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Highlight Reel: Graham Dodds hosted Oregon winemaker John Grochau at Hibiscus wine dinner

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Graham Dodds, the patron chef of goats, hosted an old friend for a sold-out wine dinner at Hibiscus last night. On the menu: lots of really good food, lots of really good Willamette wine and lots of Dodds’ magic way with goat (including a Scooby snack of his smoked goat brisket, lusciously tender and mildly herbaceous; it’s better than nearly everyone’s beef brisket in town).

Dodds presented a multi-course dinner crafted to pair with each of Grochau Cellars’ Oregon wines, a Willamette winery whose owner and winemaker, John Grochau, is an old friend of Dodds’.

Grochau Cellars’ pinots run the stylistic gamut from light and peppy (2013 Commuter Cuvee, $20, with sweet cherry and white pepper undertones) to medium-bodied (2012 Dundee Hills, $37, with dark red cherry fruit, sweet spices and a whisp of tobacco) to full-on muscular (Eola-Amity Hills, $37, Grochau’s wheelhouse, a deeply pigmented, well-structured pinot whose dark cherry and big tannins were enlivened when paired with Dodds’ porcini and asparagus tart).

Grochau is no one trick pinot pony, either. He demonstrates a light, skillful hand with his Loire-style melon de Bourgogne and a tempranillo blend made from Washington state fruit. Next on his horizon: a Loire-style cabernet franc, which is targeted for cellar-distribution only.

Grochau had much praise for Dodds’ unexpected food pairings, which included not only goat, strozzapretti pasta with shaved truffles and that asparagus tart, but a carpaccio (goat again) topped with a “trail mix” tumble of mac nuts and dark chocolate.

“It’s an ode to John’s long love of cycling. And because he lives in Portland, where everybody eats trail mix,” said Dodds.



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