Pairing the culinary team from its onsite restaurant with fine wines from Blue Ridge Vineyards, Primland has put together a superhero-like tandem for fine dining.
On April 21, the luxury resort in Meadows of Dan hosted a special Blue Ridge Vineyards Wine Weekend in Elements – Primland’s restaurant inside “The Lodge,” a massive structure on the vast property that exudes nothing but first class. The weekend was billed as a celebration of spring with Blue Ridge Wine and Cuisine. Including fresh springtime ingredients from Primland’s own gardens, the event certainly did not disappoint.
Each of the four courses was paired with a wine from Blue Ridge Vineyards, an upscale “boutique vineyard” from Winston-Salem, N.C. The first course, labeled Amuse Bouche (French for mouth amuser), featured a unique spring garden salad paired with Blue Ridge Vineyards’s Steel Fermented Chardonnay – a crisp wine with hints of citrus and melon, and a smooth finish.
Course number two featured lamb ravioli (braised lamb with morels, english peas and mint). Unforgettable in itself, the course paired perfectly with Blue Ridge Vineyards’s Quorum – a red blend of six different French and Italian grape varietals, including Petit Verdot, Barbera, Malbec, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, and just a bit of Tannat.
The main course featured local rainbow trout complemented with asparagus, farro, baby root vegetables and almond jus. The Primland culinary team used it as the perfect opportunity to pair with Blue Ridge Vineyards’s Barrel Fermented Chardonnay – a dry, but buttery Chardonnay with notes of pineapple and just a hint of new French oak, rendering a smooth finish.
It is this wine of which Blue Ridge Vineyards’s owners, Adelia and Randy Gram, are most proud. The wine won a silver medal in the “Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Vintage 2010 or earlier” category at the prestigious Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival, the Southeast’s largest competition, in 2014. It came in second only to Rombauer, one of the biggest winemakers in tradition-rich California.
For dessert, Elements outdid itself, pairing a grape tart with Semillon sorbet with Blue Ridge Vineyards’s Barrel Fermented Semillon – a late harvest dessert wine, or aperitif, aged in new French oak, lemon and pear flavors, with just a hint of vanilla. The Semillon is the only semi-sweet wine Blue Ridge Vineyards offers, and the pairing with the Semillon sorbet grape tart made for an incredible finish to an extraordinary meal.
“They have been so generous to allow us to showcase our wines here. They offered the pairing menu to the entire restaurant tonight, and the chef created a very, very sumptuous menu,” Adelia Gram said. “Before sommelier and Food and Beverage Manager, Karl Kazaks, decided to carry our wines, I told him that our name is actually quite perfect for this resort. People may think it is deliberate, but it is a coincidence.”
With its location inside the city limits of Winston-Salem, N.C., Adelia Gram often refers to Blue Ridge Vineyards as a 30-minute vacation because of its tranquil farm nature despite being surrounded by large commercial areas. The 16-acre property includes a pond, an old barn with free-range chickens and an organic vegetable garden.
“We do offer food for the wine, but we don’t have a restaurant. We are planning a cozy little tasting room overlooking our pond,” she said. “We are a limited production business and probably offer about 220 cases in a good year. When often asked if we are in grocery stores and large chains, the answer is “no,” and we are not trying to be. We just don’t have the volume of product to be, but we are trying to carve out a niche for upscale businesses such as this one (Primland).”
The Grams’ North Carolina property used to be a horse farm and pasture. It is well situated to the slope, size and drainage for the soil. That, combined with an eastern orientation of sun exposure in the morning, makes it just right for a vineyard, Gram said, adding that the vineyard hopes soon to be able to offer the first white Bordeaux blend anyone has done in the Yadkin Valley.
It is a business that has certainly taken a lot of patience for the Gram family. Planting for the first time in 2005, they didn’t begin to bottle wine until 2009 and didn’t sell anything until 2013 because they wanted to let the wines age.
“It was a long time to wait, but once we began my husband just fell in love with this business. They say the best fertilizer is the footsteps of the owner, and he is out there every day of the week, multiple times a day,” Adelia Gram said. “What I learned from Randy is that the viticulture is key. If you don’t have a good product, you can certainly tweak it in the lab. But, if you don’t have good fruit, then it is just not going to be good wine. He has really focused on canopy management, good viticulture practices, and using very minimal chemicals. Even the smallest attention to detail makes a big difference in product.”
Wines from Blue Ridge Vineyards can be purchased at Wine Merchants on Stratford Road in Winston-Salem. You can also order directly from the vineyard by calling (336) 575-3603, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on their website at blueridgevineyards.com or by checking out their Facebook page.
“We are a small player, and we don’t want to be large,” Randy Gram said. “It allows us to have a certain amount of control in what we do and what we offer. We are honored and happy that (Primland) would have us here, as they certainly have their pick. I think they like that we are a small, boutique vineyard, and they like that we are local, because they support that in their food and beverage program and everything else that they do.”