Recently I sat down with Gillian Jeske Dodd from Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners at a Taste of the Nation LA preview dinner at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.

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She enlightened me about one of the evening’s sponsors, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards. This state-of-the-art winery is located on a picturesque hilltop overlooking the bucolic Russian River Valley in California.

Established in 1987, Steve MacRostie Pinot-focused winery is also the home to Thale’s Vineyard, named after Steve’s wife. While pouring a glass of 2016 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, each sip offered appealing clove, brown spice and cherry aromas, with lovely berry notes and a pleasing French oak-inspired finish.

This wine was made by the talented female winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen. She works closely with owner Steve MacRostie to give this Pinot Noir an amazing palette of flavor. Heidi does as many as 130 small fermentations with each vintage. The wine is made from gently destemmed grapes and is aged for 10 months in 32% new French oak, and 20% one-year-old French oak before it was bottled in July, 2017.

Next I had a pour of  2016 MacRostie Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay. After a couple sips, I enjoyed the citrus layers and tropical fruit essence. The grapes for this wine were harvested by hand and went direct to press as whole clusters. The juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation, and aged in 20% new French oak barrels, and 40% one-year-old, adding subtle nuances to a vibrant and beautifully balanced Chardonnay.

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This wine paired nicely with the evening’s multi-course dinner starting with an albacore poke salad by Executive chef Dakota Weiss of Sweet Fin Polk. It also enhanced the flavors of the pork and shrimp wontons made by chef Shirley Chung at Ms. Chi Cafe, and the asparagus rissole by chef Jason Neroni from The Rose Venice.

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The Pinot Noir was paired with the coffee crusted Mangalista pork tenderloin made by chef Nick Shipp from Upper West. It’s was also an ideal wine with a Holstein beef strip roast by chef Bruce Kalman from Square Peg.

These chefs and more will be participating in the upcoming Taste of the Nation LA. Besides an abundance of delicious food and drink, there will be a silent auction, photo booth, Chrysler Pacifica Kids activity and lawn games area, and an Opportunity Drawing to win a gift card from every participating restaurant.

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The restaurants participating include Ample Hills Creamery, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, Baltaire, Border Grill, Bourbon Steak, Charcoal Venice, China’s Tacos, Commerson, Dog Haus Eagle Rock Public House, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant, Jaffa Palms, Jiktalda, Los Balcones, Maude, Maple Block Meat Co. McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, Salazar, Socalo, Tartine Bianco, Tesse, The Bazaar by Jose’ Andres, The Culver Hotel, The Restaurant at Montage Beverly Hills, Valerie Confectlons and Viviane Restaurant.

For tickets and information, go to No Kid Hungry.

No Kid Hungry