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.
Richard Graff, leading light of California Pinot Noir with his Chalone Vineyard (some of my fav Pinots, ever).
Joel Peterson, Zinfandel purveryor of “No Wimpy Wines” at his groundbreaking Ravenswood Winery.
August Sebastiani patriarch of Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery and huge supporter of the California wine industry, through good times and bad.
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.
Bob Trinchero, pioneer of White Zinfandel at Sutter Home Winery and almost single-handedly introducing millions of Americans to wine since the 1960’s.
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
5TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF CALIFORNIA WINE & FOOD
and INDUCTION OF VINTNERS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 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
All of the wines that I tasted that day are listed below and tagged with “2011VintnersHoFLunch” for listing in your own WineLog. The photos from that day are in a set on my Flickr. Cheers!
Greystone Cellars California Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Greystone Cellars California Merlot 2004
Greystone Cellars California Chardonnay 2009
Lail Vineyards Napa Valley Blueprint Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Diamond Creek Vineyards Napa Valley Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
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
February 15, 2011
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