Dinner under the stars is pretty hard to beat. Even more so when it consists of handsomely prepared, locally-sourced dishes paired with wines grown and made a few hundred feet from the dinner table.
Last Friday, a beautiful, crisp October evening, Early Mountain Vineyards hosted their first Winemaker Field Supper in Madison, Virginia. Presented by winemaker Ben Jordan and Chef Harrison Keevil of Charlottesville’s Brookville restaurant, along stylists Joy Jaynes of Mornings Like These and Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something.
The night began with a glass of sparkling Virginia wine and a stroll through the vineyard to the barn, where we enjoyed a selection of hors d’oeuvres around a fire pit as the sun went down. Rappahannock oysters, kim kim glazed pork belly bites and a wonderfully creamy spice-roasted butternut squash bisque were paired with Early Mountain’s 2014 Block Eleven white wine. Once the sun had gone behind the mountains, we made our way back down the hill to the dinner table, set on the lawn beneath twinkling lights and the darkening sky.
The next course, an Edwards Virginia country ham & caramelized onion tart topped with local micro greens, was paired with a duo of 2014 Pinot Gris, grown in different parts of the vineyard and each expressing a unique set of flavors. Our main course, sourced entirely from the state of Virginia (apart from the salt), consisted of Buffalo River beef, roasted root vegetables, and Woodson’s Mill grits. This family-style course was served with a beautiful red blend, the 2012 Eluvium. To follow, a glass of 2014 late harvest Petit Manseng pulled right from the barrel was paired with Meadow Creek Dairy's Grayson cheese and estate apple butter. Finally, a special Charlottesville-made Gearharts’ dark chocolate infused with EMV Eluvium finished out the meal. Kudos to all, it was a very special evening that will not soon be forgotten. I look forward to my next visit to Early Mountain.
Karly Murphy is a photographer and amateur gardener based near Charlottesville, Virginia. On her days off, you may find her on a walk in the woods with her husband and their dog, or perhaps out sampling some of Virginia’s tastiest wine and food, but rarely will you find her sitting still. (Instagram @karlymurphy_)