By the time you read this, the Pebble Beach Food and Wine will be over. This annual event is arguably the premier food and wine event full stop. Sure the food and wine are top shelf and the list of 'A' class celebrities of the industry is very long, but the world class setting it is held in adds a measure of magic that is hard to overlook. With event sponsor Lexus providing privileges to Lexus owners and transportation and shuttle services to others in and out of the spectacular Spanish Bay Resort, the event has an air of expectation before you even see a glass of wine or fancy food. Make no mistake, that wine and food are the focus even with all the celebs and Chefs and Sommeliers, it is mostly about the food and wine. At least during the day. At night the parties are more about hanging with the who's who of your passion whether it be food or wine or both.
Having just hit the tarmac a couple days ago after an amazing Italy Adventure we were not really prepared for this years event. That being said with a little scrambling, tickets to a couple events were purchased. Selecting events to attend is usually quite a decision making process as there are a so many great possibilities and some conflict is inevitable, you cant do them all. This year because of the late nature it was fairly easy. What was left that one could get tickets to. Now while the events to choose from were limited they still required some thinking as there are no events not worthy of attending. After a stressful few minutes on the computer the two events chosen were, Areitta: Wines In Harmony and Malbec Rising: A Star is Reborn.
Friday morning at 10am at the Spanish Bay Resort a fortunate group listened to a man (Fritz Hatton) with an obvious passion to blend the emotions of music and wine. The Hattons founded Arietta in 1996 in partnership with winemaker John Kongsgaard and his wife Maggy. The partnership was born of a shared passion for fine wine and classical music. While known mostly for their red wines, the event shared some wonderful wines and included a couple of white wines as well. Their 2007 and 2011 On The White Keys. A beautiful blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon were both immediately engaging with mouth watering finishes. Pure delight to drink. The reds were just as described "a New World spin on classic Right Bank blends". All were worthy and the 2000 H Block was outstanding. If you come across their wines in a restaurant, give them a try.
Saturday morning again at 10am the Malbec Rising: A Star is Reborn is about to start. While waiting to enter and thinking of all the Malbec wine we have tasted, drank, liked and loved started to realize just how diverse this tasting may be. Sure enough the tastings were from Argentina, a couple of different regions, California and France. Malbec is not, as a lot of people think, an easy grape to grow and make wine out of. It is also not just for blending as the wines presented here were to show. This is a wine of significant stature and is not to be taken lightly.
Malbec was shipped to Argentina in 1852 after some serious frosts in France. The long and seemingly secret history is now seeing the light of day. It seems a bit strange to think of this wine as a new star given the history, but perhaps it is just a renewed focus and a big effort by some to champion this amazing grape and the wines that come from it that is bringing it to the forefront as a wine of significance.
With a very entertaining and well educated panel the tasting was as much fun as it was educational and a great tasting of some amazing Malbec's. The one thing they all had in common was an amazing deep (really deep) purple color that has this iridescent purple rim.
The first wine tasted was from Bodega Catena Zapata. The 'Nicasia Vineyard'; first thought, how is anyone going to follow this! Some how they did and we were led around the world of Malbec by the panel.
One other notable mention, as much for how good is was is that there are now only 7 bottles left. That's right we were drinking all but the last 7 bottles of Blue Rock Vineyards Alexander Valley 2003. Thanks for sharing!
Wines served were in order from; Bodega Catena Zapata, Recuerdo Wines, Cielo y Tierra, Chateau Lagrezette, Blue Rock Vineyard and Trefethen Family Vineyards.
Enjoyed some wine and burgers on the patio while enjoying spectacular views after the tastings and soaked up the atmosphere, as that is it for this year.
The 2013 Pebble Beach Food and Wine looks to be another successful event and although a bit at the pricey end it is still a 'Recommend'.