Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Apothic Winemaker Dinner at Tavern Road, South Boston

So I have a secret for you all.  Sometimes what attracts me to a bottle of wine is it's label.  Sometimes a pretty label gets my attention and call it wine lust- I'm immediately drawn in for a better look.  Then I read about it, I read the cards the store provides, I stealthily look up the wine on my phone...think a teenage girl with a crush doing reconnaissance work about that dreamy guy in her trig class...yeah that's me with some wine labels.  That is how I was first introduced to Apothic Wines.  I saw it as I was scanning wines that I thought my mom might enjoy.  I saw its pretty label, read through the information, scanned the interwebs and purchased.  I had a hit, so when I received an invitation to dine with the wine maker Boyd Morrison at the recent Boston food scene splash maker Tavern Road, I don't think I even considered my reply before saying yes.  

Apothic Wines hails from Modesto California, and what I like a lot about their company is that they center their offering around blends.  They offer three varieties, a red, a white and just over the last few years, a rose.  As much as I respect a single grape wine, and the austerity that it provides, blends are able to do quite a bit.  A skilled wine maker, like Morrison, is able to taste where one grape will compliment the others and create a harmonious blend.  I often find blends to be exceedingly drinkable and easy to pair.  Apothic's red combines Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Their white brings together Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato.  And their newly introduced rose, currently offered in a limited release, has the grapes of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

We began our evening sipping the light and refreshing Rose.  Now the beauty of
rose, in its gorgeous color, comes from how the grapes are treated, deriving its juice from the skin.  Here the result was a light and fresh wine, acidity nicely complemented with sweetness and a perfect sipping wine for a warm evening.  I elected to pair this with a grilled octopus salad enhanced with focaccia croutons, baby tomatoes, soft larossa lettuce and a cured meat vinaigrette for my first course.  I loved this salad.  Octopus is so often overcooked and end up tough and chewy, here though the octopus was incredibly tender and flavorful.  It's meaty quality fully present in the plump pieces that were served.  The meat cured meat vinaigrette added a wonderfully salty pairing that was nicely offset with the bright fresh vegetables.  Together with the rose it was a wonderful start to my meal.

Our main course was up next and served with the Apothic Red.  Now here was a perfect example of how wonderful these wines are to pair. Our options for the entrees were either a Harissa rubbed lamb leg served with romesco, ramps and hazelnuts, or an olive oil poached bluefish served with fava beans, english peas and clams.  These were entirely opposite dishes via flavor profile, but yet the Apothic Red with its nose and flavors of black cherries and rhubarb mixed with the deepness of chocolate, mocha and vanilla.  As I sipped my wine and it mingled with my perfectly cooked spicy lamb, they worked in harmony.  Our entrees were served with sides for the table, a dish of bok choy served
with green beans, shallots and almonds; baby beets paired with dates, cauliflower and horseradish, and potato gnocchi with dandelion and aged balsamic.  Two things of note beyond the lamb being amazing.  First, pillowy soft, decadent gnocchi combined with bitter greens and sweet balsamic is a food match made in heaven.  Chef Louis DiBiccari is a genius.  Its simple. Also- if Chef DiBiccari is catching onto a trend of throwing nuts into dishes to add contrasting textures - I applaud.  They are a very welcome and up until recently under utilized ingredient.  

We finished off dinner with a dessert that no one could resist, cookies and ice cream which will always find perfection in its simplicity and paired it with the Apothic White. Now the Apothic White is on the sweeter side of white, but the flavors it marries makes it a celebration of summer.  Peach, pineapple...a touch of honey...these are the flavors that are so wonderful to sip chilled and sweet.  Here it was paired with a spicy cinnamon ice cream and warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie.  The flavors harmonized and the cookie was basically heaven.  

Tavern Road has been on my list to visit for some time now, and it definitely didn't disappoint.  Located in the uber trendy Fort Point area, its front wall is windows that slide open to create a outside inside feel that's perfect in these summer months.  Chef DiBiccari is preparing clean, interesting food with bright flavor and well executed methods.  My crush on Apothic Wines has only grown.  They are reasonably priced and I've found them in a number of wine stores around the area- go, check them out, and check out Tavern Road. 



Kristen said...

awesome write up of a great meal with excellent wines!! so nice to see you!

Michelle Collins said...

Looks and sounds like a great meal! I love their Red wine.

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...