River Stone celebrates two years

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saturday night was a celebration of all things that have made River Stone Chophouse a fixture in Harbour View — good wine, good food and good service.

The restaurant celebrated its second year by uncorking an 18-liter — that’s equal to 24 bottles — bottle of 1996 Chateau Cos d’Estournel. Charlie Rizzo, who pairs food and wine at River Stone, worked with the kitchen to create an entrée to pair with the wine.

“It was a rare opportunity,” said Teresa Mullins, owner of River Stone. “I know of a 20-bottle of wine that was opened, but this was a 24-bottle of wine. It was something we could all enjoy.”

River Stone is located toward the end of Harbour View and prides itself on its signature steak, which is dry-aged for 28 days.

“It’s like no steak I’ve ever tasted,” Mullins said.

While their Hereford steaks are the specialty, “We’ve made a few modifications to our menu throughout the years,” she said. “We’ve listened to guest’s comments and added more snacks at the bar and fish to our menu.”

The wine opened for the two-year anniversary of the restaurant was a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc and was what Rizzo called a “second-growth Bordeaux.”

“When the French government was marketing products for export, they set up a system to let consumers know which wines were the best from Bordeaux,” he explained. “So, they set up five different growths. There are twelve in the first growth, and the bottle we opened came from the second growth.”

To complement the wine, which has “dried fruit characteristics, an earthiness and a lot of tannins,” Rizzo said, he and Chef Pete Evans worked together to create a perfectly paired entrée – lamb rubbed in a blend of cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric with a red wine, cherry and cinnamon reduction atop a walnut, cinnamon and dried fruit couscous.

“The walnuts minimized the tannins and really brought the fruit out,” Rizzo said. “And we added cinnamon, because the wine is fermented in French oak. We matched the flavors, and it was absolutely fabulous.”

The restaurant sold 88 glasses of the wine, and there are still more to be had.

“There were probably about 110 glasses of wine in the bottle,” Rizzo said.

“It was really a great wine,” Mullins said. “My husband, Brian, and I were really excited to open and share it with our guests. It was a great way to celebrate, and we look forward to our future in the community.”