The VIP Dinner was hosted on the same bridge (Washington Street Bridge) as the festival and we were seated at a table with 3 other “couples.” Two local and one from Houston. Happy Birthday (again) to the two ladies who came to dinner to celebrate their birthday weekend. We had a great time with all of you.
I didn’t take notes during the dinner, so I’m just going to tell you a little about the food and wine.
Smoked salmon rillette with a boursin and apple whip. Paired with Pedernales Cellars Trebbiano
This was a delicate salmon mousse in a choux pastry crust that I really could have eaten a whole tray of – seriously, they were that good. It paired well with the Trebbiano from Pedernales Cellars. The wine was crisp with a bit of acid, so a perfect pairing to the sweet salmon.
Golden beet, orange, and arugula salad with apricot vinaigrette, pistachios, and goat cheese. Paired with Kuhlman Cellars Roussanne
The salad was amazing, although I personally would have liked more goat cheese. The Roussanne was an interesting pairing. It was almost too acidic for the sweetness of the salad.
Italian sausage ragu with parmesan polenta and agrodolce caponata. Paired with Valley Mills Vineyards Garnacha
This was my favorite dish of everything served and I could have eaten twice as much. The sausage/sauce super spicy, so it paired well with the sweetness of the Garnacha.
I will have to get to Valley Mills to get a bottle or two for Sunday dinner.
“Agrodolce” means sweet & sour and the dish was that. Caponata is a sauce made with eggplants, onions, olive oil, vinegar, and some sort of tomato product, either tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes or both. (And yes, I had to look it up.) Apparently it translates to aubergine salad (eggplant salad). I tasted no eggplant, but it was an amazing dish.
Chianti braised beef with farro and celery leaf risotto. Paired with Lost Draw Cellars Tempranillo
Halfway through this course, we realized we hadn’t take a picture. The beef was so tender you didn’t really need a knife. Personally, while really good, I found it a bit too salty with the Tempranillo. This dish would have done better with the Garnacha from the previous course or a GSM blend.
Chocolate tart + blackberry compote. Paired with Valley Mills Vineyards Ruby Port
The tart was tiny – two bites worth. So that was a bit disappointing. It didn’t go too badly with the port, but it didn’t go all that well either. I might be because the same glass was used for everything and port/tempranillo residue don’t mix.
It was a lovely meal, but I do agree with my dinner companions, that the wine should be poured prior to the food arriving. Now that could be because the wine was at one end of the bridge and the food was at the other, and since we were closer to the food, we got it before the wine. But it is one point I’d make for next year. The pours were small for a tasting dinner – enough for two bites, but after tasting all afternoon, it makes sense, besides most courses weren’t more than two bites And the water containers on the tables were kept filled (but still only one port-a-potty). So, while small, it’s not like others where we needed to stop at Whataburger before heading home.
Also one suggestion, the person introducing the courses really needed a handheld microphone, as we heard very little of what was said. However, all in all, it was a lovely wine dinner and a great way to cap off the day. I look forward to next year.
The bridge with the stars (Orion), because when else can you stand in the middle of the bridge and take this picture?