Saturday, CrossKeys Vineyards hosted a Vertical Wine Dinner to showcase the vineyards’ estate grown Merlot. Event and Catering Manager Hannah Cooper designed the affair, preparing the long romantic banquet table and setting each place for the many courses and parings to come. Executive Chef Dexter Burgess and Assistant Winemaker Steve Monson created a five-course plated dinner perfectly paired with Merlots from 2010-2015. The result was an exquisite winter CrossKeys Vineyards dinner.

For the first course, guests enjoyed smoked duck breast with Chinese pancakes and hoisin jicama slaw while savoring the 2010 Merlot.

The second course, paired with 2011 Merlot, incorporated another red meat—flank steak roulade. This delicious steak was served with oven roasted tomatoes and spinach with a mustard chipotle vinaigrette.

Guests were treated to a sweeter third course as blue cheese cheesecake was served with rosemary scented demi. This delicious treat was paired with the 2013 Merlot.

Following an intermezzo of sorbet, with which guests were able to cleanse their palates, beef short rib, roasted root vegetables and pickled asparagus was paired with the 2012 Merlot for the fourth course.

The five-course dinner concluded with a Merlot-poached pear scented with vanilla and cardamon. Served with vanilla bean ice cream and paired with the 2015 Merlot, this final course was the perfect ending to a lovely showcase of CrossKeys Vineyards’ wines.

If you would like to experience CrossKeys Vineyards’ wine pairings yourself or other wine-paired dinners, they host other events throughout the year. ~

Lead image by Ceravalo Images


Virginia Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Virginia Wine & Country Life is a semi-annual luxury print magazine with a full digital presence. The Virginia Wine & Country Gold Book is an annual guide to the top award-winning wines, wineries and experiences in Virginia Wine Country. The annual Virginia Wine & Country Wedding Planner is an art book of elegant Virginia weddings. Virginia Wine & Country tells the stories of Virginia wineries, the farm-to-table movement, luxury travel, entertaining, art and the elegant country lifestyle. Ivy Life & Style Media also provides branding, web design and PR services for the wine industry.