Grape expectations: Treat yourself to a Daou wine dinner at the Flying V

With parents who honored the communal nature of the evening meal, Tyler Lapotosky and his siblings cherished the nightly family dinner tradition as kids growing up in northwestern Vermont. Decades later, that tradition continues in the way Chef Lapotosky will connect his guests at a wine dinner on December 12.

“We had dinner as a family every night at 5:30, and I consider that fortunate with everything else we had going on,” said Lapotosky, chef de cuisine at the Flying V Bar and Grill at Loews Ventana Canyon, 7000 N. Resort Drive. “Our discussions around the table were real, there were no dead dinner conversations and certainly no food fights,” he said. 

This connection mattered to him even when the family wasn’t dining at home. 

“We had access to Lake Champlain back then, and some nights meant grabbing sandwiches, going out on the lake, and just floating and eating,” he remembered. “Even out there, with our family in the middle of the water watching the sun go down at dinnertime, this was a special thing that strengthened my values, making sure it was always about the unit, not the individual.” 

These communal connections around food and family are at the heart of the Flying V’s upcoming Daou wine dinner, a four-course meal paired with wines from California’s Daou Vineyards. 

The evening will begin with a “Patio Arrival” where guests will be welcomed al fresco with jumbo shrimp cocktail, roasted beets en croute, and a guacamole action station. Daou’s Sauvignon Blanc and Rose will be companions to the butler-passed bites. 

“This introduction is meant to be a mixer, with random people meeting, eating, drinking, and talking about things they enjoy with the outside world on pause,” said Lapotosky. 

Guests will then be escorted indoors and seated communally with the arrival of the second course, a house-butchered, cured, and colorful salmon with pops of purple from red beets. The dish, paired with Daou’s Reserve Chardonnay, will be served with shaved asparagus, Osetra caviar, and a “galactic green” avocado crema. 

A California grass-fed New York steak will anchor the third course, with sweet peas, butter-poached lobster, and a pasilla chile demi-glace. 

“Some people think that there’s an absence of marbling with grass-fed beef, but if you find the right purveyor, you can get it with a beautiful marbling that almost mimics Wagyu,” he said. This carnivorous course will be paired with Daou’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The evening will conclude with a dessert course that Lapotosky says “screams the Old Pueblo and Southwest.”  A chipotle churro will deliver sweet, bitter, and savory notes, with Evocao cremeux, fresh fig jam, and piloncillo-candied cacao nibs. 

“This is essentially taking things we have in our back yard, putting them together, and letting the Sonoran Desert provide,” he said. The evening’s final wine will be Daou’s Soul of a Lion Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Lapotosky says these wine pairings are intentional, not just a random glass of wine served alongside each dish. 

“There’s a real reason why the dishes and wine selections will be paired together,” he noted. 

Priced at $100 per person plus tax and gratuity, the Daou wine dinner at the Flying V is at 6:30 pm on December 12. Reservations can be made by calling 615-5495. 

The chef concluded with a final nod to the communal experience he wants this dinner to represent. 

“It’s not about me, it’s not about the Flying V, it’s not about Daou, it’s about good food, good wine, and good company."

Just remember, this is Lapotosky’s place. No food fights.

Contact Matt Russell, whose day job is CEO of Russell Public Communications, at Russell is also the publisher of as well as the host of the Friday Weekend Watch segment on the “Buckmaster Show” on KVOI 1030 AM.

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