We did a post about Dancing Bear shortly after it reopened last fall and just loved it so we were really excited when Nick invited us to come back for their first ever Wine Dinner featuring the wine of Francis Ford Coppola’s Virginia Dare property. Upon arriving and being greeted by Nick we descended to the gazebo for cocktail hour featuring Herbed Lemonade with Tito’s Vodka and various sparkling wine selections. Appalachian ‘inspired’ hor d’oeuvres were passed among the guests including Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with celery mignonette, Potato Cakes with BBQ Pork and bitter microgreens, and Squash Blossoms with Ricotta and Corn.
At 7pm we made our way to the scenic patio just outside the main lodge for the dinner. Angie of Francis F. Coppola wines was on hand to lead us through the dinner and the fascinating stories of both the Coppola Wines and Virginia Dare herself. Coppola, we learned, is a very hands-on owner and wants to be involved almost daily, in all aspects of production right through design of the label and market positioning. Winemaking is definitely not just a hobby for Coppola.
First Course: Beet Soup with Clabber Cream, Pistachios, Strawberry Cucumber Relish. Served with Virginia Dare White Doe, white blend. A perfect winter-to-spring transition dish. The earthy beet was reined in by fresh strawberries and The White Doe provided a great balance with it’s light, bright flavor and just enough body from the Voigner to hold its own. Along with the course came the story of the White Doe of Native American myth and of the long process Coppola had to follow to acquire and restore the property.
Second Course: Grilled Artichoke & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata, Truffled Beech Mushrooms, Basil Dressing (a very mild pesto type dressing). Served with Virginia Dare Chardonnay, Russian River Valley CA.
Third Course: Salmon Fritter with Pickled Peas, Radishes, Corn, Smoked Ham Broth. Served with Two Arrowheads Whit Blend, Paso Robles, CA. For Mr KnoxFoodie, this was the favorite of the night! Absolutely perfectly cooked salmon in a blanket of crunchy batter sitting on top of a magical sweet corn relish and tangy ‘gravy’ made from ham stock.
Fourth Corse: Bacon Wrapped Bison with Chard & Sweet Potato Gratin, Blueberry & Blue Cheese Marmalade. Served with Virginia Dare Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA. Chef Shelly wrapped a hefty bison steak in bacon and took us back a few months into winter with cool weather flavors of sweet potato and creamed chard. The Pinot Noir is now one of Mrs. Knoxfoodie’s favorite wines! It is 100% pinot noir grape, light in color but not in body. It has been aged just long enough to add depth without losing the fruity notes of the grape.
Dessert: Tito’s Vanilla Infused White Russian with Shaved Espresso Ice Chips, Cinnamon Cream, Crunchy Benne Seed Cookie. Perhaps the only slight miss of the evening. The drink erred on the heavy-handed pour of Tito’s and seemed a little out of place in such an elegant presentation of wines. Nonetheless, it was tasty.
After dinner, guests were invited to the fire pit for s’mores and conversation. The Mrs took another glass of Two Arrowheads White and I selected a Knox Whiskey Work Gin Cocktail with Blueberry Shrub followed by a stiff pour of Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch.