“I love wine on the Sabbath,” said my friend Vanessa, referring to the fact that The New Yorker will be closed to the public on Sunday, Oct. 12 in honor of this private wine fête. Chef Will Pliler has put together a terrific autumn harvest-inspired menu which includes a kick-off course of one of my favorite things: sweetbreads. Pliler served his crispy, battered sweetbreads with wild mushrooms cloaked in puff pastry, along with Fisher Unity 2005. This silky, luscious Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is a limited production cuvee, made from a mix of valley and mountain vineyard grapes. There’s lots of blackberry and chocolate, and although it’s still young, the good acidity and ripe tannins worked very nicely with Will’s sweetbreads. It might be your only chance to get your lips around this limited bottling.
Before the sweetbreads, though, you’ll get a taste of Gruet Blanc de Noirs Brut, which isn’t made by Fisher. In fact, it’s a bubbly from New Mexico, of all places. To be honest, I was skeptical. But Gruet, made from black Pinot Noir grapes, has a lovely, foamy mousse, and is quite crisp with lots of apple-acidity tang. It’s a very clean-tasting sparkler and a fun way to kick off a party.
A salad of heirloom beefsteak tomatoes from Borski Farms with preserved red onion and a cheesy crostini is immensely refreshing alongside Fisher Mountain Estate Chardonnay 2006. I noted tropical fruit flavors (kiwi, pineapple, Asian pear) in this harmonious Chard, sort of like a piña colada in a bottle with some almost-hidden minerality and a nutty, lemony finish. Good stuff.
I’ve written about Fisher Vineyards in the past, so I won’t rehash all of that here. But you might recall that co-proprietor Juelle Fisher grew up right here in Salt Lake City. Husband Fred is from Detroit where his family made auto bodies for General Motors—yes, it’s that Fisher, as in “Body by Fisher.”
Hence, the name of 2004 Fisher Coach Insignia Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Made with Bordeaux varietals from Fisher’s Napa Valley Estate, this is a deep, intense wine that will need to breathe a bit to be accessible. It tastes terrific, with dried currant flavors, some woody spiciness and a hint of herbs. It is a bull’s eye with Pliler’s herb-crusted Colorado lamb chops and port wine-shallot sauce, served with a mélange of late summer veggies.
Following a frisée salad, you’re going to be treated to a ridiculously delicious Mascarpone-Tahitian vanilla cheesecake with a Port wine poached pear and almond praline. Oh yeah, that’s the ticket.
To join Will Pliler and Juelle Fisher for The New Yorker’s Fisher Vineyard wine dinner on Oct. 12, phone 363-0166 for reservations (required). It’s a good deal: $45 for dinner and $50 for the optional wine pairing, plus tax and tip.