By Rick Riozza

We’ve got a couple of major wine events coming up this month over at the newly renovated and re-named VUE Grille & Bar, at the Indian Well’s Golf Resort.

Celebrate the 1st Annual “Wine” Down of the Season, Friday April 25th from 5 to 7pm where over 35 well-known, celebrated, and prominent wineries from all over the wine map will be pouring their premium wines. Look for complimentary appetizers provided, along with a carving station.

The entire event will be held at the “Pavilion”, the new 5,700 square foot event space that offers an unequaled view of the luxurious grounds with the comfort of a temperature controlled room in the open air, making it the perfect spot for this illustrious wine tasting event!


This is the type of wine affair that our wine community waits for: A stylish wine party at a beautiful venue. What a great springtime treat. If you’ve not yet been over to the VUE nor seen the new Pavilion, then you are in store for some exciting sights & sounds along with great wine & food.

Not to be a name-dropper—but, here are some of the wineries that will be pouring: Robert Mondavi, Pensfold, Stags Leap Wine Cellars, Erath, Chateau St. Jean, Franciscan Estate, Mount Veeder, Coppola, Estancia, and Ravenswood, just to name-drop a few. Further, I’ve been told that patrons will have the opportunity to purchase wines at drastically reduced prices. Wow—that sounds drastic, considering these high-end wine producers

This wonderful event is only $39 and reservations can be made on-line at

The next spectacular wine event at VUE to be held on Tuesday, April 29th is “The Art of Wine” a Five Course wine-pairing dinner featuring three “Artists”: Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Maker, Bob Bertheau; Artist and Creator of 2010 “Artist Series” Label, Ben Darby; and, Menu Creator, Executive Chef Cale Falk.

Enjoy this one of a kind event at VUE Grille & Bar while sitting outside on their enclosed temperature controlled patio.

Chef Cale’s fresh and seasonal, farm-to-table inspired menu will match-up with some outstanding Chateau Ste. Michelle wines from their portfolio. Head Winemaker Bertheau says, “I am amazed at the difference in grape growing in Eastern Washington. “We have such unique growing conditions here: low rainfall, extra sunshine during the growing season, cooler days at the end of harvest for longer hang time, and a pioneer spirit of the local growers and winemakers. These conditions help us grow world-class fruit and make wines of character, complexity and quality.”

Speaking with Chef Cale, he gave us a run-down on his haut-cuisine and delightful-sounding menu and the wines to be enjoyed with each course:

1st Course: Maine Lobster, Sea Urchin, and Burrata. Chef says these rich tasting items will sit on a bed of Celery and Toasted Almonds along with the citrusy Yuzu sauce for a great balanced seafood salad.

This course will be paired with the 2012 Eroica Riesling, Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen. The wine carries sweet lime and peach aromas with subtle mineral notes. The mouth-watering acidity is beautifully balanced by flavorful Washington Riesling fruit. As the name suggests, this is a collaboration with famed Mosel winemaker Ernst Loosen.

2nd Course: Chef calls this an appetizer, serving King Crab with an Asparagus Flan along with a Passion Fruit Emulsion. Paired with a 2012 Indian Wells Chardonnay, from the Washington State Indian Wells Vineyard. A fun Chard that delivers an appealing tropical fruit character with ripe pineapple flavors and rich creamy texture.

3rd Course : Featuring Berkshire pork, Chef tells us that he slow cooks and pulls the pork then presses and sears, and roasts it. Served along with Kumquat Marmalade, Spring Squash & Ricotta.

This course is paired with the Artist Series 2006 Meritage, from the Columbia Valley, which is a Bordeaux Blend sourced from the best vineyards in the famed Horse Heaven Hills. A very luxurious wine—where can you find such an elegant wine with such great bottle age?

4th Course: A Leg of Lamb prepared sous-vide for 14 hours which the chef says will cook it to a perfect medium-rare. It’s served with a Sour Cherry Reduction with Black Quinoa and Beet Purée.

The course is to be paired with another Bordeaux Blend, this time, the Artist Series 2010 Meritage, Columbia Valley, This wine delivers black cherry aromas and spice notes with velvety tannins. 85% of the blend was sourced from their Cold Creek Vineyard, providing power and elegance. The remaining percentage is from their Canoe Ridge Estate vineyard which rounds out the wine with harmonious and complex layers.

Dessert Course: Goat Cheese and Apple Tart with Honey Gelato paired with ETHOS Late Harvest Riesling 2011 Dessert Wine, a Wine Spectator 92 pointer!

The wine is a rich, decadent wine with intense aromas of orange marmalade, dried apricots and honey. Layers of concentrated flavors are wonderfully balanced with natural acidity and a pure, luscious finish. Sweet Dreams!

The Cocktail Reception will begin at 6:30pm, and the Wine Dinner will commence at 7:00pm. $125 per person includes tax and gratuity. Seating is extremely limited for this intimate evening. Reservations: 760.834.3800.

44-500 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells Ca. 92210, North of Hwy 111

Rick is your sommelier-about-town hosting & entertaining at wine tastings & events. Contact