Chef Lance Carlini at Miraflores

Yesterday’s indulgence was a feast prepared by Lance Carlini, Executive Chef at Piatti in Sacramento, to showcase how his “farm-driven, hyper-seasonal cuisine” matches up with Miraflores’ approachable and elegant wines. Any meal at their Mediterranean-inspired patio is exquisite but what made this one memorable was the chef’s use of local seasonal ingredients and ambition to enrich each dish with their natural flavors.

The first course was an apple, black walnut, wild arugula, mint and early citrus salad paired with a light crisp Barbera. The pepper in this arugula was big and bold enough to enhance the tart red berry fruit in the Barbera. Next, a Mourvedre danced around your mouth against a rich butternut squash angelotti with fried sage and bacon in a brown butter sauce topped with pomegranate. The crisp plum in the red wine cut through the rich butternut squash and brown butter sauce while the tart pomegranate stood up to the dusty rustic layers in the wine. The rich short ribs on white polenta with mushrooms, smoked blue cheese and horseradish root matched wits with the big bold Zinfandel. But the final dish was the most ingenious. Persimmons and panna cotta with toasted pistachios and “orange surprise” danced on your tongue, literally because it contained pop rocks! The fizzle of the pop rocks was an excellent match for the slight frizzante in the Mucat Canelli and the buttery pistachio flavor enriched the honeysuckle in the wine.

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