Greetings from Carrboro,
It felt like a big deal. I was at a picturesque vineyard in the Willamette Valley and they were having quite the shindig. Something called like Pigs & Pinot; it was an annual event, a high-dollar fundraiser of sorts. The way it worked, a hog had been raised on the vineyard and a celebrated Portland chef had won the chance to cook the pig on site and provide all the various sides. The winery provided the, um, wine – if you hadn’t already guessed.
There was a grand unveiling of the pig to much oohs and ahhs from the dapper masses. But someone from the winery let it be known that I was a chef from NC visiting the Willamette (I was their guest). And wouldn’t it be a great idea to have me take the first bite because, hey, North Carolina was BBQ central. This was announced while I was at the cheese table, back turned, overdosing on aged Rogue River Blue. My first thought at the announcement was that someone at the party had the same name as me. The second thought was, shit.
Having strangers applaud you while your mouth is gluttonously stuffed with cheese and crackers is not exactly ideal. But the crew had planned this in advance without, you know, looping me in. The woman running the event led me ceremoniously to the table where the chef and cooked pig awaited. He handed me a knife. With all eyes on me, I swallowed the remaining cheese, sliced into the hog and extracted a bite.
It was terrible. OK, that’s mean; it was pretty terrible. Undercooked. Under-seasoned. Underwhelming. And that was with the benefit of my lingering blue cheese binge adding flavor. But knowing my role, I swallowed the swine and declared it “absolutely magnificent” to the great satisfaction of the chef and the crowd splayed around me. Everyone lined up to get some of the pig. I went back to the cheese table.
But the wines were truly delicious. Cross my heart. They were the actual stars of the event. The winemaker walked around with older vintages for us to taste. The owner poured a few magnums from their very first vintage. I was officially a fan. And have been ever since. The next night, I had a bottle of their wine at a restaurant in Portland. But with lamb.
On Wednesday, March 8th, Acme will return to the Willamette Valley – in spirit, at least – with a wine dinner featuring the amazing wines of Patricia Green Cellars. Located in my favorite sub-zone of the valley, Ribbon Ridge, the winery consistently produces some of the most sought after pinot noirs in the entire country. The dinner will be four courses and five wines. A ticket for the dinner is $75 and can be purchased here. Menu is below. We’ll kick things off at 6:30pm. And don’t worry, we’ll do our part to make sure the food is equally delicious. Without blue cheese.
Just have to add that the patio will be open tonight. Who knew that 80 degrees and February would ever be used in the same sentence? Am I right?
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme