The Indianapolis Propylaeum is a historic home that has been standing on N. Delaware street since the late 1800’s. The history of the Propylaeum has roots in the women’s suffrage movement and the promotion of education for young women, and it is still a women’s social club today. The building hosts a range of functions from weddings to English tea service and a variety of artistic and social functions that have food and drink as a focal point. One of the more lively nights the ladies of the Propyleaum put on is an eight course dinner and wine pairing. Running about 3 hours and costing $75 the wine pairing gets you 8 full glasses of wine, an 8 course meal, and a thorough explanation of why each wine was selected to compliment the flavors of the dish it is paired with.
The building is a wonderful old structure. With the purchase of the pairing, guests are welcome to tour the house and grounds prior to the start of the dinner. The house remains decorated with period furniture and paintings. The Propylaeum seems to go on forever with staircases, bedrooms, and sitting rooms winding one into the next. A fine selection of wine and beer is available for purchase as you meander around. The wines vary, but the Smoking Loon and Tisdale wineries from California were smooth and enjoyable, particularly if you are just beginning to venture into the world wine.
The dinner takes place in a large formal dining room, with a secondary but equally nice dinning room across the hall that will open up depending on how many people are on hand. The tables are set up wedding style. You and your group may end up at a table with complete strangers, but after eight glasses of wine and some conversation you might end up leaving with some new friends.
Each course begins with explanation of the wine, where it is from, and why it was selected. The host further explains what specific flavor or spice in the dish is supposed to complement the wine. The wines will be 4 whites and 4 reds, and they run the gambit from sweet to dry. Buckets are available if you do not want to finish the glass, and yes, they do serve you eight full glasses so be extra careful and consider taking a cab if you finish them all.
The food is probably the only short fall. While the entire experience is fantastic, the food suffers from being prepared for a large group, and can be, at times, a bit reminiscent of a mediocre wedding dinner. While they are generous with the wine servings, the 8 courses are a bit small. They might be considered tastings to some people. It ends up being the portion size you would expect from a typical dinner; the eight course title can be a bit misleading for people with larger appetites.
All in all, the 8 course wine pairing is a fun night. If you want to learn more about wine, and how it pairs with different foods or if you just want to go out for a reasonably priced night of getting ripped on wine, look into making a reservation. The experience is ideal for groups of friends, or breaking the ice on a first date with that gal you met on an internet dating site, but if you want a quiet romantic evening of wine and dinner look somewhere else.