A Magical Night in Idyllwild

Last Friday Middle Ridge Winery threw it’s inaugural Winemakers Dinner. It was a fantastic night spent with new friends, enjoying wine from the new kid on the block in a snow-filled Winter wonderland.

Photo by Crispin Courtenay

If you have not yet had the privilege of tasting Middleridge wines, you have a few options. The first is to go to the Collective in Old Town, where six of them are available. The second is to go online and order a few. They are a great value and eliminately drinkable. Middleridge wines are superlatively crafted by Chris Johnston, see our previous article for tasting notes.

The night revolved around a five course, wine paired meal at The Creek House restaurant in Idyllwild.

I have one thing to say about the people that attended this dinner: the most punctual group I have ever been with. The invitations said 6:30, we arrived five minutes early and the dining room was packed by 6:35.

The staff at The Creek House were enjoying a brisk Friday night, but showed no sign of strain when tending to this large party. Drinks were immediately served and we enjoyed the 2008 Pinot Grigio with Crab in puff pastry. This was quickly followed by An arugula salad with roasted beets and blood oranges, paired with the 2008 Temecula Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Next up was scallops and shrimp on a very interesting corn sauce, served with the 2008 Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc.

I love these dueling wines, they are identical in production, so its purely the grapes and terroir showing through.

Finally the entrée was served, a roast tenderloin with a Maderia and portobella mushroom sauce, with scalloped potato and asparagus. The beef was cooked perfectly—and I say that from a Chef’s perspective—lovely creamy potatoes and crisp asparagus. It was served with the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, a classic match.

This course was followed by an amuse bouche of a lemon sorbet served in a petite ice cream cone, quite fun to eat. Last up was a flourless chocolate cake on Anglaise sauce served with the 2006 Syrah.

The dinner was a resounding success, and it was such a happy crowd that I dreaded leaving and driving down the mountain…it would have been so much nicer to grab a cabin for the weekend and enjoy all that Idyllwild has to offer.

Thank you to Melody and Chris Johnston for inviting the gang up, we had a great time, and can’t wait for the next excuse to go up the mountain.

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