January 15 2013 issue
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Winery Restaurants Around the World David Furer, CWE
The primary business of wineries is to make and sell wine. In recent years, however, many vintners have found hospitality to be a fruitful sideline. Some run profitable tasting rooms; others operate onsite restaurants or partner with nearby establishments in a bid to draw more visitors (and wine customers) by showcasing the region’s culinary and pairing traditions.
The following is a survey of outstanding winery-affiliated restaurants that I’ve discovered on my global travels.
Le Cigare Volant
Bonny Doon Vineyard founder and winemaker Randall Grahm readily admits, "There is some sort of hubris that compels one to venture far from one’s area of competency, as I have done with my plunge into restaurateurship. At least my motives were semirational." He asserts that his wines show best served with food, adding that "it is increasingly difficult to operate profitably through the wholesale tier of the wine business, and anything one can do to boost one’s direct-to-consumer sales is, at least potentially, a reasonable endeavor." At his farm-to-table restaurant, Le Cigare Volant, Grahm supplements his regular wine list with a selection of mostly European "Vins de Terroir" that illustrate distinct soil types to "allow for both an interesting didactic moment for the consumer and a metastatement about what our true aspirational values are."
328 Ingalls St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
At their solar-powered tasting room and restaurant, housed in buildings dating back to the 1870s, the Hall family employs the same sustainable and certified-organic practices they’ve long used at Long Meadow Ranch—a winery, olive farm (boasting Napa County’s oldest olive trees), and livestock operation in the Mayacamas Mountains. In the open kitchen anchoring the rustic, A-framed dining room, chef Stephen Barber turns out contemporary dishes from his wood-burning grill and smoker. The menu features heirloom veggies, grains, and beans alongside the ranch’s own tender, grass-fed beef, as well as locally caught seafood and heritage pork.
738 Main St.
St. Helena, CA 94574
The Coppola family has made its name in movies, wine, and now food. The boisterous atmosphere of this sprawling Sonoma County operation may not be conducive to meticulous matchings, but a range of fine house and other California and Italian wines ensures that there’s much fun to be had with a predominantly Italian menu featuring organic produce.
300 Via Archimedes
Geyserville, CA 95441
Stone Hill Winery’s on-premise hilltop restaurant is a popular dining destination for Hermann-bound tourists. Founded in 1965 by "Big Jim" Held, the property is now run by his son Jon, who sees himself as winemaker second, manager and restaurateur first—though his 27 bottlings lead me to think otherwise. As might be expected in the heart of Missouri Rhineland, the food here is Germanic—think schnitzel and Sauerbraten—and easily enjoyed with a Stone Hill Vignoles or Norton (see also Appellation, p. 52).
Hermann, MO 65041
Miradoro is a partnership between the adjacent Tinhorn Creek winery and Manuel Ferreira, owner of Vancouver’s Le Gavroche restaurant. Besides the house wines, other selections represent the five unofficial subregions of the Okanagan Valley: Kelowna, Naramata, Okanagan Falls, Golden Mile, and Black Sage/Osoyoos. "We play only in the British Columbia sandbox," says general manager Jason McAuliffe. "A group of six wineries applied to the agricultural land reserve to sell local beers and spirits as well, but we were dismissed because the reserve thought it wouldn’t benefit B.C. agriculture." Miradoro executive chef Jeff Van Geest makes all his own charcuterie; on my visit, bresaola with shaved pecorino and confit garlic paired well with Tinhorn’s 2011 pink Cabernet Franc, while its earthy 2008 Pinot Noir Oldfield Series complemented a line-caught filet of rock cod atop a bed of beet greens with tomato coulis.
32830 Tinhorn Creek Road
V0H 1T0 Canada
Old Vines Restaurant
Quails’ Gate owner Tony Stewart built Old Vines, with its sweeping views of Lake Okanagan, to illustrate the food friendliness of his wines. Locally sourced ingredients inform a menu that pairs well with his Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and other offerings.
