The first course was Nantucket Bay Scallop ceviche paired with the 2008 Chardonnay. This was, unfortunately, my least favorite pairing. The wine was very nice: clean, light, tropical pineapple flavors but the ceviche was fairly nondescript and it was overpowered by the Chardonnay.
Next up was the Grimaud Farms Moscovy Duck with the 2010 Desamis Pinot Noir. The chef completely redeems himself with this pairing. The fuller body style of Pinot with its ripe red fruit flavor and earthiness complemented the ragout of duck confit with sopressatta and gnocchi perfectly. My husband is not a huge fan of duck, California Pinot Noir or gnocchi; only the sopressatta sounded good to him when he read this part of the menu. Throughout this pairing, he commented several times on how surprised he was at how much he enjoyed it. A good wine, a good course and all together, a good match.
Dinner guests were also treated to a couple of off the menu wine tastings between courses, the new release of Fourteen Appellations and the Stag's Leap District Reserve Cabernet. A nice surprise, both were rich expressions of Napa Valley wine and were also excellent with the next course.
The main course was an Akaushi New York Strip with pomme maxim, aligot and asparagus with marrow enriched oxtail jus paired with the 2007 Reynolds Estate Cabernet which was soft and fruity. The steak was cooked to perfection and the flavors were fantastic.
The dessert course was another pairing that I was not overly excited about. This time I thought the dessert was amazing but the wine was lacking. The sticky toffee pudding with pistachio gelato and brittle was yummy but the wine, Naughty Sticky, a 50/50 Semillion/Sauvignon Blanc blend, was just not sweet enough for the dessert. I opted to eat the dessert and leave the wine and I am certain I made a good choice.
This was the first wine dinner that I had attended at Branch Water Tavern. Overall, I really enjoyed it and would recommend their events. Dinner goers left happy and full.