Author Topic: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega  (Read 4469 times)

Offline biskuit

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Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« on: January 31, 2010, 10:54:01 AM »
Not sure if this is the right board for a post on a winery/restaurant, but here goes...

OK folks in the southeast, Georgia wine is making strides. Seriously.

If you're not familiar with Montaluce, it is a relatively new winery + community/development + restaurant that is investing heavily in a first rate operation. The Beechams, who own the place, invited a bunch of Atlanta foodies/winos up for a visit yesterday, and it was impressive - from the beauty of the land, to the lovely Tuscan style architecture, to the darn good wines, to the very talented chef and kitchen (Steven Hartman, who worked under Sean Brock in Nashville). Full disclosure - they treated us to the wine and food.

We had a five course lunch paired with their wines, plus discussion with the winemaker and chef. The chardonnay, no oak, with 10% viognier, was perfect for all the ABC'ers out there (anything but chardonnay), nice acidity and minerality, and paired wonderfully with a chicken liver mousse, the acidity of the wine balancing the fat/salt in the chicken liver very nicely. The other white, a straight viognier, was also pretty darn good, a wonderful typical viognier nose, but was not quite sweet enough to pair well with what was the most outstanding course of the day - a butternut squash custard with maple gel, oat crumble and buttermilk (served in a mason jar). Wow. Just wow.

We also tasted their cabernet sauvignon and merlot, both of which are certainly better than you might expect from Georgia. But I have the highest hopes for their whites given the climate, and think they'll continue to do great things for Georgia wine.

Back to the food, the chef is doing great things with great ingredients, a flair for blending Southern and Italian-inspired elements nicely. Some photos that just might make you drive up to Montaluce from wherever you are - http://bit.ly/aF4e4h Based on this meal, I am looking forward to trying more from the chef, and I am willing to bet he has the chops to create a true destination restaurant, whether in Dahlonega or wherever.



Offline GabrielsDad

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 10:58:31 PM »
Intriguing, very intriguing...

Welcome biskuit, glad you found your way here!
There are things you do because they feel right & they make no sense & they make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other's cooking & say it was good.
                                               - Brian Andreas

Offline Sadlebred

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 07:20:33 AM »
I raced my bicycle at Montaluce back in the fall. The grounds are beautiful if you are up there on a clear day. The restaurant overlooks vineyards on a hill with a pond. Unfortunately, I didn't get to eat at the restaurant or sample any wine while I was there.

Offline AndyBoy

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 02:05:33 PM »
A few years ago we did a tasting at Wolf Mountain Winery outside Dahlonega. I was very impressed with their wines, didn't know you could make wine that good in Georgia. Not saying it up there with Oregon or California but they are certainly on their way.

Offline MNewman

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 11:41:58 PM »
Tiger Mountain has a nice tasting room including Sweet Grass Dairy cheese and chocolate ruffles.  Not cheap but lots of varietals.  Try the Petit Manseng.  Worth a stop if near Clayton. 

Georgia wine isn't great but it can be decent and has made postive strides over the past decade.

http://www.tigerwine.com/


Offline el_ted

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010, 09:03:57 PM »
I wrote about our visit to Montaluce last Memorial Day on the old AC board. Glad someone else is confirming the thoughts.

I'll freely admit that I was annoyed by the concept- giant faux Italianate subdivision just west of Dahlonega.  Massive winery with self-promotional "show cask" room complete with video downstairs. It was all just a bit too much.

That said, the meal was excellent.

And we were generally impressed with the wines at several of the vineyards.  Funny to hear the various griping, though. One owner complaining about how the breweries in Atlanta were getting away with murder before their tours were shut down. Others talking about how Montaluce was using the 'open bar' concept in the farm winery law to sell on premise and maybe off before even presenting a drop of their own stuff. You'd think the wine folks might figure out that they're really on the same side as the beer folks (oh and that the farm winery bill gives them carte blanche, so they shouldn't complain).

Loundry

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2010, 07:06:27 AM »
Georgia wine isn't great but it can be decent and has made postive strides over the past decade.

The thing about wine is that when many people start saying, "wine X isn't great", then many people start believing that.  It's psychologically impossible for Westerners to allow wine to stand on its own merits.  A "Georgia surprise" in a blind taste test performed by important wine people would probably do wonders for Georgia winemakers, but those kinds of things are rigged to support the status quo.

Biskit, that looks like a fantastic meal and a righteous dessert.  I'm the type of guy who thinks that eating dessert is a waste of stomach space, but I'd save room for that one!

Offline Roxro

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2010, 08:12:20 PM »
We took a little drive up to Dahonega today.  Absolutely beautiful day and we had never been there before and had no idea where to eat.  Went to the Three Sisters Winery and enjoyed the tasting (hmmm wine and Cheetos).  But then we were hungry and needed food so ended up, by chance at Montaluce.  Really pretty in a Disneyesque way.  But, the food was very good.  Enjoyed wine flights for variety.  My husband nearly had to restrain me from licking the dish of the cappacino creme brulee.