3303 Boucherie Road
West Kelowna, BC
V1Z 2H3 Canada
Sunset Organic Bistro
Canada’s premier certified-organic producer, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, runs this bistro, serving seasonal, sustainably grown food from its own garden and local farmers. Over a glass of his sparkling wine, CEO Ezra Cipes, who’s currently studying for a Wine & Spirit Education Trust diploma, told me, "We’re on an agricultural land reserve, which places restrictions on the types of business that can be done. In 1997, those rules changed, allowing us to serve lunch only, with the food ancillary to the wine. That license morphed into a winery-lounge endorsement, which is how most wineries in British Columbia now have food-service operations." Accompanying the cork-covered menu, Sunset’s wood-paneled wine list offers varietal flights featuring both international and house pours to encourage comparison. For my dinner, Summerhill’s unoaked, mineral 2009 Chardonnay paired nicely with a three-garlic risotto.
4870 Chute Lake Road
V1W 4M3 Canada
Situated in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, Mission Hill Family Estate is renowned for its award-winning wines, its stunning setting and architecture, and the Terrace Restaurant. Owner Anthony von Mandl, also the largest shareholder in Washington’s Long Shadows, launched the restaurant (which is open June through September) in 2001. Twenty-six house wines are chosen by executive chef Matthew Batey and served by the 2- or 5-oz. glass as well as by the bottle. On my recent visit, the sweetness of the 2011 Mission Hill Riesling Martin’s Lane was cleaned up nicely by foie gras, though the best pairing of the evening was the 2010 Pinot Noir Martin’s Lane with local pork belly.
1730 Mission Hill Road
West Kelowna, BC
V4T 2E4 Canada
On the Twenty
The Pennachetti family runs both Cave Spring Cellars and the Inn on the Twenty (across the street from their Jordan tasting room). The inn’s restaurant, which opened in 1993 as the first establishment of its kind in the Niagara district’s Twenty Valley, combines a generous cross-regional wine list with an elegant contemporary menu. A dish of Lake Huron pickerel—steamed, sautéed, deglazed with Riesling, and served with fennel pollen-dusted lemon risotto in a Riesling beurre blanc—was a surprisingly good match for both the 2006 Chenin Blanc and 2006 Chardonnay Musqué.
3836 Main St.
L0R 1S0 Canada
Peller Estates Winery Restaurant
After a seafood-based lunch at the Peller Estates dining room, I returned for a land-sourced dinner, starting with a trio called "Duck, Veal, Pork" alongside three wines. The N.V. Ice Cuvée, an intriguing sparkler dosaged with ice wine, accompanied the pork belly; a 2007 dry Riesling came with a piece of locally produced, house-cured veal bacon over rhubarb confit; and the 2008 Riesling Icewine was served with seared duck liver. All were chosen with care by the attentive, easygoing young staff.
290 John St. E.
L0S 1J0 Canada
Trius Winery Restaurant
The restaurant of the Trius Winery at Hillebrand is open daily year round. Ingredients are mostly sourced from within a 100-mile radius; an on-site butchery program reflects the kitchen’s nose-to-tail approach. Trius’s dry 2007 Riesling wasn’t dense enough for the day-boat lobster carpaccio I tried, but it shined next to a Merigomish oyster topped with bacon; the house Pinot Noir was great alongside a maple-brined wild-boar strip loin.
1249 Niagara Stone Road
L0S 1J0 Canada
Casa del Visitante
Three generations of working Zuccardis need to eat well, so why not share their bounty with visitors? As Familia Zuccardi winery director José Alberto Zuccardi says, "Argentine food is mainly based on beef, so we drink a lot of red wine, and Malbec works perfectly. Our barbecues are ceremonial; they’re not just about eating, but also about sharing time with friends and family. Our restaurant’s traditional menus are designed to highlight the suitability of our wines and our varietal olive oils."
