California Terroir Tour at Brick Farm Tavern

May 2019

Terroir Tour Wine Dinner Series at Brick Farm Tavern

Brick Farm Tavern is one of those restaurants you visit and wish you were close enough to frequent more, a sentiment we often have when we travel. For one, we are fortunate to have Brick Farm Tavern within a half hour drive. With their own farm and other locally sources ingredients, the menu is constantly evolving and challenging creative limits of food. Not to mention they have a kill wine and beer list, featuring Troon Brewing.

When we got an email advertising a terroir series exploring France, Spain, South America, Italy, and California we immediately signed up for all sessions very excited at the wine pairings and interpretations of traditional cuisine with local ingredients.

May: California

The final terroir wine dinner! We had high expectations since each dinner has been wonderfully crafted thus far and Brick Farm’s typical menu of farm to table was spearheaded in California. Farm fresh food is Brick Farm’s specialty so this should be an unrestricted medium for the chef to do his thing. And would my chocolate dreams come true tonight???

Many of our trips have taken us to California exploring the cities and wine regions. While we have enjoyed our time in Napa and Sonoma, Santa Barbara has become our favorite area for wine in California. For the wine pairings, we expected a focus on Napa/Sonoma but were hopeful for a call back to Santa Barbara. Additionally, we looked forward to an evening sipping on Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir – so many options for only four wine slots!

 

Course 1: Point Pleasant Seared Scallop- meyer lemon vinaigrette, rhubarb gastrique, pine nut, parsnip chip

Pairing: Syrah Blend, Stoplman Vineyards, “Para Maria Rose” Santa Barbara County, 2018

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What a lovely way to start the evening! Scallops are definitely one of our favorites and the other ingredients on the plate only elevated that buttery, sea flavor. While I dislike rhubarb, this addition gave a hint of sweetness that pulled the sour lemon, salty chip, and buttery scallop together for a fulfilling bite each time. I know we all could have had those parsnip chips in a bag. Well done first course!

How crazy that they picked a Stoplman wine to showcase! Well you wouldn’t think it was crazy until I explain – HA! Stoplman has come to our local wine shop several times and we had the pleasure of visiting the vineyard on our Santa Barbara trip. It was definitely one of the highlights when we were out there! This rose was very dry and low in residual sugar. It paired very well with the buttery texture of the scallops. A great choice and we were very happy that Santa Barbara was represented for this California tasting.

 

Course 2: Seared Double Brook Duck Breast- brown butter turnip, ryeberry, spring onion vinaigrette

Pairing: Cinsault, Turley Vineyards, “Bechthold Vineyard” Lodi, 2017

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Duck made an encore appearance from the France meal! An interesting placement at the second course as I was concerned I would be too full for the third course which would surely be another meat dish. The duck was wonderfully cooked and the berry jam was a perfect match. The turnips could have easily been the main entree! Brick Farm never disappoints when serving duck.

Shocked that a Pinot Noir did not make the final menu, we learned that this pairing was originally slated for a Pinot Noir until this Cinsault from Turley became available. Brick Farm was able to get their hands on two cases and saved it for this tasting- what a treat! We have never had Cinsault before so what a wonderful opportunity to try this hard to get wine! This tasted and felt very similar to a Pinot Noir so it made sense why they swap was acceptable for the food pairing.

 

Course 3: Wood Fire Grilled Devon Strip Steak- chickpea panisse, avocado salsa verde, picante rojo

Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Trena, “Classic” Paso Robles, 2016

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Since we expected a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, it was not a surprise to see a steak course. The steak was ok- a bit dry and could have used some moisture. While there was an avocado salsa verde that could have helped the steak, there was such a small amount of the plate. We guessed avocado would be on the menu but it was disappointing to see it highlighted in such a small fashion. I would have preferred in the main course to have been the duck but I know that would have thrown off the wine pairings. The back-to-back meat offerings were a bit much for me. What I could have eaten all day was this chickpea mozzarella stick- it was amazing!

Inky, bold, powerful- everything one expects from a California Cab! Even in the glass it was impressive. Both accessible and affordable, I can definitely see us seeking this bottle out.

 

Course 4: Manjari Chocolate Cake- peanut butter ice cream, blackberry jam

Pairing: Late Harvest Zinfandel, Carol Shelton Wines, “Black Magic” Sonoma County, 2017

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Finally!!! A chocolate dessert!!! After waiting five months of these dinners, there was finally a chocolate dessert on the menu. I exclaimed my excitement to the entire table! And not just chocolate cake but peanut butter ice cream as well- worth the wait. When the dishes were brought to the table, it was certainly not the chocolate-polozza I was dreaming of. The portion was quite small and the chocolate flavor was muted for me (though I have never found a chocolate too rich to eat). To be fair, it was a chocolate dessert and beggers can’t be choosers! Still happy that chocolate made an appearance in the dessert category after all these dinners.

I was certainly curious what the pairing for dessert would be and this was certainly a pleasant surprise. We have not had late harvest Zinfandel before but it is one of our favorites varietals- it is such a versatile grape! Even though it was not fortified, there was a peppery flare among the dense sugars. It had a syrupy texture similar to other dessert wines. Another new wine added to our repertoire!

 

The final terroir wine dinner with Brick Farm Tavern is complete!

We have so enjoyed having these evenings to look forward to, viewing each as an opportunity to learn and try new things. The communal dining set up has been a fun way to meet people in the area with similar affinity for dining and wine. The service that Brick Farm is known for delivered each time by providing farm fresh locally sourced food and excellent, unique, and accessible wines. Each of these dinners was $99 and I felt that this was well priced for the quality of each dish and the wine. While some of the dishes were hit or miss, the wine selections at each of the dinners was phenomenal every time. The staff did such an incredible job and I hope the success of these dinners opens up new focused events in the future.

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