Chantrelle’s Adventures on the Wine Route

Chateau Montelena

Day 2

Since we had our spa treatments in the morning the food and wine adventures didn’t begin until late afternoon so wine tasting was cut short and we only made it to Folie à Deux and Heitz. We drank a Folie à Deux Cab in our wedding so I wanted to check the place out. They were really nice and it’s not pompous, it’s just a comfortable place to taste. We started with a sparkling: 1997 Napa Valley Brut (53% Chard, 47% Pinot Noir), it was dry and good but I wasn’t blown away by it. The 1999 DeMille Old Vine Zin (75 year old vines) was too sweet for my taste. The ’99 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is one that I think will be great when it’s matured, it had a really good balance of flavor and texture on the palate. But the winner was the ’98 Grand Folie, Harvey Vineyard: 129 year old Zin vines, we like Harvey— smoky, tannic, warm. Harvey came home with us.

Heitz Cellars was the next and last wine stop of the day. They have a new gorgeous tasting building. Four years ago when we’d visited them last they were in a shack of a place that made tasting amazing wines there quite novel. They poured a 2001 Chardonnay that was full of citrus and hit the back of the tongue with an acid bite that was great. The 1997 Trailside Cab was tannic, acidic, smoky and jammy. I liked it a lot. They also poured a NV Port but it wasn’t my style—too ruby for me.

After Heitz we drove around the area a bit in the rain. The valley is so pretty and green in the rain. We went back to the Inn, took a nap, then moseyed over to the All Seasons Bistro for my birthday dinner.

This meal was so amazing that it’s hard to write about it—it makes me too hungry!! Salmon Tartare with crispy Taro Root, Wakame Seaweed Salad and Wasabi Emulsion. Ooooh sooooo good. We were going to share this, I got half way through and had to order another one, I couldn’t stop! There were chives and green onions minced into the salmon and the crispy taro root chips were prepared like potato chips—they were the best Pringles ever!! And the wasabi emulsion and the seaweed salad both had a spice to them that the Grgich Chardonnay (2000 Napa Valley) cut through and matched beautifully. The wine wasn’t at all oakey, it was lemony: “Look at the colors, all the colors of the rainbow…well, yellow.” (Black Books, BBC…Season 1…hi-larious)

Next round (after my second order of the salmon!) was Steamed Mussels in a Green Thai Curry-Coconut Lobster Broth, and also Potato-Marscarpone Raviolis with Ragout of Potatoes, Perigord Truffles and Reggiano Cheese. The mussels were Tom Ka Gai (but whatever mussels is in Thai, not Gai) taken to 12—they went past 11. They were spicy but not so much as to ruin later dishes. I mean, I drank out of the bowl! The ravioli filling had the texture of whipped cream and there were truffle shavings bigger than the potatoes! It was amazing.

We switched to a bottle of red at this point: Domaine de L’Arlot (Nuit St. Georges, 1er Cru, Clos de L’Arlot 2000). The initial taste was almost effervescent and it had acid at the front of the tongue but not too much.

The main course was Seared Main Scallops with Truffle Scented Risotto, Braised Seasonal Greens and Truffle Emulsion. W’PAH! This was heaven. There were leeks and greens that cut through the cream of the risotto so it wasn’t so heavy tasting and they meshed well with the truffles. The textures were perfect, not mushy at all. I wish risotto wasn’t so filling, I wanted to keep eating it!

Dessert was two sorbets, pear and mango, that came out with a candle :) And I had a glass of Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette (Vouvray Moelleux) that went well with the pear. It was dry with a mid-palate acid and a limey aftertaste.

It was an absolutely perfect meal and birthday!!