Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the “Drink Them Before They’re Famous” event at Seasons 52. The evening showcased the autumn menu offerings and wines from different vineyards that aren’t very well known … yet!
Since my boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed the summer menu tasting we attended back in June, we were thrilled to be invited to this event. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t attend because of a work conflict. I decided to bring Caroline as my “plus one” since she has been dying to go to Seasons 52 for quite some time.
When I arrived, I was greeted with a glass of a delicious orange wine. The Vista Hills Orange Pinot Gris is a delicious white wine with an orange coloring. It is a perfect autumn wine with hints of raspberry, citrus and apple. One thing I really found interesting about this wine is how it is created. Orange wines are made with white wine grapes but using a red wine process, which is what gives the wine its unique coloring.
The orange wine was paired with a Portobello Mushroom Flatbread and a hummus plate. The flatbread was made with a four cheese blend (mozzarella, parmigiana, gorgonzola and goat cheese), Portobello mushrooms, spinach and roasted garlic. Then it was topped with a truffle sour cream sauce. It was amazing!
The hummus plate comes with two different types of hummus and sea salt lavosh. The green hummus is made from edamame and mint, a combination that I would never have come up with and was absolutely delicious. The reddish-orange hummus is made from fire roasted red peppers and chilies. The sea salt lavosh is a crispy, thin flatbread that is perfect for dipping in the two different hummus flavors.
Around 6:30, the head chef and master sommelier started their presentation about the meal. We learned about all of the different wines and why the chef chose to pair them with each dish. At the conclusion, they answered questions asked by the audience. One particular question asked what unique flavor the chef tried to incorporate into each meal so that it truly felt and tasted like the season. The chef answered that apple cider is that one flavor that he feels screams fall.
Then we were all handed a glass of wine to accompany the first course of the meal. The Farrier Andiron Semmillon is a white wine with notes of fig and a somewhat waxy flavor. This wine was not at all like your typical white wine. It wasn’t sweet or dry. The flavor was actually very heavy, similar to a red wine. I wasn’t a huge fan of this one but it did pair fantastically with the first course.
For each of the courses, the servers brought out what is known as the sharing portions for each of the meals. These platters are designed to serve at least 4 people. The first course the evening was the Cider-Glazed Grilled Chicken Skewers. The chicken is glazed in an apple cider and placed on top of a delicious Fuji apple slaw. Besides having sliced apples in it, the slaw also included cranberries and pumpkin seeds. The flavors of this dish really were flavors of the season.
The second course was paired with another white wine. The Avanthia Godello is a Spanish white wine that is similar to a chardonnay and is considered to be highly tannic. I was a little shocked when the sommelier and chef told us that a duck dish was being paired with a white wine. Traditionally, a red wine would be the best pairing. This white wine was a perfect choice though because of how rich and dry the flavor was. I prefer sweeter wines so this one wasn’t my favorite but it definitely paired well with the duck.
The Maple Leaf Farms Sesame Duck Salad was my favorite dish of the evening. The duck was beautifully prepared and didn’t have any of the fattiness to it that is common with many dishes using this bird. The duck was placed on a mixed greens salad with cranberries, butternut squash, apples and whole mint leaves. The dish was dressed with an apple cider glaze that really pulled it together. This meal really incorporated all of my favorite fall flavors (except for pumpkin).
The next course started with our first red wine of the evening, Tillia Bonarda. This red wine comes from Argentina and is also highly tannic. Essentially, it is a dry red wine that pairs very well with steak. While I didn’t enjoy the dryness of this particular wine, it did go very well with the dish served for the third course.
Look familiar? During the summer menu, Seasons 52 introduced the All-Natural Piedmontese Steak dish which I thought was amazing. It cut like butter! It was such a huge success that they are bringing it back during the autumn season. Normally, the steak comes with fingerling potatoes and asparagus. However, the chef for the Tampa restaurant decided to serve broccolini and mashed sweet potatoes with it to give us an idea of how it would taste with different sides. The steak was just as delicious as I remembered and the side dishes were a great choice.
The last course was paired with two wines, an old world style and a new world style. The new world style (in the front) is the Michael David Petite Petit and is a blend of Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot grapes. It is a full-bodied wine with notes of blackberries and vanilla. The old world style (in the back) is the Glenelly Cabernet Sauvignon and comes from South Africa. What makes this wine an “old world style” is how it is made. This wine has flavors of black currants, cherries, and a touch of spices and chocolate. Can you guess which one was my favorite?
Those two wines were paired with Manchester Farms All-Natural Grilled Quail, a mushroom truffle risotto and a spinach and onion garnish. The quail was grilled on an oak-fried grill and dusted with a touch of sea salt. I have never eaten quail before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. While the flavor was amazing, the actual meat was on the gamey side. The mushroom truffle risotto was TO DIE FOR! I seriously could have eaten an entire dish of just that and been happy. Next time I am there, I going to make sure I get with whatever dish I order!
A meal at Seasons 52 wouldn’t be complete without at least one of their mini indulgences. While the entire collection looked amazing, my eyes (and stomach) were set on having the pumpkin pie! Instead of a traditional style pie, there were two layers of a ginger snap crust each topped with a layer of pumpkin mousse. It was a delicious way to end another delicious meal at Seasons 52!
So tell me, what is your favorite wine? Red or White? Merlot or Cabernet? Chardonnay or Riesling?