Last week, I attended the Pritchard Hill wine dinner at The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon, just two days after my birthday dinner at the restaurant. One would think it was overkill but honestly, the food is so incredible I could never be tired of it.
Chef Michael Rossi created a five-course menu (in reality, eight courses) each course paired with a wine from the Pritchard Hills region in Napa Valley (photo provided by The Ranch). Master sommelier Michael Jordan was on hand, together with the various winemakers, to introduce us to some of the best wines I’ve tasted in a long time.
We began with an amuse bouche of Skuna Bay salmon in cucumber soup (which I sampled at the luncheon on the farm this summer) with potato foam and a dollop of caviar. Refreshing yet decadent, the first wine pairing of Chappellet, Signature Chenin Blanc, Napa Valley 2011 was the perfect choice — light and fragrant.
The Chenin Blanc continues the pairing with Sea of Cortez Diver Scallop, the entree I had on my birthday. The prosciutto di San Daniele wrapped black Mission fig lent a salty sweetness which is heaven in my mouth. A puree of butternut squash accompanied.
My favorite course and pairing of the evening was Colorado Grass Fed Lamb Porterhouse with Continuum Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Created by Tim Mondavi, son of Robert Mondavi, it was velvety smooth on my palate and left a sublime feel in my mouth which I savored. The lamb was prepared a perfect medium rare and the accoutrements of maitake mushrooms (or hen of the woods) was robust and umami-filled, while the pumpkin spatzle added a different texture to the mix. The rosemary jus was insanely redolent and I wanted to lick the plate clean — no I didn’t do it!!
Next course came in the form of Tender Braised Veal Cheek, and they weren’t kidding when they said “tender”. With the mere touch of my fork, the veal came apart and melted in my mouth. Anson Mills stone ground white grits, dried cherry and black truffle shavings accompanied. Served with Chappellet, Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2009.
I sampled the Red Deer Venison Chop from my friend’s plate the night of my birthday and loved it. Needless to say, I loved it even more here because I actually got my own chop! The combination of sweet potatoes, cranberries, young turnips and garden sage just came together like a symphony, sweet, tart and aromatic. Paired with David Arthur Vineyards, Elevation 1147 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009.
Certified Black Angus Beef Tenderloin “Roulade” was one of the dishes served at the luncheon this summer, but I was too full to enjoy more than one mouthful. This time, I made it half the way through and it was just divine. Stuffed with fontina val d’aosta, and sprinkled with bits of Fra’ Mani sopressata, soft gigante beans and warm radicchio, this marriage of salty deliciousness was right up my alley! Paired with Ovid Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009.
Next came the Farmhouse Cheese Selection, served with home made preserves and toasted OC Baking bread slices. BRAND Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Montagna, La Presa-One South Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 both worked well with the cheeses, but I was a little more partial to the BRAND. It was so smooth on my palate.
I honestly didn’t need dessert, but when it was placed before me, it wasn’t the Honey Poached Seckle Pear, or the vine dried grapes, or hazelnuts, which gripped me, although they were all part and parcel of a perfect end to a perfect meal. It was the mascarpone-orange ice cream which brought me to my knees. Two more scoops of this please!!!
I stayed until midnight, my belly Buddha-like when I walked outside to get in my car. I drove all the way home with a huge smile on my face!
The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
1025 E Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92805