A Wine & Scotch Celebration for Cafe Circa’s Anniversary

Wednesday night I joined a dozen of wine, food and spirits enthusiasts at Café Circa for an intimate celebration of the Old 4th Ward restaurant’s third anniversary.

It was a true feast for the taste buds: five wines paired with five small plates, followed by five Scotches.

While seated behind the bar we got to talk with Executive Chef Hopeton Hibbert about each dish as he presented them to us.  Our wine and spirits guide was Mike Leo from Continental Beverage, who talked about each wine’s origins and flavors.

The first wine was the 2008 Glory Days Viognier from Lodi, California, which was paired with spicy crab and mango salad.  The aromatic white wine had floral and honeysuckle notes, which went well with the lightness of the dish.

Next we had a 2008 Wente Chardonnay from Monterrey, California.  It was paired with a strawberry and goat cheese cucumber stack with a sorrel drizzle.  The tropical flavors in the chardonnay worked well with the strawberry, while the goat cheese brought out the creamy characteristics of the wine.

We then moved to red wines with the 2008 Silver Stone Cabernet Sauvignon, also from California.  This was paired with a delicious Cuban spiced chicken and plantain spring roll.  I didn’t see the spring roll offered on Café Circa’s menu but I would definitely order it again.  The lighter bodied Cabernet let the spiced flavors of the spring roll come out.

Another Cabernet Sauvignon followed, the 2008 Fourteen Hands from Washington.  It was paired with seared steak with spiced chocolate sauce.  The smoky dark fruit notes in the wine complemented the steak nicely, their earthy and meaty flavors working well together.

We ended the wine part of the evening with the 2006 Mark Davidson North Bore Shiraz from Southeast Australia.  This was a pleasant surprise for the evening – while some Australian Shiraz can be loaded with jammy flavors, this wine had well-balanced bright fruit flavors and notes of smoke and leather.  It went nicely with the stewed goat with a habanero tomato sauce.

We sampled all five Scotches at the same time so we could better compare their flavors.  From left to right in the photo the Scotches were: Singleton 12 year, Macallan 12 year, Wemyss Smooth Gentleman 10 year, Wemyss Spice King 10 year, and Wemyss Peat Chimney 10 year.

I started by comparing the Singleton and the Macallan.  I preferred the Singleton, with its vanilla and almond notes, while my husband preferred the Macallan, which was a bit more aggressive in flavor and heat from the alcohol.

The three Scotches from Wemyss were really interesting.  They were like no Scotches I had tasted before (though I admit I haven’t tasted a lot of Scotch), and completely different from the first two.  All had an herbaceous quality about them, with flavors like sage, grass and licorice.

My husband and I were having such a good time at Café Circa that we decided to extend our evening.  We ordered the guava jerk wings and roasted lamb ribs to go with our remaining sips of Scotch.  Both were delicious, extremely flavorful with meat that slid off the bone.

The anniversary celebrations continue through Saturday at Café Circa:

On Thursday, January 20th the restaurant will be hosting a special happy hour from 5 to 7pm with music from DJ SugarCut, $5 Ciroc cocktails, $5 small plates and $10 entrees.

On Friday, January 21st and Saturday, January 22nd beginning at 5pm, Executive Chef Hibbert will be offering a special three-course menu for $25 that includes a glass of Champagne.

For more details visit www.cafecircaatl.com.

Café Circa is located at 464 Edgewood Avenue Southeast in Atlanta
Open Monday through Sunday beginning at 5pm
(404) 477-0008