Wine Tasting Luncheon at the University Club
I had been working with a diverse group of people
the last few months in order to put together this
wine tasting luncheon featuring wines from Oliver Winery
and the fine culinary creations of Chef Damian Esposito.
It was a complicated endeavor to coordinate
between IMU Catering, Oliver Winery, and the University Club,
but we eventually got all the details ironed out and all the
plans set in place.
Fortunately, I had a wonderful co-chair and club manager
at my side to help and guide me along the way.
After the wine tasting back in February,
Chef Esposito began working on the menu
based on the wines we picked.
The first wine was Creekbend Vidal Blanc and was paired
with a Stuffed Cherry Tomato with Boursin Cheese.
I was on hostess duty, so no pictures.
The Creekbend label means that the grapes were grown locally.
I think I have found a new favorite wine.
After we were seated,
the first course was served.
This was a Tian of Pickled Melon, Grilled Red Onion,
and Watercress with Sweet Lemon Vinaigrette.
The wine for this course was Pinot Grigio.
The Chef's thought was that the dry wine
would pair nicely with the sweet and peppery salad.
I think he was on to something.
And I really liked this salad.
The entree was Chili Roasted Duck with
Fig and Feta Polenta,
Stir-Fried Snow Peas,
and Port Wine Demi-glace.
The vegetarian option was
Grilled Spiced Tofu with Stir-Fried Snow Peas
and Pasrmesan Basil Polenta with Mint.
A light, summery red wine, Valdiguie accompanied the dish.
This is a lighter alternative to a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
The duck was moist and tender and the port wine demi-glace
was very tasty.
The figs were an unexpected and interesting addition to the polenta.
I have to admit that outside of a Fig Newton(tm), I have never had a fig before.
I think I like them.
And once again, I liked the play of the sweet against the savory.
I appreciate it when I don't feel the need to reach for the
salt and pepper shaker.
That means that the chef has done his job.
Finally dessert was served:
Key Lime and Blueberry Bombe with Graham Cracker,
Candied Orange, and Raspberry Drops.
This was topped with a disk of dark chocolate that had been
printed with a golden design.
This dessert was almost too pretty to eat.
Dessert was served with White Sangria.
This wine had just been released.
Our special guest was Bill Oliver, the son of the man
who started the winery in 1972.
Bill Oliver started working at the winery in 1983.
He explained the wines to us and told us a bit about
We learned that Oliver Winery is the largest winery
east of the Mississippi.
They make a wide variety of wines
and chances are that you can find Oliver wines near you.
Many thanks to Oliver Winery without whom this would not be possible
and my deepest appreciation to Chef Esposito.