Although there are many wonderful restaurants in the Paso area, there is something extra special about dining at a winery.
Pear Valley, makes estate-grown wines from 25 different varietals. Their winery on Union Road is surrounded by rolling hills covered in vines and oak trees. This was the perfect location for a Winemaker’s Dinner.
Although the original plan was to set tables along the vineyard and have guests enjoy dining in the the open air, the unexpected cool August evening resulting in the dinner being moved to the spacious event room. Guests could still enjoy the vineyard views through the large windows.
Prior to dinner, there was plenty of time to taste wine at the bar, chat with the staff, stroll around the property and mingle with other guests.
The Hurricane Kitchen catered the event and provided a couple of passed appetizers prior to guest being seated. Honey Roasted Tomato Brushetta and Grilled Shrimp & Vegetable Skewers were served with the recommendation of pairing with 2018 Tom’s Oak Chardonnay or 2017 Mourvedre.
The other perk to going to a winery for dinner is that the wineries often bring out wines that are not currently available. This was the case at Pear Valley, and guests were able to get a sneak preview (and chance to purchase prior to release) of the new vintages. Chef Richard Verhagen did a wonderful job showcasing the wines by pairing them with his gourmet creations.
Louie Ortega provided live music throughout the evening. He is a talented, local favorite. Louie seems to have a real knack for playing at the ideal level — nice and easy while guests were dining, and lively between courses and after dinner.
The first course was a mixed greens salad with grilled, smoked, pork belly topped with Parmesan, roasted pistachios and a creamy sweet onion vinaigrette. This course was served with the 2016 Zinfandel.
Another advantage of attending a Winemaker’s Dinner is actually getting to hear the details of the wines from the winemaker. Pear Valley’s winemaker, Jared Lee, provided information throughout the evening and entertained the guest with his witty charm.
The main course was a bourbon marinated steak tenderloin topped with a bourbon and cabernet au jus, served with rice pilaf and roasted vegetables. This paired perfectly with the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The final course of the evening was a sherry spiked creme brulee paired with the 2017 Chenin Blanc.
In addition to winemaker dinners, Pear Valley also has live music the first Friday of each month. There is no admission charge and each month the winery brings in a food truck so guest have the option of purchasing dinner as well as wine by the glass and bottle. Check out the winery’s website for details.