The Tam O’Shanter in Los Feliz has been one of our select go-to restaurants for a long time, even more so after the pandemic closures. While we can’t say we’ve been going since they opened over 100 years ago, we’ve been dining there much of the last twenty. At this Scottish-themed restaurant, service is consistently outstanding and you can always count on their classic dishes. Being a part of the Lawry’s family of restaurants, you know their prime rib is going to be excellent. In addition, recent addition Executive Chef JC Salazar has been trying out some new dishes, such as paella and seafood pasta, that have proven to be delicious.
So we were very excited to get an email from The Tam O’Shanter not too long ago promoting a Zinfandel Extravaganza Wine Dinner highlighting the food of their new EC paired with the wines from Carol Shelton Wines, with the Queen of Zinfandel herself to be in attendance.
Carol Shelton got her Bachelor’s Degree in Enology from UC Davis and worked her first harvest in 1978. Since then, she has had a wonderful career, having worked with legends Andre Tchelistcheff and Peter Lehmann among others as well as spending 19 years as winemaker for Windsor Vineyards. It was at Windsor that Carol developed her love of Zinfandel and, in the year 2000, she and her husband Mitch founded Carol Shelton Wines based in Santa Rosa. Carol sources grapes from all over California and is well known for being an exceptional winemaker and has been honored accordingly, especially [but not just] for Zinfandel.
Check out this menu for the wine dinner:
Eggplant Confit Salad / 2019 Carol Shelton Monga Zin, Cucamonga Valley
Five Spice Seared Duck Breast / 2018 Carol Shelton Pizazz Zin, Lodi
Braised Short Rib / 2019 Carol Shelton Rockpile Reserve Zin, Sonoma County
Chocolate Cake / 2019 Carol Shelton Wild Thing Zin, Mendocino County
But, sadly, we were unable to attend the event. Fortunately for us though, we did have the opportunity to try a couple of the wines featured in it –
The 2018 Pizazz Zin (97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah) is from the Piazza Vineyard in Lodi. This 80 acre vineyard was planted in 1973. Ripe plum aromas give way to chocolate milk and raspberry on the palate. This very quaffable wine makes you want to come back for more [and maybe some more after that!].
The 2019 Rockpile Reserve (80% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignan) is from the acclaimed Florence Vineyard in the Rockpile AVA. Not sure what more we can say about this area that we haven’t already said pretty much every time we have a Rockpile. It’s just a very special AVA. This wine was a deep crimson color with excellent clarity. Notes of raisins and cloves and a big berry finish came through on this very well balanced wine.
One might ask: Why write about an event that we didn’t attend? That’s a fair question. The answer is twofold.
One, we wanted to remind people to pay The Tam O’Shanter a visit if they haven’t in a while [or maybe ever]. There are very few truly historic restaurants in the Los Angeles area, and those that are remaining deserve your attention, especially if they are doing as good of a job as “The Tam” does. The Tam O’Shanter offers wine dinners several times a year so you should get on their email list or check out their website to see when the next one is. But you don’t have to wait for a wine dinner to go.
Secondly, small producers such as Carol Shelton Wines often get lost in the wealth of wine offerings that we are all presented with. Carol has been making great wine for a long time and has rightly earned the Queen of Zinfandel title. We definitely think you should seek out her wines. The next time we are in Sonoma County, we hope to pay her a visit. Unless, of course, we happen to see her at a wine dinner!
The Tam O’Shanter
2980 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Carol Shelton Wines
3354-B Coffey Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Michael and Karen Perlis have been pursuing their passion for wine for more than 30 years. They have had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show them the way and after a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as they possibly could, they had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Michael and Karen do their best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers.