On the subject of fine wine, Benjamin Franklin once mused that it “is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” It’s a statement that took shape and form during the winemaker’s dinner at La Terrazza on June 23rd. And whether one believes in the Almighty or not, the six-course dinner, paired with Blackwood Lane’s fine wines was a divine experience!
Indeed, Carols Lee, owner of Blackwood Lane Winery, and Giulio Miceli, partner and master sommelier at La Terrazza, created a culinary experience that left an indelible mark on our collective memories, and made Blackwood Lane wine converts of us all!
A Heavenly Pairing
The dinner at La Terrazza kicked off the first of many winemaker’s dinner events to be hosted by Blackwood Lane Winery. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the pairing of world-class wines with the best culinary creations that Vancouver has to offer. While Blackwood Lane’s wine can be enjoyed with almost any meal, when paired with gourmet dishes, the experience is elevated and enhanced–heavenly!
In the Beginning…
The beautiful private dining room was elegantly old-world Italian, with rich wood-panelled cabinets stacked with the finest library wines from around the world–a subtle reminder of the grand history of traditional winemaking.
As guests arrived at the reception, they were met with flutes of Blackwood Lane’s Bubbly, which paired wonderfully with scallop ceviche and smoked salmon blinis. While the guests were diverse and eclectic in nature, they all shared a commonality: a love of world-class handmade wine and gourmet fare. Indeed, there was a palpable air of anticipation as guests were invited to the table–this was going to be a fabulous night!
A Course in Wine Pairing (Six to be Exact)
The first course was a delightfully fresh Tonno Crudo (raw yellowfin tuna, preserved lemon–coriander, pickled celery hearts, red radish, Yuzu caviar). This paired perfectly with Blackwood Lane’s 2014 Sea Buckthorn Riesling, whose aromas of apricot, caramelized pineapple, golden raisins, and tamarind, go wonderfully with seafood, and Asian-inspired dishes!
The second course was a gorgeous Barbabietole (Roasted beets, candied walnuts, micro basil, Okanagan goat cheese mousse, raspberry vinaigrette), which was masterfully paired with the 2016 Viognier. With its aromas of juicy stone fruits, honeysuckle, fresh rose and flavours of tangerines and peach, the pairing delighted the palate, and the guests!
The third course was a mouth-watering Calamari e Gamberi which was paired with Blackwood Lane’s 2014 Chardonnay. There could be no better pairing for the amazing grilled Humboldt squid, as the wine’s nectarine, lemon, and apple butter flavours worked elegantly with this seafood dish.
The fourth course marked our culinary journey into Blackwood Lane’s red wines. What better pairing than Anatra (pan-seared Fraser Valley duck breast, golden beets, baby bok choy, roasted cipollini, blueberry port reduction) and the 2012 Reserve Merlot. A soft, smooth, well-balanced and full-bodied wine with luscious rich black fruit mingled gracefully with this dish.
Just before the fifth course arrived, Giulio was inspired to treat us to a 2006 Referènce, a Blackwood library wine from his own collection! Guests had the rare pleasure of experiencing this outstanding vintage before delving into the next fabulous wine pairing!
The fifth course was the zenith of the evening as La Terrazza’s Australian roasted rack of lamb was paired with the 2009 Alliànce, and the result was exquisite! Blackwood Lane’s signature wine, with its bright, rich flavours of cherry, raspberry, graphite and cassis, and an extra-long finish of cherries with a hint of cocoa was a revelation! Guests were wow’ed by the aroma and flavour of this fruit forward blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The sixth course was one of La Terrazza’s iconic desserts. A white chocolate mascarpone cheesecake, wrapped in phyllo pastry and topped with sour cherries and blueberry coulis! This could only be paired with the 2013 Portànce, of course, as its sophisticated flavours of sweet black cherries, raspberries, plums, vanilla, and tamarind perfectly complemented this sweet delight!
Fantastic Food, Fine Wine and Fabulous Friends
Adam Gopnik, of the New Yorker Magazine, once claimed that “going to a restaurant is one of [his] keenest pleasures. Meeting someplace with old and new friends, ordering wine, eating food, surrounded by strangers… is the core of what it means to live a civilized life.” The first winemaker’s dinner was, indeed, a keen pleasure, as strangers became friends and were brought together and made happy by the magical power of Blackwood ’s divine elixir.