Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Had a great wine dinner with Bonair Winery last week. Put together six courses for six wines and everything turned out really well. The pic is of seared anise rubbed duck breast with pomegranate reduction, a yukon gold and beet napolean and some wilted chard. It was a nice plate, went well with their malbec. We also did salmon with risotto with their chardonnay (gotta love the ability of an oaky chard to stand up to rich foods!), shrimp with strawberry/rhubarb with the blush wine, and a chicken roulade filled with sage, apples, pancetta and mushrooms and a honey/horseradish sauce for the dry gewurtztraminer. Also a composed cheese course and port stewed pear to finish them off.
Working my [adult word] off to get these dinners up and running and to forge some ties with local winemakers but it isn't easy. We keep the prices really low (this last one was only $45 per person, wine included) and the prep is involved, but I think that in the long run this is something that can really go a long way towards developing the area. As it stands there just aren't a lot of connections between area restaurants and the great local wineries besides the wine lists, and I really wish that could change. The hang up comes because both restaurants and wineries are small businesses, and small business owners do not have lots of extra employees or lots of free time to plan and execute these kinds of things. So to go to all that extra effort for very little money at the end of the day you either have to have a serious love of the event or an eye for the long view.
Fortunately I have both. I really do love this kind of cooking and also think that it's the future for developing wine tourism infrastructure in this valley. Our wines are every bit the match of anything California has to offer, but the food? Not so much. It takes a lot of time and effort to change that and to connect with other brilliant local businesses like they have throughout California, but I believe that the potential is here, and I am willing to work for it.