Saturday, October 3, 2009

Finery at Fleming's

With 100 wines by the glass and Patrick Milsop directing its wine program, it's a gimme that Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Rancho Mirage knows wine. We were tickled pink to be in their competent hands at our Hat's Off luncheon with Angel Light Academy last Saturday. We tip our hats to Operating Partner John Verhoef and his skilled staff for turning out a glorious meal and intriguing wine pairings.

A knock-out appetizer of breaded brie with jalapeño jelly was paired to an Old World Chardonnay – Forty-Six Diamonds Pouilly-Fuisse 2006, especially crafted for Fleming's with French négociant Georges DuBoeuf. Hat brims gave way to broader smiles.

Fall soup of squash, corn and lobster, perfectly textured and fresh, was a course many of us would have been happy to savor for dinner any night. Its pairing was a New World Vasse Felix Chardonnay 2007 from the cooler Margaret River area of Western Australia. The wine's crisp acidity was both balance and foil for the rich soup.

Next, a nearly fork-tender petite filet mignon was served with South Africa's Rust en Vrede Merlot 2007 from the Stellenbosch region. We took in its earthy aromas and terroir-soaked flavors. Patrick told us how Nelson Mandela chose this winery for his 2004 Nobel Peace Prize dinner. We were honored as well.

As much as we enjoyed the apricot sorbet, the luncheon's real treats were the children and young adults of Angel Light Academy. With their poise and polish at the mic, these youngsters told of their struggles in our rough-and-tumble society and how ALA helps them learn leadership and other skills necessary to overcome hardship and succeed as focused, whole and wholesome individuals. Well done, all.

Great prizes fueled a thrilling and competitive auction to aid our combined fundraising efforts.

In case you missed this one, take our word and remember Fleming's for your next night out and Angel Light Academy in your charitable giving. Our combined causes paired with a superb venue, excellent food and wine, fashion and energetic camaraderie for a memorable event. And, as you can see, it was worth going for the hats alone.

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