Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Phelps 40th Harvest Celebration

This past weekend I was invited to cook dinner at the Joseph Phelps Vineyard in Napa Valley.  The Phelps family invited 60 lucky members of their wine club to be guests at an exclusive dinner held in one of the barrel rooms.  Giant oval wooden barrels that had been imported from Germany for aging Riesling in the early 1970’s lined one side of the room.  On the other side, picture windows overlooked acres vineyard stretching down to a historic green schoolhouse at the lower end of the estate.  The kitchen was simple, but functional, and is said to have been designed in part by Alice Waters and Jeremiah Towers - the focal point being a long butcher block table made from thick slabs of oak, worn smooth from years of use.  Dominique and I worked on creating a menu that would accentuate the incredible line-up of wines that the family had selected from their library.  There were a number of great bottles - but the two that stood out to me were the 1989 Backus Cab and the 1973 Late Harvest Riesling, that had likely been aged in the now retired wooden barrels that lined the dining room, and over the years had turned from golden to dark amber.  Several members of my culinary team: Yulanda (Pastry Chef), Jacob (Chef de Cuisine), Amber and Maya helped make the event a great success.  Here's the menu and wine pairings:

Phelps Preferred 40th Harvest Dinner
October 12, 2012

Hosted By
Bill Phelps, Damian Parker, Mike McEvoy, Duane Harris
Chef John Cox, Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn

Local Abalone
Brown Butter, Heirloom Tomato and Capers
Joseph Phelps Chardonnay, Pastorale Vineyard, Sonoma Coast 2009

Squab Rillet
Black Currant, Dried Fruit Brioche and Toasted Hazelnut Milk
Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir, Quarter Moon Vineyard, Sonoma Coast 2009

Dandelion Marinated Elk Tenderloin
Beemster Polenta and Caramelized Quince
Joseph Phelps Insignia, Napa Valley 1999
Joseph Phelps Insignia, Napa Valley 2009
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard Oakville, Napa Valley 1989

Snowy Mountain Strawberry Peak
Pickled Chanterelles, Hay Roasted Onion
Joseph Phelps Syrah, Napa Valley 1999

Honey Cremeux
Pear and Almonds
Joseph Phelps Late Harvest Riesling, Napa Valley 1973

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