Sunday, December 6, 2009

Elegant Napa Valley Benefit Dinner by Spruce and Vineyard 29

Photo (Lexi Van de Walle): Late fall grapes, Napa Valley
Henry and I arrived in Napa Valley on Friday just in time to dine at the Restaurant at Meadowood for the first of the "12 days of Christmas" chef and vintner collaboration to benefit Share Our Strength a nationwide hunger organization. We enjoyed meeting Chris and Laura, and sharing a fabulous and tasty evening with our interesting and lovely dining companions, Lisa Ravenholt and Ed Belsheim.

Chuck McMinn, a Silicon Valley CEO/entrepreneur and owner of boutique winery Vineyard 29, walked us through the food and wine pairings -- all 2006 vintages. The custom menu featured locally grown and seasonal ingredients as well as some not so local fare -- striped bass and bay scallops from the East Coast -- and other tasty delights.

Chef Mark Sullivan of Spruce Restaurant in San Francisco and his team, who no doubt spent the evening in the kitchen cooking and plating a six-course meal for 50, talked to us during the dessert of chocolate mousse and late harvest zin.

Everything was delicious, but our personal favorite was the prime rib eye that was
mesquite grilled using fig wood (something we don't grow in the East). The cut of steak was the cap of rib eye and sourced from Creekstone Farm -- black angus beef from the "rolling hills of Kentucky". I will say the very rare steak was among the most tender and tasty pieces of beef that I've ever eaten and the fig wood gave it a slightly floral and smoky flavor.

My personal favorite for the wine was the Aida estate bottled zinfandel which was made in the style of a cabernet sauvignon, aged in oak barrels for 18 months and served with the cheese course. Vineyard 29 is a premier cabernet sauvignon winery and the two cabs served with the rib eye were both out of this world.

Restaurant Meadowood's 12 Days of Christmas - Day 1

Spruce Restaurant, San Francisco and Park City, Chef Mark Sullivan

Vineyard 29, Napa Valley, Chuck and Anne McMinn

Brandied Chestnut and Persimmons Soup, seared Foie Gras

Striped Bass in Cabbage Leaves, Bay Scallops and Caviar, Citrus Fume 2006 Vineyard 29 '29 Estate' Sauvignon Blanc

Roasted and Braised Pheasant, French Lentils, Carrots
2006 Vineyard 29 '29 Estate' Cabernet Franc

Prime Rib Eye, Oxtail Ravioli, Chantrelles
2006 Vineyard 29 'Aida Estate' Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Vineyard 29 '29 Estate' Cabernet Sauvignon

Bayley Hazen (Blue cheese, Vermont) and Bleu D'Auvergne (France)
2006 Vineyard 29 'Aida Estate' Zinfandel (made in the style of a Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate Mousse, Tangerine, Pistachio
'Aida Estate' Late Harvest Zinfandel, bottled in 2009

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