On Tuesday, April 23rd, Chef personally invited 30 guests to join him for the opportunity to taste a series of Pinot Noirs from the Pali Wine Company’s Single-Vineyard Designate Series. These wines each came from a small section of the vineyard and had small production quantities of around 50-70 cases each. It was a chance for Chef’s guests to try some unique and limited wines, and for Chef to flex his culinary muscles. All who attended this exclusive, first in the series of invitation only events at Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room had an exciting evening.
Our host for the evening was Steve Grass from Pali Wine Company. Steve works out of Pali’s Chicago offices and made the trip to Indianapolis specifically for this dinner. He shared his vast knowledge of the wines with the guests in the intimate setting of Chef Joseph’s Boardroom. The wines that Steve brought were all 2010 vintage Pinot Noirs from the West Coast. Chef then paired each with one of his amazing culinary creations.
We started with the 2010 Shea Vineyards Pinot Noir. This was a classic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – full fruit and the anticipated earthiness. Chef paired this lovely wine with a creation of Mushroom and Bacon Duxelles over Israeli Couscous with a Sundried Cherry infused Oil. Perfectly matched and amazing flavor!
We moved to the Sonoma Coast for the second Pinot Noir from the Durrell Vineyards. The wine was much bolder than the first and needed some good fat to enhance its flavor. Chef chose a Duck Tenderloin Potpie. Yum!
The third course took us to the Santa Rita Hills and the Cargassachi Vineyard. When the guests tasted this wine there was an audible gasp (and lots of “wows!”). An amazing Pinot Noir was at hand. Full and smooth, it needed to be paired with a winning dish. So, Chef offered Grilled Salmon, Sautéed Foie Gras, Strawberries, and a Vanilla Butter Sauce. More gasps from the guests as this dish was presented, then the room fell silent. The pairing was culinary nirvana!
The meat course was an Herb Risotto served with a Bleu Cheesed Crusted Lamb Chop in a Cognac Demi. Again, wow! This was one beautiful dish that needed a beautiful wine. The Bluffs Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley tasted as though it was bottled just for the lamb!
And finally, a dessert course ended the night. The wine was the FIddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir (back to the Russian River Valley) and the dessert was a Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Crème Brulee. Chef needed something in the dish to enhance the earthiness and body of the wine, so he finished the dessert with a touch of Hickory Sea Salt.
The energy of the room was electric as the final wine was poured. Steve from Pali was amazed by how well Chef’s dishes complimented the wines and wanted to take many of Chef’s recipes back to Pali! No one left hungry!
We are planning to host another small vineyard tasting in the future, and see what Chef can come up with to wow us again!
The next time you see Chef, ask about receiving a personal invitation to our next event!