Last night, I was one of twenty very lucky people to dine at one of the region's top restaurants, Alexandria's RESTAURANT EVE, and even better, I was seated at the table with both winemaker's, Jim Law of Linden and Rutger deVink of R.d.V., two of Virginia's most esteemed vignerons.
As we arrived Linden ROSE, Bordeaux Blend 2011 was being poured. While it was a bitter cold night, and this wine is truly a summer wine, we could appreciate the Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc blend that is bone dry and pairs so well with so many things, such as the multiple passed hor's d'oevres:
Deviled Quail Egg
Pulled Head Cheese
Now these are vague descriptions as they were not printed on our menus tableside, so I must try and recall from memory. All were amazing and it was hard to resist having seconds or thirds (I had to have two of the eggs!). Credit goes to the chef, though, as these were indeed tiny smaller than bite-size portions and not the type of treats one could overdose on in the 20-30 minutes or so before we sat down (well, I guess you could if you really pigged out!).
What was so special about last night, other than the superb company, food and wine, was the fact that the ingredients on the divine Tasting menu, and the wines as well, were all locally sourced from farms and markets in our region.
Amuses arrived with a tiny miniature cast iron pot topped with a Rutabaga Chip with Chevre Panna Cotta and Fuji Apples. Next came a small spoon of Grapefruit Sorbet with Fennel Pollen, which I skipped in that my statin intake would be marred by the grapefruit.
The first course was SASHIMI of Winter FLOUNDER with Butternut Squash Coulis, Crispy Lentils and Avenius Vinaigrette paired with Linden "Avenius Vineyard" 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. Mr. Law explained that this vintage when bottled had huge acidity and that while he "likes his SB to be a nervous wine" that it did temper with time.The intensity of the wine was amazing with the light fish as there was definitely a strong spice ( we never did find out) in the coulis (paprika, chili, cumin, or something that worked) that was an amazing pairing. The small rolls of sashimi were truly of the best quality and had such amazing flavor; I was tempted to ask for more.
Next came Pan Roasted MAINE DIVER SCALLOP with Wild Mushrooms, Sunchoke Cream, Smoked Buttermilk & Young Chives. Here the wine was the luscious LINDEN "Hardscrabble Vineyard" 2009 Chardonnay that we discovered is now sold out at the vineyard. Lucky for us, there was an opportunity to buy some locally at the end of the meal! Old oak features in this wine which is truly a landmark varietal for Linden and indeed all of Virginia.
Beaver Creek Farm's QUAIL with Creamed Parsnips, Dried Cherry Relish and Foie-Gras Quail Emulsion was divine. I loved the fact that there were many whole cherries in the tasty relish which was less relish or compote as it was not sweet or tart (other than the cherries' natural tartness). Our last Linden wine was the "Hardscrabble" 2008 Bordeaux Blend made from Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc & Petit Verdot and featured wide arced legs in the glass with huge flavor in the mouth. These are the kinds of wines that could win "the Judgement of Paris."
We were then introduced to winemaker Rutger deVink whose first vintage of R.d.V. came in 2008. That year he made the wines at Linden, but now has his own winery in Delaplane. These wines have hit the market fiercely indeed and his two reds (he only makes two wines) go for $86 and $79 respectively (the most expensive wine sold in Virginia)!
First we had the higher priced RdV "Lost Mountain Vineyard" 2009 Bordeaux Blend which is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a huge wine and needs cellaring for sure, but I could not get a "good to drink" year from Mr. deVink as he said the wine needs to be tasted each year and then we can figure out, as it is so new. Well, I guess I will do that with my three bottles! The wine was brilliantly paired with LOIN of Chapel Hill Farm's (in Berryville, VA) Randall Lineback with Crisp SWEETBREAD, Salsify Puree & Black Pepper Braised Shallots.
The "cheese" course, which is always a novelty and pleasure at EVE was truly conceived by love: Oregon CAVEMAN BLUE with Caramelized ONION TART, Smoked Maple BACON and Red-Eye Gravy. This was way more than a cheese course; it was an experience. It was served with the R.d.V. 2009 Rendezvous Red Bordeaux Blend (but mostly Merlot) which blew everyone away, especially with the pairing.
Roasted QUINCE with SAFFRON RICOTTA and CAJETA Ice Cream was last and served with one of my all-time favorites (we had just opened a bottle last week at home) of Linden "Late Harvest" VIDAL BLANC 2006 that is again one of Virginia's best dessert wines.
As if this was not enough, huge plates laden with ESPRESSO MACAROONS (I had to have two), WHITE CHOCOLATE LOLLIPOPS (with nuts and caramel; yes, I had to have two!), COGNAC TRUFFLES and a COCOA-NIB salty yummy crunchy concoction that I forgot to get a name for. I wanted to pack them up as there were so many left, but I knew I would gobble them all up myself!
WOW! What a WINE DINNER!