For us, this event has a great city vibe, because it's set outside in the alley adjacent to the restaurant, with little tables under Cinzano umbrellas. Kinda has the feel of being back in Little Italy (Manhattan), in one of those tiny restaurants with outdoor seating between the brownstones. This event also allows the chefs at Flatbread to strut their creative stuff well beyond the great flatbreads they already offer and, once again, they nailed it. It's amazing what they can turn out of those stone ovens! Joerg also wasn't too shabby with his wine pairings!
Without further ado, here 'tis the evenings menu with our wine notes:
Reception: VT cheese board with apricot compote, mixed olives and sesame cracker
Wine: Domaine Charles Gonnet "Chignin", Savoie, France, 2010
Tasting Notes: 100% Jacquere grapes from the heart of Savoie, near the French Alps and the home of cheese fondue! This was a perfect match for the cheese course, with plenty of crisp, refreshing acidity to cut through the richness of the cheese. Six months of lees aging adds body and texture. This wine would also be tremendous with any of the regions traditional sausage platters (i.e. Diots).
Appetizer: Chilled beet soup with horseradish creme fraiche and chives
Wine: Cantina Terlano "Terlaner" Classico, Alto Adige, Italy, 2009
Tasting Notes: A lovely blend of Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. More fruit-driven and less crisp than the prior offering, which worked very well with this dish. Stainless steel fermentation showcases the apricot and citrus fruit flavors backed by solid minerality. The aromas and flavors are classic "mountain white" from northern Italy. This wine would also be perfect on its own as a summer afternoon quaffer.
Pasta: Jonah crab ravioli with heirloom tomato sauce and fresh basil
Wine: A. Margaine "Brut Rose", Champagne, France, NV
Tasting Notes: A beautiful, strawberry-colored Chardonnay/Pinot Noir "grower champagne". Everything you could dream of in a classic champagne! Delicious, yet almost overpowering for this subtly delicious crab and pasta course.
Salad: Cavendish quail oven-roasted,with local greens, fresh chevre and lemon vinaigrette
Wine: Gobelsburg "Renner" Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal Reserve, Austria, 2009
Tasting Notes: Full disclosure...we've had this wine before (many times in fact) and it is one of our all-time favorite white wines...EVER! Lovely citrus, pear and apricot flavors with nicely balanced minerality. This wine can stand proudly next to any fine white Burgundy. Find it, buy it, enjoy it!
Flatbread: Cider-braised lamb with rainbow chard, roasted garlic and summer pear tomatoes
Wine: Storybook Mountain "Antaeus" Estate Red, Napa Valley, California, 2007
Tasting Notes: The only red wine of the evening, but worth the wait. A blend of 50% Zinfandel with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Showcases much of the full fruitiness of Zinfandel, yet adds the aroma and structure of the Bordeaux varietals. Perfect for lamb! Probably not your everyday, go to wine for pizza, but if you've got the wallet for it, by all means go for it!
Dessert: Buttermilk shortcake with fresh peach compote and maple mascarpone cream
Wine: Standing Stone Vineyards "Riesling Ice", Finger Lakes, New York, 2010
Tasting Notes: Rich flavors of melon, citrus and hazelnut, with a nice dollop of crisp acidity to balance the RS. The RS does not hit you over the head (like some we've tasted before and dislike immensely...), and thus made this a very surprising and pleasant dinner-ending experience. Even Lisa tipped back her entire glass, and that speaks volumes!
We're already looking forward to next year. We also hear through the grapevine that the Middlebury Marble Works Hearth is considering a similar event. If so, we'll be there as well to see what masterworks their chefs can deliver! Considering our location, it would be REALLY NICE if George would consider a similar event at Flatbread's original Waitsfield location...