Vine18’s Inaugural Winemaker Dinner with Hill Family Estate

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Vine18 is initiating a series of winemaker dinners and kicked off the venue with a small twenty person dinner last evening. The new management and Executive Chef wanted to “work out the kinks” with service and food preparation in a small kitchen with a reduced crowd before opening it up to a broader cliental. The feature winery and one of the owners was Ryan Hill, 5th generation farmer and now wine producer out of Yountville, California.

Ryan Hill spoke about his family lineage with antidotal stories from gopher extermination to securing first right of refusal on vineyards in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. One gets a greater appreciation of a family run business/winery when its history, the ups and downs, are revealed. Three wines were served during the course of the evening: 2017 Reserve Chardonnay, 2018 Stewart Ranch Pinot Noir and the 2019 Like a Hawk (blend).

The first course of the evening was the Sea Bass croute with stone fruit chutney and toasted hazelnut béchamel. Paired with this dish was the cream rich 2017 Reserve Chardonnay with a golden color and heavy viscosity on the eyes. On the nose, a vanilla and light oak were present. On the palate, toasted hazelnut and brioche were noted. The finish was especially long for a Chardonnay. The Chardonnay comes from the American Canyon region with the cooling winds effects of San Francisco Bay. The presentation of the dish was stunning.

The second course was the seared duck breast with spiced date, peppadew and chorizo demi-glace and crispy rainbow kale. The wine served was the 2018 Stewart Ranch Pinot Noir from the Napa Carneros region with cool winds from the adjacent San Pablo Bay. The wine was dark in color with a 30 day contact with the skins. Flavor profiles included black cherry and plum flavors. The wine and sauce were excellent together.

Dessert was a mocha pot de crème with a pastis berry compote with had an unique coffee/toffee flavoring. This was paired with the 2019 Like A Hawk, a blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Syrah, 17% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. A dark rich wine in the glass with mocha and black cherry being predominant on the palate.

For the inaugural dinner and with a limited attendance, it went well. The areas of improvement and logistical shortfalls are being asked and rectified by management. The Executive Chef, Albert Sandoval and pastry chef prepared the food very well. By the end of the evening all these glasses and a few others were filled and filled again!




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