Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pumpkin Pie Anyone?

Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar celebrates fall with a special six-course Pumpkin Tasting Menu with wine pairings. Chef Richard Brandenburg has created a sumptuous menu using pumpkin (which is a fruit by the way) in a number of unexpected ways. Wines have been paired by nationally-renowned wine consultant, Leslie Sbrocco, author of the newly released book, The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sample the spectacular menu with Leslie Sbrocco while discussing her new book. Here is a run down of the pairings:

Slivered Scallop Ceviche and Roasted Pumpkin with Arugula and Peppers
Paired with Hoffstater Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige, Italy

Wine Notes: aromas of pineapple, honeysuckle, zesty lemon citrus on the palate, crisp finish. Nice acid for pairing with the scallops and acidity of the dish.

Crispy Sardine and Pumpkin Confit with White Balsamic Ginger Sauce
Paired with Michele Chiarlo Cotese de Gavi, Veneto, Italy

Wine Notes: Full and rich with honey and lemon citrus notes. Medium bodied. Not a horrible pairing; however, the wine seemed a bit dry for the sweetness of the pumpkin confit. A riesling or traminer from Alto Adige would have been a better selection.

Bone Marrow Ravioli and Pumpkin Risotto with Basil Pesto
Paired with Antinori Cervaro Della Sala, Umbria, Italy

Wine Notes: Blend of Chardonnay and Grechetto. Powerful and rich, apricot and sherry-like nut aromas, with earthy/mushroomy notes on the palate. Full-bodied. Great pairing with the nutty flavors of the risotto and pumpkin seeds. Also good body match.

Savory Pumpkin Pie and Roast Quail with Wild Mushrooms and Port Sauce
Paired with d'Arenberg 'Ironstone Pressings' Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre, McLaren Vale, Australia

Wine Notes: An amazing wine from the 1999 vintage. Aromas of dried cranberry, mushroom/earth notes, a touch of cedar. Medium-bodied. Matches well with the quail and mushrooms. Pumpkin pie is amazing....very savory as no sugar is added.

Venison Loin with Pumpkin Ice Cream, Morello Cherry Sauce and Chesnut Puree
Paired with Paolo Scavino Bric del Fiasc Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Wine Notes: Aromas of dark cherry with a hint of chocolate, smooth on the palate with a big tannin bite. Could have been softened through decanting. Nice match for the meat and also the cherry and nut flavors in the dish.

Pumpkin Spiced Cake and Mascarpone Cream
Paired with Domaine de Durban Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Rhone Valley, France

Wine notes: aromas of spice and apricot followed by a touch of honeysuckle on the palate. Sweet enough to handle the dessert but not overly cloying (too sweet/thick). Nice body match between wine and dessert.

The Pumpkin Tasting Menu is offered through Thanksgiving for $60 plus $20 for the wine flight.

Urbana Restaurant & Wine Bar
2121 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Photo courtesy of Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar

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