A few weeks ago I received an invitation to lunch from Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. A few miles down Highway 29, Pippin Hill is nestled in the rolling hills of beautiful Virginia. I think it’s one of the most scenic vineyards in the state. This was my second visit for lunch – I spent my 30th birthday here too!
I took my good friend Meg with me, as we moms don’t get to dress up and eat an uninterrupted lunch very often. Or sip wine on a Tuesday at noon!
Pippin Hill is not only a winery, but there is a full-service farm-to-table restaurant inside too. The fare is seasonal, gourmet and creative and dishes pair perfectly with wine, of course. There is also a beautiful front porch where you can sip wine in the fresh air, if that air is warm enough!
Meg and I created the ideal tasting lunch, complete with wine flights and more food than two women could ever dream of.
My flight went in order of our courses. I loved them all.
SummerFarm Sparkling Rose // crisp and fizzy with a hint of strawberry.
Chardonnay Reserve 2012 // delightfully buttery and oaked – just how I love them. hints of butterscotch.
Winemaker’s Select Red 2011 // a soft yet balanced red blend.
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon // my favorite of the bunch – structured and full bodied. a great all around red.
Petit Manseng – Vin Doux Naturale // sweet, complex, fulfilling.
For lunch we decided to share a bunch of small plates. This is what I would recommend you do if you visit. The portions are on the small side for those with a heartier appetite, but sharing meant tasting more flavors and filling up at the same time, so we loved this approach.
The first dish to arrive was an oyster chowder featuring Rappahannock oysters, panchetta, sauvignon blanc and tarragon.
Maybe it was because hunger is the best sauce, but this was my favorite of the whole lunch! It was slightly smoky and spicy and had incredible flavor depth.
Right when we walked in I saw a kale caesar salad on the special chalkboard. Stop there, I’ll take one please! This one featured polenta croutons, oven-dried tomatoes, shaved Red Row cheese and poached quail egg. I need to reinvent this in my own kitchen.
Next up we enjoyed hand-made tortellini with Asian pears, Caromont goat cheese, roasted delicata squash and brown butter sage flowers. Meg described it as the ultimate “autumnal” dish. It was everything you’d want on a chilly day.
I really liked the flavors in the curried quinoa salad, which included roasted sweet potatoes, currants, mint and crème fraiche. The curry was subtle and the mint and crème fraiche really made this dish unique.
These Nelson County oyster mushrooms, which were grilled and topped with toasted pine nuts, chimichurri herbs and parmesan, were incredible!
Last but not least, we shared the classic croque monsieur, which was packed with Virginia country ham, gruyere and a merlot jam. I have never had such a perfectly crispy sandwich!
Believe it or not, we saved room for dessert – a taste of these mini chocolate cupcakes with a lemon thyme cream cheese frosting drizzled in a red wine reduction.
Everything about this lunch was wonderful. Thank you to Pippin Hill for treating us to such a memorable day.
While Meg and I were wining and dining, Matt won the father of the year award by watching both of the kiddos. They had a great time playing, snacking and not-napping : )