A Red Mountain Wine Dinner...

A celebration of the Red Mountain wine region, nestled away in the south-eastern part of Washington State, which is home to some of the best growing conditions available anywhere, is what took place the other night at the club. As cuisiniers, we were graced with the good fortune of providing food for these wonderful whites and rich, luscious reds to embrace our guests, of whom are well traveled foodies and wine gurus alike. The evening started off with a small reception pouring generous tastes of many varieties of the six different wine maker’s wares. We paired them with some artisan and fermier cheeses from New Zealand, France, Washington and even a new farm we just encountered from Telford, Pennsylvania, called Hendricks Farms….very tasty! Then the dinner unfolded like this…we started with an amuse to pair with a 2004 Artz Vineyard Semillon from Wilridge Winery which consisted of a slow braised Beef Short rib & Veal Sweetbread Terrine, Crimson Rhubarb-Bartlett Pear Confiture, Pistachio Oil and Micro Burgundy Amaranth from “The Chef’s Garden” in Ohio. We then ventured into vegetarian territory with a Sweet Onion Custard baked in a shallow bowl, then topped with a succulent composure of small, woodsy Morels, Baby White Asparagus, Micro Celery, White Truffle Oil and a heady Mushroom Jus. This was accompanied by a 2002 Red Mountain Merlot from Sandhill Winery. As we progressed further into the menu, and into bolder nuances of wines, the vibe was getting exciting! The cooks were stoked, the sous chefs on fire and me, well, you know! The energy was electric, and yet utterly in control. Almost too much so. Our next collaborative composition of flavors was a Pancetta wrapped Atlantic Loin of Monkfish. Done up in rare form, with a spring enhancement of tender "Round Pond" Olive Oil(napa valley) braised Wild Ramps, Young Fava Beans, French Green Lentil Ragout and a Red Wine Lobster Essence….light and luscious. Don't you just love the Spring?!? A sprinkling of Murray River Sea Salt rounded out the dish which was flanked by a 2001 Tapteil Vineyard Cabernet/Merlot Blend nurtured and refined by Tapteil Vineyard Winery.

We could tell that the dinner was getting good accolades and that the flavors were quite impressive collectively, not to mention equally on their own. What else could a chef ask for?... Enter the Bison! A delicate, yet masculine loin, crusted with Cocoa Nibs after being brushed with Hyppocraticum Jelly and roasted to a nice medium rare! I can almost taste it now! A smooth and earthy Celery Root Puree was etherreal, Caramelized Pearl Onions and Spring Peas, Roasted Garlic Panisse, or Panelle, depending on which part of the Mediterranean you are standing in, crisp Artichoke Chips, and a Smoked Valrhona Manjari Sauce made for a bold pairing for any red wine like nobody’s business. A silky Celery Root emulsion made from the “lait naturel” seductively pulled the flavors in sync. This dish was too proud to stand alone with just one wine, so we went with two…both bottled in 2003, a Three Vineyards Red Blend from Hedges Family Estates and a Red Mountain Blend from Hightower Cellars. What a trio.

As you may or may not know, I tend to migrate towards pastry as much as possible, mostly because I simply am overtaken by desserts. I use the interplay of sweets in my savory cuisine, and if you ask me what is my favorite food…well, I would have to most definitely say; chocolate! No chocolate here(I already used it on the savory course, which is generally a given most of the time). Instead, we were given a Late Harvest Riesling of 2004 Vintage from Seth Ryan Winery to work with. It is here that we went with very light, spring nuances abound and gently whet with a note of “légère”. We manned up with a soothing combination of Oven Roasted Strawberries, creamy Lemon Curd, a Rose Tea “Pavlova” or meringue if you must and an Orange-Yogurt Sherbet. All of this orchestry was made complete by a “Tisane” of Strawberry-Vanilla Water, Aromats of the “Patisserie”, crispy Almond Tuile and a Pineapple Oil. Although not that many courses, for one who enjoys the gustatory pleasures of many, it was nirvana. All I know, is we are already working on the next one! Until then…


Blogger Dana said...

I love the playful pavlova. Simply ellegant and great textural contrasts. This is beautiful!

11:53:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

thanks Dana. It was a very refreshing dessert. It went so awesomely well with the wine also. The whole menu was quite fun. Now I know why I am a savory chef who loves dessert who does both! :)

9:04:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home