Friday, September 7, 2018

Veritas Vineyard & Winery: Wine Dinner

I had no idea how beautiful the Shenandoah Wine Region in central Virginia is. The next time I want a scenic wine fix, I won't need to fly out to Napa, I'll just drive 3 hours North and enjoy myself. We're fortunate to have several wineries right outside of Winston-Salem, in the Yadkin Valley, but the wines in the Shenandoah Valley blew me away. Afton Mountain Vineyards was a favorite, and if you visit King Family Vineyards on Sunday, they have Polo - quite the spectacle. If you decide to go for north for a special occasion, check out Veritas Vineyard & Winery to see if they're offering a wine dinner. My beau and I recently attended one, and adored every course. I'm already checking the schedule to see when we can return.

Upon your arrival, you're greeted with a flute of bubbly - what's not to love? The property is gorgeous. It's exactly what you think of when you picture a lush vineyard, surrounded by mountains. The servers were gracious and the evening was paced appropriately. After the bubbly settled, we were poured a glass of Saddleback Chardonnay to accompany Rye and Mustard Spaetzle with Chicken Sausage and sauteed greens. We're both spaetzle lovers (they're basically just German noodles or tiny dumplings) and the rye and mustard turned up the flavor. We agreed that every wine pairing was lovely, and I appreciated that this Chardonnay was perfectly balanced between dry and buttery. 

The second course was our favorite, hands down. We were both very excited about this dish - Goat Cheese and Corn Bisque, with charred corn and shrimp throughout, which provided a great pop of flavor and texture. It's as if they scraped the corn off the husk, then squeezed every drop of the corn milk into the pot, and married it with the flavor of the goat cheese. It was thick, luscious and amazing! The best dish of the night. The Not Your Grandma's Rosé alongside was perfectly fine, but the bisque stole the show entirely.

You really can't go wrong when you pair a perfectly cooked medium rare steak with a big, bold red. I loved the Vintner's Reserve, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. ...but the filet. It was absolutely to die for, and the Tomato Jam alongside was an unexpected, yet delightful flavor combination. The acid from the jam really cut through the unctuousness of the beef. And to cook filets perfectly for 20 people? Not easy to do. If we weren't already thoroughly impressed with the chef, we were now.

Dessert seemed like it was made specifically for us. We're not chocolate people (I know, pick your jaw up off the keyboard!) so the idea of Watermelon Sorbet with Apple Consommé (like a broth) was both a beautiful palate cleanser and a dessert right out of my dreams. I've grown to appreciate a good dessert wine, and the Petit Manseng brought out the warm notes of the apple, and was a beautiful golden color. It reminded me of drinking mead, which is wine made from fermenting honey and water. A stellar way to end the dinner.

A nip of Port later, and we were calling the Uber. The port was an even tastier digestif, that needed nothing more than a mouth to drink it.

It's difficult to put into words how special of an evening this was. When you like all the food, all the wine, and the company, it really doesn't get much better - unless you can spend the night on the premises, which will happen next time.

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