My brother-in-law once gave me some wise wine advice: There are many, many wonderful wines in the world. What makes one "the best" is personal, and it has to do with the memories associated with it.
In that spirit, I recently attended a wine dinner hosted by Duckhorn Vineyards and Elway's in Vail. It was an unforgettable evening of food and wine for 26 lucky guests.
Elway's chef Shawn Cubberly and sommelier Jim Lay crafted a five-course meal specially paired with wines from California's Duckhorn Vineyards. The evening launched with a roasted beet and house-made ricotta spoon paired with the 2010 Decoy Sonoma County Chardonnay that literally offered dinners a taste of what was in store.
The second course was the dinner standout - seared scallop with celery-root puree paired with Duckhorn 2011 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The crisp, bright wine was a perfect compliment to the perfectly presented and elegantly sauced scallop. Following up that course was a tall order, but a velvety, pan-seared duck breast, cauliflower gratin and mache-rache salad paired with a smooth 2009 Migration Anderson Valley Pinot Noir kept the dinner mood building and the guests eating.
Veal osso bucco, creamy polenta and braised pearl onions paired with a hearty 2009 Duckhorn Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot lived up to Elway's premier steakhouse billing, and the meal ended on a lovely note, with chocolate mousse-stuffed figs dipped in chocolate with goat cheese ice cream, complimented by 2009 Paraduzz Z Blend Napa Valley Red Wine.
Lay said that the sold-out Elway's wine dinner was the first of its kind at the restaurant. Watch for future offerings, and make a reservation. I promise, it will be a memorable outing.