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West Coast Wines

Wine explorers, check out next week's wine dinners at two of Richmond's favorite restaurants, the worlds-apart Millie's and Lemaire. Both evenings have roots in California and should hold special interest for enthusiasts and newcomers to the world of wine dinners.

First up, legendary California wine merchant, author and musician Kermit Lynch sends his wines, and his colleague Matthew Cain, to Millie's on Monday, March 27, for a special five-course dinner.

Millie's co-owner Lisa Edwards Keevil says the menu pulls loosely from Lynch's book "Adventures on the Wine Route" and will include seared sea scallops, braised veal cheek and a duck-leg-confit beggar's purse along with some of Lynch's favorite vintages.

Seating is limited, reservations are required and the Web site has details. See

Reserve bottles of 1999 Insignia, an award-winning Joseph Phelps vintage, will be served at the Jefferson Hotel wine event Wednesday, March 29.

Phelps was the first major winery in California to produce meritage wines instead of varietals. "It's taking the best qualities of the varietals," explains the hotel's wine director, Brodie Dollinger, "and making the best wine possible." Some of those being featured are difficult to find and retail for as much as $150 a bottle.

Guests will feast on Executive Chef Walter Bundy's bison short-rib ravioli, grilled Alaskan king salmon, truffle-dusted rockfish and dry-aged New York strip, as well as hors d'oeuvres and five Joseph Phelps wines.

"Throughout Richmond there is a growing buzz about wine," Dollinger says without a trace of intentional punning. "More tastings, more wine dinners — there's greater diversity in what's available in wine shops. And people are developing a real excitement in learning about wines here and across the country." Contact for information.

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