Stop and smell the tannins

Ordinarily, wine dinners can be too long to be convenient, with diners forced to move at the glacial pace of the slowest eaters. Holloway said Boulevard uses a regular reservation system so guests can enjoy a less formal dinner at their own pace.

He rotates through wine brokers so his guests may sample a variety of wines. April’s supper club will feature French or Italian wines, depending on the menu. All dinners are four courses.

Lori Tyler, owner of Stella Modern Italian Cuisine, 1201 N.

Walker, started closing the restaurant on Mondays this year. The original idea was to give the restaurant a full day off, but it also provided her the opportunity to offer a unique dining experience.

“Our kitchen is small,” Tyler said, “and in the past when we’ve done wine dinners, it makes it very difficult on our kitchen to serve regular guests and a wine dinner.”

She decided one Monday night a month could be set aside for special dinners where guests are treated to executive chef Jonathan Krell’s unrestrained creativity.

“We’re also using the dinners to give our guests access to winemakers and winery owners,” Tyler said. “We want our guests to enjoy the dinner, learn about the wine and interact with the winemakers and owners.”

The number of guests varies, depending on the nature of the event. Some will be small enough for a dozen to sit at the bar, and 40 will be the maximum number. Tyler admitted the numbers are flexible.

“For January’s pig roast, we had so many requests, we took reservations for 54 instead of 40,” she said.

Stella’s dates are not set far in advance because they depend on winemaker or owner availability. April 16’s dinner features Matello Wines, a Willamette Valley winery relatively new to the state.

For more information, contact Boulevard and Stella.