© by Sheral Schowe
Students of University of Utah’s Wine Education program of Park City DCE enjoyed an informative and delicious dinner to celebrate the harvest of Napa Valley foods and wines on Friday evening. Chef Jerry Garcia prepared a mouth-watering menu, which was paired with some of Napa Valley’s finest wines.
As with many appetizers, it is sometimes difficult to find just the right wine to pair with the many variations in texture and taste all in one bite. The perfect answer is champagne or sparkling wine. In this case, Napa’s Domaine Mumm Brut Prestige ($20.95) was an excellent choice for Jerry’s sliced sourdough baguette with avocado, brie, sun-dried tomato and basil chiffonade.
Sautéed Boston sea scallops appeared next, on a bed of garlic potato purée with caramelized red onion and Ocetra caviar. The buttery-rich Merryvale 1996 Vignette ($21.40), a bordeaux-style meritage of sauvignon blanc and semillon, made a perfect match for this dish.
The 1997 Sainstsbury Vin Gris of Pinot Noir ($8.90) was a great transition wine, bridging the gap between the white and red wines of the evening. This wine has just a touch of residual sugar, which complemented the warm Utah sweet corn cake with fall vegetables, Mississippi rock shrimp, asiago and garden chives.
Two red wines were served with the main course of pan-seared boneless duck breast and braised thigh with a reduction of mission figs, and butternut squash ravioli. First, the 1995 Beaulieu Vineyard Merlot ($15.60), and the 1997 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel ($18.70). The merlot was full of bright cherry fruit, spice and cedar. It was a great complement to the butternut squash ravioli and sautéed garden vegetables. It had enough acid on the finish to cut through a lot of duck fat, had any existed. Jerry did a chef extraordinaire’s job of rendering off every bit of grease from the duck, yet retaining the ultimate in moisture and tenderness. The zinfandel was rich, velvety, and smooth, with a nose and palate of dark berry fruit that kept opening up throughout the evening. It was a delicious pairing for the duck.
Desserts typically make any wine seem overly austere, unless it is a dessert wine, or a sparkling wine. The conclusion of the dinner was similar to the opening. Mumm Blanc de Noirs ($18.85) was selected to pair with Jerry’s eye-catching creation of chocolate autumn meringue, layered high with Valrhona cocoa and Chantilly cream, placed on a sea of sparkling raspberry purée. The pink tones of the sparkling wine with the raspberry purée was a colorfully dramatic conclusion to another delicious dinner at Chez Betty.
Sept. 30, 1999