Chow Town

Woodward Canyon Winery wine dinner at The American

I love it when a plan comes together. This one has taken years, but it’s finally happening. It’s a story of roots. And you have a chance to be a part of it.

Executive Chef Michael Corvino of The American has roots in Walla Walla, Wash. The Woodward Canyon Winery is also located there, one of the oldest wineries in the Pacific Northwest, which sources fruit from some of the oldest vineyards as well as from their estate vines. They produce premium wines and were founding fathers of legally defining American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the United States. For you nonwine types, this is a big deal. Woodward Canyon is blue-blood in wine circles.

As a young chef, Corvino planned wine dinners with the vintner at Woodward Canyon. It linked his culinary sensibilities with the region. Since then, Corvino has traveled and cooked widely. And when he agreed to take the helm at The American nearly three years ago, he envisioned a dinner to honor his roots with Walla Walla and this prestigious winery. He believes that Woodward produces some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon from the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the area and wanted to pair them with quality ingredients available at The American.

It’s taken years to coordinate, but it’s going to happen on Tuesday, April 26. It will be a five-course dinner paired with wines from Woodward Canyon. I’ve seen the menu and the pairings; it looks great:

▪ Green strawberries, whole milk ricotta, quinoa, nasturtium

2015 Woodward Canyon Sauvignon Blanc

▪ Scallop, green garlic, olive oil, Meyer lemon, Aleppo pepper

2013 Woodward Canyon Chardonnay

▪ Charred octopus, smoked hummus, raw chickpea, squid ink

2013 Woodward Canyon Charbonneau

▪ Lamb, spring onion, burnt honey, carrot

1996 Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon

▪ Raspberry, chocolate, green tea

2012 Woodward Canyon Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon

I consider The American one of the hidden gems of Kansas City. It may not be a place that you’re going to frequent every week, but it’s certainly an impressive restaurant for important occasions. And this is one of those important occasions.

Rick Small, the owner of Woodward Canyon Winery, is flying in for this event. Also attending and collaborating on the meal will be Rick’s son, Sager Small, who himself is a very accomplished chef with 10 years’ experience in some of Seattle’s finest French restaurants — Rovers, Luc and Café Presse. Combined with The American’s current staff, this will be a stellar group of talent.

Yes, $125 per person (tax/gratuity extra) is pricey, but I think considering the menu, the wines and the people that are being brought in for this event, it’s worth it. If you decide to buy some wine, Rick will sign the bottle.

Seating is limited, so I hope you call The American (816-545-8001) to reserve your spot. It’s your chance to experience and honor some deep roots.

Bon Appétit.

Craig Jones is a live-fire cooking expert, the Grill Mayor for Food Network (2012), and owner of Savory Addictions Gourmet Nuts. He’s also a certified KCBS barbecue judge, a student of pizza crafting and an enthusiastic supporter of the greater Kansas City food scene.

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