Ostra Vintner Dinner Prepared by Chef Ben Knack Featuring Beni Di Batasiolo Wine
Combine wine from Piedmont, one of the great winegrowing regions in Italy with exceptional cuisine prepared by a nationally recognized food service leader Chef Benjamin Knack and you have the makings of a great evening.
The dinner took place at Ostra the signature restaurant inside the Mokara Hotel & Spa which is located on San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk. The hotel actually has a great location on the river as it is not quite on the beaten path, translate: not overly crowded with foot traffic. This makes the Mokara and Ostra a more romantic riverfront locale than many other downtown hotels.
The Mokara Hotel & Spa is San Antonio’s only Forbes Four-Star Hotel with a long-standing history of excellence which includes luxurious accommodations, first-class amenities, fine dining, a full-service spa and their signature AAA four-diamond restaurant, Ostra.
The wine dinner included wines from Beni di Batasiolo from Piedmont, Italy paired with assorted Hors D’oeuvres and dinner prepared by Chef Knack.
During the reception guests had a chance to meet Stefano Poggi, Batasiolo’s Wine Ambassador and become acquainted with several Batasiolo wines.
The first wine Gavi Di Gavi “Granee” D.O.C.G*. was a wonderful fresh dry white wine. It had a beautiful straw color and a lovely bouquet. I loved this wine with the light appetizers. A great combination.
Another excellent wine paired with the appetizers was the Barbera d’Alba D.O.C. Sovrana a nice ruby red wine with a spicy, fruity flavor with a nice intensity at the end. I also noticed a hint of oak at the finish.
The last wine to be paired with the appetizers is probably one of the favorites in the States, Bosc Dla Rei, Moscato d’Asti D.O.C.G. This wonderfully sweet wine is both fresh, fruity and intense all at the same time. It works great paired with appetizer or at the end of a meal as a dessert wine.
The first course of the dinner was Chef Knack’s rendition of Gnocchi with Prosciutto, Forest Mushrooms, English Peas and Rock Shrimp. The Gnocchi was a slightly thicker texture than the Gnocchi I have tried previously, but still quite good. I love the saltiness of the Prosciutto paired with the woodsiness of the wild mushrooms and delicate shrimp. The wine for this was the Dolcetto D’Alba D. O. C. 2012. This ruby red wine offered the perfect accompaniment to the dumplings with its full, rich flavors of cherries and hints of florals with a slight bitter aftertaste. This wine would also pair equally well with both red or white meat.
Second course was a nice pairing in itself. This was a pan roasted Atlantic Cod with Haricots Verts and a wonderful sauce of tomatoes, olives and caper ragout. The ragout lent the right amount of texture and saltiness to the fish to keep it from being boring. The Cod had the perfect fork-flakiness you want to see in a fresh fish. The intense, dry, full body Barbaresco D.O.C.G., 2011 worked will with the fish. With its deep fruit notes, it added a nice freshness to the dish.
We also had the pleasure of sampling a 2010 Batasiolo Barolo D.O.C.G. After aging this wine in oak casks for two years and another 12 months in stainless steel tanks, this wine showed an intensity of flavors of dried fruit, florals and spices as well as a lovely garnet red appearance. An elegant wine like this is perfect for any special occasion.
The third course was a nice assorted cheese plate which was paired with a very lovely Barolo cru Boscareto 2007. This intense, full-bodied wine with notes of dried flowers, leather and sweet spice, paired beautifully with the entire assortment of different cheeses . This wine comes from the Nebbiolo grape, the celebrated locally-grown variety from the Boscareto vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba (1 of the 11 villages in Barolo). Only the best grapes go towards making this single vineyard Barolo. This wine goes equally well with dishes of game, red meat and cured meats.
The final course was Burnt Orange Creme Caramel, a Creme Burlee Chef Knack style. This was a nice rich yet light dessert with hints of both the orange and caramel. A wonderful take on the “original” Creme Burlee. This dish was paired with a rather unusual sweet wine, Barolo Chinato. I say rather unusual because this wine has been considered, since the nineteenth century, the perfect digestive aide. This wine shows distinct notes of herbs and spices but also sweetness of caramel and dried fruit. It ends with a bitterness that many may find too strong.It is a wine that people will either hate or love and may take some getting used to on all accounts. However, as a digestive aid, it is probably the perfect drink after a heavy meal. It is definitely worth a try!
*Special Note: DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata (controlled designation of origin), and DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (controlled designation of origin guaranteed). All three require that a food product be produced within the specified region using defined methods and that it satisfy a defined quality standard.
The need for a DOCG identification arose when the DOC designation was, in the view of many Italian food industries, given too liberally to different products. A new, more restrictive identification was then created, as similar as possible to the previous one so that buyers could still recognize it, but qualitatively different.
About Beni Di Batasiolo
Beni di Batasiolo, owned by the Dogliani family, is a winery located in the Langhe area, in Piedmont.
In the wine business for generations, in 1978 the Dogliani brothers bought the historic Kiola winery in La Morra, which had been founded in the 1950s and comprised 7 farms, with vineyards located in the finest Barolo wine-growing areas. With the addition of this major cellar to the family’s own land, the Dogliani became the proprietors of an estate which now takes in nine farms and 264 acres of vineyards, including 150 planted with the most important and celebrated locally-grown variety, the Nebbiolo from which Barolo wine is made.
The farms are all located within the prized Barolo wine-growing area: Batasiolo, Morino, Cerequio and Brunate in La Morra; Boscareto and the historical Briccolina in Serralunga d’Alba; Bricco di Vergne and Zonchetta in Barolo; Tantesi and Bussia Bofani in Monforte d’Alba.
About Chef Knack
For more than two decades, Knack has specialized in classical gastronomical techniques to create high-quality, innovative interpretations of American cuisine and more. As a nationally recognized food service leader, Knack was featured on season eight of Hell’s Kitchen, placing third on the FOX American reality television cooking competition.
Enjoy exquisite cuisine in a romantic riverfront locale at our signature AAA four-diamond restaurant, recently awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Our Executive Chef passionately oversees a sustainable seafood menu filled with exotic new dishes and tempting standards.
About Mokara Hotels & Spas
The Mokara Hotel & Spa is the companion property to the illustrious Omni La Mansión del Rio, both of which have been owned and operated by Omni Hotels & Resorts since 2006. With its stunning views of the tranquil River Walk in downtown San Antonio, Mokara blends a serene setting with relaxed sophistication to bring a guest experience where the exceptional is always included. In addition to the acclaimed 17,000-square-foot Mokara Spa, the property features 99 elegantly appointed guest rooms and Ostra, an unrivaled seafood epicurean experience. For more information, call (866) 605-1212 or visit www.mokarahotelsandspas.com.