One of the best things about dining at Fearrington House are the custom wine pairings that we offer to our guests. Max and I believe that it enhances the complete dining experience – the perfectly executed cuisine complemented by the perfectly chosen wine. Most restaurants tend to list down the particular wines they will be automatically serving their guests on their menus – while that is convenient, it loses that element of adventure – of trying new things. I, personally, do not believe that there is only one great or perfect wine for one dish. With so many different wine styles out there, who’s to say that a particular wine won’t be as good, if not better, as another wine from a different grape or part of the world? Wine pairings do make it a lot more interesting dining experience as a whole.
I’m always very proud to mention to our guests that we have an extensive wine cellar, with over a thousand unique labels. What this means for our diners is that Max and I have free rein on the wines that we think would go great with our guests’ chosen dishes, may it be from the esoteric (Pigato from Liguria in Italy by Claudio Vio paired with our King Troll Salmon Crudo), to the adventurous (Oloroso Sherry by Gutierrez Colosia paired with the Chanterelle and Carolina Moon Risotto and Foie Gras Snow), to the classic (Premier Cru Nuits St-Georges Burgundy by Henri Gouges with the Veal Flank Steak). Our wine cellar, for the most part, is at our guests’ disposal.
Wine interacts with food in so many different ways. My favorite kinds are the ones that complement and contrast flavors. Think about the Roast Chicken with Truffle and Celery Root Puree on the summer menu right now – I would love nothing more than a buttery and earthy Puligny-Montrachet (Chardonnay) to complement that rich, cream-based puree. It’s as classic as classic can be due to that luxurious textural combination. Or if I’m the mood to both complement and contrast the dish, I’d pick the Pelaverga Piccolo by Castello di Verduno from Piedmont in Italy, which has a tart bing cherry and red plum skin tones, white pepper spice, and sliced trifola d’Alba mushrooms. The elegant nature of the wine elevates the delicate quality of the white meat, while at the same time, the freshness of the wine cuts through the richness of the puree. And that mushroom and peppery note in the wine? You bet that’s going to highlight the earthiness of the puree as well.
While we have a diverse selection of high-quality wines by the glass, which can pair seamlessly with our dishes, the wine pairing option gives our guests a chance to try wines that are normally not offered by the glass since some are already on the older vintages, or are just highly allocated wines from sought-after producers. It also gives us a chance to share and interact with our guests about these wines – their history, what makes them so special to us, and why they go wonderfully with the food. There are stories to tell behind every bottle and that makes them more interesting and unique. We love being able to spark interest in our guests especially if they are not particular fans of a wine style and we are able to reintroduce it to them as a wonderful pairing for a dish. The oft maligned off-dry to sweet styles of German Rieslings are the great winners of Max and I’s crusade to reintroduce how these wines are so versatile and magical with different types of food because despite their sweet character, there is a vibrancy in it that highlights the most wonderful flavors in a dish.
Our foremost goal is to be able to harmoniously balance and complement Chef Bedford’s cuisine to enhance the complete dining experience. So the next time you come and dine with us, do ask us to pair wines for your meal – we’d love to share you our wines’ different stories.