Wednesday Wine Tastings at the Belfry Inne & Bistro
People get their kicks in all kinds of ways. Outdoorsy types might get them hanging off a rock wall. quiet types might like to kick back at the local library, and road warriors, well, we know they get their kicks on route 66. But if you’re the type to get your kicks from a gratifying glass of wine paired with the perfect accompaniment in an idyllic setting (which would make you our favorite type), then the 6-7 pm wine tastings at the Belfry Inne’s Bistro on Jarvis Street in Sandwich is one hour you won’t soon forget.
With a consistency as reliable as the whales’ pilgrimage to Stellwagen Bank, the Belfry Inne offers up a tasting menu every Wednesday from early spring until the winter holidays, consisting of four courses of some of the Cape’s most exquisite bites carefully paired with some of the world’s greatest wines. Recently at a Lange Estate Winery tasting, Executive Chef Benjamin Porter teamed a grilled Gulf shrimp on a sweet and peppery mango salsa with the floral flavors of a dry, slightly spiced Pinot Gris from WillametteValley, followed by a generous taste of a seared local striped bass to go with a Three Hills Cuvee Chardonnay. Picking up on the smoky Burgundian style of the Chard, Chef Porter served the fish over a summer corn and smoky bacon puree. But the show stoppers were the unique third and fourth courses, which both happened to be paired with two different Pinot noirs—born out of the same style grape, but with very different personalities. The Willamette Valley Pinot, with its earthy hints of dark cherry and raspberry, brightened up a rich hunk of blue cheese on a toasted walnut pate, while a rare Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot (only 130 cases produced) was bold enough to pair with a piece of grilled Pineland Farms sirloin, grilled medium rare, and served over a taste of French onion soup.
Each Wednesday highlights a theme, such as “Small Production Wines” or “Wines from Around the Globe”, which gives Chef Porter a chance to really show his range, or tastings might feature a specific wine maker like Mondavi, Frescobaldi, Steele, “J”, Gerard Bertrand or Duckhorn. One such wine maker who appears for a personal presentation from time to time is Joseph Carr, who spends a fair amount of his life in the vine-rich region of Carneros in California, but prefers his time here at home in Dennis. Joe Carr is a friend to the Belfry, and the Cape’s “boy done good” is the creator of the wellknown Greg norman label. His Josh Cabernet Sauvignon is currently the number-one-selling red wine in the United States. Joe’s colorful winemaking tales are legendary, as a group on the Belfry’s garden terrace recently found out. He regaled his audience as they sipped and savored the Joseph Carr Chardonnay served with a summery, green apple vichyssoise, followed by a peppery Pinot noir with tea-rubbed ahi tuna, peppered strawberry, fennel salad and house-smoked sea salt.
Alongside Belfry owner Chris Wilson, David and Kris Buzzell, owners of Cellar 55 Wine Merchants in Sandwich, are usually on site adding their expertise to the evening’s casual elegance. David and Kris have been teaming up with Chris for five years, booking interesting speakers from various wineries, answering questions, and offering special bottle prices on the featured wines through their shop.
For those few who have never stepped foot on the grounds of the Belfry Inne, be forewarned that the one hour tasting can happily turn into a full evening with the ordering of post-tasting appetizers or entrees, moving the party into the Bistro itself (a converted church—truly something to behold) or walking next door to C.W.’s for tapas and wine flights.
Regardless of whether you’re a fine food and wine connoisseur, or a novice with a curiosity to quench, for under $30 you can sample some of the best food this side of the bridge, taste award-winning wines, meet some new friends and do it all in a setting that is heavenly. If there’s a better way to get your kicks for one hour on Cape Cod, we’d like to know about it.