by Eric Doksa
Last week, Halls Chophouse hosted an elegant dinner with Peter Mondavi of Charles Krug Winery as part of the Charleston Wine +Food Festival. Charles Krug Winery is Napa's first winery, which started in 1861. The Mondavi family bought the winery in more than 69 years ago and it's still a family run business (unlike that of Robert Mondavi Winery).
The night started off with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc and small bites before moving into the main courses.
Four carefully crafted courses were created by Executive Chef Matthew Niessner. A confit of quail, fall-off-the-bone tender, crisp gaufrette potatoes, and a medley of forest mushrooms paired well with the 2011 Chardonnay, which exudes citrus and peach flavors with a buttery texture. The spicy berries and hints of vanilla of the 2011 PInot Noir complimented the antelope pate, pistachio biscotti, and black cherry gastrique.
Each dish was tasty in its own way, but there's no leaving Halls without a perfectly cooked steak. The dry-aged prime New York strip was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, sliced, and then fanned out on top of a creamy bed of black truffle risotto. The 2010 Reserve Generations, a deep garnet blend, revealed a mouthful of dark berries and nutmeg, which went hand in hand with the beef.
The good company and great pairings made for a wonderful night. Before the dinner, I had heard of Charles Krug Winery but had not tried any of the wines. I must say, the wine is quite impressive. Yesterday, I picked up one bottle each of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cheers to Halls Chophouse and Peter Mondavi for that.