Ruta Provincial 33, Km 7.5
Maipú 5531, Mendoza
The fine-dining restaurant of Bodega Colomé serves meats raised on the vast property’s farm, including rabbits, pigs, chickens, and horses (OK, the horses are only for riding)—all 700 tons of whose waste is composted every year, along with grass cuttings and grape pomace, for use in the vineyards. A minimum three-hour drive from any populated area makes this a destination resort for visitors. Salteño Pedro Aquino oversees the small list of not only house wines and those from other Hess Family Estates, but also the best of neighboring producers.
Ruta Provincial 53, Km 20
Molinos 4419, Salta
Carlos Pulenta, whose family once owned Trapiche, set up this Mendoza estate in 2001 with a small posada and an excellent restaurant. Pulenta’s wines are featured, though not exclusively, in the elegant, white-tablecloth facility alongside an oft-changing menu that’s international rather than local in scope.
Roque Saenz Peña 3531
Vistalba 5509, Mendoza
Bodega y Granja Narbona
Narbona is closer by half to Buenos Aires than to Montevideo. Its Argentine owner, Eduardo Cantón, married a Uruguayan cheesemaker named Maria Jose Banchero, whose products dot the menu of their restaurant along with house-cured hams from local pigs. The wooden building, once a grocery, dates to 1909, but its young chef, Mariana Markiewicz, takes a decidedly modern approach to saucing and plating. Cantón and Banchero also own the riverside Four Seasons Resort Carmelo, located just down the road.
Bouza Bodega Boutique
Husband-and-wife team Elisa and Juan Bouza used part of their frozen-bread fortune to build a winery a short drive from Uruguay’s capital, later adding a restaurant that features not only a wide variety of food—including salads from the on-site garden—but outstanding service. An expansion completed in 2011 has helped accommodate the swarms of Brazilian tourists who dine here on weekdays. The Bouzas rely on sheep to mow the grass around dormant vines; from their restaurant, you can see the 80-head herd roaming alongside wild animals such as armadillos and capybaras. An amazing collection of antique autos, motorcycles, and scooters in the adjoining museum adds to the fun.
Camino de la Redención 7658 bis
Denbies Wine Estate
Denbies’ flint-walled, château-style visitor center contains two restaurants: the atrium-graced Conservatory Restaurant and the third-floor Gallery Restaurant, which provides spectacular views of the estate’s 265-acre vineyard—easily England’s largest. When possible, food is sourced from local suppliers. Popular among wine tourists, Denbies excels in simple quaffs, especially bubblies.
Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA
Hotel & Spa Arzuaga
On the western edge of Ribera del Duero, the family owners of Bodegas Arzuaga-Navarro run a hotel replete with wine-themed tapestries, a spa whose services include grapeseed exfoliation, and a restaurant that showcases both the region’s rich culinary history and the winery’s modern style. A fine example is the combination of pastel de puerros (silky egg custard with foie gras, raisins, and piquillo pepper-fig confit) and the top-tier 2004 Gran Arzuaga. The kitchen is stocked with ingredients from affiliated projects: the pungent extra-virgin olive oil is sourced from the owners’ groves in Toledo, while boar and venison from their upland game reserve occasionally grace the menu.
Carretera N-122, Km 325
47350 Quintanilla de Onésimo
Graham’s 1890 Lodge
The Symington family is set to open its 1890 Lodge restaurant in Vila Nova de Gaia in February. Featuring locally caught fish and estate olive oil, "the menu is designed around our DOC wines and Ports, but we will also have guest wines from producers whose quality we admire," says Symington Family Estates chairman Paul Symington. The restaurant sits at the front of the lodge, adjacent to the tasting room; an outdoor greenhouse terrace offers views of the Douro River. "We currently receive 45,000 tourists annually at Graham’s," adds Symington, "but we also intend to attract the citizens of greater Porto."
