Hall Wines Cabernet Cookoff tastes great, gives help

11855799_868280449915926_2336774847356483997_nWe’re a little late on our coverage of this fine event, but we did want to send out hearty Vinopanion props to Hall Wines (WL, FB, Tw, IG, YT) and their highly enjoyable 6th Annual Cabernet Cookoff charity #foodie and #wine event this past April. Fifteen Napa Valley and San Francisco based chef teams competed to see which one could most favorably pair their small bite with the 2012 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvigon and the 2012 Hall Napa County Coeur Cabernet Sauvignon red wines.  To whet the almost 700 attendees’ palates, the festivities were kicked off with a glass of the delicious 2012 Hall Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.  On this particularly hot April day, the SB was quite a treat, with its juicy citrus acidity, rounded out with some tropical fruit and floral notes, and finishing with some zingy minerality.  Following the SB intro, the Lady and I headed into the array of tents to taste through the many culinary delights on prep.

Bunny Foo Foo welcomes the culinary charity masses. (By Lawrence Argent, Hall Wines).

Bunny Foo Foo welcomes the culinary charity masses. (By Lawrence Argent, Hall Wines).

Hall Wines has been producing ultra high end reds and whites in the Napa Valley at their two properties since 2002.  Owners Craig and Kathryn Walt Hall are renowned art collectors and thoughtful curators of their land and ecology with 5 Certified Organic estate vineyards and a Leed Gold Certified new winery at this, their St. Helena location.  We had the lovely opportunity to attend their grand opening of the gorgeous new St. Helena facility earlier in the year, but this was our first opportunity to see it in the daytime. And it was quite an experience! While it was a bit difficult on the hot sunny day to grasp the pairings with the smoky and oaky young Napa Cab, the brighter acidity and less oaked Coeur paired brilliantly with many of the dishes, including our favorite of the day: The Farmers Market Pantry’s Ancho Chili Roasted Mushroom & Squash Blossom Quesadilla. They were sponsoring the Napa Valley Youth Advocacy Center and their alternating savory and lightly spiced quesadilla rocked it with both the sauv blanc and the Coeur cabernet.


11060935_868285769915394_6407453637873669927_nThe event was a resounding success, raising over $59,000 for the local community and satisfying the thirst and stomach of hundreds of charity-minded patrons that day.  The people’s choice and judge’s choice winners are listed below, along with a link to the fantastic drone video courtesy of Darren Chestnut.

A big thank you to Hall Wines for our attendance that day.  Cheers!

Judges’ Choice 1st Pl: Chef Zack Mutrux, PRESS & Charity, If Given a Chance

Dish: Braised lamb neck with beef fat potatoes and bacon sherry vinaigrette

People’s Choice 1st Pl: Chef Chris Jorosz, Andrea Reiter, Capital Dime & Charity, Food Literacy Center

Dish: Savory wild rice Belgian waffles, crispy duck and fig balsamic wildflower syrup

Drone video of the festivities, courtesy of Darren Chestnut.


Wine For Haiti: Brother Can You Spare a Bottle?

Wine For Haiti - Brother Can You Spare a Bottle?

Damon Winter/The New York Times

By now, all of us around the world are very aware of the devastation that continues to unfold in the nation of Haiti from the earthquake of January 12, 2010.  The resulting aftermath and aftershocks have continued to pummel the small island nation and it requires every increasing levels of aid and resources.  It is with these very concerns that have prompted the creation of an unprecedented, global online charity wine auction to directly support the recovery efforts in Haiti.

Palate Press - The Online Wine MagazineBooze MonkeyOne of the online magazines for which I write, Palate Press and the charity wine blog Brother Can You Spare a Bottle? have teamed up to found and lead this online charity wine auction, with all of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross.  As the word has spread about this auction, the efforts have quickly gone global with the Australian wine social network Booze Monkey joining the efforts and many other wine blogs helping and spreading the word.

01/24/10 Update: Wine For Haiti has been featured in the San Francisco Examiner!

01/28/10 Update: The movement keeps picking up, with over $60K in wine already donated! Many more news outlets have picked up the story, including Decanter, The New York Times, Wine Library TV and Voice of America News, wow!

Just within the last week, an incredible array of wines have already been donated by many kind and generous vintners, all listed below as of the publication of this article.  Please consider donating a bottle from your own cellar or check out the listings below to make a bid and add to your own cellar, confident in the knowledge that you’re also helping plenty of people in that are recovering from a devastating national tragedy.  The list is being updated multiple times a day so check back often.  Cheers!

Wine Lots for Auction at Palate Press:

Lot 1 – Cornerstone Cellars 6.0L

Lot 2- Rodney Strong Rockaway 6.0L

Lot 3 – Twisted Oak “The Spaniard” complete vertical SOLD

Wine for Haiti Lot 4 – Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select 3.0L SOLD

Wine for Haiti Lot 5 – Sara Nelson Design Fine-Art Print

Wine Lot 6 – Five Wine Books from UC Press

Wine for Haiti Lot 7 – Jancis Robinson Purple Pages SOLD

Wine for Haiti Lot 8 – Jancis Robinson Purple Pages HOT LOT

Wine for Haiti Lot 9 – Jancis Robinson Purple Pages

Wine for Haiti Lot 10 – Jancis Robinson Purple Pages

Wine for Haiti Lot 11 – Jancis Robinson Purple Pages

Wine for Haiti Lot 12 – Hospice du Rhône

Wine for Haiti Lot 13 – 1.5L Radio-Coteau Savoy HOT LOT

Wine for Haiti Lot 14 – 1.5L 2005 Araujo Estate Cabernet

Lot 15 – 3 Bottles Miller Wine Works Grenache

Wine for Haiti Lot 16 – The Uncorked Cellar

Lot 17 – 3.0L Quintessa 2006 plus Tour

Lot 18 – Tres Bonnes Annees Vertical

Lot 19 – A Charming Older Couple

Lot 20 – Rocca Family Vineyards Wine and Vacation

Lot 21 – WineBanq Cellar Software HOT LOT

Lot 22 – WineBanq Cellar Software

Lot 23 – WineBanq Cellar Software

Lot 24 – 3.0Signaterra Binziger Three Blocks

Lot 25 – 3.0L Faust Cabernet Sauvignon