Pranzo Bistro Vegan Wine Dinner -- Willoughby, OH

On Wednesday we made another trip up to Willoughby to attend a Wine Dinner at Pranzo Bistro. In April I made a spur of the moment decision to purchase tickets to the Vegetarian Wine Dinner that was hosted at Pranzo Bistro -- I was so excited by the fact that someone was holding a multi-course vegetarian dinner with wine pairings I convinced Dave that we had to drive up to Willoughby on a random Wednesday. We had a little more time to plan for the Vegan Wine Dinner this past week and were excited to have an excuse to have fun mid-week.

Last time we sat closer to the window, so you might notice the pictures getting darker as the night progresses in the post. This time we had fun table buddies and had a great time chatting with Lisa and Wendy.

All of the wines for this dinner were from Gregory Graham. The wines are made in Lake County just north of Napa and Sonoma Valley and all of the wines are vegan. Apparently when red wine with a lot of sediment is made some wineries use a solution including egg whites to help strain out the sediment. The inclusion of egg whites makes a lot of wines not actually vegan.

Course One: Beet Carpaccio served with field greens, pistachio, and housemade vinaigrette. This course was served with Gregory Graham Viognier the only white wine included in our pairings. The Viognier was described as floral on the nose with tastes of honey and apricot on the palate. This course was good, the pistachios really helped make the dish. The sweetness of the wine balanced the earthy taste of the beets. However, of all of the courses we were served, this ended up not standing out as much for our table as the later courses. 

Course Two: Ratatouille with yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, and roasted red pepper coulis. Served with Gregory Graham Pinot Noir which is aged half in both oak and steel barrels. This wine is also fermented with whole clusters of grapes including the stems. This wine making technique is used to achieve a velvet texture and more complex flavor.

The Ratatouille was topped with hemp seeds and I really appreciated the extra texture that they provided in this dish. I think this dish was my favorite overall and I'm glad that rosemary flatbread was provided with this course to help soak up every last bit of the delicious roasted red pepper coulis. 

Course Three: Fillet of Grilled Eggplant, topped with a mushroom and rice ragout. This course was paired with the 2010 vintage of Gregory Graham Cinder Cone Red Blend, a unique combination of Bordeaux meets Rhone. I thought this dish tasted good, but it got mixed reviews from Dave. He thought it was a little one note as far as the texture and the color. The ragout was really full of flavor though.

Course Four: Pappardelle with zucchini ribbons, wood-fire blistered heirloom tomatoes, and toasted walnuts. This course was served with Gregory Graham Zinfandel which has flavors of black pepper and dark fruit which paired nicely with the sweetness of the tomatoes. It turns out that vegan fresh pasta is a lot softer than pasta made with eggs, so it was impossible for it to be al dente like I like my pasta.

Course Five: Hazelnut Chocolate Ice Cream with pizzelle. The ice cream was paired with Gregory Graham Syrah. If I ordered this and had no idea that it was vegan ice cream, then I never would have known. It tasted like a ferrero rocher chocolate and I could have eaten so much more than I was served. 

For the wine dinners at Pranzo you'll need to register online at $10 per person to hold the seat, after the dinner you'll pay the remainder of the balance which is $40 per person. The total cost of $50 still puts Dave off a little bit, but at $10 per course including the glass of wine I'm happy with the price tag.

There was quite the mix of people at this wine dinner, some vegans, a few vegetarians, a couple pescatarians and mainly there were people who just wanted to enjoy a night of food and wine. 

My rating for the Vegan Wine Dinner at Pranzo Bistro:


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