January 21, 2023

Black Cat at BookCliff winery. We try to get to these whenever we can. They’ve only done one a year until this year, when they’ll be doing several. 

We covered this event differently than the previous one. This time we concentrated on the producers' talks and not so much on our impression of the dishes. This really does feel like we’re in Galt’s Gulch in Atlas Shrugged, surrounded by people proud to be making things!

Here’s the venue, yes they set the tables up right in the aging room of the winery!

Some of the wines spend time in these stainless steel tanks.

The place setting, with a neat napkin fold that we can’t positively identify. It’s a bit like the Bishop’s Mitre fold, but not quite.

First Course - Pumpkin Frites with Harissa sauce, spiced raisins, and sugar snap pea sprouts. It’s paired with Bookcliff’s 2021 Rosé.

Martin was pretty skeptical, but wow this really worked.

Second Course - Creamy Polenta with Tomato fonduta, Taleggio cheese, and arugula. It’s paired with Bookcliff’s 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a very different style of Cabernet Sauvignon that we actually enjoyed, it’s very much fruit forward instead of being very oaky and tannic. There were even citrus notes present!

The tomato fonduta was presented by the polenta, with the very mild polenta and the quite powerful fonduta contrasting nicely.

Here’s Bookcliff’s vintner talking about the Cabernet Sauvignon. Since we weren’t “officially” recording this, the movies aren’t perfect ☹️.

Here’s chef/farmer Eric Skokan talking about the Wapsie Valley corn in the polenta and the process of making the tomato fonduta.

A bit about the type of tomato they’re using -  the Principe Borghese tomato.

Third Course - Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb with Piperade (a spicy tomato-pepper sauce from the Basque region of France) and olive oil poached carrots. The pairing this time is with Black Cat’s 2019 Heritage. 

Black Cat’s lamb dishes, made with lambs that they raise, are all amazing, the carrots were really bright and slowly poached in olive oil for a really amazing note.

How the Black Cat Heritage is different from the Bookcliff Ensemble.

Chef/Farmer/Vintner Eric Skokan goes into detail about the making of the Black Cat Heritage wine.

Chef/Farmer/Vintner Eric Skokan goes into additional detail about the making of the Black Cat Heritage wine and the carrots aren’t just poached in olive oil, there’s citrus in there too. That’s why they were so bright!

Fourth Course - Grilled Beef Loin with creamed spinach, horseradish, and grilled beets. Paired with 2020 Petit Verdot.

Of course, by this time, Martin has spilled some wine.

This is one of the most amazing dishes. The horseradish isn’t just hot, it is delicious, and bright, reminds you of springtime, and is quite mild. The spinach had just the right touch of garlic to make it really stand out. 

The beef was rich and really full flavored.

About the Petit Verdot wine

The root cellar and the fourth course. There are potatoes in it as well as the beets.

Fifth Course - Walnut Cake with Creme au beurre, poached figs, and chocolate. Paired with 2019 Late Harvest Muscat Blanc.

Wow! Swapping out half the flour in a normal cake recipe with ground walnuts makes for an amazing dish. Then put a lot of the extremely rich Creme au beurre on top and add chocolate and you’ve got a dessert fit for a king!

We were so impressed by the Muscat Blanc that we got a whole case of it.

The desert wine, the Muscat Blanc is interesting.

The desert follows Fernand Pointe’s advice - butter, more butter!