The Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village has been a favorite destination for “staycations,” dining, spa days and other well-deserved treats. Robin and I discovered the recently remodeled brasserie-inspired Coin & Candor Restaurant, a casual and sophisticated dining experience complete with top-notch local ingredients and wood-fired cooking techniques inspired by Executive Chef Jose Fernandez.
We were lucky enough to be invited to a Grgich Hills Estate wine dinner that was held in one of their beautiful private dining rooms. Reviews of wine and food can often become “wonky,” and for my taste, boring. This experience was about food, wine and fun. The Four Seasons hosted, and the two dozen plus guests were happy and ready for FUN. We were not disappointed.
Grgich Hills Estate is an iconic Napa Valley wine estate that produces world-class wine from the heart of the Napa Valley in Rutherford. It was founded by Miljenko “Mike” Grgich and Austin Hill in 1977. It is still a family owned winery, not yet gobbled up by the likes of Constellation. Mike is a member of the Vintners Hall of Fame; his Chardonnay was taken to France by President Ronald Reagan for dinner with the President of France, and Mike received the James Beard Award in 2018. This is wine royalty. The Grgich host for the evening, Don Carolan, delivered a rousing verbal history of the winery and insight into the wines that would be poured that evening. Next time you visit Napa, make Grgich Hills Estate a must.
Now, on to the dinner. The Four Seasons hosts were warm and gracious. Georg Vaessen, Food and Beverage Manager, and Hannah Ellstrom, General Manager, made us all feel welcome. Executive Chef Jose Fernandez and Chef de Cuisine Jesus Medina outdid themselves.
Each course was accompanied by a special wine serving. What a fun time—talking with new acquaintances, enjoying it all with your partner and eating and drinking great food and wine in a warm, friendly setting!
An Amouse Bouche of Spanish Iberico Ham croquettes matched with a flinty 2016 Fume Blanc kicked things off, offering a perfect contrast of savory and cool. The First Course was my favorite of the evening: Pan Seared Scallops in an uni sauce, matched with an elegant and minerally 2015 Chardonnay. I could have had seconds (I did on the wine), but on to the next course. The Second Course, Stone Ground Corn Grits, mushroom, Brussels sprouts and white truffle, was a big surprise. I don’t usually like grits, but I sure liked these! White truffles? Yep. The 2016 Merlot was what a Merlot should be—bright fruit, velvet and soft tannins. The Entrée, Duck Braised Casserole, green onions and cilantro, was accompanied by the wine star of the evening, a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon that was reaching its peak. It had a full-bodied, wonderful structure and swirling aromas of black currants and mocha. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon was also served—I bought a half case of that one! Younger and on its way to where the 2007 lives. Finally, dessert! A Mascarpone Mousse, apple confit with orange blossom honey, was gobbled up in about 10 seconds. Who could resist? The dessert wine, 2014 Violetta, named after Mike’s daughter, was perfect served ice cold and loaded with ripe pear and a floral aroma.
Stop by Coin & Candor for dinner instead of the same tired places you’ve been going to for years. A brasserie is a new experience for the Conejo Valley. There is also nothing remotely like it in Malibu, so come “over the hill”. You will not be disappointed! The Skirt Steak and Seared Snapper are also excellent
Make a reservation at 818.574.3044, visit Grgich Hills Estate or join their wine club at Grgich.com.