When Madrona Manor’s Chef Jesse Mallgren creates a new dish for his Grande Dame tasting menu his inspiration starts with what is happening in the restaurant’s organic estate gardens. This seasonal freshness and his daily conversations with local fish mongers and meat producers spark an ever evolving menu with new creations appearing weekly. Once a new dish is perfected and ready to be added to the Grande Dame, Jesse teams up with Madrona Manor’s wine director and restaurant manager Eric Mercer to find the perfect wine pairing. “It really is a treasure hunt to find the right pairing” Eric says. “Chef’s food is perfectly balanced, our challenge is to create that same balance with the wine pairing.” Eric admits that this takes some time. “Sometimes we both think we know the varietal we will pair with a certain dish but during trial and error we completely surprise ourselves by landing on something different”
Eric, who grew up in Healdsburg with a family connection to the wine business, says his first love was beer, but as he got older and started working in the restaurant business wine became his passion. “Working with Jesse on the wine pairings is such a great way to connect with wines both local and across the globe” Eric says. The Grande Dame from start to finish gives guests a wine pairing experience ranging anywhere from a Macphail Pinot Noir which is made right down the road to a Urbans-Hof Riesling created near the Mosel River in Germany. Eric and Jesse also work with couples planning their wedding menus at Madrona Manor to create the same journey. In photos, here are a couple of our current pairings on the Grande Dame menu:
MV Ayala Brut paired with Caviar – smoked duck gelee – creme fraiche
2012 Domaine Laroche Premier Cru Chablis paired with Winkler Farms Mangalitsa Pork Carpaccio – green garlic – spring onions – estate asparagus fronds
2012 32 Winds Chardonnay paired with Oyster Risotto – marrow – lemon – chives
2009 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon paired with 40 Day Dry Aged Striploin – black trumpet mushrooms – roasted carrots – hopsread more
Long gone are the days of visiting wine country for the wine alone. As a leader of the nation’s farm to table movement and home to a blossoming beer industry, people are flocking to Sonoma to experience artisanal America at its finest. And with the recent record-breaking boom of the U.S. craft distillery industry, craft cocktails are now a welcomed shift in gears for both Sonoma locals and travelers who have been sipping the grape all day.
Here enters Pamela Bushling: a witty, creative and award-winning mixologist that has been shaking up wine country with her seasonal, garden-fresh and meticulously developed cocktails at Madrona Manor since June 2011. Her dry humor charms, especially when paired with her limitless enthusiasm for talking craft spirits and tinctures. With the bounty of the estate’s on-site organic garden, endless knowledge generously shared by the chefs and tasting offerings from a wide array of small-distribution distillers both near and far, here she finds the freedom to truly be creative.
Some of Pam’s favorite distillations are Blackwood gins from Shetland, Sonoma County Distilling Company’s rye, and Straight Bourbon from Peachstreet. Although she harbours a deep appreciation for rare, small production distillations, she warns, “Labels like ‘craft’ and ‘boutique’ are not automatically synonymous with ‘excellent’.” She continues, “For example, one of my all time favorite gins is Boodles and it’s been around since Churchill.”
Pam’s end goal is to always create a unique, and most importantly, balanced cocktail. She is fond of crafting her own homemade tinctures, like her most recent venture of infusing her favorite bourbon with French black truffles. Madrona Manor happens to be the only event venue in wine country with a full liquor license, making special events that much more special with signature cocktails that Pam tailors to the occasion and preferences of the guest.
Next time you’re in wine country and in dire need of a break from wine, stop by Madrona Manor for one of Pam’s one-of-a-kind cocktails (or, at the very least, to marvel at her extensive bar, which features an impressive collection of rare and esteemed spirits). As Pam would say, she is simply doing her duty to raise cocktail awareness in wine country, one glass at a time.read more
It’s holiday season at Madrona Manor, and just before we kick off our popular Dickens Dinner series on December 7th, we’re excited to announce a special guest chef dinner to add to our wonderful month-long holiday celebration. (more…)read more
It’s official: Madrona Manor remains the jewel in Healdsburg’s dazzling culinary crown, attaining its Michelin Star rating for an eighth straight year. Yesterday, the 2015 Michelin Guide (more…)read more
The following is the introduction to the Wineroad Cookbook by our Executive Chef Jesse Mallgren. We think this really exemplifies the great care and attention to detail he practices in every aspect of life and how his passion for food comes through in his creations on the plate.read more
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