|Getting settled in for dinner at Arrowood Winery|
The event was a winemaker dinner at Sonoma Valley's Arrowood Winery, part of the annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend—a three-day, blowout affair that includes dinners and lunches throughout the county on Friday and Saturday, Saturday afternoon's impressive "Taste of Sonoma" (160 wineries, 60 chefs) on the grounds of MacMurray Rarnch, and a mega-fun auction on Sunday at Cline Cellars. Proceeds benefit charities, so it was nice to see that, going into the weekend, events were sold out (gross proceeds for the weekend amounted to $1.4 million).
|Arrowood's winemaker, Heidi von der Mehden|
Dinner, catered by Sonoma's the girl + the fig, was splendid, incorporating the best in local foods. Here's the menu, with accompanying Arrowood wines:
Chilled Corn Soup with Crab and Basil Oil
Wine: Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Frisée and Mâche salad
Asian Pear, Toasted Hazelnuts and Pear Verjus Vinaigrette
Wine: Viognier, Russian River Valley/Saralee's Vineyard
Tea-Smoked Squab Breast with Black Pepper Spaetzle, Mushrooms and Pomegranate Reduction
Wine: Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
New York Steak with Caramelized Ratatouille, Bread Salad and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Smothers-Remick Vineyards
Grilled Peach Tart
Cream Cheese Pastry Cream and Brown Butter Crust
Wine: Late Harvest Riesling, Russian River Valley/Saralee's Vineyard
|The impeccable chilled corn soup with crab and basil oil!|
My favorite surprise pairing was the grilled peach tart with the Late Harvest Reisling. The peaches were the kind you buy in early July in a small outdoor market in an out-of-the-way village in the south of France—that is, they were absolute perfection, exactly what peaches should be but so rarely are. They were grilled so little that they were practically raw. The tart crust was light and airy. The reisling was fruity, with a hint of sweetness. The whole course was a sip-and-sigh. I don't normally even like dessert, but I sure liked this.
Eat local and be happy.