Friday, February 5, 2010

Scenes From A Wine Conclave @ Montaluce Winery & Estates

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to join other local food & wine bloggers at a wine "conclave" hosted by Montaluce Winery & Estates in Dahlonega.   Now, full disclosure:  when it comes to wine, I am a complete and utter dummy.  Part of the reason I wanted to take part is to learn a little bit more about wine and rub elbows with folks who are much more knowledgeable about the subject.  

Montaluce owners Brent & Rob Beecham put together a great day for us.  Unfortunately I arrived a bit late and missed the winery tour, but I arrived just in time for lunch.  A complimentary  five course tasting menu (complete with wine pairings) was provided for us by Steven Hartman, executive chef of Montaluce's Le Vigne Restaurant.  While we dined, vineyard manager Oliver Asberger shared additional information on the wine pairings.

Everything was delicious, but my personal faves were the (locally sourced) smoked steelhead trout with meyer lemon, shaved fennel, boiled peanuts, and a sweet tea froth (paired with 2008 Montaluce risata) and a buttemilk cup custard dessert creation (paired with a 2008 Montaluce viognier). 

We were also treated to a kitchen demo, where Chef Hartman showed us how he prepared our first course, a chicken liver mousse with house made pickled vegetables and lavosh.   Following the demo, even more wine tasting!
In spite of the inclement weather, the "conclave" was a wonderful afternoon of socializing, fantastic food/wine, discussion and a bit of education for a wine novice like me.  It was so great to finally meet some of the other food/wine bloggers and "tweeps" that I've been following for a while.  Many thanks to Rob, Brent, Oliver, Steven and everyone at  Montaluce for their hospitality.  I'm looking forward to making a another day trip back to the winery & restaurant.  If you've never made the trip up to Montaluce, it's definitely worth making the easy drive up GA 400!
Montaluce Winery & Estates
501 Hightower Church Road
Dahlonega, GA 30533

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