Written by Anita
December 1, 2013
Through December 20th, you can come, taste, and savor the flavors of the French Rhone valley at Ripple with a special seasonal menu and more than 20 traditionally Rhone varietal wines (13 reds, 6 whites, 1 sparkling, and 1 orange!) each available in 3- or 6-ounce pours or by the bottle.
We recently sampled the French-influenced menu created by chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley, along with wine pairings carefully chosen by sommelier Danny Fisher, who spent months cultivating the wine list. (Perhaps not making it surprising that Ripple recently was chosen a Wine Enthusiast Magazine best 100 wine restaurant.)
Start your meal with the decadent white truffle custard—a quenelle of spiced lamb tartare floating in a creamy white truffle custard. Pickled mustard seeds add zing to the dish; chopped peanuts add crunch. Topped with shaved winter truffles, this dish is certain to please. Sommelier Fisher pairs it with a 2011 Georges Vernay Viognier (Le Pied de Samson) with a fresh and clean finish that offers the perfect counterpoint to the dish’s uber-richness.
Next course? We were captivated by the bright green and herby housemade parsley fettuccini. Delicately sautéed in garlic, shallot, and lemon, it is adorned with plump savory escargot (how French!) Wash it down with the Donkey & Goat “Stone Crusher” Roussanne—the menu’s only orange wine (the trick is making a white wine more like a red by leaving it in contact with the grape skins for 16 days.)
Feeling fishy? Then opt for the seared halibut—perfectly crispy on the outside, flaky and moist on the inside. Accompanied by a medley of winter root vegetables, lobster, and a red wine demi-glace, it will warm you from the inside out! Those who prefer fowl to fish should try the duck cassoulet—a deconstructed version of the French classic using firm cranberry beans, fat saucissons a l’ail (garlic sausages), succulent duck breast, and tender Brussels sprout leaves. Each dish pairs perfectly with sommelier Fisher’s picks (Domaine Gramenon “La Vie On y Est” Cote du Rhone Blanc for the former and Brusset “Hauts de Montmirail” Gigondas for the latter.)
Finish your meal with the light and fluffy ilse flottante—meringue atop a crème anglaise, flanked by a sweet almond brittle and stewed quince. Paired with Domaine de Beaumairic Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise dessert wine, it will leave you sated.
Falling for the Rhone has never been so easy!