My wife and I took a couple of days off to go wine tasting and stopped in at Chalk Hill, just outside of Healdsburg on Monday. While we were there they told us about their "Culinary Tour" that they were having that afternoon. We thought about it for a few minutes an signed up. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be fabulously wealthy and have your own vineyard and private chef this may be what it's like!
They hold this every Mon, Thu, and Fri afternoon at 2:30. It lasts 2.5-3 hours The cost is $75 each. As far as I could tell they'll take about 10 people each day (but there was only one other couple the day we were there.)
We all had a glass of wine and then jumped into one of the winery's Suburbans for a trip to the vegatable garden. The gardener showed us what was ready that day and teased us a little about what we might be seeing on our plates in a few minutes. We four-wheeled around the vineyards a bit for some spectacular views of the Russian River Valley - we were blessed with beautiful weather and clear skies and could almost see Mendocino from the ridges. Then on to the equestrian center deep in the heart of the vineyard, where the event center/dining room is also located.
Dinner is a three course event focused on dishes that match the estate's wine using the day's produce from the garden. We started with fingerling eggplant and zucchini in a yellow curry, paired with pinot gris. That was followed by a blanquette de veau and fresh garden veggies, paired with Chalk Hill's justly famous Chardonney (2006). Finally we had "Duck two ways" - a pepper crusted breast and a confit, both sauced with a sangria reduction. This was paired with a 2006 Merlot.
The wine pairings were brilliant, the food was wonderful, the location and ambiance were unbeatable. There were just 5 of us (the quide/host/driver joined us for dinner) and our hostess with the whole, gorgeous room all to ourselves. We finished all three bottles of wine.
After dinner we chatted with the chef, enjoyed the view, and admired the view a bit more while soaking in the luxury. When I'm filthy rich this is how I'm going to live!
After dinner we were back in the Suburban to return to the tasting room for a final glass of desert wine and goodbyes to our new friends.
Synopsis: Intimate, casual, exquisite three course meal in an unparalleled location. This isn't a restaurant - it's a private 3 course dinner with wines prepared for 2-10 people in a semi-private dining room. M,Th,F - 2:30, 2.5 hours. $75 each. They'll do other days and times if you have 6+ people. Reservations are requested but we just lucked into it an hour before it started. The chef and hosts were charming and extremely willing to accomodate any food preferences or allergies.
Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery
10300 Chalk Hill Rd, Healdsburg, CA