Only a 10-minute walk from The Inn On First, a luxury Bed and Breakfast in Napa, is Carpe Diem, one of our favorite wine bars and restaurants in downtown Napa. Recently they provided two nights of a Winemaker’s Dinner where they pair the food with the wine from one particular winery. They selected Melka Winery for this event, and paired their wines with 5 different courses of food created by Executive Chef Scott Kendall.
We began with a grilled peach and housemade burrata on a crispy wonton that was paired with their Barrel Sample Mekerra Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($not priced yet). The appetizer was delicious on its own, but when paired with the wine, it went from great to “wow!”. This was followed by a warm goat cheese medallion crusted with walnuts and chamomile, paired with Metisse Mekerra Vineyard (2008) ($125), equal parts cabernet franc and merlot. Bold nose, heavy dark fruit flavors with deep spice. A nice contrast with the goat cheese.
Our next course was housemade paparedelle with braised lamb, paired with CJ Cabernet Sauvignon (2009) ($52), with soft fruit flavors in the traditional Napa cabernet style. We kept trying to not eat everything as there was so much food, but with each bite and sip you knew you needed to taste more.
Our main course was Grilled Uruguayan Filet Mignon with a crispy Camargue red rice cake, paired with Metisse Jumping Goat Vineyard (2009) ($155), a delicious Bordeaux Blend with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and petit verdot. What a perfect pairing with the beef, soft and luscious mouth feel against the savory beef flavor.
Dessert came and we finally did slow down…a little. It was a black forest truffle with bing cherries, chantilly cream, and toffee brittle. Paired with Metisse Le Chatelet Vineyard- Saint Emilion Grand Cru, with chocolate notes and black cherry, again enhancing the great combination of flavors in dessert.
Now some might think that $125/pp is steep for dinner here in Napa, but actually that is the norm, if not more, especially if you do wine pairing with your meal. The added value of this meal is that they keep pouring you more wine if you want it, as well as the interaction with the winemakers, Phillipe and Cherie Melka. Lastly, when you meet Stephanie and Scott Kendall, and Steve Distler, the owners of the restaurant, and encounter their fabulous staff, you will make Carpe Diem one of your favorite dining spots in Napa Valley.