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A feast to warm up a cold winter’s night

It is, indeed, a feast fit for a queen or a king, full of flavor and beautifully presented.

It’s Queen’s Feast week in the Charlotte area, and Morgan Ridge Vineyards and Brewhouse in Gold Hill is the only Rowan County restaurant participating in the special 3 or 4 course meal for $35.

The special feature at Morgan Ridge is you get a wine pairing with each course, and the wines are well chosen.

Chef Jason Nain says this is the third year Morgan Ridge has participated and it always brings in a lot of diners. There are 130 restaurants participating in nine counties. There are a few restaurants in Mooresville and Concord that are offering the feast, as well, but most are in Mecklenburg County.

Nain says the best days to make reservations are weekdays, in this case, Wednesday and Thursday. The special menu offering continues through Sunday, Jan. 27. Morgan Ridge has a private party booked for tonight.

The first course is two perfectly seared sea scallops with a cucumber buerre blanc (butter sauce) and micro greens. It is paired perfectly with Morgan Ridge’s barrel-aged Chardonnay, which is a light, crisp version of a wine that can sometimes be very woody and taste like buttered popcorn.

Next up is a rustic flatbread, one of Nain’s specialties, topped with duck confit, caramelized onion, bacon tomato jam, white cheddar cheese and toped with crispy arugula.

The flavors on this flatbread are outstanding, with the sweet hit of the caramelized onion and the jam, the richness of the duck and cheese and then the crispy green on top. It was paired with Red Dawg, a very nice blend of merlot and chambourcin that goes with most any red meat well, but is not overpowering.

Then you’ll have a refreshing few spoonfuls of Nain’s famous raspberry and chambourcin sorbet, which will cleanse your palate.

For the third course, the entree, diners have three choices — beef, chicken or vegetarian. The short ribs require no knife, and melt in your mouth, and are served on flavorful mashed potatoes alongisde crispy Brussel sprouts. The single, meaty rib is plenty for the entree. The coq au vin chicken — chicken in a wine sauce — is a chicken breast smothered in vegetables and served with rice. Both are paired with Syrah, a bold, full-bodied wine with a hint of spice. The eggplant rollitini dish for vegetarians is a beautiful roll of thinly sliced eggplant rolled with angel hair pasta and covered in marinara and wet mozzarella. It, too, comes with crispy Brussels sprouts. It is paired with a lighter red, sangiovese.

Make sure to save room for the decadent dessert, which is presented in the winery’s beer tasting glasses. It’s a chocolate parfait, with dark chocolate moose, devil’s food cake and a raspberry coulis. Paired with Duet, a blend of sangiovese and syrah, it is a memorable dessert and the wine makes it even better.

Morgan Ridge owner Tommy Baudoin feasted on the chicken on the first night of the feast, and was planning to try the beef Saturday night.

“We really enjoy doing this event,” he said. “It brings in people who may not know us and gives us a chance to make them happy.”

You can check out the menu and make reservations through the Morgan Ridge web site, https://morganridgevineyards.com/queens-feast/

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