Sliding southward out of the mountains, the big V-8 was sucking in sleet and freezing rain faster that gas. Turning off onto an unmarked side road, the sleet finally gave way to snow.
The Benz had all it needed – a tank of high-test and cold, dense air. We, on the other hand, were hurting. We needed something to take the edge off – fat. Preferably something super-trans-modified and searingly hot…
So why were we now sitting in the snow, moaning over McDonalds? We were at our edge. The long day behind us had left us reeling. Because after six hours of refined food and more wine than I will typically see in 4 months (I lost count after 16), we needed something to remind us how special what we had experienced was.
Rob and Brent Beecham had graciously invited local food bloggers to a Food and Wine Conclave at their Montaluce Winery, hidden away somewhere outside of Dahlonega – hidden in the sense that I couldn’t find it. Which given that I was pretty sure I was mistakenly invited, I’m thinking the hidden part was intentional…
The stumbling for words began almost as soon as we turned onto the property – as in how the hell am I, who most definitely is not a wine guy, supposed to write about this? Well – I’ll keep it simple. The property, even covered in ice and fog – is beautiful. The winery, a massive Tuscan-style building that also holds Ristorante La Vigne, is impressive, inviting and best of all – comfortable. The people – friendly, warm (and I never use that word) and just truly nice – it’s not often that you meet people that really, sincerely seem happy with what they are doing. The food and wine speak for themselves.
Chicken Liver Mousse with house made pickles and lavosh
Smoked steelhead trout, boiled peanuts, fennel, Meyer lemon, sweet tea froth
Montaluce Risata, sangiovese rose
Coppa di testa, apple mostarda, cider braise cabbage, apple
Chicken thigh terrine, chicken oyster, cipollini onions, baby carrot, celery leaf
Butternut cup custard, maple gel, oat crumble, buttermilk espuma
Executive Chef Steven Hartman
Too many cameras
Ristorante La Vigne
Charcuterie leads to celebrity
Winemaker Oliver Asberger
Montaluce Winery & Estates
501 Hightower Church Road
Dahlonega, GA 30533