Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Unti Vineyards is a small, family-owned and operated winery specializing in red varietals with vineyard personality. George Unti and his son Mick believe Dry Creek Valley’s climate is ideal for making full-bodied, fruity reds from Zinfandel, Rhone and Italian varietals. The winery, established in 1997, produces small lots of estate grown Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenache, Barbera, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, a Dry Rosée and a Rhone White Blend. The winemaking includes artisan methods that enhance and support an ability to make wines with a sense of place. Almost all of the wines, and opinions, are unfiltered:
We believe the world’s best wine grapes come from vineyards where the vines are naturally adapted to their environment. This includes planting varieties that might be most expressive in our climate, regardless of the fact that they may not have been grown in our area. In order to facilitate self-sustaining vines, we farm according to the natural lunar cycles, emphasizing the relationships between plants, animals and soils without the use of herbicides and pesticides. We also apply organic compost according to the list of soil preparations prescribed by Rudolf Steiner.
On Tuesday, June 3rd, Comal will welcome Mick Unti for a special dinner showcasing a selection of Unti wines paired with dishes by Comal’s executive chef Matt Gandin. Dinner guests will have the opportunity to engage in lively conversation with Mick and learn firsthand about his winemaking approach.
This is the fifth in an ongoing series of wine producer dinners (previous dinners include Wind Gap Wines, Arnot-Roberts, Donkey & Goat Winery and Bedrock Wine Co.) held in Comal’s private dining room, Abajo. All previous events have sold out in advance.
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 3rd at 6:30 PM
PRICE: Tickets are $100 inclusive of food, wine and gratuity
RESERVATIONS: Space is limited – to purchase tickets, follow this link:
King salmon crudo English pea-serrano chile purée, verdolagas
2012 Cuvée Blanc, Dry Creek Valley
Sweet corn-squash blossom soup
2013 Rosé, Dry Creek Valley Estate
Duck and spring vegetable tamal mole coloradito
2012 Barbera, Dry Creek Valley Estate
Chilhuacle chile braised lamb leg green bean-herb salad (mint, cilantro, chile arbol-lemon vinaigrette)
2011 Sangiovese, Dry Creek Valley Estate
Arroz con Leche bing cherries, toasted pistachios
Unti Vineyards Winemaking Philosophy:
Our intent is to make the best and most interesting wines from our property with a willingness to work with Mother Nature rather than against her. This means planting grapes that are more expressive – because better suited to our site- regardless of the current market trends. The same principles that guide our vineyard practices are applied to the way we make wine.
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Tevye, the protagonist from “Fiddler on the Roof”, extolls the importance of preserving old traditions in Jewish cultural life. Of course that doesn’t mean that new traditions can’t be established as well. Another year has passed, and as spring comes around we prepare to host our 2nd annual Mexican Passover Seder at Comal.
There will be a few new twists to the menu this year, but the Jalapeño Matzo Balls and Beef Brisket braised in ancho chile adobo are back due to popular demand – as is the tequila-cured salmon.
We will once again be following the more liberal Sephardic tradition that allows for corn, beans and rice. It will be a fun, secular celebration, a cultural mash up. There will be no Hagaddahs, and the dinner will not be kosher (meat and dairy will be served), but it will be both festive and delicious.
We welcome you to gather around the Seder plate and help to enrich this young Comal family tradition. Last year’s dinners both sold out in advance, so we encourage you to pick up tickets sooner than later if you’re planning to join us.
Here’s a link to the official announcement with menu details, ticket info, etc – hope to see you there!
Caldo de Pollo jalepeño matzo balls
Tequila-cured Salmon avocado, endive, radish, cilantro oil
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Following on the heels of two sold-out dinners last year, Comal will again mark the first two nights of Passover – Monday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 15 – with multi-course family-style dinners in their intimate private dining room, Abajo. Executive Chef Matt Gandin has created a menu in his signature Mexican style that riffs on traditional Passover dishes. Dinners will follow the more liberal Sephardic traditions, incorporating rice, beans and corn into the meal, and will forego haggadahs for lively conversation at the communal table.
The dinners will start promptly at 6:30PM. Seating is limited to twenty-two diners each night. Tickets are $60 per person (inclusive of gratuity but exclusive of beverages) and can be purchased by clicking on one of these links:
April 14 – http://www.ticketfly.com/event/523565-second-annual-passover-dinner-berkeley/
April 15 – http://www.ticketfly.com/event/523663-second-annual-passover-dinner-berkeley/
Passover Seder Menu
Guacamole with chips & three salsas
Sikil Pak toasted pumpkin seeds, grilled eggplant, habanero
Jicama & Cucumber chile arbol, lime
Tequila-cured Salmon avocado, endive, radish, cilantro oil
Goat Birria Quesadilla Anaheim chiles
Caldo de Pollo jalapeño matzo balls
Beef Brisket in Adobo carrots, raisins, peanut-chile arbol salsa,
Midnight black beans de olla
Mandarin Raspado whipped crema, almond shortbread
Friday, December 20th, 2013
Many thanks go out to Morgan Twain-Peterson and Chris Cottrell of Bedrock Wine Co. for bringing some killer wines to our producer dinners that we held last week in Abajo, our cellar dining room. For me, the highlight was the pairing of Bedrock’s Evangelho Heritage Red (composed of roughly 40% Carignane, 38% Mourvedre, with the remainder Zinfandel, Palomino, Alicante, and Mission), with a version of Chiles en Nogada, a classic fall dish. It is traditionally eaten on September 16, Mexican Independence Day (Grito de Dolores), because the dish contains the three colors of the Mexican flag: red, white and green.
This is a complex dish, featuring batter-fried chiles stuffed with a sweet and savory mixture of ground pork and beef stewed with tomato, dried fruit and baking spices. To add to the “baroque” nature of this dish, it is topped with a creamy nut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and parsley. The dish itself is a study in contrasts, savory and sweet, hot and cool, creamy and piquant. The Evangelho brings similar complexity to the table, with pomegranate and spice notes to complement, and great acidity to cut through the richness of the picadillo and creamy sauce. More evidence that Mexican food and great wines can make wonderful partners!
Chiles en Nogada
Bedrock’s Morgan Twain-Peterson holds court
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
This New Year’s Eve, Comal will once again clear out the tables, turn up the volume on our Meyer sound system and transform into a swingin’ dancehall. Doors will open at 9pm and longtime Bay Area DJ Jose Ruiz (KPFA, KPOO), who has an ongoing residency at Comal on Thursday nights, will spin his infectious mix of Latin and funk into the wee hours. Last year’s event sold out and was a spirited affair to say the least!
Chef Matt Gandin and his team will keep a steady stream of antojitos (little snacks) flowing throughout the night – expect some familiar items from Comal’s menu along with a few wild cards, with an emphasis on Oaxacan-style street snacks like quesadillas, de eses and flautas.
Matt Campbell, Comal’s lead bartender and one of the SF Chronicle’s 2013 Bar Stars, will be twisting up an original NYE cocktail for the occasion. This, along with Comal’s current list of craft cocktails, draft beer, wine and extensive selection of tequila and mezcal, will be on offer.
Tickets are $40 and are on sale at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/421561. All food offerings are included in ticket purchase.
Please make special note: BART is open until 3am on NYE and Comal is less than a block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Also, Comal’s large beer garden is uncovered, so use of this space is weather dependent. Additional tickets may be released December 30th if weather permits the use of the beer garden for the occasion.