Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar (1772 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield; 636-449-6700) doesn't pick just any vintner for its monthly wine dinners. Instead, the west-county revival of Steve McIntyre's Central West End mainstay tries to find a winery that is refined but still a little unknown in St. Louis.
This month, Balaban's paired with Tamber Bey, a small Napa winery founded in 1999. The winery also houses Arabian race horses -- hence the name. Looking to grow its presence in St. Louis and Missouri as a whole, Tamber Bey brought its stable of wines to Balaban's and Gut Check was on-hand to get a taste.
See also: 2013 Best Wine List (Value) - Balaban's
Balaban's Scott Krietemeyer tells Gut Check that he and the rest of the Balaban's team, including retail wine manager Tom Bush and co-owner Steve McIntyre, began brainstorming and collaborated on what food items to pair with each of the wines.
The evening started with a rather unassuming 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, which we admit was slightly overshadowed by the first course -- a chef's trio of ceviche: sea bass, scallops and Alaskan halibut.
The next wine was a surprise, however: The 2012 Unoaked Trio Chardonnay was so un-chardonnay-like we did a double-take. It wasn't too dry, paired with a bouillabaisse in a ciabatta bread bowl. The next chardonnay was more classic.
Balaban's served the 2011 Deux Cheaux chardonnay with a Maine lobster-stuffed pasta with lemon beurre blanc.
"The two [chardonnays] could not have been more different," says Krietemeyer. "Whenever you find a small winery that's creating wines so vastly different from each other, that's something special."
Continue on for a glimpse of Tamber Bey's reds.
For the fourth course, Balaban's brought out a 2010 Rabicano Cabernet/Merlot Bordeaux Blend, which was smooth and perfectly paired with roasted venison tenderloin and fall vegetables in a demi reduction. For dessert, the 2010 Deux Chevaux Cabernet was presented with a dessert we really loved: triple-chocolate mousse.
Balaban's has wine dinners each month. On November 10 the featured vintner is Trefethen Family Vineyards. Call 636-449-6700 for reservations. You can learn more about Tamber Bey wines here.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.