I love it when local businesses can work together and collaborate on ways to promote each others success. I think its especially important now, during these crazy economic times, for businesses and consumers alike to work together to support each other in whatever ways they can.
To me, It's not about "stop the world and hide in your house", “save everything”, “stop spending your money”... I believe you should just be smart in how you are spending. Continue to support the businesses you like and look for value where you can find it.
Recently one of my go-to local wine shops, cork- a bottle shop, has collaborated with some great local restaurants to offer free corkage on Wednesdays & Thursdays throughout the month of March. Not just any restaurants either. Check out the lineup: Alberta Street Oyster Bar, Daily Café in the Pearl, Lolo, Giorgio’s, Serratto, Ten 01, and Tabla.
This way you can support your local wine shop and get to experience a great restaurant without damaging your pocketbook too much. You can read more about this great opportunity on the cork website
So we decided to give it a shot ("we" as in "he who I drag along to as many wine tastings as possible"- i.e. my husband). Besides, cork was hosting a wine tasting this past Thursday that I was excited to attend featuring wines from RIDGE, yum! So we stopped in, did the RIDGE flight, bought a bottle and headed out to Ten 01 to complete our night. Before you get to hear about our delicious dinner at Ten 01 I have to tell you how impressed I was with the RIDGE flight!
First… The lineup:
2007 RIDGE Three Valleys
2006 RIDGE Paso Robles
2006 RIDGE Lytton Springs
2002 RIDGE Lytton Springs
We started with the 2007 RIDGE Three Valleys
76% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah, 6% Grenache and 3% Carignane
Rustic with tobacco and lush fruit. Made me think of taking it on a camping trip and making a big fire in the middle of the woods whilst cooking up some "tin foil surprise" (you know what I'm talking about, when you put potatoes, meat, veggies, the works, all wrapped up in tin foil and throw it in the fire and let the the fire do the work). It must be all that smoke, tobacco, and dark fruit. Still young but certainly drinkable.
Then there was my favorite of the lineup… the
2006 RIDGE Paso Robles
100% Zinfandel. This wine was fruit forward with ripe berries and dried cherry, and rich with spice and soft tannins. It had a nice jamminess to it without it being overpowered by alcohol. At 14.6% I thought that made for a nice approachable Zin that didn’t make me want to home and take a nap to recover from its weight.
2006 RIDGE Lytton Springs … A close second.
A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Syrah and 4% Carignane
Rich fruit without being overpowered by alcohol (I like the refrain that they are demonstrating with these 14%-ish alcohol level Zins). Dark cherry with a touch of licorice with balanced tannin.
2002 RIDGE Lytton Springs (a special treat)
Well balanced with plum, spice, and chocolate. More complex then the first 3 and softer on the palate, it was rich, complex with everything in balance. A great opportunity to try the same wine, 4 vintages apart. You really get to sense how the wine will soften and become more balanced throughout the years… that is if you have the patience to let it wait.
-Not for sale because Darryl is "the man" and contributed the wine from his personal cellar for comparison with the '06
Then the wine we purchased to accompany us to Ten 01.
Chateau Vernous, Cru Bourgeois, Medoc (2005)
$24.75 (c'mon, you can’t get value like this on most restaurant wine lists!)
As we left cork, we ventured off to Ten 01 a few blocks away in The Pearl.
A restaurant I’ve been to before but always enjoy. Good food, good service, and great wine list! But of course, Darryl from cork picked out our wine for tonight.
To start I ordered a glass of white Burgundy (aka Chardonnay)
2007 Jean-Claude Thevenet Macon Pierreclos
Deeeeelicious. What I noticed first off was the temperature. I guess I get so used to restaurants serving white wine (especially Chardonnays) too cold, that I was impressed at the correct temperature this was served at. This was at the perfect temperature for drinking a Chard, a slight chill but certainly not considered cold. Fruity, dry, with just a touch of butter with good minerality… the perfect starter wine for me.
After we ordered we were presented with our amuse-buoche, a small cup (shot size glass if you will) of the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Duck Confit, Poached Apples, and Toasted Pistachio Oil. Hellllllo! It made me sad I didn’t order a whole bowl of the soup. It was rich, warm, soothing, and the perfect accompaniment to a cold rainy Portland day.
For my dinner, I opted for the Fromage Blanc Gnocchi; with crispy duck confit, caramelized butternut squash, pearl onions, and champagne gastrique
Oh my goodness. It was delicious and well balanced. The sweetness from the butternut squash and grilled onions went so well with the creaminess of the Gnocchi balanced off by the delicate duck.
My husband ordered the Pinot Noir Braised Shortrib; with Parsnip puree, brussel sprout hash, horseradish gremolata, and pinot noir jus (to the right). The few bites I was able to taste of it were nice. And this coming from a recovering vegetarian! The meat was super tender and rich. If I had this all to myself I'm sure I would have a belly ache because of its richness. Despite that, it was very flavorful, luscious, and balanced with the creamy puree.
Dessert (no image taken... I'm pretty sure the dessert was too enticing for me to stop eating to take out my camera... or I just started eating it before the server could even put it down):
Chocolate flourless cake with sage ice cream and whiskey caramel
Now I am not much for desserts. I usually take more wine over dessert but our server was convincing that this was a unique and addictive creation, and she was certainly right! It was so intriguing with the combination of the warm chocolate cake, and cold sage ice cream, and more warm caramel. The sage was my favorite part because it provided such a unique twist. I couldn’t stop going back for more. It was a good thing that the portion was appropriately small. Definitely something you have to try at least once!
With the corkage fee waived (typically a $25 fee) we were able to have an amazing dining experience that included appetizers, main course, and a dessert all for for under $100 (including tip).
Definitely worth the experience, and currently this deal is only going on throughout the month of March. So go out and support it so they can extend the offer and more of us can enjoy supporting our local wine shops and restaurants while still saving a little!