The Art of the Wine Pairing

IMG_5836 - CopyWe are extremely proud of our wine selection. There’s a reason we recently received the 2015 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. We love it when we have the opportunity to highlight a wine that we carry and the people who make it.

Chimney Rock Winery Dinner

Recently, head winemaker Elizabeth Vianna from Chimney Rock Winery visited Rare Steakhouse to talk about her love of wine, how she creates many of the labels for Chimney Rock and why certain wines go well with certain types of food. Chimney Rock Winery in the Stag’s Leap district of Napa Valley has a 30 year history of winemaking and is committed to constant quality as well as learning new ways to maximize their grapes into wines that satisfy all palates.

For the dinner at Rare, guests tried 5 different Chimney Rock wines paired with a five-course meal prepared by Chef Travis Vaughn.

The first wine was a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc which was paired with a chilled dill cucumber soup; perfect to refresh yourself after a hot Wisconsin summer day. The fresh dill and other herbs in the soup came fresh from the Sosnowski’s garden! (Not only do they own and run Rare Steakhouse, the Sosnowskis provide fresh herbs for their restaurants!) The crisp, grassy flavors in the wine enhanced the herbaceous cold soup, setting the summer scene on diners’ palates.

For the second course, guests were served a limited production white wine that is not otherwise available in Wisconsin, Chimney Rock’s 2013 Elevage Blanc. Vianna called it “The white wine for red wine drinkers!” Paired with a warm salad of chicken thigh confit, frisee, apple, grilled onion, and a light mustard vinaigrette, the texture and mouthfeel of this wine proved a solid match. It’s rich, velvety texture comes from ‘stirring the lees’, a process normally reserved for chardonnay, which makes the blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris grapes take on characteristics similar to the fat from the roasted fowl.

When guests were served the third course of an Allen Brother’s prime beef tenderloin with truffle mushroom gravy, the winemaker paired Chimney Rock’s flagship Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon. Fully encompassing the terroir of the Stag’s Leap district, this 2012 had incredible structure striking the perfect balance between power and finesse. The supple tannins made this a very approachable wine for the steak enthusiasts in the room.

With the fourth course consisting of a pan roasted lamb loin, fingerling potatoes, and grilled radiccio with balsamic reduction, guests were treated to a collector’s favorite: the 2012 Elevage. This Bordeaux blend from their 37 vineyard blocks in the Stag’s Leap district serves as an artistic portrait of the vintage at the Chimney Rock Estate. The winemaker likened the grapes for this wine to the raising of a child. She blends this wine and likens her creation to an artist with a blank canvas every year. This wine is unique each year and only 28 cases are produced. Rare Steakhouse is lucky to receive one of the cases.

The dessert course featured a wine that comes from only one barrel produced every year. Those in attendance were the only people in Wisconsin to try this wine and will be the only people to have it this year. The Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2012 was not the sweet desert wine you might expect. It was robust with hints of honey and vanilla. It paired better than most dessert wines with the rich chocolate tart. Really a unique experience.

Our next wine event is with Silver Oak Winery on Thursday August 20th. Seating will be limited, watch our Facebook page for information or make reservations today!