The Second Annual Berkeley Wine Festival got underway on Friday night with an Opening Reception featuring an evening filled with wine from around the globe, music and gourmet bites from renowned local chef’s. The Claremont Hotel hosted the event for the second year. In addition to outstanding food and wine, the beautiful vistas were awe-inspiring. Watching as the sun set over the San Francisco Bay with magnificant city views was part of the attraction.
Guests were welcomed to the event with a glass of (Piper Heidsieck) Champagne or Chardonnay. The mood was festive as guests circulated throughout the ballroom to enjoy food, as beautiful as it was delicious. Bites were plated artistically, many were works of art. The featured 50 wines came from California, Oregon, Italy and France. Wait-staff were so attentive that the second you finished your bite, the plate was whisked away. Fortunately they were using sustainable (reusable) plates and cutlery.
The event was celebratory without being the least bit pretentious. Award-winning wines were poured judiciously, but still it would have been impossible to sample them all. Stand-outs included Oregon’s famous Pinot Noir producer, Archery Summit pouring their 2007 Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir; Franciscan, one of Napa’s popular Cabernet Sauvignon producers offering their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon; Flowers Sonoma Coast pouring several wines, but their 2008 Perennial Red Wine was the hit; Gainey Santa Rita Hills 2007 Pinot Noir was one of the more remarkable wines; Miner Napa offering Chardonnay, Merlot, and Sangiovese was one of the first to run out of wine; Poggio Al Tesoro poured their remarkable Super Tuscan; and Tres Sabores served an interesting Cabernet – Zinfandel blend.
Food creations included Braised Beef Short Ribs and parsnips two-ways that melted in your mouth, from the Claremont’s own Chef Josh Thomsen. Wood Tavern (Chef Max DiMare)) serving Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Creamy Polenta with Poached Egg and Chives couldn’t serve people fast enough and the Rabbit Sausage with Green Garlic and Asparagus was a crowd pleaser, served by Venus & Revival Kitchen Chefs Amy Murray and Alicia Jenish.
The Opening Reception kicks-off a series of Winemarker Dinners every Wednesday starting March 16 and running through May 18, 2011, held at the Claremont Hotel. Each of the winemaker dinners will be hosted by a winemaker or proprietor, selected from tough competition. The dinner will be prepared by the Claremont Hotel Meritage Restaurant Chef Josh Thomsen to complement the wines served at each course. Even if you missed the Reception it’s not too late to purchase tickets to one of the Winemaker Dinners.
Getting there: The Claremont Hotel is a short 30 minute drive from San Francisco.
See my Slideshow: Claremont Hotel’s Berkeley Wine Festival
© Karla Erovick 2011 article
© AG Workman 2011 photos
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