Take two wine industry heavyweights, put them together for an evening and what do you get? A delightful four-course meal, complemented and contrasted by a thoughtfully chosen wine with each course.
The evening started in The Bird and The Bread’s Elm room, a customizable catering area at the rear end of the restaurant. Guests sipped Jackson Avant Sauvignon Blanc, before choosing seats for dinner.
For this special evening, KJ winemaker (and Grosse Point Park native) Matt Smith came to town to share his knowledge of the wines and offer his thoughts on vintage, terroir, and more. John Jonna, co-owner (with daughter Kristin) of The Bird and the Bread, Vinology and Vinotecca, was also on hand to share wine stories and talk about his 30+ years in the wine business.
We began with a beautifully prepared pan-seared halibut, in a miso broth with grilled pineapple. With a nose of tropical fruit, and a lush richness, the Jackson Estate Camelot Chardonnay complemented both the savory and sweet notes of the dish.
Our second course was a roasted duck breast, with a cherry glaze, merlot poached pears, and smoked blue cheese spaetzle—which was almost like eating mac and cheese! The duck had been brined overnight with a mixture that included cinnamon and nutmeg, and roasted to a perfect medium rare-- full of flavor and without any gaminess. The pears were poached in the paired 2012 Grand Reserve Merlot which also offered notes of spice, plum and wild berry to complement the duck.
Rounding out the savory portion of the dinner, we enjoyed braised short ribs with pink peppercorns, potato puree, grilled radicchio and chanterelle mushrooms. The ribs were braised in peppercorns and the paired 2010 Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The meat was fork tender and luscious. The grilled radicchio tasted of smoke and complemented the earthiness of the mushrooms. The potatoes almost became a sauce which balanced the layers of flavors on the plate. The Hawkeye Cab is a single vineyard wine, offering jammy fruit, some coffee notes and complex minerality. This is an easy to drink, full bodied cab that paired well with the main course.
Lucky for me, I managed to save room for dessert. We enjoyed a chocolate tart with port soaked cherries and a hazelnut praline mousse. Sheer decadence, especially when paired with the Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Port. This is a special wine, in limited supply and normally only available in tasting room.
The Bird & The Bread is located at 210 S Old Woodward Avenue in downtown Birmingham. For more information call 248-203-6600 or visit www.thebirdandthebread.com. Find The Bird & The Bread on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Founded in 1982, Kendall-Jackson is a family owned and operated winery, offering an array of super-premium California wines. KJ wines are readily available in Southeast Michigan wherever fine wines are sold. You can also find them online, and on Facebook and Twitter.