What a joy it was to join Christopher Mcfadden and his team at Piva Modern Italian for the first of many Wine Makers dinners to come. The work that he and his team put in to ensure our dining pleasure and safety given the current state of affairs around the world we exemplary. Everyone was in masks including the kitchen staff!
Every guest was greeted with a special treat of Sauvignon Blanc which is a special project for them that is not available anywhere else.
The glasses were placed upside down with care at every guests seat to ensure every ones safety during their dining experience.
Our first starter was a prawn salad with red peppers, granny smith apple, preserved cabbage, herbs, soy pearls, nori semolina crackers, wasabi salt, yuzu aioli. This was paired with the 2016 Kajsa Chardonnay. This wine had a darker hue due to to it’s age, and flavors of stone fruit, green apple and melon which paired beautifully with the prawn salad. The wine was pressed hard at picking and left in stainless tanks outside on the crush pad with the lid hovering on top for 5 – 6 days to allow some oxidation to occur. It was then put straight into barrel with little batonage and is unfined and unfiltered. It appears darker amber in color due to being aged on the lies.
Anyone that knows me knows how much I love Prosciutto and Burrata so to have them on the same plate is amazing! It’s a good thing I went to this dinner by myself because I wouldn’t want to share this with anyone unless they had their own plate of it of course. The Prosciutto & Burrata were the stars of this dish but we still have to give credit to the supporting actors who in my opinion help to make the stars shine! This dish was complete with shaved cured egg yolk, focaccia lace, peach, pine nut, miso, honey and basil oil. This dishes wine was a bit younger than the last but age is just a number. This was paired with the 2018 Kajsa Chardonnay, a little lighter in color and more fruit forward with notes of butterscotch, vanilla, apricot, green apple, melon and honey.
Deux Hivers is French for Two Winters, which is how long these wines are aged in barrel before being bottled and released. While coming from the clone of grapes these two vintages show very differently in the glass.
Our 3rd dish was a Mushroom Ravioli served with grana padano, mushrooms, cream, truffle oil, pickled shimeji mushrooms, dried kombu seaweed, sage and bonito flakes. The sauce used with the ravioli reminded me of rich mahogany. This paired with the 2015 which showed very prominent old world notes of mushroom, forest floor, smoke, cherry and plum. The mushroom note in the dish muted the savory notes in this wine and really brought the cherry and plum notes to the forefront on the palate.
The duck breast was the star of the show to be sure. Served with miso-glazed gnocchi, onion, peas, brown butter carrot puree, pickled daikon radish, black garlic & balsamic reduction.
With the mushroom dish we saw how matching flavor with flavor helps to bring out the fruit in the wine. With this dish we saw how contrasting flavors in food and wine help the wine and the dish shine.
The 2016 Pinot Noir brought flavors of sour cherry, menthol, cinnamon and an herbacious note that paired beautifully with the duck and all of the it’s supporting cast. The real charmer here for us was the onion and the pickled daikon radish.
I’m always a fan of saving the best for last and that is definitely what they did here. For dessert we a Mocha Mousse topped with berry jam, strawberry, caramel, almond crunch, and puffed rice.
For me the puffed rice was the true champion of this dish. As you’ve likely noticed every dish in this meal had a Japanese flair to it, this was to pay homage to sous chef Eiichi Kohno’s home country of Japan.
This dish was paired with the 2012 Foxtrot ‘Henrisson Reserve’ Pinot Noir. A beautiful wine with notes of plum and rich cherry with some savoury notes to round it out.
Henricsson Vienyards only has a 3.5 acres to play with, so each year they make wine with what the land gives them. They boast of the oldest plantings of Pinot Noir in British Columbia. Chardonnay they say is the heart and soul of BC.
They believe wine shouldn’t be fat and rich, it should be flavorful.
Their philosophy stems from a desire to to achieve balance. To achieve this they like to have nice fruit, nice tannin, nice oak and nice acidity. Wine is like cooking with salt, when everything is in balance it brings out the best in every thing around it, food and friends included.
And as always watch Piva’s Website for there next Winemakers Dinner coming soon!