By Kelly Grace Thomas, Edible Skinny
Niner Winery in Paso Robles is without a doubt the best restaurant Edible Skinny has visited all year. With their astounding view of the estate, including Heart Hill, food grown a few feet from your table, and the juxtaposition of idiosyncratic textures and flavors, Niner has mastered the ultimate edible experience. Their staff is not only friendly and beyond knowledgeable, but talk about food and wine as if the closest thing to their heart. They describe each flavor profile or big red as if speaking about a dear friend, or favorite memory. They highlight each flirt and quirk to create the most provocative and divine pairings.
Niner, voted 2017’s Best Winery Restaurant in America by Food and Wine Magazine, says, “Everyone talks about farm to table cuisine; our goal is to live it.” And that is exactly what they do. Executive chef, Maegen Loring, takes pride in every ingredient. He is invested from first sprout to last bit. This is not farm to table, its backyard to table. A place where your food is grown a few feet away. Niner, regulates quality, with 100% care and supervision. Nothing is too small to be looked over and cared for. With over 200 acres their outstanding wines are 100% estate grown, the chicken eggs come from chef’s house, their shelter (that they frequently escape from) was built by the winemaking team, and they feed on leftover veggies grown from their Estate Garden & other compostable from the restaurant. We were told by Sam, Niner’s Restaurant and Events Manager that Loring even meets and visits with the cows.
Throughout our meal we paired Niner’s amazing wines, with food inspired by creativity and daring dazzle. Starting from white to red, we first enjoyed the Marsanne, which Sam called his “daily drinker.” which first sips soft and then opens up. This was perfect pairing with our appetizer of burrata with grilled peaches and beets. A creamy dive into ripe summer time flavors. We also sampled Niner’s Chardonnay which is one of the most balanced buttery minerally chardonnays we have ever had. This complemented Niner’s Ricotta Tart made with lemon, ricotta, asparagus, mixed greens, garden herbs. The super flaky croissant crust and turmeric lemon zest from garden was light but decadent.
Next we tried the Pinot Noir which was Kelly and Kat’s Favorite. From Coastal Vineyard Jespersen Vineyards this wine is describe by Niner as, “quiet but impressive with aromatics of blueberry, black raspberry and cloves. Niner’s Pinot Noir, “slowly wake up as you swirl this wine in your glass.”
Next we had the Flatiron Steak pineapple salsa, coconut risotto, pear mint jalapeno chutney. A traditional dish with a non-traditional approach, this combination of flavors not usually found together gives Los Angeles restaurants a run for their money. This paired nicely with Niner’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice fireplace wine. This wine is rich a rounded with black currant, tobacco, dried herbs. Also on the palate black cherry, dark chocolate and dried sage are balanced for a long elegant finish. We also enjoyed their Super Paso, a wine that, “This wine pays homage to the Super Tuscan winemakers who scorned convention in order to create unique blends.” This blend drinks with the confidence of a great wine and the Paso region, a paradise gaining more and more much deserved attention. The Super Paso was one of Edible Skinny’s favorite reserves. It’s reminded us of “a dark wood kitchen with stone hearth and copper kettles.” There was a traditional sense of taste and history.
To finish our meal we sipped on a French press barrel-aged Coffee aged in Niner’s Syrah barrel and roasted locally by Joebella Coffee exclusively for Niner Wine Estates. This coffee with accents of wine, was one of the most luxurious experiences Edible Skinny has encountered, and trust us, we have had a few. That paired with the panna cotta with blood orange, albarino, candied orange was a heavenly final note.
From start to finish Niner restaurant and wines are a showcase of both grace and gusto. Their dedication to the freshest flavors juxtaposed with creative culinary combinations makes Niner one of our favorite dining experiences in the state.
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