Want to hobnob with some of California's star vintners while grazing on food made by celebrity chefs?
Next weekend (March 13) you'll have the chance, as the Vintners Hall of Fame inducts its Class of 2010.
I'm proud to be the chairman of the VHF's Electoral College, and I'm excited about this year's induction class. I'll be writing more about them later. But today I'm here to talk about the event, because tickets are still available.
This year the Culinary Institute of America decided to eschew a sit-down dinner in favor of walk-around grazing, after the appetizer portion of last year's dinner was so popular.
There will be food from Michael Chiarello (Bottega), mushroom magician Todd Humphries (Martini House), Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), Anne Gingrass-Palk (Brix), Polly Lappetito from the CIA's own restaurant at Greystone, and others. I also plan to save room for desserts from Emily Luchetti (Waterbar and Farallon), Richard Ruskall (Montage), Sherry Yard (Spago) and the CIA's own Stephen Durfee.
Of course there will be wine, much of it related to this year's induction class.
I have buried the lead: this year we voted in Leon Adams, Andy Beckstoffer, Al Brounstein, Randall Grahm and Zelma Long. I believe Long will be harvesting in South Africa, and we may only see her by video link. Unfortunately Adams and Brounstein are no longer with us, although I believe Al's ebullient wife Boots will attend.
Fortunately, no event with Randall Grahm and Andy Beckstoffer in attendance is ever boring. We should be able to drink Grahm's wine, and some great wines made from Beckstoffer's grapes, while discussing their great long careers.
I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the morning events, because one features yours truly. I will moderate as David and Judy Breitstein, owners of Duke of Bourbon in Hollywood and longtime collectors of California wine, open a half-dozen of their most prized magnums, telling stories about the wines and inviting a couple of special guests who made said wines. We'll be drinking some classics perfectly preserved in the Breitsteins' cellar.
Here's the list:
• Louis M. Martini 1956 Pinot Noir, California Mountain
• Mayacamas Vineyards 1969 Cabernet Sauvignon
• Louis M. Martini 1970 Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Selection
• Diamond Creek Vineyards 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon, Gravelly Meadow
• Heitz Cellar 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha's Vineyard
• Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon, SLV
• Joseph Phelps Vineyards 1997 Insignia
The two events are separate. The evening dinner is $250; the seminar with the Breitsteins and yours truly is a bargain at $150, since you could never buy a 750 ml of any of these wines for that. This is one event where I don't know if spit buckets are necessary.
Click here for more info or to buy tickets. Hope to see you there!