Friday, January 2, 2009

Luncheon At Nickel & Nickel

Life on a vineyard can sound so romantic, but one Texas family's account in todays Wall Street Journal is a less than glamorous tale. And according to the same article, the average price of a Napa home in 2008 was $608,258 (down from $860813 in 2007), it's a very expensive place to live. But still there is a small-town quality to life in what is, after Disneyland, one of California's top attractions. Our host for lunch, Dirk Hampson, moved to Napa as a very young man, and recounted many stories of growing grapes and raising his family in Oakville.

Located on Route 29 in a charming house, Nickel & Nickel is the sister winery to Far Niente (famed for their dessert wine, Dolce), and features all single vineyard wines. They recently completed installation of a vintage barn, originally found on the east coast and transported, re-constructed, to compliment their Victorian themed winery. Which is where we were served a delicious lunch prepared by chef Abimael Martinez:

Smoked Tomato Bisque with a seared Day Boat Scallop ('06 Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay, '06 Searby Vineyard); Duck Leg Confit Salad with roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes ('05 Harris Vineyard Merlot, '05 Suscol Ranch Merlot); Slow Braised Osso Bucco with Polenta ('05 C.C. Ranch Cabernet, '05 Branding Iron Cabernet, '05 John C. Sullinger Cabernet, '05 Vogt Vineyard Cabernet); Green D'Anjou Pear Clafouti with Dulce de Leche sauce ('04 Dolce).

It seems like great quantities for lunch, but portions of food and wine were all moderate - it's about tasting the flavor combinations.

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