To continue on in our recent journey of Oregon wine, the Bauer team headed over to Deuxave Restaurant and Bar on Monday, October 1st to attend a winemaker dinner with Dave Adelsheim of Adelsheim Winery.
Before we get into the wine, the dinner and, of course, Dave. I want to talk about Deuxave. Those of you in the Boston area need to do yourself a favor and go have dinner in this restaurant. Starting from the moment you walk in the door, you will be awed. The décor is fresh, beautiful and modern. It was in this dining room that I saw two features to covet and dream about putting into my own home. It can only be described as a wine lovers paradise. Starting with the glass block cubes holding wine to the library style ladder to climb to beautiful shelves of wine (both pictured above), I can picture my home office with them and I want them now.
Deuxave is a food and wine lover’s paradise. Executive Chef and Owner Chris Coombs may be young but he commands the kitchen with panache. Plenty of high-end restaurants can crow about their food and wine pairing abilities but few can match the talent of Coombs. His courses were impeccably prepared but what really stood out was his ability to match Dave Adelsheim’s wines perfectly. This was no ordinary wine dinner. Each course was so well thought out and perfectly paired that you could almost imagine that this meal was planned from the moment the grapes were planted and each cow, duck and clam was groomed from birth for this night.
Adelsheim Winery was established in 1971. Dave was among the first pioneering men to decide to plant vinifera in the cool climate of Oregon. Dave, admittedly, “never grown grapes, never made wine, never sold wine, and never ran a business; the four skills you really need” to open a winery. But what he did have was passion. Thankfully, his passion turned to skill after he traveled to Burgundy, France. In 1978, they turned out the first vintage, roughly 800 cases and never looked back. Yes, it was hard to sell in the beginning. No one had ever heard of growing grapes in Oregon and the Adelsheims put their wines in the back of their station wagon and hoped they could at least sell their product to the local restaurants.
After making headway in their own state Adelsheim knew it was time to step out and show his wines to the rest of the country. Howie Rubin and the rest of the Bauer team are proud to say that Boston is the first city to embrace Oregon wines. Being a pioneering city, it makes sense that these wines made their way to the national stage through Boston. Bauer stocked Oregon wines and began to hand sell them until they took off. Now our clientele come in and ask where they can find these wines on the shelf.
The wines we relished in were all distinctly Oregon. The cocktail wine, 2011
Auxerrois, was a very fresh white that is traditionally an Alsatian grape but has all but disappeared from the landscape. We are so glad that a couple of producers in Oregon are growing it now, including Adelsheim. It had an herbaceous nose of tarragon and fennel that led to flavors of green pear, citrus blossom and fresh herbs. The perfect wine to start the night.
With our first course, the 2011 Pinot Gris was perfect with the littleneck clams. Coombs is a genius with sauces and this was no exception. The Chorizo oil pick up the papaya notes and the apple salad highlighted the apple flavor in the wine. The touch of creaminess in the Pinot Gris was brought out by the cream in the sauce. Not overdone but just right. John and I slurped every bit of the sauce on the plate with our clam shells happily!
Mid course was an amazing duck confit that had the 2010 Estate Pinot Noir paired with it. As silence fell over the table, I knew we had something great on our hands. The candied fruit aromas and flavors were highlight by the Black Mission figs on the plate. The acid of the Pinot Noir cut into the fattiness of the duck. It was elegant, refined and the tannins were seamlessly integrated and silky.
Not to be outdone by the duck, the following main course was the herb roasted beef tenderloin that was served with 2009 Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir. As we all buried our noses into the glass, there was a collective, “whoa” as we took it all in. More powerful than the estate Pinot, the intense and multi-layered Elizabeth’s Reserve offered us raspberry, brown spices and a little woodiness that was picked up by the herbs on the beef. Each of us ate slowly, savoring each bite and taking a sip of wine. This was an expression of Pinot Noir at its greatest.
Part of what made this dinner so great was the fact that Coombs and Adelsheim did not follow that path of traditional American restaurants and end our dinner with dessert. Rather, we switched back to a white wine and delved into the cheese course. A Vermont goat cheese with the various accoutrements was served with the 2009 Caitlin’s Reserve Chardonnay. The wine was beautifully balanced with acidity to slice through the rich goat cheese. Layers of lemon blossom, apple, honey and a touch of nuttiness polished us off completely.
After being spoiled for hours on end, all of us here at Bauer can only beg the question… When is the next one? Please Chris and Deuxave…we need another fix!