The best halibut I’ve ever eaten! You should have been here! It was a memorable evening with fine wine, perfect food pairings, a lively group of guests discussing some swinging resorts and plenty of duck fat!
Greg Norman’s Australian Grille in North Myrtle Beach delivered a big WOW with the predominantly California wines from Majestic Fine Wines and Chef Jeff Edwards’ presentation of a six-course menu. Most of us could not eat all of that food or drink all of the six wine choices, but we gave it our best shot.
Leah Carlton, Majestic’s Carolina region sales manager, introduced each wine and discussed the Kendall -Jackson company and its heritage. The company was begun in 1982. Its founder Jess Jackson, now age 80, his wife and family continue to run the daily operations of the winemaking. As one of the largest landowners in California, the company grows their fruit on some 14,000 acres of coastal vineyards.
The evening opened with Tuna Tartare spiked with mango, avocado and crispy wontons served with Kendall-Jackson Grand reserve Pinot Gris 2008. The rich bright wine is made with a touch of Chardonnay, Muscat, Viognier, White Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Roussanne in addition to the primary Pinot Gris and fermented in French oak barrels. Only two thousand cases were produced. Diners loved this course and the reasonably-priced wine served in the Shark Pub with its spectacular view of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The second course of Roasted Acorn Squash was thick, rich and a huge hit paired with Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2009. Among the group’s Chardonnay fans were our new friends Rob and Suzanne Cure, West Virginia residents who frequent these and other fine wine dinners during their regular visits to the Myrtle Beach area. They were immediately pleased with the subtle oak flavor of this wine.
Wondering about the duck fat? The third course of Poached Halibut took honors at the end of the evening as everyone’s favorite course. Cooked in the style of Gascony on a Butternut Squash Gallett and Pomegranate Essence, the dish was so outrageously good it demanded the chef’s explanation. The Gascony region of southwest France is famous for its ducks and geese products such as pates, preserves and foie gras. The real secret to this favorite dish: it’s cooked in duck fat. Now you know.
Also, the Chardonnay lovers were thrilled with the creamy, viscous Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2008, tasting of its eight-month fermentation in French oak.
Next came the Bone-in Roasted Veal New York Sirloin with a Carrot Celeriac Hash. Meat lovers were happy with the big veal dish. Red wine aficionados were excited by the Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. Nothing can describe this Napa fruit flavor more than the velvety smooth mouth feel.
The fifth course was Seared Bison Strip Loin. A few guests commented that they were not big eaters of red meat, although they preferred the red wines with anything. We love bison on a regular basis, a bit pricey and not always in a regular grocery but low fat in comparison to other red meats. The meat lovers licked the plate clean on this big course. The wine was an intense concentrated Yangarra Estate Shiraz 2007, nicely complimenting the bison. This wine is produced from grapes of a single vineyard located in South Australia.
The grand finale was the Black Forest Tart, a fat chocolate cherry treat, served with Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008. All of the rich fruits and earthy flavor lead to a silky taste well suited to dessert.