There are few things I love more in this life than great food, and great wine. Those of you who’ve experienced the two together, know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Given that this is where my passion lies, imagine how excited I was to see an email from Bridlewood Estate Winery inviting me to dinner at Odd Duck. A great California winery at Austin’s most beloved new Bryce Gilmore incarnation… I couldn’t wait!
My partner and I arrived at Odd Duck a little after everyone else. When I saw a large table filled with wine, and people holding fancy-looking cameras, I knew this was my group. The other guests were an impressive list of who’s who in local newspapers, magazines, and food blogs. I always feel a tad bit inadequate at these events, because I don’t own a digital SLR (yet). Let me demonstrate:
I put my embarrassment aside, and dove head first into the wine. (What did you expect me to do?)
We sipped complex, delicious Chardonnay as a dazzling series of appetizers came out. We had lardo (rice cracker, lard, radish), crab cornmeal pancakes with grapefruit, and red shrimp with hazelnuts and lemon verbana. I asked the winemaker if the wine had just a kiss of oak, and he said I was spot on. (Finally! All those dashed attempts at becoming a sommelier redeemed!) I hate when Chardonnays turn into the dreaded “butter bombs,” and this one had just enough oak without pushing it over the edge.
Dish after mouthwatering dish came by, and eventually we sat down to sip and discuss their luscious Monterey County Pinot Noir. By now we’d had masa roasted beets with mole and charred olive, heirloom chicken with pistachio and strawberries, and were moving on to grilled venison loin with sweet potato, vanilla, and juniper. The Pinot paired well with the strawberry-laced heirloom chicken, and the Cab stood up to the smoky, grilled venison. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of Bridlewood Estate before this event! (Also of note, it was my first time at Odd Duck, making me the last of my friends to try it.)
We finished the night with polite conversation, warm nighttime air, and more than our fair share of Cab. If you run across Bridlewood Estate on a restaurant menu, or perhaps in a supermarket, be sure to give them a try. I don’t think I need to remind you to visit Odd Duck, I think those pictures speak for themselves.