The next course, Before Dessert, was my absolute favorite: a Foie Gras Bon Bon paired with the 2009 Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir.
Not only was the Estate Pinot Noir unconditionally my kind of Pinot, with elegant aromas and complex layered flavors of black cherries, cassis, earth and cinnamon, but the Foie Gras Bon Bon, which was prepared with Root Beer, Cocoa Nibs, Preserved Cherries, Micro Mountain Mint (high altitude variety of wild mint) and Black Pepper Molasses, was loaded with complex layers of flavors, as well. Ending in a blissful combination of textures and flavors, this was an unforgettably perfect pairing.
For Dessert, the 2011 Tualatin Estate Semi Sparkling Muscat
was paired with Muscat Baby Carrot Sous Vide with Carrot Cake and Liquid Cheesecake with Orange, White Chocolate and Golden Raisins. The carrot was poached in the Early Muscat, and the liquid cheesecake was literally still in its liquid state with a slice of moist carrot cake placed on top. The peachy, sweet flavors of the semi sparkling wine was perfect with every layer of flavor in the dessert. It was truly a decadent pairing, and a perfect way to finish an outstanding meal.
After mingling with other guests around the toasty, roaring fireplace, we heard the engine on the Snowcat fire up, and we knew it was time to head back down the mountain to Timberline Lodge. As we climbed into the Snowcat, it was hard not to be star struck, in the celestial sense, as everyone stared up into the night sky. The stars appeared to be in arms reach, and the Milky Way streaked across the sky. Even Jupiter, in all its glory, could be seen very clearly—it was amazing.
Thanks to Gregory Dal Piaz and Willamette Valley Vineyards for inviting me to join in on this truly incredible winemakers dinner. A very special thanks to Iwalani ("Eva") Carr for being the talented photographer that she is, and offering me usage of her gorgeous photos that literally captured the starry night with perfection.