Cheers to a remarkable celebration of food and wine with the 11th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival! With so many incredible events surrounding the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival, it was a challenge to choose which ones to attend.
Each one was carefully curated to capture the beauty and soul of the vintners and foods — a delicate act to balance I image.
There were several new events added to the festival’s roster, including The Ultimate Wash-A-Shore Dinner, aptly named because of the incredible wines brought to the shore of Martha’s Vineyard.
This event was held in the private dining room at Beach Road restaurant. This intimate evening featured wines from Skinner’s Fine Wine Auction House, and what a To help navigate these special, rare bottles, we were joined by Skinner’s Fine Wine Auctions Department Head Marie Keep, and Fine Wine Specialist Anna Ward and Dan Michaud of Ruby Wines.
This experience went beyond any and all expectations I had. There were seven dishes served by the talented chef of Beach Road, André Garza. Each one he prepared transformed and enhanced the flavor of each wine paired with it.
Skinner’s Fine Wine Auction House has the privilege to help people sell bottles of wine that have significant values. Their collection is truly unique and unlike that of any other auction house on the East Coast. The wines selected from Skinner’s collection consisted of the types of wine that most people will never have the pleasure to have pass their lips.
There may be bottles from a family’s collection that may date back decades — wines that are quite uncommon these days. They find wines that tell the life story of those who bought them, where they traveled, the wines that spoke to them, filling their cellars with their personal history.
Some of the wines had a value that was shocking. Wines that have bottles that need to be taken back with Marie and destroyed at the auction house for fear of forgery. Wines that captured your palate, imagination and soul. Each bottle had such history. I felt almost guilty being at the table with such a limited knowledge regarding the wines being poured.
However, Marie said it best when she said that you “Don’t have to know anything about wine, but know what you like.” Each bottle is truly a new adventure, a new discovery, an addition to your wine portfolio.
There was a luxurious feel to each new wine and food, and almost like each portion of the evening took us on a different journey. We kicked off the evening with one of my favorite pairings, a Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Millesime, from Champagne, France. Even the bottle is special – hand painted. This champagne is not common at all, and was from Dan’s private collection.
Light and full of bubbles with a sweetness and velvetiness on the tongue. What a gift to enjoy this bottle. Paired with chef’s dressed Island oysters, it was simply magical and offered a glimpse into what lay ahead. I was smitten – ready for all that lay ahead.
Over the next three hours, you can’t rush something like this, we experienced a true litany of riches for the palate. Having the time, the awareness, being so connected to the food and wine you were consuming was unforgettable. Sitting in such a beautiful, intimate setting, surrounded by people enjoying the same experience, it was remarkable.
We would sample the wine first, learn its history, marvel at its pedigree, invest in exploring its flavor and smell. Then, we would have our course delivered. We would learn about the ingredients and then sample the wine with the food. The wine’s flavor would be transformed, elevated, like a perfect marriage.
There were so many moments about this event that were special and noteworthy. I can’t even begin to capture it all. The food was delicious – delicate for some courses and wines, robust and daring for others.
The 90 day aged strip loin was really something and the kohlrabi – amazing! This dish, our second to last was paired with three different wines, a 1966 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauilac, a 1978 Chateau Margaux, and a 1988 Chateau Latour Pauliac.
These were wine styles and vintners that are well above my wine knowledge, yet sip by sip, we fell in love with each one for different reasons, learning why as we went along. I wish I could take you along on this short journey. That Rothschild – simply amazing, and with the strip loin, it was like a symphony.
With seven courses and so many different types of wines, ranging from a Riesling Grand Cru to an Echezeaux Grand Cru, the only one that fell short for me was the port. Served with our dessert, a beautiful savory New York Cheese Squash Tart with Grey Barn Blue Bird Cheese and spiced nuts, the 1958 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port was not for me. I know that ports are not something I can appreciate sadly. I love the thought of dessert wines.
All in all, we begin the night as strangers, but ended as friends, as travel companions, 11 people brought together by one remarkable event. One that can never be replicated for the wines were so special and the food so perfectly paired, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The smaller events, the private dinners that the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival offer are basically once in a lifetime opportunities. There are wines, winemakers, foods, people, that will most likely never all be in the same place at once ever again. When the list of events is published for 2019, take a look, a careful look and know that you might experience a truly magical evening.
I know that my friend and I would classify this night as unforgettable.
I have to mention, Mary, Jackson and the team at Beach Road were incredible hosts for this event. I also have to say that I love that the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival has brought events to other towns!
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