Gwen Fowler



Coastal Uncorked kicks off with terrific wine dinner

Posted 4/27/2012 10:25:00 PM

As if an amazing five-course meal prepared by Chef Brad Daniels weren’t enough, diners at the Rodney Strong “Blend Your Own Bordeaux” dinner and seminar at Croissants Bistro & Bakery April 26 also got a chance to try their hand at mixing the perfect wine.

The Rodney Strong wine dinner was one of several themed dinners held at restaurants throughout the Grand Strand, as part of Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine and Spirits Festival in Myrtle Beach.

The restaurant is owned by Heidi Vukov, the founder of Coastal Uncorked.

Diners were greeted by servers offering glasses of sangria and several delicious appetizers: jumbo shrimp cooked in ginger; chicken and prosciutto served on crostini; and a pork and pineapple reduction, also served on crostini.

The second course featured beautiful seared scallops atop a bed of Carolina Gold risotto, served with baby carrots and a ramp nage. Daniels told diners the heirloom Carolina Gold Rice, once grown extensively in the Lowcountry, is full of flavor, and he was right. The risotto was so creamy it would make the perfect comfort food, and the scallops were perfect. The ramp nage was a type of broth made from ramps, an onion-like vegetable considered a delicacy. The course was served with Rodney Strong Charlotte Home Sauvigon Blanc.

Course three was roasted squab breast served with a fava bean sauce and morels. The dark, rich squab was cooked medium rare and delicious. It was served with Davis Bynum Pinot Noir.

Then those attending took a break from eating for a fun wine lesson. A separate area had been set up for each person with small glasses of five types of wine: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.

Hosts Jennifer Sage of Rodney Strong Vineyards and Will Gravely of Southern Wine and Spirits of South Carolina invited each person to pour a bit of each of the wines to create their perfect blend. That, Sage said, is how Rodney Strong and other winemakers create their blends.

After the experiment, diners were served the Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage, which is a blend of the same five wines diners were given to work with. I definitely preferred Rodney Strong’s version to my own.

The fourth course was slices of roasted beef tenderloin and tender asparagus, served on a creamy pimento cheese gratin. The gratin, one of my favorite dishes of the evening, elevated the lowly potato to new heights. The tenderloin was juicy and tender.

Finally, dessert was a delicious salted caramel chocolate tart, topped by a sugar lace crown. The salt in the caramel and the sweetness and richness of the chocolate were a yummy pairing.

Coastal Uncorked, in its third year, continues through April 29, and includes a major new event, the Oceanfront Grand Tasting Pavilion at the site of the former Pavilion Amusement Park.