What Dreams are Made Of

Cape Cod Life  /  Annual Life 2020 / ,

Writer: Allyson Plessner / Photographer: Elizabeth Shaw 

Chef Tyler LaChance and winemaker Joseph Carr make a formidable duo, outlining a spirited wine dinner to warm up even the coldest winter night on Cape Cod.

It might sound odd to hear Joseph Carr Wines referred to as a passion project. With over 50,000 cases of high quality, premium wines produced by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits yearly, Joseph Carr wines has become known for elegant, well-balanced essences. But success is, of course, measured in more than numbers and wine cases. It is found in every sweet sip of cabernet that transports you to the vineyards of Napa Valley or in each whiff of buttery chardonnay that pays homage to the classic old world wines of France. As James Joyce puts it, “The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.” For Joseph Carr, opening a winery was a dream and Napa was the pillow upon which he laid his head to ponder the rich flavors he would one day create. Today, it is a reality, and we are all the luckier for it. 

With a European sensibility and a Californian sense of flare, Joseph Carr is like a fine glass of wine; but, wherever his mind—and his wines—may wander, his heart remains firmly on the Cape. Locals know him as the friendly face they often see dining at Encore Bistro & Bar—just a short stroll from his Dennis home, and friends know him simply, humbly as Joe. It should come as no surprise that Encore is one of his regular haunts; the food is incredible—the ideal partner to a glass of Joseph Carr wine in the same way that Chef Tyler LaChance makes the perfect mirror to Carr. When these two professionals come together to create a delicious winter wine dinner at Encore, it is cut from the same dreams that Carr built his first winery on.  

The night starts off with a daring dish: uni toast. Slow roasted bone marrow shoots and torched uni rest on toasted brioche sprinkled with shaved radish and micro cilantro. Paired with Josh Cellars Pinot Grigio (Carr’s second passion project resulted in Josh Cellars, an approachable brand, named for his father), it’s exactly the kind of exciting flavor profile to prepare guests’ taste buds for a sensational meal. 

Next, duckhetta. Herb seasoned duck roulade is drizzled with a fig balsamic and paired with sorrel, beech mushroom and a chourico hash. The wine pairing for this dish is a Josh Cellars Family Reserve Pinot Noir. For the next course, LaChance truly outdoes himself with a lobster ravioli—the perfect, quintessential Cape Cod dish. Meuniére butter, Thompson grapes, pearl onions, charred corn, caramelized mushrooms—all over a mouthwatering house made ravioli. This dish is paired with Joseph Carr Chardonnay—a wine that Carr explains he created specifically for his late wife, Dee. One sip and it’s easy to taste the love that Carr aimed to capture in each bottle—a love made up of late nights by the crackling fire with their dogs and early morning strolls on the beach, board games with their daughter and challenging times endured together…a love always, always paired with wine.

The night doesn’t stop there! In fact, it’s time for the intermezzo, a refreshing lime granita that cleanses the palate for what’s to come: venison tenderloin. Accented by a pomegranate reduction, sous vide venison tenderloin rests on a carrot puree which adds a delectable lightness to the dish. Demi-glace, baby kale and pickled mustard seed pull it all together and emphasize the rich flavors of the Joseph Carr Revelist Cabernet Sauvignon. Carr is a self described “red wine guy,” and the Revelist is the pinnacle of rich, bold, exhilarating flavors. It is created each year from the very best lots that season with the intention of assembling the finest expression of a cabernet—truly something to revel in. 

Dessert is a lemon genoise cake over toasted marshmallow and topped with meringue crumble, mixed berries, raspberry Chambord coulis and finished with a sprig of fresh mint. And, what better way to end a night of celebration than with Josh Cellars Prosecco? 

“I’ve prepared a lot of wine dinners,” explains Carr. “I love collaborating with different chefs, but I’ve also learned not to push them too much because they own a lot of knives,” he laughs. “Encore is one of my favorite places to dine, and Chef Tyler is absolutely incredible to work with. He just gets it.” It’s clear in every bite that these two have an affinity for one another. LaChance’s food and Carr’s wine go hand in hand, as two kindred souls might; but beyond that, the spirit that they imbue into their businesses—Encore for LaChance and winemaking for Carr—is what makes their craft special and sincere. They capture an understanding of what it means to be a Cape Codder—to spend challenging winters drinking wine and sampling food, but also to spend them together with locals, strangers, families and friends—in everything they do. It’s more than food and wine; it’s heart. And to capture that is truly extraordinary.

Make sure to visit Encore in Dennis and online!

Allyson Plessner

Allyson Plessner is a former editorial intern for Cape Cod Life and now works for the publication as a staff writer and digital media coordinator. Born in Florida, Allyson has been a lifelong summer resident of the Cape. She is a recent alumna of the College of Charleston, located in Charleston, South Carolina, where she completed bachelor’s degrees in both English and Spanish. In her free time, Allyson is an avid sailor, beach-goer, and—like her fellow Cape Cod Life colleagues—a dog-lover.