Scenes from Il Fornaio Burlingame Wine Dinner Featuring Rombauer Vineyards

Andrea and I had the very good fortune of recently attending a special wine pairing dinner at Il Fornaio in Burlingame.

The dinner featured wines from Rombauer Vineyards.

First up were tasty bites of scallop ceviche, potato croquette and skewered meat.

Il Fornaio manager Giancarlo DiTullio (left) and Il Fornaio Burlingame Executive Chef Michele Godina took turns welcoming guests.

We learned about the Burlingame Parks & Recreation Foundation, as these special dinners provide a spotlight on a local non-profit organization.

Rombauer Vineyard’s Kristine Pederson introduced the winery and the story of its founders.

We were then served the first Rombauer wine of the evening:

Rombauer 2017 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

The wine’s fresh, ripe notes of pineapple and pear paired very well with the trio of seafood appetizers.

Trio of Fish:

Sea urchin marinated in orange lemon dressing.

Grilled octopus in lemon dressing over a spicy peperoncino lemony frisée salad.

Tuna tartare in sesame oil and soy dressing over a taro root chip.

Andrea and I absolutely loved the tuna tartare on the chip and could have eaten many more of them. Our tablemates agreed.

The next wine was the ultra smooth Rombauer 2016 Napa Valley Merlot.

Paired with Eggplant timbale stuffed with lamb ragu, béchamel, Grana Padano and fresh mozzarella.

This pairing was one of our favorites of the evening, as the smooth, medium-bodied wine with fruity notes of ripe plum and fig proved a perfect companion to the savory, flavorful, earthy dish.

Giancarlo hosted a raffle with prizes throughout the dinner, with the proceeds benefiting the featured non-profit.

Next wines:

Rombauer 2017 Carneros Chardonnay.

Rombauer 2015 Diamond Selection Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Joining us at our table were Sherry and John, a wonderful, lovely couple who were also the best tablemates ever. Cheers to them for helping make the evening that much better!

The Chardonnay paired with:

Swordfish, Gaeta olives, sun dried tomatoes in light spicy tomato broth, served with sautéed spinach.

The buttery and fruity Chardonnay went very nicely with the spicy and acidic seafood dish.

The Cabernet Sauvignon paired with:

Nimar frenched pork chop wrapped in pancetta in Cabernet wine reduction, served with pear compote with mustard essence and Brussels sprouts.

Well layered notes of blackberry, cherry and oak perfectly complemented the decadent pork chop and bacon richness.

Chef Michele and Giancarlo.

The final wine of the evening:

Rombauer 2016 California Zinfandel.

The Zin paired with:

Chocolate mousse with sponge cake with fresh raspberries served with crème englaise and raspberry sauce.

The berry and plum flavors and pleasant tannins paired harmoniously with the chocolate mousse and raspberry sauce.

Digestive: Limoncello.

Beyond thoroughly satisfied by this point, we still enjoyed the refreshing liqueur to round out the evening.

Giancarlo and Chef Michele with Burlingame mayor Donna Colson.

Last photo with friends, both old and new.

Andrea and I are very grateful that we got to enjoy another outstanding wine dinner executed by Chef Michele and his team.

The food, the wines and the company made for a truly memorable evening.

Salute! Cheers! Prost! Gunbae!