If you are unaware of City Winery (although I doubt that) it is an urban winery with three locations in Manhattan and other parts of the country. It is the perfect crossroads between culinary food, wine and music. With two floors, eight event spaces, you can always count on something fun going on at City Winery.
One of their many event offerings is their monthly food and wine pairing experience. This month was featuring wines from Boony Doone. The event featured a five course meal and wine tasting. Vinter Randall Grahm also graciously added a few more surprise wines to the lineup and was there to explain each of his creations.
His passion and knowledge for wine are so clearly evident and only added to an already incredible experience. Somewhat of a mad scientist of wines, some of his wine is a little unorthodox in the production process and varieties, such as the Granache Noir, which Grahm explained he produced in a thirty-gallon food-grade garbage can. Call everything about his wine making process “wrong and stupid,” however the wine was perfectly flawed, with volatile acidity, but the quality of the grape expresses itself in the wine and is unlike any other grenache. This was one example in which the surprise wines were part of Grahms’ exclusive collection and making diners here likely the only people in the world to be drinking them.
The first course was a Seared Scallops Roasted Sweet Potato Medallion & Billi Bi Sauce. The scallop was perfectly seared and tender with an almost sweet savory element. For those who are unfamiliar with Bili Bi Sauce, it is a mussel broth with wine, garlic and cream. It was absolutely delicious and added a nice richness to the delicate scallop.
The duck was also a really nicely portioned and tasty course for us. I noticed a nuttiness and a bit of a toasted flavor and really enjoyed the thoughtfulness of the pairing in this instance. As duck isn’t as heavy as beef, the grenache is the perfect middle ground as it is not too bold but stands up to the meat itself.
The Le Cagare Volant is of the Grenache variety, which was said to have the allure and mystique of a Pinot Noir but is a nice alternative for something not as bold and heavy. Grenache principal flavors are strawberry and peach. Soft in tanin and a great blended wine.
Another great food and wine accompaniment, this wine, with its darker fruit flavors and more tanins, is creamy and long which goes so well with the smokiness of the lamb. Again a bit of a sweetness element was introduced from the puree and sauce, while there was also an interesting pop of flavor from the seasoning (could it be cumin?). Not to mention, the lamb chop was perfectly cooked.
The next course featured a wine from the next chapter from Randall Grahm’s story, The Language of Yes. This project is producing wine in the methods of the old ways, preserving the integrity of the land, in which the uniqueness of the vineyard and climate give a style and voice to the product, creating a series of wines best described as varietals with varieties. It is where there isn’t just one standard but allowing original expressions of each grape and wine, and gentle techniques to coax out complexities – one being post-harvest drying of the grapes before crushing.
The wine we had from the Language of Yes was excellent and created the perfect balance when paired with our final entree course. The steak frites spin-off was everything you would want in a meat-and-potatoes dish. While it was a very simple dish, the port wine reduction really highlighted the filet, which was also perfectly cooked.
The creme brulee was crazy rich but still had a lightness to it, with a pop of something unexpected and texture element from the chocolate chips, a caramelized char flavor from the toasted marshmallow which made this dish sweet, but not overly. I also found that the boozines of the port wine it was paired with helped cut through the sweetness.
With flavorful and uniquely artistic wines, delicious foods with excellent portions, and really lovely company, I think that this experience was a night to remember and a wonderful way to make the most of your weeknights in New York City.
Be sure to check back next month for more food and wine events at City Winery. To check out my video recap from their last event featuring a Bourbon Bacon pairing, click here.