Newton Vineyard and Carolina’s Restaurant teamed up to present a wonderful wine dinner on a recent Tuesday evening. Debbie Marlowe of The Wine Shop of Charleston coordinated the fine event. The 30 of us in attendance were greeted with Chandon’s Étoile Rose (Newton and Chandon are sister companies within the Moët Hennessy Group) and passed hors d’oeuvres. 

Soon after, we were seated and the wine maker, Chris Millard, introuduced us to Newton Wines and the 2008 Unfiltered Chardonnay that would accompany the first course, a salad of arugula, grilled peaches, toasted hazelnuts, and crispy prosciutto.  Newton Vineyard believes in natural fermentation techniques and does not filter its wines in an effort to preserve the natural depth of flavors, bouquet and strucuture.

Chef Jill Mathias demonstrated her considerable skills with the second course, a pan roasted duck breast presented with pickled blueberries and oyster mushrooms, paired with 2007 Unfiltered Merlot.  The Merlot grapes were grown in volcanic soil and were small that year, resulting in a highly concentrated wine.  The artistry of the food and wine pairings continued with the entree of braised Waygu beef belly served with 2008 Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon.  I loved this wine.  2008 was a hot growing year that resulted in a big wine with sturdy tannins.  Highly drinkable now, it will only improve with some aging. Chris blended the Cabernet with small amounts of Syrah and Petit Verdot to achieve his vision for the wine.

Finally there was dessert with chocolate ganache and aged gouda.  The wine served with dessert is a unique Newton blend called The Puzzle.  It is a classic Bordeaux style wine, the 2008 vintage containing 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 11% Petit Verdot.  The blend changes annually and just over 1,000 cases are produced.

Kudos to all involved in this wonderful wine and food event.  Try a Newton wine for a future event of your own.