Red Wine Tasting, Seminar, and Dinner in Bayfield WI

We had such fun at our spring Red Wine Weekend on April 13-14, 2012. These are always fun events for us because the wine hosts we work with, Dennis Kohl and Gary Binter, bring so much knowledge and passion as they share their accumulated experience. This is a way to learn a great deal about wine in a short period, and have lots of fun!

The weekends always begin with a Friday night tasting party complete with appetizer buffet. This weekend, the theme was “Five Different Grape Varieties from Five Different Countries.” (Try saying that 3 times fast, after tasting five wines!) We tasted Sherwood Pinot Noir (Austrailia), Achaia Claus Domestica Red (Greece), Wollersheim Domain Du Sac (Wisconsin), Rio Perdido Malbec (Argentina) and Cepa-21 Hito (Spain). The appetizer buffet featured Flank Steak with Olive Relish, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Artisan Cheese & Sausage Platter, Bleu Cheese Torta with Red Wine and Roasted Walnuts, Brownies and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

The grand finale to each Red Wine Weekend at Old Rittenhouse Inn’s Landmark Restaurant is the Six-Course Wine Dinner. This time, it was “Life is a Cabernet,” which pretty much speaks for itself, I think.

For the first course, we paired Santa Julia, an Argentinian (Organic) Cab, with a Grilled Scallop and Mushroom appetizer with arugula and lemon vinaigrette.

The second course was a classic Minestrone soup, a specialty of our sous chef. This richly flavored broth is filled with fresh vegetables and slivers of pasta and was a great match for the N X NW, King Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State.

The third course was an arugula and spinach salad with dried cherries, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. The spicy arugula was nicely paired with the Ferrari Carano, Sonoma cab.

Fourth course, a palate refresher! Wild blueberry port sorbet played a sweet blue note that cleared the stage for the main act.

The fifth course was a choice between savory chicken or spring lamb. The Saltimbocca di Pallo is an old Roman specialty that starts with sliced breast of hen sprinkled with sage and topped with sliced prosciutto, then sautéed in butter and braised in white wine. It’s served with a puttanesca-seasoned Rosti potato cake and lemon wine pan reduction sauce. The BR Cohn, Silver Label Sonoma cab was a good foil for a very flavorful dish!

The second entree choice was prime rack of spring lamb brushed with olive oil and crusted with herbs and Porcini mushrooms, then char-grilled to perfection and served with sweet potato gnocci and red wine demi glaçe. We served that with another favorite Cabernet Sauvignon, Buehler from Napa Valley.

For the sixth course, we offered a multi layer chocolate creme torte, presented on a chocolate cherry macaroon cookie with whipped cream and dried cherry compote. The dried cherries and chocolate were delightful with the scrumptious Layer Cake Cab from California.

So, if you are a fan of red wines, and Cabernet Sauvignons in particular, I believe you would have found this weekend to be a lot of fun. I know we did!