Offline MNewman

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2010, 11:46:50 PM »
Had brunch at Montaluce this past Sunday.  First of all, the venue is extremely impressive...much like a Napa winery.  Looked over menu and noticed names like Sweet Grass Dairy, Springer Mountain, Anson Mills, Benton, etc.  Impressive start.

Food came and I must say, it was excellent.  The BLT with fried green tomatoes is top drawer.  The Springer Mountain chicken was also solid.  They were out of meatballs, which is apparently one of their top dishes.  Sweetgrass Dairy cheese with a pear chutney and marcona almonds was great as was the Lonzino with plums.

We each got a wine flight and while the wines won't blow you away, several were nice.  Compared to Georgia 10 years ago, things have come a long way IMO.

Bottom line...this place is worth the drive.

Other notes:

Wolf Mountain:  Also has brunch, but their's is a buffet for $30.  It looked good...especially the banana pudding trifle.

Wines:  Montaluce, Wolf Mountain, Three Sisters, Frogtown and Blackstock...suggest you hit them all and make an afternoon of it.   All had nice tasting rooms and are worth a try.  

And I'll stand by my comments above.  GA wine is not great to me. That said, I still appreciate it as I can visit a winery, drive less than an hour and have fun.  I'm very happy at a winery and vineyard, no matter where it is...and many of the wines are decent.

I'm getting a group up on a Sunday in October for a road trip to Dahlonega, so I'm an enthusiastic supportor.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 12:08:53 AM by MNewman »

Offline totm

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2010, 02:49:04 PM »
Had a work end of year celebration at Montaluce recently.  They closed down the restaurant for that day's lunch due to us bussing about 100 people there.  Only got to sample 2 of the reds considering it was lunch.  I thought they were both tasty.  Various flatbreads were passed before lunch was served.

Lunch was the option of beef, chicken or vegetarian.  First course was an arugula salad, lightly dressed, with cashews and yellow raisins.  The beef dish appeared to be roasted sliced tenderloin, nicely pink, with roasted cauliflower, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes.  The vegetarian dish was one of the worst rissotos I have ever had.  Number 1, it was COLD.  Number 2, they had spice/seasoning that was offensive to everybody that I saw or heard had it.  The chicken dish was an airplane breast with pesto, roasted potatoes and brocolini, nothing exciting but done well considering the volume.

Dessert was brought out as a plate of sliced chocolate cake and a plate of slices of spice cake cheesecake for each table.  Both were so-so.

It is really hard to judge and be too critical when the kitchen is just trying to churn out 100 covers at one time.
"It's your last day on earth, what is your final bite to eat?" Eric Ripert

"A good potato with a slab of butter.  I'm a happy man." Joel Robuchon

Offline Sadlebred

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 10:01:44 PM »
I went to Montaluce last week for a pro cycling team presentation. They offered 3 appetizers. Since I don't eat seafood, I did not try the shrimp, but it looked popular. The warm Brie with crackers was average.  The "Vine Ripened Cherry Tomatoes, Mozzarella, & Basil Flat Bread Pizza" was quite good. I didn't drink any of the wine since I had a long, late drive home. I may take Mr. Sadle up there later this spring for a full dinner.

The restaurant itself was very large. The private dining space upstairs was very loud with the 100 people in there. (On an unrelated note, the busy decor made photography difficult.)

Offline el_ted

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Re: Montaluce Vineyards and LeVigne Ristorante, Outside Dahlonega
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2011, 04:27:55 PM »
We ate there again leading up to the Memorial Day weekend.  It was a late lunch, and there was one other table for most of the time we were there.  I'm struggling a little to remember what we had- several small plates.  Confit chicken with polenta, a flatbread with Benton's ham (made me think of the pig smorgas at Leon's), a salad, and a fried strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert.  The kidlet had a bowl of Carolina gold grits (i.e. rice grits).

Tastewise everything was excellent. The chicken was really great and we practically licked the plate from the polenta.  We shared a flight of wine and enjoyed it also.  Oh, and a limited local-honey mead that I had to buy a bottle of (yummy and slightly sparkling).  The only shortcomings were that I felt presentation-wise they weren't quite there relative to the prices.

The fried pie dessert was my only other quibble.  The rhubarb was still slightly crunchy. Think that was the first bite the little one got and she was done after that- she loves strawberries otherwise.  Later on, I saw a recipe in the NY Times that was shooting for the same effect, so it's likely it's just that we aren't used to rhubarb in desserts being less than annihilated.

I still think the whole concept is kinda ridiculous, but the restaurant really is competitive with Atlanta.

 

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