ahi Tuna Tartare, Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops, Panko-Crusted Pacific Sea Bass, and the famed Frutta Del Mare that seems to cart the seaside in it.

So learning that a seafood-inspired cuisine is stirring about—well that should be making everyone happy.

And throwing in my two cents, whether the wine world admits it or not, it is just amazing that only recently such a small isolated country (it’s more than three hours’ flight from its nearest neighbor Australia) can produce so many captivating wines with piercing pungent flavors and acidity for which the world has fallen madly in love with.

All in all, it sounds like another great wine pairing dinner that’s priced at $75 per person.

The next wine affair comes on the 22nd of November when the entire planet frolics French and celebrates the bottling—and simultaneously, the uncorking of the youngest wine on earth!

The 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration is one of the wine world’s most fun times and I’m really happy to see the celebration held here at the Miramonte. There will be nothing serious going on except serious partying with fruity six week old red wine from the Gamay grape that has been whooshed in from France in just days flat!

I tell ya—someone’s got to make a movie on the humerous side of how a million cases of new wine race around the world in motorcycles, balloons, trucks, helicopters, jets, elephants, runners and rickshaws to get it to its final destination on time.

In a couple of weeks or so we’ll do a fun Vino Voice column where perhaps we can add to the hoopla in getting ourselves prepped for this purple-y occasion. The 2009 Beaujolais vintage was stellar and the Nouveau-style was pretty good too—tasty and exciting! Let’s see what this year brings—it was a late harvest which can mean some great fruit showing.

And we will expect no less than Chef Robert to take full license in creating some wildly inventive Hors d’Oeuvres to match the festivities of the celebration. The event is just $30 per person so I’d get reservations asap!

To close out 2013, let’s all take notice that only a few weeks later on December 13, a one-of-a-kind Franciscan Estate Winery“Blending” Reception and Dinner features custom blended wines from Napa Valley’s premier winery. Whenever a winery comes and “custom blends” for a wine pairing dinner, it’s something to be in on. At $75 per person, it’s a must for wine lovers.

Cheers! & Bon Appétit!

Rick is your sommelier-about-town conducting and entertaining at various wine tastings and events. Contact