Rua Rei Ramiro 514
4400 Vila Nova de Gaia
The Restaurant at The Yeatman
Beatriz Machado, wine director of Vila Nova de Gaia’s Yeatman Hotel, stocks 25,000 wine bottles from 1,100 labels, 86% Portuguese. Between 4 and 6 p.m., guests may walk into the cellar, accompanied by one of the three sommeliers on staff, to choose wines for their meal; on my visit, a 2010 Soalheiro Alvarinho was expertly paired with prosciutto-like prsunt and a cold amuse bouche. Owned by Taylor Fladgate, the hotel restaurant earned a Michelin star within a year of its opening in 2010—the first received in the area since 1974—and was named best restaurant in Portugal by national newspaper Expresso. The by-the-glass list is organized by category and price so that, for instance, 10 Year Old Tawny Ports such as Quinta da Romaneira, Quinta dos Murças, and Ramos Pinto Quinta de Ervamoira are all 10 euros per glass, encouraging customers to taste without preconception of comparative value and promoting sales of the corresponding bottles at a mere 38 euros each.
The Yeatman Hotel, Porto
Rua do Choupelo
4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia
Schwarzer Adler and Winzerhaus Rebstock
Just as Franz Keller is known as one of Baden’s best wineries, its elegant, French-
influenced Schwarzer Adler is regarded as one of the area’s finest restaurants, having held a Michelin star since 1969. Although it offers wines from throughout Europe, including an array of Bordeaux and Burgundies, it gives pride of place to house bottlings. That’s even more true at the casual Winzerhaus Rebstock across the street, where local and regional culinary specialties are served up to the sounds of soccer matches on TV.
Loisium Wine Spa Resort Langenlois
This slick restaurant, hotel, and wine museum provide a grand stage on which owner Fred Loimer sometimes plays host and sommelier. It’s rare to encounter a wine stinking of cannabis, but the 2007 Loimer Riesling Steinmassl Niederösterreich put me in mind of my native California’s important cash crop. Medium
bodied, with a big, mineral finish, it worked beautifully with freshwater pike-perch in a saffron-cream sauce.
Loisium Allee 2
The Saahs family is famous for producing Demeter-certified Biodynamic wine in Austria’s oldest continuously inhabited building. From April to November, their casual Weinstube offers organic cuisine sourced from local farmers and sells a range of honeys, jams, and other pantry staples. The booming, honeyed nose on their 2003 Riesling Steiner Hund gives way to a heavy, mineral palate with a remarkably fresh finish; I found it an excellent match for stewed veal in a cream sauce with capers and shallots. To better serve winery visitors, Elisabeth Saahs and her family opened Ad Vineas, a nearby modern guesthouse, in 2008.
3512 Mautern, Wachau
Lunch at the Haider family’s winery restaurant includes air-cured ham from the local butcher and goulash made from a naturally raised native gray cow. Vincent Haider hunts deer for the menu; salmon is cured in house; and the garlicky goose-liver pâté is painstakingly flavored with apples, pears, and 20 spices. The wine list comprises only Rosenhof bottlings. Although second-generation winemaker Reinhard Haider touts his concentrated St. Laurent, I’m more partial to his Zweigelt—especially the soft, barrique-aged 2004 that was matched with my stew. "We make some of our wines thinking about how we’ll pair them with our dishes," says Reinhard. "It’s wonderful to look for these different elements."
7142 Illmitz, Neusiedlersee
The wine district of Steiermark is popular with Austrian city dwellers on weekends, affording a wealth of gastronomic experiences. At Weingut Sattlerhof, chef Hannes Sattler and his wife Brigitte run a hotel and restaurant specializing in vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as locally raised Almo beef. Regulars swear by the beef’s pairing with Pinot Gris; seared rare with white and green asparagus in herb butter, mine was a success with the oak-aged Pinot Blanc made by Hannes’s brother Willi. Dinner’s a more involved affair, served on a raised terrace built (as was the entire dining facility) by Hannes in 2000.
Weingut Tscheppe am Pössnitzberg
The efficient, friendly staff of the Polz family’s 40-room Gutshotel can at times seem a bit nervous, perhaps conscious of maintaining the restaurant’s Michelin star. Christian Tach runs the front of the house while seeing to an encyclopedic wine list, where a wide range of local vintages (plus a few French bottlings) can be found at outstanding prices. Johann Fuchs’s reputation as the region’s finest chef is well deserved. The 2007 Polz Sauvignon Blanc Hochgrassnitzberg had sufficient depth and acidity to cut through the richness of a dish combining local eggs, Slovenian summer truffles, and tarragon.
