A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend the Bodegas Finca Allende wine dinner at Ryland Inn. While I’d dined at the gorgeous property, I’d not yet attended one of the wine dinners.
A cocktail hour was set in the courtyard and there, we had the opportunity to mingle with the other guests and the Winemaker, Miguel Angel de Gregorio. Prior to the event, Ryland Inn’s Sommelier, Rosario Toscano, had told me Miguel only visits the United States occasionally and never more than a week per year. It was an absolute pleasure to hear about the vineyard, the winemaking process and the wines from the man who actually makes them.
Passed canapés ranged from a seared beef and horseradish crostini to a Jersey tomato gazpacho. The canapés were paired with the 2010 Finca Nueva Blanco, a bright, light and crisp white wine that was nice served with the food but was equally enjoyable sipped on its own on that warm summer evening.
After the cocktail hour was finished, the group made its way into a very special space – the kitchen dining room. The richly-appointed room offers a table that can likely accommodate over 20 guests and an oversized window offering a perfect view of the bustling kitchen. Executive Chef Anthony Bucco and his team are focused and display a calm, quiet intensity I’d not experienced in a professional kitchen before. Very impressive.
Another thing that was impressive was the food and wine lineup.
Here’s how the menu looked:
Fluke Crudo, Summer Melons, Heirloom Tomatoes, Garden Herbs
Roasted pork Tenderloin, Apricots and Chanterelles
2006 Finca Allende
Slow Roasted Filet Mignon, Salt Baked Fingerling Potato, Chimichurri
“Peaches and Cream”
The progression from light to heavier in food and in wine was executed to perfection. Chef Bucco and Sommelier Toscano obviously play off each other very well and this meal reflected that food and wine coordination.
A very special treat by Winemaker Miguel was a tasting of his 2009 Martires Blanco. This wine is so exclusive that just a few bottles have made it into the United States. This very special wine is hand-harvested from Viura grapes and only 1,350 bottles are produced. It retails for $225.
The Ryland Inn offers interesting events and classes so be sure to visit its website to stay abreast of upcoming events. Speaking of special events, I had an opportunity to speak with Chef Bucco prior to the wine dinner and he enthusiastically shared that a 6,000 square addition to the existing structure would be completed by the holidays to further accommodate special events and weddings. I’m looking forward to a holiday visit and to experience another exceptional meal at The Ryland Inn.
Veronique Deblois is a food and wine writer based in Morris County, NJ. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews. Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook page.