Flight of wines with mixed green salad with walnuts, blue cheese, dried cranberries, and vinaigrette. The wines (right to left) - Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley Arrowhead Sonoma Estates Cabernet Sauvignon and Hartford Chardonnay from Russian River Valley.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2018 -- During the month of December Shula's Steakhouse will be honoring the Leading Women of Wine withe a fabulous "Filets and Flights" pairing of three wines from woman owned or operated Sonoma wineries.


The Sheraton Grand Hotel, home to the Shula's Steakhouse in Chicago, hosted a few of us to tell us more about the monthlong event. The promotion will benefit Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Florida. they treat around fifty types of cancer including breast cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, ovarian cancer, lung and liver cancers.


The women of wine they are honoring are Marcia Torres Forno, the wine maker at Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma County; Hailet Hartford-Murray, owner of Hartford Family Winery in the Russian River Valley; Jill Russell, the winemaker at Cambria Estate Winery in the Santa Maria Valley; and Kristina Shideler, the winemaker at Arrowood in Sonoma Estates.

Chef started us off with (above) Kumanoto Oyster, (below) a delightful charcuterie spread and lobster with asparagus accented with a light peanut truffle oil. It was paired with Matazana's Creek Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma Valley

Our spread, presented by Chef Renea Powell, started off with a crisp prosecco toast that accompanied a giant mountain of charcuterie including several cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, berries, dried fruits and spreads! We were also offered lobster fillets with a very East Asian style peanut truffle oil. Keeping with the Oriental slant, trays of Kumamoto oysters were graced with a light mignonette sauce. (more below)


The communal sides includes crab mac n cheese with huge chucks of crabmeat, really tasty sauteed mushrooms, and grilled green beans.

[Above] The flight of three 3-ounce fillets included (left to right) simple with a pink peppercorn demi-glace, topped with lobster thermidor and topped with shrimp and a citrus beurre blanc. [Below] dessert included a personal sized chocolate souffle accompanied by a creme anglaise and whipped cream.

We moved on to the main event, the filet trio and wine flights. The three 3-ounce filets were each paired with a specific wine. The first filet was presented with a simple peppercorn demi-glace paired with a Pinot Noir from Cambria Julia's Vineyard. The second filet was adorned with lobster thermidor and paired with a Cabernet sauvignon from Arrowood in Sonoma Estates. The third filet was complimented by a shrimp with a citrusy beurre blanc sauce and paired with a chardonnay from Hartford Family Winery in the Russian River valley.


Overall the pairings were good, though I found the first two more spot on than the last, however that has more to do with my preference toward cabs and pinots rather than the actual pairing.


Dessert was finished with the only thing that could pair with a delightful chocolate souffle... and icewine Inniskillin "Vidal" Gold, from their Niagra Estates in Ontario.


The promotion runs through the month of December and maybe a smidgen into the new year. The massive charcuterie table was specific only for the promotional event but you can definitely find the wonderful mac-n-cheese, mushrooms and the chocolate souffle always on their menu.


To learn more about the Shula Foundation and the Moffite Cancer Center go to The Shula Fund | Moffit Center    --   GEOFF BURTON