Wine Dinners are the new thing for Birminghamians. (And no, wearing your yoga pants while binging on Netflix over a glass in lieu of eating dinner does not qualify as a wine dinner.) While the thought of a wine dinner may bring thoughts of romance to mind, they are not really a romantic occasion with glasses of red wine served over candlelight amidst heaving bosoms and witty banter shared between two people. However, a wine dinner can make for a fun date night, if you consider laughing and talking with multiple newbies at your table more than your date while enjoying a variety of food and beverages a fun date night. For those who are fascinated by the interplay of wine and food and how certain dishes or flavors can play to a wine’s strengths, the wine dinner is for you. A wine dinner is simply a meal where every course is paired with wine. Thus, the number of courses you have will determine how many wines should be paired. It is an elegant, simple dinner that highlights the wines that are being poured and the people who attend.
I’ve attended several wine dinners recently at several Birmingham establishments, some with my husband and others for a fun girls night. Satterfield’s hosted a Vintage Wine Estates Dinner recently, and it was amazing.
The appetizers were served on top of the bar, to encourage mingling. We started with the Smoked Salmon Corn Dogs, which were paired with an unusually fun Gouguenheim Valle Escondido Sparkling Malbec Rosé. The wine was surprisingly refreshing and well balanced, good acidity. We don’t leave without ordering a couple of bottles.
Next, we had the Scallop Ceviche, paired with a delicate Firesteed Riesling of Oregon. The scallops added a nice spin on the dish, with tomatillo, chiles, crispy corn and avocado. The citrus and earthy notes balanced out the spiciness of the ceviche perfectly. The riesling opens with aromas of peaches, ripe lychees, and the added floral elegance of ripe honeysuckle that comes across almost mead like on the nose. On the palate the wine is luscious, reconfirming the fruit flavors found in the aromas, and with a steel edge acidic minerality that balances the wine’s viscosity.
The shining star of the experience was served as the second course: The Slow-Roasted Pork Belly. I’m not a fan of pork belly; in fact, I’ve never had pork belly that I enjoyed until I met this version. The pork was very tender with a delicious crispy skin that melted on the palate. The Korean barbeque sauce didn’t overwhelm, but added a nice touch of spice to the entree. Perhaps I’d never had the dish properly prepared until now, but I’m officially a fan. The Pork Belly was served alongside kimchi-laiden collard greens and a smear of pureed sweet potatoes with a hint of sesame oil, continuing the Korean theme of the dish.
The Pork was paired with Grounded Wine Company’s Landform Pinot Noir, a wine with a very expressive personality. On the palate, the wine is refreshing with a structure that is surprisingly full-bodied and seamless from start to finish. Hints of tart cherry, mild spice and a richness with just enough texture made for a very enjoyable glass. Pinot Noir is not my go-to red wine, traditionally; I’m more of a cab girl. But this one certainly made a believer out of me.
Next up was the Brisket Bourguignon, served with tempura mushrooms. The beef was certainly well-prepared: falling apart on the inside and crispy on the outside. The pork belly was a tough act to follow. Opting for a tempura mushroom added some variety to the otherwise usual dish.
Grounded Wine Company’s Public Radio Red Wine, a blend of Shiraz/Syrah, Grenache, and Petite Sirah finished the savory portion of the meal beautifully, with rich notes of chocolate, plum, and cherry. On the palate it’s jammy with rich oak.
The experience was finished with Spiced Pavlova for dessert, served with goat cheese mousse and honey. The mildly sweet dish finished our evening well and left us completely stuffed.
Satterfield’s has an upcoming Valentine’s Dinner that follows a similar structure. The menu is available here.