Soter Vineyards Wine Dinner at Ravenous Pig
Since Emily’s trip to Chicago for Pinot in the City (read about it here) we’ve been planning a trip to the Willamette Valley. One of her favorite wines was from Bethel Heights (www.bethelheights.com) and she met Pat Dudley from the winery who invited us to visit at harvest time. Pat works along side her daughter, so we’ve got the mother/daughter connection going. By coincidence, minutes after we were talking about Bethel Heights I received an e-mail from Tim’s Wine announcing two special wine dinners, one featuring Bethel Heights wines to be held at Cask and Larder in Winter Park. C & L has been open for a few months now, the sister to the Ravenous Pig and I haven’t tried it out yet so I made my reservation. Unfortunately, not enough people signed up and I got a call offering instead a seat at the second event featuring Soter Vineyards (www.sotervineyards.com) at RPig.
I had to consider this a minute since I had attended a wine dinner there on April 1st and the experience was less than thrilling (read about it here). I decided to give RPig another chance with lowered expectations since Willamette Valley wines being poured was too great a temptation. I knew that this dinner would be much smaller (18 people as opposed to over 60) however I had no idea what was on the menu.
I arrived to find my seat at a table for ten and yeah! I was at the fun table. James Cahill, the Soter Winemaker introduced himself and poured a glass of Sparkling Brut Rosé 2006. James introduced each course with background on the wine poured, the winery and production, and the Willamette Valley. Let’s get on to the dinner shall we?
First course was Foie & Local Strawberry Shortcake with black pepper biscuit and strawberry consommé paired with the Rosé. What at first seemed like an odd flavor combination worked well with the wine. The dish had a dusting of black pepper on the rim that provided a completely different flavor profile.
The 2nd course was Spring Salad paired with North Valley Pinot Noir 2010. The dish featured beets, ramps, Australian feta, Ellensburg lamb bacon, and English peas. This dish was a hit on all levels; beautifully plated, colorful, fresh, and the wine pairing was spot on. I particularly loved the picture-perfect English pea pod but the lamb bacon provided the wow factor.
The 3rd course was Quatre Épices Duck Breast served over crispy polenta with spring morels, asparagus, citrus crumble, and sauce l’orange. This dish was paired with Soter Mineral Springs Pinot Noir 2008. The duck was perfectly cooked and flavorful even if slightly chewy but the polenta was so good! The wine paired with this course was a perfect match.
So far, we were three for three with great dishes and pairings. With the 4th course we went off track a bit. “Surf and Turf” featured butter poached lobster, veal cheek pasty, warm pole bean salad, and trout roe served with Soter Mineral Springs Ranch Pinot Noir 2010. Hilariously, several table mates noticed that my plate had the whole langostine including the head which was not on their plates. The dish was just OK but the pairing did not work particularly well.
On to the 5th and final course a raspberry buttermilk tart featuring Florida peach and raspberry-crème fraiche ice cream paired with North Valley Highland Rosé 2011. Light and flowery, this pairing was the perfect end to the meal.
So glad I gave RPig another try, the food was wonderful and the presentation overall much better than last time. Also very glad to have discovered Soter Vineyards. We’ll be adding them to our Willamette Valley tour itinerary in 2014!