Bridlewood Wine at Harvest
Wine, first and foremost, should taste good with food. This is the philosophy behind Bridlewood wine-maker David Hopkins. His passion for wine is obvious. He considers a hard day’s work one that ends with oneself being cold, wet and dirty. If you are on his staff and not in this state by the time 2:30 p.m. rolls around, you may not be treated to dinner with a cold beer (which is most likely his own brew) at his house near the winery. Putting himself through college as a sous chef, David knows a lot about food and pairings. Despite whatever controversy this may cause, he is a believer that the Chef should create the wine list to best select wines to compliment his/her food creations.
When you take wine that was created to compliment food, and pair it with a restaurant like Harvest, good things are bound to happen.
Monterey County Chardonnay with Seared Scituate Scallop; Richter Farm rhubarb, celery, English peas, candied ginger and celery salad (available as entree, $30)
Hints of apple pair well with sweet and succulent scallops. The Chardonnay is blended with 1-2% viognette, which grows in flavor as the wine ages.
Monterey County Pinot Noir with Painted Hills Tenderloin Tartare; caperberries, crispy shallots, white truffle oil and toasted country bread (appetizer, $15)
Subtle pepper hints in the Pinot Noir were picked up by the caper berries. This large portion of tartare would make a great appetizer shared at the table.
Central Coast Blend 175 with Roulade of Giannone Farms Chicken; wild mushrooms, green garlic, fava beans and vanilla scented carrots (as entree, $26)
A blend of syrah, cab, malbec and viognette, this wine starts earthy, then you pick up the flavors of blueberry, then unexpected hints of what David describes as “juicy fruit” followed by a long finish. The chicken was most with a simple seasoning, but the highlight of this dish was easily the vanilla-scented purée of carrot.
Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon with Rooibos Tea Marinated Pennsylvania Duck Breast; bing cherries, fennel, soy beans and forbidden black rice (as entree, $30)
David describes this wine as his chocolate and cherry “birthday cake.” His approach to cab goes right back to food, veering away from a big, bold 100-point cab with something more approachable and food-friendly. His idea is realized with a blend of merlot. The Cabernet was paired with the overall stand-out of the evening: perfectly seasoned and cooked duck breast (quite possibly the best I’ve ever had).
Late Harvest Viognier with Toffee Chestnut Cake; milk jam, mead jelly and sheep’s milk frozen yogurt ($10)
Generally not one for dessert wines, this pairing was the most well-put-together of the evening. The sweetness of the viognier was perfectly balanced by the sour flavor of the goat’s milk yogurt.
When you ask David what other wines he drinks, his answer is pure and honest. “I drink my own wines, because I make them for myself.” This passion is what is put into the Bridlewood wines. And if you, like me, enjoy both wine AND food, chances are you will enjoy Bridlewood too.
If you’d like to try Bridlewood, check out their website for a list of distributors and restaurants in your area.
I was invited to this dinner as a guest of Bridlewood winery. All opinions are my own.
Are you familiar with Bridlewood, and if so, do you have a favorite?