An Intimate Dinner to remember at Frank Family Vineyards
By Liz Bernardo
Photography by Nash Bernardo
Last Thursday, February 18, 2016, Rich and Leslie Frank, proprietors of Frank Family Vineyards in Calistoga, hosted a Trade and Media Dinner to celebrate a great start to Premiere Napa Valley 2016. The day also coincided with National Drink Wine Day, which is celebrated annually to spread the love and health benefits of wine across America.
Entering the winery’s fermentation room, we were greeted with a fireball contact juggling performer and a very impressive acrobatic dancer. We enjoyed the magical performance while sipping on the winery’s 2012 Blanc de Blanc and 2012 Brut Rose wines. We also delighted in mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres including Pancetta Wrapped Prawns, Fresh Oysters, Wild Mushroom Crostinis, and Hand-Pulled Fresh Mozzarella Crostinis uniquely made “al minuto”. The Caviar Butler was a favorite, as she went around the room offering us a taste of caviar carefully dolloped in the back of our hands, letting it warm up to better unleash its rich buttery flavor, reminding us of the sea.
As we moved in the old stone winery, the ceiling lit by string lights, we were surrounded by huge wine barrels and in the middle were tables elegantly set up and decorated with candles setting the mood flawlessly for a night to remember. It was perfectly fitting that Chef Nash Cognetti, previously Executive Chef of Tra Vigne, prepare the 4-course dinner on this special occasion as he is one of Rich and Leslie’s most favorite chefs in Napa Valley. As soon as we sat down, Leslie gave a beautiful speech, warmly welcoming guests from the trade and media industry. This was followed by yet another amazing performance of fire jugglers in the room.
Our dinner started with a Salad of Frisee & Treviso combined with green apples, ricotta, and hazelnuts drizzled with meyer lemon vinaigrette perfectly paired with the 2010 Lewis Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay. Our second course was a creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli, which impeccably paired with the 2013 Winston Hill Vineyard Reserve Sangiovese. Third was our entrée composed of fall-off-the-bone Smoked and Braised Beef Short Ribs with three-cheese polenta and broccolini. It was without a doubt an immaculate pairing to the 2006 Winston Hill Red Wine. Last, and definitely not the least, was a sweet ending of velvety smooth Butterscotch Panna Cotta with Sea Salt Caramel paired with Late Harvest Chardonnay, providing layers of spice and honey to our palettes. Our meal was exceptional and the wines from Frank Family Vineyards were brilliantly paired.
Rich Frank capped the night off by thanking their staff and praising their Wine Maker Todd Graff, who is the genius behind their remarkable collection of wines in the vineyard. We were privileged to be poured a glass of the 2013 Patriarch wine, which is an homage and celebration of his father’s life, Hy Frank, who recently passed in 2015. Rich shared wonderful stories of his father who lived his life to the fullest, encouraging him to be the first person in their family to go to college. Hy always reminded him, “College is about learning and knowing what the world is about.” This clearly resonated in him and made him the very successful entrepreneur he is today. Cheers to the Frank Family for sharing this unforgettable night with us and we wish you countless years of great winemaking that will accompany us in our endless life-long celebrations!
Visit their winery!
1091 Larkmead Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
From Highway 29:
From St. Helena, head north on Highway 29. Go about 4 miles north of Deer Park Road. Make a right turn onto Larkmead Lane and go about a mile to the winery.
From the Silverado Trail:
Heading north on the Silverado Trail, pass Deer Park Road and proceed north about 4 miles. Make a left turn onto Larkmead Lane. The winery is about a mile down the road on the left.
More info at www.frankfamilyvineyards.com