Saturday night, our friends M and T came over for dinner — a dinner that ended up being a celebration of the first day of fall. We served all local wines along side a lot (but not all) locally sourced ingredients. And, while I don’t have any pictures or recipes to share, I thought I’d write a bit about the menu anyway…

Proscuitto-Wrapped White Figs with Toasted Pine Nuts and Balsamic Drizzle

Wine: Peconic Bay Winery 2005 Riesling

This was borrowed from an appetizer Derrick served when Nena and I were out in the Bay area. Instead of speck, I used Prosciutto di Parma and added the drizzle and pine nuts. Of course, I don’t have a "crazy fig lady" to get my figs from. I had to use grocery store-bought ones. They turned out very good though…and this wine was even better than I expected. Peconic Bay makes a decent riesling in most years, but this one…this is definitely a riesling for riesling lovers.

Pumpkin Soup with Cider Syrup

Wine: The Lenz Winery 2004 Gewurztraminer

The cheese pumkin that I picked up at the farmers market was actually the impetus for this entire meal. You can find a million recipes for pumpkin soup but I picked and chose from several to come up with my own (which I didn’t write down). I also bought some fresh, local apple cider, added some real maple syrup, allspice, cinnamon and ginger and reduced about two cups to half a cup. I just drizzled a little on the soup before serving. The wine, while not as good as some of Lenz’s previous efforts, worked well here.

Pear and Prosciutto Risotto
Cakes With Sage, Fried Prosciutto and Creme Fraiche

Wine: Martha Clara Vineyards 2004 "50" White Table Wine

If I had to do this meal over, I would have sucked it up, ignored my guests and just made regular risotto just before serving. Instead, I made it ahead of time, formed it into cakes and then had some trouble keeping them together when pan frying. The flavors were still good, but the presentation wasn’t what I wanted. I thought that the wine, a white blend, was overpowered by the fried bits as well.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta and Cipollini Onions

Wine: Wolffer Estate Vineyards 1998 Pinot Noir

I don’t like brussels sprouts — or at least I didn’t until I tried shredding them and frying them with bacon and onions. I had hoped to get local sprouts, but I wasn’t able to find any. Turns out that they need a few cool nights before they really come out, so mid-October is their best guess out east. I did a three-hour maple brine for the tenerloin and then rubbed it with some basic bbq rub. Nena thinks that the pearl onions didn’t work here (usually I just put a little sliced onion in) and I think she’s right. They just weren’t as sweet as expected. This wine is delicious and I’m glad I have a couple bottles left.

Assorted Cheeses

Wine: Sherwood House Vineyards 2001 Merlot

M brought cheeses from his local Whole Foods (which is also the one nearest our house…about 45 minutes away). I honestly don’t remember much about them other than I loved the hard Italian cheese. Maybe he’ll see this post and enlighten us? The Sherwood House merlot is a wine that doesn’t get enough fanfare…it’s a house favorite.

Riesling-Baked Pears with Fresh Whipped Cream

Wine: Macari Vineyards 2004 Block E

Simple dessert — luscious nectar of a wine. The wine was the star of this course and that’s no surprise. Macari’s Block E is typically one of my favorite ice-style wines each year.