The wonders of wine |

The wonders of wine

Carolyn Pope
Michelle Pirozzi, Leesa Kovacik and Shelly Raichart (standing) enjoy themselves at "Women who wine."

Over the summer, women joined together for a trio of seminars designed specifically for women. At each event, the ladies had the chance to learn more about and sample wine on their own turf.

The evenings were the brainchild Michelle Courtney of Beaver Liquors, who brought in some experts in the field. Of course, being a women-only event, she asked representatives of various wine distributors to assist her, including Gia Bivens of Baroness, Pollyanna Forster of Classic Wines and Bonnie Vesey of National.

“It’s a good opportunity for women to taste wine on their own,” said Michelle. It was also a good opportunity for women of the valley to meet new friends or to join together with old friends who love good food and good wine.

Apparently, women do the majority of wine shopping; however, when in a restaurant, the man takes the lead. This course gives women the chance to try a variety of wines without the pressure of impressing the others at the table.

One other interesting fact offered that evening – most wine is consumed within three hours of purchase. At least we get out of the parking lot!

The first evening, hosted by Vista Restaurant, was a combination of appetizers and wine prepared by chef Michael Glennon. The next event was held at Larkspur, which paired the age-old combination of cheese and wine. The grand finale was held recently at the French Press in Edwards, with a six-course gourmet dinner served, pairing wines appropriate with each course.

The evening began with salmon tartar served on a savory beignet, accompanied by a Prosecco sparkling wine. This was followed by an endive salad, presented with a Silver Lake riesling. Apparently, vinaigrettes are a challenge with wine, due to their acidity, but the riesling was one of the ladies’ favorites.

“Oohs” and “aahs” were heard as the diners sampled the next course, a refreshing chilled cucumber and vermouth soup with a tomato and poached shrimp sorbet. The soup was paired with two wines, a Pepperwood viognier and a Bonny Doon Pacific Rim riesling. The ladies were treated to two entrees: a delicious roasted monkfish, which French Press owner Zak Stone said will be a regular addition to the menu; and a Steak Diane with fresh watercress. A fabulous Chateau Routas rose, dry and flavorful, and a red wine, a Delas Cotes du Ventoux, accompanied the monkfish.

With the steak, the ladies sampled a Ravenswood cabernet and a Hedges Cellars “CMS.” Port was served with the finale, a gateau de chocolat with raspberry swirled creme fraiche ice cream.

The star of the evening was the French Press’ chef, Angelee Aurillo, a young woman from New Orleans who will definitely be making a mark on the world of fine cuisine.

Don’t worry if you missed this fun series. Courtney assured me there will be more to come.

If you would like to hear about other special events hosted by Beaver Liquors, send Michelle an e-mail at

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