The Nantucket Wine Festival Who’s Who:Â Alex Gambal, Bertrand Ambroise, Michel Anglada, John Arns, Alis Arrowood, Beaux Freres, Jack Bittner of Cliff Lede and Franz Hill, Chateau d’Esclans, Donelan, Ray Coursen of Elyse, Kristine Ashe Vineyards, Sean Larkin of Larkin, Jack Larkin & Tinknocker, Hall, Hirsch, Hourglass, Jordan, Justin Baldwin of Justin, Carissa Mondavi, Miner Family, Eric Munson of Dancing Bear Cellars, Jorge Ordonez of Fine Estates from Spain, Damaris Colhoun of Landmark, Martin Estate, Michael & Fiona Ragg of Mischief and Mayhem, Pride Mountain, Regan Wines, Comte Philippe & Beatrice Senard, Robert Sinskey, Bill ‘DANCING BEAR’ Bishop of Steele & Shooting Star, Tariquet, Dominique Demarville of Veuve Clicquot, Villa Sparina, Wishing Tree…
These are but a few of the all-star cast that is the 2010 Nantucket Wine Festival, but they, in particular, are near and dear to our hearts.Â Some of them you hear about a lot, others fly under the radar.Â Most, we sell their wines;Â some, we just admire.Â All will contribute to a stellar 4-day wine experience–I know, because I’ve spent time with almost all of them!
Just this winter, I was in Sonoma, lunching with David Hirsch and his daughter, Jasmine, at their new home on the rugged Sonoma Coast.Â It is a 2+ hour drive from Sonoma, over hill and dale, and thus, we named it “Outward Bound” day.Â It was a treat hanging with David, a pioneer of this appellation.Â Hirsch makes pure, Burgundian-style Pinot Noir and sells his grapes to others such as Littorai, Failla and Siduri.Â His Saturday seminar on “The True Sonoma Coast” will be very worthwhile.
We (meaning Denis Toner of the Nantucket Wine Festival, our friend David Kuhn, Mark Donato and I) also lunched with Alis & Dick Arrowood of Arrowood and Amapola Creek in Glen Ellen.Â The Arrowoods are a true wine country success story, in that they built up their label Arrowood, sold to Kendall Jackson (who retained Dick as winemaker), and now they’ve started a boutique label, Amapola Creek.
We had dinner with Ray Coursen (Elyse) at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega in Yountville and again enjoyed his company at a winter feast in his home with veteran winemakers Sandy Belcher and John Arns, plus newbie Kristine Ashe.Â On other nights, we dined with the Donelan Family team at Cyrus in Healdsburg and had a glass of wine with Carissa Mondavi of Continuum.
I’ve visited many beautiful properties, large and small, and having some of these wineries come to Nantucket brings back wonderful memories.Â The vineyards and state–of-the-art caves at Hourglass and Hall are stunning and Justin is by far the most luxurious winery to spend the night in (except for, perhaps, Jordan!).Â Pride Mountain is also a special property–Its high elevation, straddling Napa and Sonoma Counties offers terrific views and yields tremendous wines.Â And in November, we’ll be back in Beaune to see old friends like Alex Gambal, Michel Anglada and the Senards.
Several luminaries I have had the pleasure of hosting at currentVintage.Â Eric Munson, Jorge Ordonez and Robert Sinskey have all done store tastings in the past, and this year, we welcome Michael & Fiona Ragg of Mischief & Mayhem and Dominique Demarville, Cellarmaster of Veuve Clicquot.Â The Raggs have the distinction of being British winemakers in Burgundy and Demarville made history as the youngest champagne Cellarmaster ever at age 36.
I am such a fan of Bertrand Ambroise and Jack Bittner that I selected the Ambroise Cremant and a Zinfandel from Franz Hill for a spring dinner pairing in a recent issue of Nantucket Today.Â Jack is the General Manager of Cliff Lede (where all the parcels are named after rock bands and albums, eg Dark Side of the Moon) and Franz Hill is his own project.Â Wines from Shooting Star, Wishing Tree and Domaine de Tariquet are among the value gems of the currentVintage wine collection.
Yes, it’s an all-star cast–Don’t miss these wineries and winemakers at the NWF next week…!
Alex Gambal is a festival favorite–As an American in Burgundy, he seems sort of like a hometown hero, even though he’s from D.C.Â Here is a bit on Alex from a previous cV Lifestyle post:
Ray Coursen of Elyse Winery is another NWF regular and was also featured in the above post.Â Ray was deservingly honored as NWF Luminary of the Year in 2009.Â I had a couple of excellent dinners with Ray in Yountville this winter, including this fun evening with fellow winemakers Kristine Ashe, maker of Entre Nous and John Arns, maker of outstanding cabs from Arns Winery .