Turistično Vinčka Kmetija Hlebec
The Hlebec family hosts wine tastings, serves meals, and rents rooms on their farm in Hungarian-accented eastern Slovenia. Local specialties include wonderful dry-cured ham (typically accompanied by horseradish), fresh cheeses, and pumpkin—which appears in soups, salads, seeded breads, and oils. On my visit, village-raised pork with thick egg noodles held up to a range of Hlebec’s crisp, floral whites, including the 2005 Welschriesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Rino and Tinka Prelac run a lively, 23-year-old restaurant in Istra, where I not only ran into the worst weather the area had seen for many months, but just missed truffle season. Winemaker Rino works with three native varieties—Malvazija, Muscatel, and Teran—as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay; the latter, unoaked and reductive, handsomely accompanied fusi pasta with foraged porcini at my dinner. Rino’s also the president of his local hunters’ association—as illustrated by the housemade sausages, aged for a week in Malvazija then grilled over an open wood fire. The 2009 Prelac Teran cut right through them.
Dolinja Vas 23
52462 Momjan, Istra
Le Relais Dionysos
Nestled in the Bekaa Valley, Château Kefraya’s restaurant serves a casual lunch and dinner menu that combines Lebanese classics with western European dishes. The house wines—including the flagship red Comte de M, suitable for the well-seasoned, grilled local lamb—are all available at a basic retail markup in the dining room, where statues and plaques reflect owner Michel de Bustros’s love of opera.
Skillogalee Winery Restaurant
Restaurants are an increasingly popular aspect of cellar-door hospitality throughout Australia. Skillogalee owners Dave and Diana Palmer left their Canberra jobs in management consulting and teaching, respectively, to start their winery when son Daniel was just 11; today, he’s senior winemaker. The underlying minerality and acidity of their Clare Valley wines—like the Cabernet Sauvignon, for which, Dave proclaims, "we can only get the fruit ripe after a long period"—promote versatility with dishes such as pork belly with baby potatoes, buttered green beans, and pear purée. After dinner in the old country house that serves as their restaurant, the Palmers sent me packing for my plane journey back to the United States with marvelous local olive bread and marinated olives.
Box 87, Sevenhill
South Australia 5453
According to Josef Chromy restaurant sommelier Curly Haslam-Coates, "In Tasmania we can serve our meat very rare, as it is of excellent quality. A quick threaten with a flame is sufficient cooking in these parts. How the acidity and tannin of Tasmanian wines play with the delicious rareness of the meat is something that makes more sense when compared with Bordeaux than with Coonawarra. Our cheeses suit a botrytis-style wine synonymous with Germany’s finest. Champagne and oysters in Reims; sparkling wine and East Coast oysters in Tasmania."
370 Relbia Road
Relbia, Tasmania 7258
The Source Restaurant
Tasmania’s Moorilla Winery was purchased in 1995 by billionaire gambler David Walsh. The property now boasts a microbrewery, eight guest rooms, the Museum of Old and New Art (specializing in provocative contemporary works), and three food-service operations. Over a seven-course lunch at the museum’s fine-dining establishment, I was treated to a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Muse with a bowl of fresh peas, ruby grapefruit, onion, and mint. A dish of Queensland "bugs" (crayfish) in a lobster emulsion and a foie gras-eel terrine were set against two Rieslings, the 2010 Muse and the N.V. Sparkling. The slightly oaky 2008 and nutty 2009 Muse Chardonnays were well paired with poached Pink Ling cod and baby leeks. And the 2011 Praxis and 2009 Muse Pinot Noirs accompanied duck breast and leg with fresh basil, mango, palm hearts, and olive-licorice dust—a subtle take on Southeast Asian cuisine. Sommelier Joseph Burton’s list is a grand international affair, heavy on French bottlings.
655 Main Road, Berriedale
Hobart, Tasmania 7011
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