There is something special about walking into the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting. Perhaps it’s the anticipation of discovering new wines or the amazing food being served, or the fact that this event is like an epic Fall gathering of locals and visitors.
The Grand Tasting is held on the grounds of the Harbor View Hotel. Large tents framed by the hotel’s gardens provide the perfect location.
Walking in, I like to employ my usual strategy. I do an initial lap, taking it all in, gathering a game plan for what catches my eye.
Even before I sampled wine, I was mesmerized by what happening at Meritage’s table. This restaurant from Boston definitely raised the bar. Chef de cuisine, Keith Bombaugh, had the most beautiful scallop crudo. Not only was the presentation 5 star, but then there was the addition of dry ice, which created the most amazing dish that looked magical as the smoke billowed up from under the shell.
Of course, not only was it stunning, but it was also delicious. I was very, very impressed. Meritage brought a little magic to the Grand Tasting.
C Salt was another table I want to mention. Though very simple, their pork belly tasting was really good. This restaurant is right over in Falmouth, and has been on my list of places to try. Having this great little bite (or two) reminded me that I need to make C Salt happen this Winter.
This year’s event definitely had more food choices which was really nice to see. It’s a good idea to have great food options when enjoying great wine. Garde East, The Sweet Life, Detante, The Lighthouse Grill, were just a few more restaurants serving up delicious bites.
I have to say that the Woodford Bourbon folks do an incredible job with their set-up. There was a selection of bourbon to sample, and there was even a Fall cocktail, apple cider and bourbon, so simple, yet so delicious. A lovely sipping drink, and I bet a lot of people will be mixing this cocktail this season.
I also have to tell you that I tried my first French whiskey. Though Manhattan’s are not my thing, more my hubby’s, I can appreciate it.
Wine, wine, and more wine, and something for everyone. I found a new sparkling Rose that stole my heart. I first had it at Fresh Off the Farm on Thursday night, and was so happy to try it again, and confirm my love of it. This new find is Naveran Vintage Cava Brut Rose from Cava, Spain. It was so light and bubbly, and imagine my surprise that this heaven in a bottle is under $20.
Some of my favorites were there, including Joseph Carr. I always enjoy speaking with wine maker, Joseph Carr, and of course, have to sample his wines. I am a big fan of Dylan’s Ghost.
Revolver was in the house again too. This small winery, Page Winery, from Napa, produces bold, peppery wines, all with a rock influence. However, this year, we were able to try the Stash. A cab from 2013 that was so good. This is one of the most expensive bottles of wine from Napa, and it really was so smooth with dark fruit flavors.
Love that it’s named the Stash, and funny enough, it was the secret stash that day. It was one of the bottles that was not on the table, but rather if you made a connection with wine maker, Bryan Page, you were able to try. Sometimes it pays to be nice.
Another fun, new find was Rhum J.M, rum from Martinique. This rum has been in production for centuries, yet it took the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival for me to discover it. The offerings were really smooth and sophisticated. The V.S.O.P. specialty rum they had, is created by aging the rum for 3 years in re-charred Bourbon barrels. But that’s not all of it. It’s then finished in lightly toasted new American oak barrels. A different rum for sure, or should I say rhum.
Back to wine world. There was a lovely vintner with a selection of wines from Spain that we liked. A noteworthy red was the Pares Balta Hisenda Miret Garnacha (grenache grapes). I liked the fruity, toasty notes of this wine.
Also, the Pares Balta Cava was quite good. With notes of apple and pear, it was very light and refreshing. I am interested in trying more cava brands — the Champagne of Spain. This is a whole new area of bubbles for me.
Each year, the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival manages to deliver and delight me. I love learning from passionate professionals about their craft, whether they’ve made it or are selling it. I leave the event feeling inspired and amazed at all the amazing wines and beverages that are available.
The event is even better with friends to share tasting notes and stories with. I have to say that the chefs, wine makers, vintners, volunteers, are really fun and interesting. Whether from France, Napa Valley, Falmouth or Edgartown, the people are part of what makes this food & wine festival so grand.
Four Days of Wine Fun
I have to also remind you that the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival is a four day event, full of seminars, intimate wine dinners and more. You could make an entire vacation or stay-cation with this festival!
The festival’s kick-off event, Fresh Off the Farm is one I’ve gone to since it started. I love this event which pairs local farms and chefs with wine at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. Think of it sort of as a much smaller, very intimate version of the Grand Tasting.
With local music and so much local food, including the amazing deviled eggs, a tradition at this event, and of course wine, this event is a low-key, sweet celebration of food and wine.
Cheers Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival to the next ten years of great events.
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