As this growing season passes through one of the most commendable White harvests in our history, and the Bordeaux reds develop in superb condition on the vine, Palladio Restaurant has celebrated the completion of its first 20 years by releasinga bold Fall Menu, leading up to the anniversary celebrations of October 5th and 6th. While the anniversary feasts are fully subscribed already, the season shines outstandingly on all of our wine-growing and our dining, which was hailed by critic John Mariani as early as the restaurant’s second year, as “one of the finest and most authentic Italian restaurants in the United States.”
We present a story told in two menus, of how the restaurant has inspired and confirmed the quality of our wines, and how the wines have brought the brightest energy to the kitchen’s revelation and development of all its ingredients. We sometimes have to force ourselves to see the vineyard and the restaurant as separate organisms, only to wonder why we should try.
Nothing in the world of gastronomy more drives the principle of “Eat Local” than viticulture, where locality is everything. Take the case of our Nebbiolo — one of the most widely admired in the country — a wine which the sages often said, “couldn’t be done” in Virginia. Renown of the wine’s origin in Piemonte seemed to deem it untransferable. Yet it was because of this prejudice, that Palladio Restaurant was born: to furnish the proving ground for revealing the authenticity, or typicity, of Nebbiolo as grown on a hill called Goodlow Mountain in the unheard-of wine region called Virginia.
In the anniversary feasts of October 5th and 6th, Nebbiolo Reserve 2014 will be poured to accompany a presentation of a Flan which carries the wine’s luminous locality into the sourcing of the dish’s defining ingredients, classic Lagotto Truffles from West Virginia, and rich Prosciutto of our own Estate-Raised Berkshire pork. Only the trademarked Parmigiano Reggiano is indebted to the distant province of Parma, Italy. In this dish, every concentration of authentic flavor, and opulent refinement of texture which could be hoped for abroad, are achieved with locally sourced ingredients by Chef Spencer Crawford and his team, inspired by a local wine of international acclaim.
The other side of the coin, of the kitchen’s inspiring the persistence of our winegrowing methods and wine grape selections, is exemplified by the new seasonal menu, in one of the great classics of Autumn dining at Palladio, a Ravioli de Zucca in Brown Butter, Sage, and Pumpkin Seeds, which we serve with Barbera Reserve 2017, one of our most intensely popular wines -- yet not the only one to favor this dish, given the alternative of Viognier in our bright style without oak barrel aging. We select the Barbera specifically because of its inherent varietal brightness, structured by acidity akin to a white wine’s, with tannins so mild as to seem almost absent. This culinary classic inspires both the cultivation of a red wine of Barbera’s qualities, and the vinifying of Viognier to reflect them in a warm-climate white wine. With these inspirations, we have won the Monticello Cup with our Barbera and repeated designations of Best in Region for our Viognier.
Palladio and our vineyard are best seen as poles of an infinite feedback loop of seasonal celebration. If it is true that our winery produces so many varietals that it is awkward for some critics to cite its leadership in any single one, the converse is even more true: this is the only vineyard, in a very large radius, which can service the demands of a spectrum of ingredients of a feast of many distinguished courses.
Our latest adventure in the resources of the Estate is centered in the enrichment of biodiversity through our Allegrante Meadow, now so flourishing with pollinators as to enhance the balance of favorable insect life for our vineyards, and to allow us to become our own beekeepers, for honeys of a standard celebrated in Virgil’s Georgics (40 BC), and demanded today by Palladio’s kitchen in several dishes, especially for serving with distinguished cheeses. We thank our longtime friend, beekeeper-proprietor of Elysium, Diego De Corte, for his technical advice and encouragement in this project.
We do celebrate our winegrowing at Palladio’s anniversary, and in every meal when you can join us. May I suggest our Annual Truffle Feasts, the weekend of November 9th and 10th? An Estate tradition, preceding even the planting of our Nebbiolo. Or should I say, inspiring?
For up-to-the-minute announcements,
check our Facebook page.