Fazeli Cellars captures the spirit of romance
by Susan Montgomery
Romance was alive and well at Fazeli Cellars in the Temecula Valley Wine Country on Saturday night. The winery’s Valentine’s Dinner was an example of the wonderful dinners and other gala events held regularly in the winery’s spacious ballroom.
Tables, mostly set for two, were beautifully decorated with gold platters and glimmering candles.
Everyone received a glass of champagne when they arrived, while celebrated jazz violinist Diego Mondragon played amorous tunes to set the mood for love and romance.
Fazeli’s talented Executive Chef, Anthony Bartolotta, and his excellent staff prepared and served an exquisite five-course dinner perfectly paired with the winery’s exceptional wines.
The first course might have been my favorite: delicate puff pastry filled with lemon and dill crème fraiche and gloriously topped with caviar and chives. The presentation was fit for the red carpet and the taste combinations were melt-in-your-mouth.
The second course was a crispy baby arugula and fennel salad highlighted by succulent oranges that had been ingeniously soaked in amaretto. An almond vinaigrette was the perfect dressing to enhance the spicy arugula. Fazeli’s crispy, fruity Boland Rooz 2014 that accompanied this course was an ideal match for the fruit flavors.
The third course was delicately flavored, seared sea scallops resting atop a creative Tuscan kale risotto, all enriched by a delicious lemon, sweet-and-sour agrodolce sauce. This course was paired with mellow Norooz 2015, a white wine that provided a nice complement to the scallops with its hints of vanilla.
The fourth course was an enticing dish called Tournedos Rossini, a perfectly grilled, tender petite beef tenderloin glazed with black winter truffles. This was served with crunchy haricots verts (French green beans), baby carrots and scrumptious garlic mashed potatoes. The accompanying Khayam 2012, a rich blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc, had hints of blackberries and a smooth finish—a bold match for the savory meat.
The dessert plate held chocolate and hazelnut cream-filled profiteroles (cream puffs) served with a lovely cognac-marinated fruit compote. The 2012 Saadi (a blend of primarily Petite Sirah) has cherry and plum flavors that complemented the sweet desserts.
As if all this wasn’t enough, at the end of the meal chocolate fondue fountains started flowing for dipping huge, delectable strawberries. What a special treat. Couples started dancing as Diego’s music continued and the evening was truly a romantic night to remember for everyone who attended.
The good news is that Fazeli Cellars offers wonderful three-course Legacy dinners every Friday night. Chef Bartolotta also oversees Fazeli’s popular Baba Joon’s Kitchen, which offers delicious Mediterranean and Persian cuisine every day of the week. Check the winery’s website for details on everything going on at Fazeli’s Cellars or, better yet, stop by to experience the ambiance and the wine firsthand.
Photos with this article taken by Todd Montgomery.