Tuesday, March 1, 2011

a match made in heaven

there are few things in life that qualify as a "match made in heaven" but in my humble opinion, when food and wine marry - when its carefully selected and hand-crafted by those who take their passion to heart - it has the potential to create one of the most divine, sublime and memorable impressions.

take for example the marriage of stratus wine and chef ryan crawford's cuisine.

recently we held an exceptional food and wine event that celebrated both the nature of stratus' philosophy - the art of assemblage - and the fine craftsmanship of in-house food production of artisanal products by chef ryan crawford of stone roade grille in niagara. stratus considers assemblage to be "the quintessence of winemaking"- referring to "the crafting of several grape varieties to create layered wines of complexity, wines that are a true expression of the vineyard's terroir" (not to mention, these wines are absolutely delicious!).

charles baker led the group in a lively interactive wine tasting throughout the evening and the wines absolutely sung with the food. this group was even lucky enough to savour his own Charles Baker Piccone Vineyard Riesling - which has, since its debut, sustained quite a cult following of its own. (if you want to pick a bottle up for yourself, you are in luck - the CB Riesling 2008 will be released in limited quantities in Vintages this weekend)

stone road grille is self-described as niagara's first "gastro-bistro" where on any given day you will find chef ryan crawford and his team producing a variety of house cured meats, salamis and pates - amongst other delicacies. for their signature charcuterie plate, artisanal home baked sourdough breads and house made preserves are delectable accompaniments. although taking such care and consideration to procure specialized products and use of local ingredients has become a bit of a standard in many modern day kitchens, the magic is truly felt when ryan's flavours meet on the plate.

stratus and stone road grille have shared a history of fine wine and food pairing and enjoyment over the years and here, in photo documentary, is the mouthwatering story of what unfolded at urban element that night....

Preserved White Asparagus /House Smoked Salmon Salad
Ice Syrup/Citrus Vinaigrette
2009 Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyard

Sustainably Caught Wild BC Tuna
Clams “Casino” Sauce
2006 Stratus White

“Shepherd’s Pie”
Braised Lamb Shank Ragu/Roasted Root Vegetable/Potato Puree
2007 Stratus Red

Monforte Goat Cheesecake
Strawberries Preserved in Balsamic/White Peppercorn Sauce
2008 Stratus Icewine Red