Last night Bernie and I had the pleasure of attending the Blackstone Grill bi-monthly Wine Pairing Dinner. Closed on Sunday’s, every other month owner/manager Ashish Malothra opens his wonderful bistro to those fortunate enough to secure a seat for this wine and dine experience. I had heard great stuff about these dinners and when I saw it mentioned on Blackstone’s Facebook page I asked Bernie to call and see if there were any seats left. Sadly, when Bernie called they were sold out. but a few minutes later Ashish called back and said he’d squeeze us in if we wouldn’t mind sitting with other people at a table for 10. Well, duh! Being bed and breakfast owners and travelers, we love meeting new friends for wine and good food. Recently promoted Executive Chef Darrell Russell and line cook Danny Bernhard prepared us a 5 course extravaganza. Ashish is really passionate about wine so he invited Adam Emery of Fetzer Vineyards to create the perfect wine pairing for each course. He’s also passionate about food and partners with as many local farmers as he can. Fresh produce comes from farms in Christiansburg, Blacksburg and Floyd. He does as much farm to table dining as possible.
Adam told us to use all of our senses when experiencing wine. Sight…look at the rich color. Smell…put your nose deep into the glass and breath in through both your nose and mouth. Touch…feel it on your tongue and roll it around in your mouth. Taste…at the tip of your tongue taste the sweet, on the sides near the front taste the salt, sides near the back taste the sour and all the way back get the bite. Finally, hear your fellow diners as you toast to each other and what lies ahead for the evening.
Our first wine was a Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc. It had a clear blond color with a crisp fruity aroma. The sweetness at the tip of the tongue was nice and light. Chef Darrell paired it with grilled local Swiss chard, heirloom tomatoes, chickpeas and a dollop of farmer’s cheese in a blackberry vinaigrette. What a great start to our dinner.
The second wine was a Jekel Gravestone Chardonnay. It had a rich gold color and a complex slightly oaky aroma. When I sipped it, it really seemed to fill every bit of my mouth. The second course was Maryland Crab, avocado and marinated onion over thinly sliced cucumber rounds topped with Creme Fraiche. The crab was good size chunks of succulent white flesh and the avocado was super creamy. The onions gave it a little extra zip and the Creme Fraiche was light and airy. We finished every drop.
The third wine was a Jekel Pinot Noir. It poured from the bottle with a beautiful deep red color and had a great black cherry aroma. You could taste that little bit of earthiness as you sipped it and was perfectly paired with a wild mushroom ragu in a lovely pepper crepe. Served with little pieces of fried prosciutto and truffle oil it was as they say…To Die For!
The fourth course started with a Bonberre Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a full bodied dry red that made a nice companion to the Maple Leaf Farm duck breast. Bernie loves, loves, loves duck and this is the course that caught my attention when I first looked at the menu. Served in a raspberry chile sauce with seasonal veggies, it was juicy and tender with a lovely delicate flavor. Chef Darrell cooks some great stuff!
Our dessert wine was a not overly sweet Bonberro Reisling. Reislings are generally a wine that I don’t care for, but this one had just the right amount of fruity crispness. The peach custard and almond cake with macerated plums in plum syrup was the perfect end to a fantastic meal.
This was our first wine pairing dinner at Blackstone Grill and it definitely will not be our last. We made some great new friends, shared a wonderful evening and look forward to the next wine pairing dinner Sunday October 19th.
Salute, Cheers, L’chaim, and Bon Appetit