All duck dinner – duck five ways with five wines!

We are fortunate to live in a city with a restaurant like The Crested Duck.   Chef Kevin Costa painstakingly obsesses to make sure that every single bite is satisfying and tasty – AND reflects the flavors he intended.   With this in mind, and knowing several people who love duck – we at www.off-the-grid.ws challenged The Crested Duck to create a five course dinner with some element of duck in EVERY COURSE!   Chef Costa accepted the challenge and produced a menu that looked great to us, so we sent the invitation hoping to capture the interest of those few who dig duck like us… it sold out in three hours!

Matching the wines to the courses would hopefully be less challenging than creating the food, but we would see…   As it turned out the food was fantastic, and my biggest surprise was the ice cream made with duck fat – Wow!   The wines performed well: the Sauternes was the appropriate and correct match for the Foie Gras, the Decoy Chardonnay was wonderfully crisp for a Californian chardonnay, but despite my imagining that the main duck courses would match better to the smooth and spicy Rioja (which was still a very nice wine), the overwhelming crowd favorite was the Dierberg Pinot Noir.   I will note that one bottle of the Pinot Noir smelled slightly ‘off’ but fortunately this blew off quickly and the wine returned to its normal lushness.   Finally the Gruet Brut NV was the ever-reliable-bubbly that we have loved for years, providing a lively counter to the super rich duck ice cream dessert.

Off-the-Grid Sunday Supper –ALL DUCK DINNER at The Crested Duck

1st COURSE – FOIE GRAS MOUSSE – LEEK CONFIT, BAKED APPLE, PANCETTA

LA FLEUR RENAISSANCE SAUTERNES 2011

 

2nd COURSE – CHARCUTERIE – SMOKED DUCK BREAST, DUCK AND CHERRY PATE, DUCK SPECK

DUCKHORN DECOY CHARDONNAY SONOMA 2013

 

3rd COURSE – DUCK CONFIT CREPE – ORANGE CRÈME FRAICHE, POMEGRANATE, BITTER CHOCOLATE

DIERBERG PINOT NOIR Santa Maria VALLEY 2010

 

4th COURSE – CRISPY DUCK BREAST – MUSHROOM RISOTTO

CVNE VINA REAL RIOJA ALAVESA CRIANZA 2009

 

5th COURSE – CARAMELIZED DUCK FAT & FLEUR DE SEL ICE CREAM – SHORTBREAD COOKIE

GRUET BRUT METHODE CHAMPENOISE NV

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My Picks for the Pittsburgh Wine Festival – 12 must-try wines!

Here are my top twelve picks for the Pittsburgh Wine Festival (with comments and table numbers so you can find them!)   Enjoy the Festival!!!

1999 Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne

Winery:Nicolas Feuillatte

Region:Champagne

Notes:Vintage Champagne is always worth trying and 1999 was known to be a great vintage. Table 150

 

2004 Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne

Winery:Louis Roederer

Region:Champagne

Notes:Cristal is the holy grail for many Champagne purchasers – worth trying for sure! Table 165

 

2006 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery:Ridge Vineyards

Region:Santa Cruz Mountains

Varietal:Cabernet Sauvignon

Notes:Table 24

 

2007 Masi Agricola Costasera Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Corvina

Winery:Masi Agricola

Region:Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico

Varietal:Corvina

Notes:Many Americans do not know this type of rich, flavorful Northern Italian wine – worth trying. Table 107

 

2008 Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre Valpolicella Classico Superiore Corvina

Winery:Allegrini

Region:Valpolicella Classico Superiore

Varietal:Corvina

Notes:Table 83

 

2008 Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery:Hall Wines

Varietal:Cabernet Sauvignon

Notes:Super Napa Cab from former Ambassador to Austria, Kathryn Hall. Table 47

 

2008 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay

Winery:Leeuwin Estate

Region:Margaret River

Varietal:Chardonnay

Notes:Arguably Australia’s benchmark Chardonnay. Table 125

 

2008 Penfolds Wines Kalimna Bin 28 South Australia Shiraz

Winery:Penfolds Wines

Region:South Australia

Varietal:Shiraz

Notes:Well-made Shiraz from Australia’s most famous winery – great to compare with the Dead Arm. Table 139

 

2009 Chateau Montelena Winery Napa Valley Chardonnay

Winery:Chateau Montelena Winery

Region:Napa Valley

Varietal:Chardonnay

Notes:The Chardonnay that won the white competition at the famous “Judgement of Paris.” Table 69

 

d’Arenberg Wines The Dead Arm Mclaren Vale Shiraz

Winery:d’Arenberg Wines

Region:Mclaren Vale

Varietal:Shiraz

Notes:Benchmark Australian Shiraz, smooth, deep, and savory from family owned winery. Table 98

 

Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot

Winery:Duckhorn Vineyards

Region:Napa Valley

Varietal:Merlot

Notes:Napa Merlot may be out of fashion, but Duckhorn makes fantastic Merlot that should never be out of fashion. Table 59

 

Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old Tawny Douro

Winery:Quinta do Noval

Region:Douro

Notes:Vintage Ports can be pretty rough when young, but the 20yr Ports are superbly approachable. Table 168

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