Last November I had the distinct pleasure to again welcome the newest class of wine legends into the Vintners Hall of Fame (VHoF) at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (Twitter) in St. Helena, CA. The previous year’s luncheon and gala for the 2010 inductees were quite the shindigs and so I was very thankful to be invited back as a member of the wine media. The 2011 class of VHoF members is another set of US wine icons and the upcoming celebratory gala should be another extremely memorable night.
Per my usual neuroses, I was quite early for the event and cruised around the gorgeous Greystone building until it was time to head upstairs to the famous Greystone Winery Barrel Room where the VHoF is based and the event was to be held. The event did start a bit ignominiously for me however, as someone opened their car door quite heartily into my own. As I turned to give a rather steely stare I instead found myself looking at one of the VHoF’s own alumni…and bit my tongue. 😉
I started off the reception with a taste of the very good 08 Lail Vineyards Napa Valley Blueprint Sauvignon Blanc and followed that up with a taste of the phenomenal, AwesomeWK-awarded 04 Diamond Creek Vineyards Napa Valley Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. A few glass clinks later and it was time to sit down and learn who were the latest inductees, which I have listed below. Noted journalist, W. Blake Gray (Twitter) led most of the proceedings as chair of the nominating committee and kept the pace lively and light, to accompany the continually tasty food.
Vernon Singleton longtime leading US expert on the chemistry surrounding wine, with more than four decades of teaching and researching at my alma mater, the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.
There are still tickets available for the grand induction ceremony on President’s Day, 02/21/11, but they’re going fast. This year’s ceremony is a combined event: 5th Annual Celebration of California Wine & Food and Induction of Vintners Hall of Fame Class of 2011. The walk-around dinner is sporting a featured guest that is none other than former White House Executive Chef (and CIA graduate) Walter Scheib! Full deets below.
SAVE THE DATE: Presidents Day, February 21, 2011
4:00 p.m.: Reception with Wine and Food Pairings from White House State Dinner Menus
5:30 p.m.: Induction Ceremony for Class of 2011 and Unveiling of 2010 Honoree Plaques
6:30 p.m.: Celebrity Chef Walk-Around Dinner featuring former White House Executive Chef and CIA graduate Walter Scheib and perennial favorite Congressman Mike Thompson
The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
Color: Dark garnet, with medium garnet edges
Nose: Deep loam, blackest fruit aromas, slate and fresh anise
Palate: Distinct pencil lead minerality here, with more loam and all black fruit into the super smooth, integrated finish. Great acidity and understated, powerful fine tannins. Very, very good: AwesomeWK