03 June 2010

Another Winemaker's Dinner - The Vine, Grant's Pass

Memorial Weekend is over and the winery has been restored to its normal clean and calm state.  Mary is recovering from having a house full of friends who are the secret to why our weekend goes so smoothly, Barry is taking a mountain of glass and cardboard to be recycled and I am off to Grant's Pass in Southern Oregon for a winemaker's dinner.  Even further south this time than the last one!  I am doing my own driving this time so updates can only occur at pit stops.  I also need to drop off a tractor part in Eugene along the way.  I am starting this at home as I don't know how much time I'll have to write today.  It is supposed to rain all day, 2-5" on the coast, fortunately I'm not going that way, so far though it hasn't stopped in Dallas.  That will slow things down a little.

I never took the time to stop and write but I did have a very nice drive and got home last night about midnight.  In the end I drove through almost no rain and the drive was quite pleasant.  The sun was almost out once I got down into the mountains.  The dinner was held in the back room at The Vine in the Allen Creek shopping center on the south west end of Grant's Pass.  The food pairings were excellent and showed different aspects of the same wines that I just poured last month at Steamboat Inn.  The chef, Josh Marten, incorporated the wines into his sauces and dressings and it tied the wine and food together very nicely.  I didn't get to taste the lime cilantro avocado salad that he paired with the 2008 Chardonnay, I was to busy talking, but the guests said the flavors were great.  He paired a smoked trout over wide noodles with the 2007 Willamette Valley Pint noir and I thought that was excellent.  The black pepper in the dish complimented the wine nicely and the acidity in the wine balanced some of the creaminess of the dish.  He then paired with 2007 Maréchal Foch with roasted lamb chops on a bed of mashed potatoes with fresh asparagus on the side.  Unlike the Dustin's dish which I felt brought out the earthiness, smoky notes and spice in the wine this dish brought out the sweetness and fruit.  I enjoyed tasting the two dishes so close to one another and with the same vintage of wine.  It brings home again how much influence what you are eating can have on what you are drinking.  Dessert was baklava paired with the 2008 Seven.  I don't usually see the Seven poured at dessert but with such a sweet dessert the acid in the wine provided a very nice counterpoint.  I thought that the sweetness of the syrup might make the wine sour but instead the wine acted as a palate cleanser which made the next bite of dessert that much more enjoyable.  All in all an excellent evening and well worth the 8 hours of driving that surrounded it.  Ahh . . . a winemaker's life!  Now back to real work, putting the new part I picked up in Eugene on the tractor so Sebastian can do some spraying.

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