Now in it’s seventh year, the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival has established itself as a celebration of wine and food not to be missed.
Four days sprinkled with fun filled events geared to the love of these things which go so well together.
I found it hard to choose what to do this year, but I had to go to the Sommelier Throw Down. Last year’s event was completely sold out, but was on it early enough for this year.
The Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival has grow substantially just over the last year.
The Sommelier Throw Down was at L’etoile where it had seats for 40, but this year the event was held in the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival tent which took over Mayhew Lane in Edgartown for the weekend.
Now, the Sommelier Throw Down could accommodate double the amount of people and it was sold out again. That’s a pretty good event – doubling it the next year.
I had no idea what to expect, but love the idea of three wine professionals vying for our vote for their wine selection. And these wine guys did not disappoint.
From the Island, there was Sam Decker, the Sommelier from the wonderful Atria, wine maker extraordinaire Joseph Carr, and Mark Fine who has an Advanced Sommelier Certificate as well as the Diploma of Wine.
So much knowledge about wine at one location. Each with a different palate and a different preference, and such different personalities.
Before we began the event, each wine guy gave a brief history into their lives and their love affair with wine. Just listening to them talk, I knew we were in for a fun event.
Sam, the local guy, a little soft spoken, but full of passion. Joseph Carr, who has a big, funny personality. And Mark Fine who is also very funny and was a magician in a pervious life.
People walking by the tent must have been so curious. There was so much laughter from the crowd.
Now it was time for business. Guests were seated at round tables of 10. There were six wines glasses, two rows of three, with wine placed in front of you, along with a bottle of water for rinsing and buckets for extra wine.
The first three glasses were for the first course, the second for the second course, and then the same set up happened again.
The three wine experts each picked what I thought were completely different styles of wine to go with this dish. Here’s what was paired with this course.
Our own Sam Decker had a N.V. Ferrari Brut from Trentino, Italy. This one was a bit too bubbly for me. Even though the dish was fun, I think I’d rather enjoy this sparkling wine on it’s own.
Sam shared the story of history of the wine and why he chose this for the dish.
Joseph Carr chose a Pine Ridge Chenin/Viognier which I really enjoyed. Perhaps it was because it was my wine of choice at the event the night before, Fresh Off the Farm.
I liked this blend with the tartness of the dill pickles and sweetness of the salmon. Joseph Carr made his pitch too. He was funny and had a lot to say about the other selections.
However, it was Mark Fine’s Charles Smith “Kung Fu Girl” Riesling that won over the crowd and won the first round. I am not a big riesling drinker so there wasn’t the same appeal to me.
But, Mark Fine’s reasoning was awesome. He gave history of the wine, did a little magic trick, and then said the best thing – this wine is like a woman, “It is sweet but has a little kick.” The audience was in stitches.
Watching the debate and the repertoire between the three men proved to be very entertaining. Even though it was funny, I found that I was learning a lot about the different styles of wine.
We all voted for our favorites, and were sad when ours didn’t win. By the end of the second course, the table I sat at, without knowing anyone, felt like old friends. It was fun to discuss the pros and cons and see the different tastes we had in wine.
There were four courses and a total of 12 wines samples, many of which I had never had before. I had so much fun with the experience.
Every course and all the wines were so different. Sampling, voting, learning, laughing. making friends and having amazing food.
After the four different courses and the wines, I didn’t want it to end. I wanted more courses, dessert, anything to prolong the experience. This event was one of my top five of the year.
I guess I can tell you who was the winner. it was Joseph Carr. He won two out of four. It was close though at the end, a bit of a nail biter for the last, deciding course.
Oh and let me tell you about the food. Wow! Chef Rachel Klein, from Liquid Art House, was preparing the four courses which got progressively more bold in flavor and in turn the wines parred with it got bolder as well.
However, I have to mention that Chef Klein is a big deal. Her restaurant in Boston is very popular and in demand. How great to have her here – definitely check out the website for Liquid Art House.
I had no idea, but my newly made friend Diego who sat next to me told me all about her. He went to the event to see her and have her food, and was not as concerned with the wine.
The food she prepared was selected from her restaurant menu. I’m not going to share all the dishes, but the Duck Confit with Medjool Dates, Arugula, Queso AzulDe Valdeon, and Urfa Pepper Aioli was the best duck I have ever had. I was in food love.
The Sommelier Throw Down was unlike any other wine event I have ever been to. It was the least stuffy, most entertaining, educational, delicious one ever. I will definitely do this again next year – bravo Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival! Also, tickets were only $60.00 – a great deal too!
In addition to this event, I went to Fresh Off the Farm which is the Fall event comparable to a favorite June event. It was a great time – so much local food and wine.
Also I went to Shucks, It’s Oysters with Dan Michaud of Ruby Wines, where I learned a great deal about a number of white wines, valuable experience.
And I did a quick stop by at the Grand Tasting which was full of wines, food, and even craft cider. These were just a couple of the events happening – there was much, much more
What a weekend of events, this festival definitely makes Fall on Martha’s Vineyard even more fun.
Thanks for reading the On Point Blog. You can learn more about the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival on Facebook. And speaking of social media, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.