Auction Napa Valley kick-off dinner is a date night for Phifer Pavitt

Suzanne Phifer Pavitt and Shane Pavitt

Throughout the Napa Valley on Thursday evening, vintners were holding welcome dinners for guests and bidders participating in the 30th annual Auction Napa Valley.  In Calistoga, one of these special dinners was hosted by Suzanne Phifer Pavitt and Shane Pavitt of Phifer Pavitt Wines, producer of Date Night Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

After an elegant reception on their patio overlooking the Valley, guests were treated to a four-course dinner and wine pairing prepared by Chef Brandon Sharp of the Michelin star restaurant Solbar in Calistoga.  Chef Brandon Sharp’s menu was stellar with each dish having local provenance and being cooked to perfection.  The silky Alaskan Sablefish with rich fermented black garlic sauce was complemented by winemaker Ted Osborne’s creamy barrel-fermented Mendocino Chardonnay.  Chef accompanied the Duroc Pork tenderloin and pork belly from Long & Baley Farms with plum mostarda to bridge the dish to the ripe red plum fruit in the 2006 Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Painted Hills loin of beef with bacon-onion compote and carmelized maitake mushrooms paired beautifully with the evolving complexity of the 2005 Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon.  Last but not least, the youthful fruit and structure of the 2007 Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon landed softly with the creamy chocolate pot de crème topped with salted almonds.

Shane Pavitt came up with the name “Date Night”.  While Suzanne was initially hesitant with the name, she realized that it was during their early ‘date nights’ when they first dreamt of a life together and discussed what they would do if location and money were no object, and the dream was to make wine. They traveled to different wine regions and settled in the Napa Valley in 2001, making their first wines with the 2005 vintage.

Date Night Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is made from organically farmed grapes from a single vineyard in Pope Valley.  Winemaker Ted Osborne makes the wines in a fruit-driven style, with cold maceration, whole berry ferment and limited racking.  The 2007 Phifer Pavitt Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon (Fall release) has lifted blueberry and blackberry aromas with hints of herb, spice and vanilla. The palate is full of dark plum and black cherry fruit, rich tannins and balanced acidity with 7-10 years ahead of it.

Suzanne and Shane now have two fun-loving boys but the couple still makes time for ‘date nights’ when they enjoy each other’s company, discuss important matters and savor good food and wine. For this couple, ‘date night’ works!

Phifer Pavitt is nearing completion of a winery and tasting room off Silverado Trail in Calistoga.  Check the website for details on current release wines, mailing list and visits.