This past weekend Megan and I hit the road, traveling out to the Charlottesville wine country to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Saturday we went to Palladio at Barboursville for lunch, followed by a cruise through their tasting room, went on to “a bad winery experience” (click to read) and then headed on to White Hall Vineyards. Sunday, Jeff and Elizabeth joined us as we headed further West to the Afton mountain area to taste at four more wineries. On the schedule for the day were Pollack Vineyards, Veritas, Afton Mountain and Flying Fox wineries. I am not going to post about all the wineries but I will say that I had an excellent time and couldn’t have asked for better weather.
First up on the review is our lunch at Palladio. Palladio is the restaurant attached to Barboursville winery, named for Andrea Palladio and his influence on the Jeffersonian Mansion. Palladio is run by head chef Melissa Close and Alessandro Medici, who truly provide an awesome culinary experience. Being quite pricey (but reasonable for what you get) we definitely go only for special occasions. This was our second time there and this time was every bit as good as the first. The experience is what you would expect from a fine dining establishment with excellent, almost choreographed service and fabulous food both in taste and presentation. Prior to what is listed below our meal started with a lovely glass of sparkling wine and some lovely marinated olives and fresh baked bread.
Here is what we had –
~Tortino di Spugnole~
Morels & Spring Garlic Tartlet with Salad of Local Greens,
Fava Beans, Vidalia Onions & Fresh Lemon
Paired with the Barboursville 2006 Rose (Strawberry and faint peach, lovely medium body with crisp finish – bit tight on the nose)
~Risotto con Taleggio e Verdure~
Risotto with Roasted Italian Eggplant,
Roasted Sweet Red Peppers, Taleggio & Opal Basil
Paired with the Barboursville 2007 Reserve Chardonnay (nose: honey, apple, pear and toast; taste:pineapple, hay and oak)
Baked Ricotta filled Eggplant with Local Baby Greens,
Sundried Tomato Pesto & Basil Chutney
Paired with the Barboursville 2006 Merlot (nose: black cherry, currant, spice; taste:coffee, smoke, caramel, blackberry – good acidity, round and smooth)
~Crostata al Limone~
Lemon Soufflé Tartlet served with Prosecco Sorbet
& Blueberry Compote
~Torta alla Gianduia~
Hazelnut Chocolate Molten Cake
with Vanilla Gelato & Fresh Raspberries
Both were paired with the Barboursville Philéo n.v. (honey, almonds and flowers)
All I can say is that each course was fabulous and the pairings were spot on, highlighting the components of each part of the meal. The tart was quite nice, the warm earthy flavors were complimented nicely by the cold fava beans that were on top, combining both unique flavors as well as texture profiles. The risotto was cooked to perfection, just slightly al dente and seasoned perfectly. The eggplant dish was extremely flavorful and not overly rich despite its description. Being baked and not fried, the eggplant was a component of the dish rather than being the dominant flavor element, and it was complimented by the nuttiness and garlic of the pesto- a truly mouthwatering combination. The desserts were too awesome to describe, our empty plates spoke for themselves.
You can choose from 2 courses up to 4 (what we did) and can also choose to forgo any wine pairings, but that would just be silly. J If you feel like treating yourselves, the trip to Palladio is definitely worth the drive.
Stay tuned for our review of Pollack Vineyards.