New Executive Chef Adam Yoder flexed his culinary muscle at the June 20th, 2013 Duckhorn Wine Dinner, offering a dynamic range of dishes paired with a small portfolio of Duckhorn’s wines for the five-course dinner.
Chef Yoder worked at Café Trio’s former midtown location several years ago and returns to update the menu with a contemporary feel. The wine dinner was a hint of what’s to come this summer.
The acidity of the 2012 Decoy Sauvignon Blanc in the first course cut through the rich chicken liver mousse. Blueberry marmalade added a touch of sweet berry while bits of crispy chicken skin provided contrasting texture and underscored the flavor of the bird.
The 2011 Migration Chardonnay from Russian River Valley was oaky with a crisp, tart finish quite unlike buttery California chardonnays. The summer salad of heirloom tomatoes and balsamic vinegar tilted the pairing toward too much acidity, but the use of Green Dirt Farm’s Dirt Lover cheese helped with the balance. Pickled shallots added a nice crunch.
Proving again that some of Duckhorn’s wines don’t fit the conventional flavor profile of particular grapes, the 2010 Goldeneye Pinot Noir was hearty, earthy and robust rather than exhibiting cherry notes. It was paired with big flavors from pan-seared Alaskan halibut, crispy brandade cake and baby beets with roasted pepper salsa and basil oil. Quite an array of flavors but the food won points over the wine in this round.
In a switcheroo, the 2010 Duckhorn Merlot came through with bright cherry flavor and aroma that made it a classic pairing with duck served two ways (pictured at top)––a portion of breast meat and confit. It was a triumph of flavors and the best pairing of the night.
The 2009 Paraduxx “Z” blend featured zinfandel primarily, a grape not commonly grown and used in Napa Valley. Duckhorn is a maverick in this case as well. The rack of lamb rubbed with green garlic and served with fried green tomato, rhubarb compote and mint jus was an homage to the last days of spring and introduction to summer.
A simple blueberry tart with ricotta ice cream, lemon drizzle and honey candy finished off the meal accompanied by Roasterie coffee.
Duckhorn Vineyards have been producing wines for 35 years. And, head to Café Trio (4558 Main) to grab a spot on their popular outdoor patio that overlooks the Country Club Plaza.