Guests of the Montana luxury ranch resort enjoy jam-packed wine-focused activities alongside a bounty of seasonal adventures.
As if there weren’t so many things to love about remote ranch resorts — what with their trail rides, cattle drives, snowshoeing, fly-fishing, archery, spas, and yoga — luxury destinations like Triple Creek Ranch in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountain Range, are tacking on gourmet packages for western lifestyle enthusiasts with discerning palates.
At the all-inclusive Triple Creek Ranch, about 75 miles outside of Missoula, guests enjoy the year-round Vintner Weekends series. Over the course of the weekend guests enjoy wine tastings with the featured vintner; wine-pairing dinners from the ranch’s executive chef, Jacob Leatherman; and seminars (gettogethers, really). A few of the upcoming weekends include: Chloe Wines (January 18 – 21, 2019), Rasa Vineyards (February 14 – 17, 2019), and Spottswoode Winery (March 14 – 17, 2019).
But Vintner Weekends aren’t just swirling vino in special glassware commenting on legs and bouquets. There are plenty of other activities for guests to enjoy, often alongside vintners. New this year is fat tire biking as well as more than 5 kilometers of private, groomed cross-country trails.
Winter-specific adventures include ice fishing, skijoring, dog sledding, and snowshoeing. Lift tickets to nearby Lost Trail Powder Mountain Resort (along with rentals) are included in Triple Creek Ranch winter rates.
After a day of wine, snow, and Rocky Mountain adventure, there is always the comfort of the cabin. Nestled throughout the ranch property, each of the 25 luxury cabins feature steam showers and wood-burning fireplaces, and most come with private, outdoor hot tubs.
We can certainly raise a glass of pinot to that. If you can’t make it for one of the vintner weekends, perhaps you can raise a glass at home over a plate of duck confit and gnocchi, the recipe for which is shared below courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch Executive Chef Jake Leatherman.
Duck Confit With Sweet Potato and Black Truffle Gnocchi and a Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Recommended Wine Pairing: 2016 Sun Chase Pinot Noir from Tamber Bey Winery
(Serves 2 as main course)
2 legs and thighs shredded duck confit (Home chefs can also purchase precooked duck confit from a local gourmet retailer or from an online purveyor, such as Dartagnan.com)
1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 egg, whipped
1 tablespoon white truffle oil, plus extra
2 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped, plus extra tablespoon for finishing
¼ cup butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, freshly grated
Sliced white truffles (optional)
Fold in all ingredients together until well-incorporated. (Except for duck confit). Do not over mix or gnocchi dough will get to tough. You will have a ball of dough. Wrap dough with plastic and let rest at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
After an hour, remove from the refrigerator and cut dough into equal quarters. Roll each quarter of dough into a snake shape, about an inch thick. Cut dough into small 1-inch sections with a pastry scraper.
Bring salted water to a boil and drop in gnocchi. Let them cook for about 5 minutes or they start to float to the top. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon, place on plate and put in the refrigerator to cool.
Place large sauté pan on high heat. Melt about a ¼ cup of butter in the pan and let the butter gets a light brown color. Add the gnocchi and cook until golden brown on both sides. Add the shredded duck confit, the extra tablespoon of fresh sage, a bit more truffle oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat everything through.
Place in a large serving bowl. Garnish with fresh grated parmesan and sliced truffle. Serve immediately.
For more information on Triple Creek Ranch and Vintner Weekends, visit the resort’s website. Photography: Courtesy Triple Creek Ranch.
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