The Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro in Townsend, Tennessee, is participating in the Smoky Mountain Snowdown with a trio of events, including a Wine Pairing Dinner to benefit the Appalachian Bear Rescue at 6:30 p.m. on January 30.
Dancing Bear will donate $50 of each $135 ticket sold to ABR, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization based in Townsend. Each year black bears from the national parks and surrounding areas are orphaned, injured or in need of medical care. ABR has rehabilitated these bears and released them back to the wild since 1996.
This isn’t the first time Appalachian Bear Rescue has teamed with Mark and Sharon Oldham, the owners of Dancing Bear and the Apple Valley Country Stores & Café next door. Last summer, the Oldhams organized a concert, which was also a benefit event for ABR.
“We’re eager to do what we can to bring attention to the bear rescue and help with this worthy cause, “ Mark Oldham says.
Dana Dodd, president of the board for Appalachian Bear Rescue, says the organization is proud to have a relationship with Dancing Bear and Apple Valley.
“Mark and Sharon Oldham have been supporters since they arrived in Townsend, and we appreciate them very much,” Dodd says. “We now have 21 bear cubs on site that we will need to provide food and shelter until April, and we will probably match our record of 35 cubs on site by the spring. Therefore, the support of local businesses is essential to give these animals a second chance at life in the wild. We hope everyone will come out to Dancing Bear and enjoy the marvelous food, have a good time and support this benefit.”
The Wine Pairing Dinner will feature dishes created by Executive Chef Shelley Cooper. She will give a demonstration on Cast Iron Cooking at the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 29, also part of the local Snowdown festivities.
Some tasting notes for the Wine Pairing Dinner:
Winter Vegetable Salad paired with Sans Liege “Call to Arms” Grenache Blanc & Roussanne 2012 (92 points on Wine Advocate): This wine begins with cool mint tastes swishing with pine boughs, lemon peel sorbet, wild coriander, and soft nettle then finishes with the exotic flavor of grated ginger, raw honey, vanilla crème, and honeysuckle and a strike of acidity that mixes well with the rainbow carrots, sugar snap peas, blood oranges, Buratta, Tennessee honey, and spicy peanut of the salad.
Seared Scallop paired with Frank Family Chardonnay 2013 (92 points on Wine Spectator): This Chardonnay has aromas of fresh tropical fruit, marzipan, and honeysuckle jump from the glass. On the palate, the wine has generous notes of sweet vanilla, pear, and Meyer lemon. Stone fruits and ripe citrus zest lead to the rich creamy mid palate, and fresh green apple on the finish. The wine has wonderful length and well-balanced acids. The flavors compliment the bacon custard, leeks, fingerlings, truffle, and frisee.
Veal Cheeks paired with Robert Biale "Black Chicken" Zinfandel 2012 (91 points on Wine Advocate): The ripe, layered blackberry flavors and aromas of cherry pie and spice combine with the dish’s pumpkin fritter, apples, cippollini onions, and Brussels, highlighting accents of smoky caramel, sage and licorice. Rich, dense and jammy, this label is perfect for fans of big wines.
Sorghum Syrup Cake paired by Prager 10-year-old “Noble Companion” tawny port (92.7 points on Wine Spectator): Sweet flavors of blackberry jam, crème de cassis, tangerine zest, and vanilla wafer candy make this a great combination with the black walnut ice cream. Made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, this Port-style wine is balanced with bright, citrusy acidity as a very nice, satisfying after-dinner sipper.
Socializing snacks (breads, cheeses, hams and jams, oysters on the half shell, ginger and horseradish dressing, and lemon pepper fried frogs’ legs) will be paired with a wine to be determined from neighboring Cades Cove Winery.
Eric Johansson of Knoxville Beverage Company will be on hand to answer questions about the wines.