Friday, February 6, 2009

Pinnacle/Jeffries pairing draws Sunday crowd

One regional restaurant that includes local wineries as part of its Buy Fresh, Buy Local theme is John J. Jeffries, located in the Lancaster Arts Hotel. So the recent wine and food pairing held in conjunction with winemaker Brad Knapp and Pinnacle Ridge Winery was not an aberration; they hold these generally once a month (on the last Sunday of the month) with regional wineries and breweries from the spring into the late fall. The winemaker or brewmaster, as you'd figure, is an integral part of the program.

Bartender Michael Grove said by phone yesterday that around 40 people attended the Sunday evening, Jan. 25, event at the restaurant. There was a one-hour Happy Hour, then guests headed to their tables for a four-course wine and food pairing that included Knapp’s commentary. In all, the combo cost only $52 per person, including tax and gratuity.

“It probably lasted about two hours,” Grove said. “The food was paired up very well with the wine, and the wine went very well with the food obviously. And a few people hung around at the bar later on and they were talking about it. And from what I heard they enjoyed it.”

The restaurant is named for a local tobacco inspector of the late 19th century. It seats approximately 60 in its main dining area and smoke-free bar. Dinners only are served there, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Half-price local beer, wine by the glass, and Organic Martinis are offered daily from 4 to 6 p.m.

The next one will be the last Sunday in March, the 25th, and will features foods paired with Swashbuckler beer. Troegs, Victory and Stoudts are other beers that have been featured in that all-expenses-included pairing. Generally, the restaurant rotates between featuring a beer and a wine, and also includes some or all of those products on their regular beer and wine list. Grove said that Chaddsford Winery has joined Pinnacle Ridge not only on those Sunday night events, but also as regular “house” wines.

“We always have at least one by the glass of both red and white,” he said, "and normally more than that. Right now we’re carrying a Chambourcin from Pinnacle, a Chardonnary from Pinnacle and a Pinot Grigio from Chaddsford.” They also carry Manatawny Creek's honey wine and a late harvest Vidal Blanc from Pinnacle.

That they drew 40 people is a testament to the power of the Buy Local network, which sends out e-mail blasts promoting this and other events around the region. Grove said the restaurant also will place a slip of paper into the folder containing the check advertising the next wine/beer and food pairing.

Told it’s refreshing to see a local restaurant carry local wines, Grove said a lot of it is a matter of realizing just what's out there.

“I think mainly because people don't know there are very drinkable local wines out there,” he said, “and, you know, it's just a perception of local wines that they have. Before I worked here, I sort of had the same philosophy on local wines. But I've actually had a chance to try quite a few of them now since I've ccme here and am definitely impressed with them.”

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