Showing posts with label North Fork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Fork. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wining and Dining with Force Majeure

In my previous post, I fondly recalled visiting Three Walla Walla Wineries in a Day and promised to share the finale of the trip. So here it is - the Force Majeure winemaker dinner!

Force Majeure Vineyards, a premium Washington winery, was founded 15 years ago with 2004 as the year of its first vintage. In 2014, it elevated its game by hiring Todd Alexander from Napa cult winery, Bryant Family, to be its head winemaker.

In recent years, Force Majeure has been expanding its repertoire of wines from a single focus on Red Mountain AVA to now include the coveted Rocks District and soon the North Fork area of Walla Walla Valley. At the time of our Walla Walla trip, Todd and his wife, Carrie, had just moved to Milton-Freewater to work on the new Force Majeure winery. So when our friends who know Todd and Carrie offered to arrange for a winemaker dinner, we said, "Yes, please!!"

Beautiful Walla Walla Valley

Dinner was catered by The Q Woodfired Grill, owned by a husband-and-wife team. Emry and Sandy Kleck had spent many years working on catering events in the California wine country before moving to Walla Walla. Having experience working with winemakers, the Q Grill team carefully curated the menu in collaboration with Todd and Carrie to ensure the perfect pairing.

Beautiful table setting with a perfectly curated menu

Originally planned to be hosted at Force Majeure's new tasting room, construction delay shifted the location to the winemaker's own home. We arrived promptly at the property to be greeted with aromas from the grill that made our stomachs rumble with anticipation. Thankfully, a generous spread of hor d'oeuvres was already set up welcoming us.

We started to mingle, devouring oysters and flatbread while sipping Viognier. We then proceeded to the beautifully set dinner table and were soon delighted with flawlessly prepared courses paired with carefully selected wines.

Todd shared passionately about each wine tasted

Dining and wining with the winemaker in an intimate setting is always a special experience. We were able to ask all sorts of questions about the wines and winemaking techniques, while Todd was gracious in satisfying our every curiosity. Carrie and Sandy kept the flow of delectable courses, wines, sparkling water, and homemade sourdough going throughout the night.

Wine line-up

The wine line-up was impeccable. The Force Majeure wines included Viognier, two Syrahs (SJR Vineyard in the Rocks District and Red Mountain Estate Vineyard) as well as Cabernet Sauvignon. Also included was Todd's own label, Holocene, that is all about Oregon Pinot Noir. It was a such a treat to taste Todd's second vintage with dinner. We ended the night sipping dessert wine from our friends' cellar - a late harvest Zinfandel from Paso Robles boutique winery, Locatelli.

My Verdict: Where there is good wine, there is often good food. It is hardly surprising that many thriving wine countries attract as many chefs as they do winemakers. Wining and dining with the winemaker simply elevates the experience further. The winemaker and the chef, through their art and passion, collaborate to indulge the senses of those who are fortunate to be there. The Force Majeure winemaker dinner definitely rang true for me, and it is probably one of the best winemaker dinners I have had the pleasure to enjoy. So, thank you, Todd, Carrie, Emry, and Sandy. Below is a peek of the magical evening.

Dinner Menu

Dinner by Q Woodfired Grill
First Course
Oysters Rockefeller 
Prosciutto, Caramelized Onions and Manchego Flatbread 
2017 Force Majeure Viognier

Second Course 
Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Salad 
2016 Holocene Memorialis Pinot Noir

Third Course
Duck Breast with a Huckleberry Demi Glace and Seasonal Wild Mushrooms 
2016 Force Majeure SJR Vineyard Syrah

Fourth Course
Lamb Lollipop with Lentils 
2016 Force Majeure Red Mountain Estate Syrah

Fifth Course 
Wagyu Beef and Cacio e Pepe Pasta 
2016 Force Majeure Estate Cabernet Sauvignon