Pairing Virginia Wine and Food at ENO Wine Bar
Virginia wines are excellent food wines. We confirmed this at a recent food and wine pairing dinner held at ENO Wine Bar in the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. The dishes for our dinner were prepared by the ENO Wine Bar and hotel culinary team; the wines were selected by the International Wine Review and provided by the wineries. Our goal was to learn how different varieties of top notch Virginia wines pair with first class food. Sabrina Kroeger, ENO’s Wine Director, (pictured below) and her team managed the event flawlessly.
The menu for our dinner and comments on the wine pairings are provided below. Many of the wines served at our dinner are on the ENO wine menu, which has a full selection of Virginia wines and food to enjoy with them.
1. Deviled Eggs with Flare
Sparkling wines by Thibaut Jannison NV Blanc de Chardonnay; Trump 2009 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc
Both sparkling wines worked well with these deviled eggs spiced with Aleppo pepper. Stylistically, the Thibaut Jannison Blanc de Chardonnay offered complex and robust fruit flavors with yeast notes and persistence that stood up well to the spiciness of the dish. The Trump Blanc de Blanc, which was lighter and a touch sweeter, also paired well, offering a delicate foil of fruitiness to the spiciness of the eggs.
2. Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Spaghetti Squash and Cider Reduction
Veritas 2013 Viognier; Chrysalis 2013 Viognier
The two Viogniers showed very well, offering two different styles of this variety. The 2013 Veritas Viognier exhibited perfumed, fragrant aromas of white peach and a full ripe mouth feel with good flavor and acidity. The 2013 Chrysalis revealed more of a tropical fruit-like character of yellow peach, with honey and mango. It also had a touch of sweetness on the finish. While both wines were delicious, neither paired very well with the bold flavor of these crab cakes. This is not say that Viognier can’t pair well with crab, but in this instance neither wine enhanced the dish and in fact the Linden Chardonnay, reviewed below, appeared to be a better match.
3. Creamed Parsnip with Smoked Bacon
Linden Vineyard 2012 Chardonnay Hardscrabble; Paradise Spring 2012 Chardonnay
This delicious creamy soup challenged both Chardonnays with its smoky bacon accents. The Linden 2012 Chardonnay, a stunning wine, offered rich tropical fruit flavors with excellent acidity for pairing with this soup. The Paradise Springs Chardonnay offered a ripe and slight smoky nose of stone fruit with toasted flavors of melon and tropical fruit. This wine is ideal for pairing with dishes that have a smoky character.
4. Mushroom Risotto with White Truffle Butter & Parmesan
Barboursville 2005 Nebbiolo Reserve; Lovingston 2012 Cabernet Franc
Both of these delicious wines were enjoyable with the mushroom risotto, although, not surprisingly, we had a clear preference for the Barboursville Nebbiolo with this dish. Its earthy red berry fruit with a touch of brett and soft integrated tannins paired nicely with the perfumed and earthy risotto. The Lovingston Cabernet Franc revealed dark red plum fruit with mouth filling flavor and a velvet texture that we enjoyed, but it tended to dominate the delicately flavored risotto.
5. Sous Vide Boneless Short Rib Smoke Gouda Grits Cabernet jus
King Family2012 Meritage; Pollak 2012 Meritage
These are two of the finest blends produced in Virginia and were a treat to drink with this amazing dish. Both medium-weight wines, they are blends of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with small amounts of Petit Verdot. The King Family Meritage revealed dark red fruit, beautifully integrated oak and a silky texture that paired well with the rich flavors of the short ribs and smoked Gouda grits. The Pollak Meritage provided ripe full flavors with a creamy mouth feel that showed perfectly with the fattiness of the beef. Whereas the Pollak Meritage showed weight, the King Family Meritage showed acidity, making them both excellent food wines.
6. Apple Pie and Selection of Cheeses
Early Mountain 2012 Block Eleven White Blend; King Family Loreley Late Harvest 2009; Glen Manor Petit Manseng Raephus
For dessert, we experimented with three terrific Petit Manseng wines. All three wines were enjoyable with the delicious apple pie and the selection of cheeses which included: a Blythedale Camembert from Vermont, a double cream Green Hill from Georgia, a Florette Le Peillout goat cheese from France, and a Robgiola from Italy. The Block Eleven, a creative blend of Petit Manseng and Muscat, offered perfume and rose petal aromas and rich tropical fruit flavors that paired seamlessly with both the creamy cheeses and the apple pie. The King Family Loreley Late Harvest is a 50-50 blend of Petit Manseng and Viognier and offered aromas and flavors of apricot, pineapple with lovely fruitiness that paired perfectly with the apple pie. The Raephus, a 100% Petit Manseng, showed a superb Sauternes-like nose with a touch of caramel and grilled pineapple. It is richly flavored on the palate offering great acid-sugar tension that worked extremely well with these dishes.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler