Today's post - Part 2: The Food - is the second of two posts in which I share my experience at a recent dinner and wine pairing.
You can read Part 1: The Wine, here.
As you may recall, I had the pleasure of enjoying a wine pairing dinner at Enotria Restaurant|Wine Bar recently. But before I share my dinner experience with you, let's talk a bit about Wine Road, the organizer and host of the event. Founded more than 30 years ago, Wine Road is an association of more than 150 wineries and 50 lodgings in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys of Northern Sonoma County. They have created a variety of great programs, events and services for Sonoma visitors, many of which are offered free of charge (the Custom Map and Concierge services are two of my faves). Wine Road is an excellent resource for anyone interested in visiting, or even just learning more about, the Sonoma wine region.
Duck Rillette - cured & confited duck leg rillette, pickled mustard seeds, cherry gel, hachée of pickled cherry. Garnished with red ribbon sorrel. Paired with Taft Street Winery, Pinot Noir Rose (Russian River Valley, 2012) and Taft Street Winery, Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, 2012). I'm a fan of rillette, so of course I liked this pairing. The rillette was a little meatier than I've had in the past, and the texture played nicely against the pop of the mustard seeds. The sweet and sour flavors of the cherries, creamy saltiness of the rillette, and a bit of acid from the pickled seeds paired very well with Taft Street's wines.
Mango Sphere - mango purée, lime segments and garnished with micro cilantro. (The sphere is formed by using a reverse spherification process where the 'skin' is formed due to a chemical reaction that occurs between sodium and calcium). Paired with Jordan Vineyards & Winery, Chardonnay (Russian River Valley, 2011). This one was a flavor bomb! And I mean that in the best possible way. Literally, an explosion of pure fruit in the mouth, this was a fun and flavorful accompaniment to the Chardonnay.
Beef Tartar - Niman Ranch rib-eye, relish of pickled capers, shallot, Dijon mustard, parsley and garlic. Garnished with micro mustard. Paired with Jordan Vineyards & Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley, 2009). Red meat with Cabernet? Hard to go wrong with that classic. By serving the beef as tartar, Chef took the tried and true pairing to a higher level.
Melon Salad - compressed Crenshaw melons, kefir cheese, cucumber dipping dots, pickled cucumber balls. Paired with Pedroncelli Winery, Sauvignon Blanc (2012). I so wish I had snapped a photo of this little nibble, because it was my absolute favorite pairing. The wine's tropical notes together with the melon and cucumber were a perfect match; it was like tasting summer. I cannot imagine a more brilliant combination.
Next, we moved inside for dinner. As diverting and informative as the speed-tasting had been, I have to admit that it was nice to sit down at the dining table and catch my breath. The pretty room and Enotria's professional wait staff ensured an easy transition into what would be a relaxed, refined meal.
Dinner included three courses, each paired - naturally - with a different wine. The first course of lime-cured Hamachi celebrated summer's bountiful, sweet corn and included Brentwood corn pudding, corn nuage (French for "cloud"), passion fruit gel, smoked corn kernels and Anaheim chili peppers. Corn shoots garnished the plate. This was a delicate dish, the fish was so fresh and tender. Chef Bruich paired the Hamachi with Taft Street's 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.
Next, the main course: Niman Ranch rib-eye cooked sous-vide until fork tender. The beef was accompanied by smoked Yukon potato purée, roasted radicchio purée, compressed kale, veal jus, and black garlic purée, and garnished with fennel flowers. We enjoyed a 2003 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with this second course, courtesy of Jordan Vineyards & Winery. If you are ever fortunate enough to taste this 10-year-old Cab, you'll realize what a very special treat this was.
And then, dear readers, dessert: milk chocolate cremeux (sort of a cross between a mousse and a pudding), milk chocolate shortbread crumble, bitter chocolate ganache, white ale gel, fresh blackberries, blackberry gel, Kona Pop tea gel and blackberry paper, white ale nuage (there's that cloud again), with a garnish of micro sorrel. That's a long-winded way of saying "chocolate heaven on a plate." Dessert was paired with Pedroncelli Winery's dark and dreamy Dry Creek Valley Vintage Port (2008). Had they served nothing else but this pairing, I would still have gone home happy.
A very special thanks to The Wine Road, Chef Bruich and his wonderful team, and all the featured Sonoma wineries for including me in such a memorable event. You can see all my photos from the evening on my photography site, here.
Disclaimer: I attended the wine pairing and dinner free of charge, courtesy of an invitation from the kind folks at The Wine Road. My opinions are my own, always will be. Just keepin' it real.