Since we moved to the Lower Mills/Milton area, we have really enjoyed discovering all of the wonderful businesses and people that surround us, and we are constantly amazed at how much is going on down here. On Friday, we had the pleasure of being guests of Fruit Center Marketplace in Milton for one of their monthly wine dinners. We had visited Fruit Center Marketplace several times before for groceries, but we had no idea that there was a large upstairs area for events like the wine dinner.
The wines being poured for this particular wine dinner were perfect for Oscar weekend because they were all from Francis Ford Coppola’s winery. Years ago, we spent a magical morning at Coppola’s Rubicon Estate, but we didn’t know much about his Sonoma County winery. This wine dinner was a perfect way to learn and to taste some new wines.
The evening was led by Tim Paulus from Fruit Center Marketplace. Tim did an amazing job with the food and wine pairings, and throughout the evening shared with us how he made all of the courses.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted with Sofia Blanc de Blancs 2012, the bubbly in the cute pink cans. I think this idea is genius; the little cans are perfect for parties or getting ready for a girls’ night out. However, I will fully disclose that this was the one wine I did not taste, because I have had it before and felt it had a little harshness to it.
While we waited for the pairings to begin, we got to know the other couples at our table, and we had an absolute blast talking with them. What better to break the ice than talking about wine and all of our travels to Napa and Sonoma?
When the food started coming, the room was filled with praise for chef’s creations and the wines chosen to pair.
We started with Pizza with Brussels Sprouts, Crispy Pancetta and Apple served with Arugula Salad, paired with Rosso y Rosso Pinot Grigio and Pavilion Chardonnay. The pizza crust was a simple naan bread from the store. This simple dish was all about great ingredients, and the apple on the pizza and lemony salad both popped with the wines and their own bright acidity.
The next course brought summer into the room on a biting cold evening.
We were served Marinated Roast Vegetable Stacks with San Marzano Gravy and Fresh Mozzarella, paired with Sofia Rosé and Votre Sante Pinot Noir. I could eat these vegetable stacks every single day, and I plan on giving it a go once it’s a little warmer out. The gravy, which we wanted to lick from the plates, was a simple sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes, butter, and an onion, blended and then chilled. The Sofia Rosé was a beautiful wine pairing, dry with nice fruit and spice notes, the perfect boat wine. The Pinot was also a great pairing, less expected, but was certainly light enough to go with this course. Everything about it said California to me, and I buried my nose in the glass to take it all in. I miss California.
Mid-way through the meal, we were treated to Coppola Claret with an Herbed Cabernet Granita. The granita was refreshing and delicious, sweet and savory, and the perfect palate cleanser. Tim said he uses a melon baller to scoop granita into Champagne flutes in the summer, then tops it with bubbly. The Coppola Claret is a simply gorgeous wine, with dark fruit and cocoa notes, elegant, smooth, and perfect for cold weather sipping.
Our main course was a Short Rib Style’ Braised Roast Beef with Garlic Mashed Potato Paired with Eleanor Red Blend and Director’s Cut Zinfandel. The tender beef melted in my mouth, and the potatoes were creamy and garlicky and heavenly. I am a Zinfandel lover, and this wine was out of this world full of jam and cocoa notes. The Eleanor was another wine that just shouted Napa and Sonoma from the glass. It’s hard to explain, but also amazing how a smell can bring you back to a place. The wine had all sorts of layers, lots of cherry and blackberry notes, as well as a hint of black tea. Delicious.
Our final course was Dark Chocolate Torte with Sea Salt Caramels served with Stewed Berries and Lemon Whipped Cream Paired with Coppola Port, which is only available at the winery. The dessert, including the caramels was made in house, and it was so decadent! The lemon whipped cream really added something special to the rich chocolate. The Port was off the charts.
We haven’t enjoyed an evening out like this in a long time. Our table mates were so much fun, and by the time we left my face was hurting from smiling. These wine dinners are a fabulous deal; this one was $50 and included the food and wine and also a $10 gift card to Fruit Center Marketplace! They sell out quickly, and it’s easy to see why. They are really well-planned, and it’s easy to see a lot of love goes into the food and wine.
I look forward to attending these wine dinners on a regular basis, if I can get in! Many thanks to Fruit Center Marketplace for inviting us and creating such a fun evening.
Dinner was complimentary, but I was not required to review it, and all opinions are my own.