Monday 23 April, 2012

Aureole Wine Weekend 1: A Bacchanal To Remember

AureoleWilliEG2




I want to tell you about an incredible weekend I had…last June. I know, I know, this “blog thing” is supposed to be a little more current than that. But after I missed the chance to report about the Aureole Wine Weekend at the time, I got distracted by other things. Until now. Because Kevin […]




-->
I want to tell you about an incredible weekend I had...last June. I know, I know, this "blog thing" is supposed to be a little more current than that. But after I missed the chance to report about the Aureole Wine Weekend at the time, I got distracted by other things. Until now. Because Kevin Dimond, General Manager at Charlie Palmer's destination restaurant in Mandalay Bay(Las Vegas) just emailed me to tell me they're doing another August 13-15 2010--an event that I can honestly endorse without reservation. And there are very few things I endorse without reservation.

Oh Lordy. This is the array of glasses that greeted us at the very first event.

Oh Lordy. This is the array of glasses that greeted us at the very first event.

Here's why:

Wanting to celebrate Aureole’s tenth anniversary, and perhaps remind everyone that in this age of exploding wine destinations, they were (among) the first on the Strip, William Sherer MS, Kevin Dimond and Vincent Pouessel—the Mandalay Bay restaurant’s Wine Director, General Manager and Executive Chef—organized a sponsor-free Wine Weekend June 12-14 (2009) that was most remarkable for its purity of spirit. Some of the 69 wines (!) poured over two afternoon pate and salmon curing events, two lengthy dinners and a Sunday morning kitchen brunch/dessert demo by Executive Pastry Chef Megan Romano, in fact can only be found at auction.

Chef Pouessel demonstrates the art of foie gras while Megan Romano observes.

Chef Pouessel demonstrates the art of foie gras while Megan Romano observes.

Though the event (pricey at nearly $800 a person, but something of a bargain in the balance) attracted only a couple dozen gourmands from around the country, it was enough to inspire the restaurant to beginning planning a sequel immediately.

2010's edition, just announced, looks to be more impressive. Events are set to include: A "blend your own Sauvignon Blanc" competition; A dinner exploring the "four corners" of Tuscany wine and cuisine; An interactive breakfast in the kitchen; A barbeque and "spicy red" blending competition; A Southern Rhone pairing dinner; A Sunday morning Bordeaux tasting; and another chocolate and sparkling wine pairing.

Here are just a few of the remarkable pours we enjoyed last year--with comments from Willi:

Fresh charcuterie and pate presentation

Fresh charcuterie and pate presentation

 

•Pouilly-Fumé, Didier Dagueneau, Silex 2002 (retail around $165)

Very “Summery” Loire Valley white, with strong pear, green apple, grapefruit notes

“There’s a density of flavor, not a thin wine, very dense and concentrated flavors, yet refreshing. Dageneau is the master emeritus.”

•Savenniéres, Baumard 1988

Crisp, mineral, French-oaky Chenin-Blanc which pairs with pate and charcuterie particularly well.

Smoked salmon & trout presentation. I cleaned this plate--and normally I hate salmon.

Smoked salmon & trout presentation. I cleaned this plate--and normally I hate salmon.

“Hard-to-find cellar vintage. Holds up incredibly well. Baumard is one of the masters of Anjou. Savennieres is one of the few dry Chenin-Blancs in the Loire.”

•Vouvray, Huet, “Clos du Bourg,” Moelleux Demi-Sec 1962

With a rich golden color betraying its age, this lightly sweet Loire classic has surprisingly crisp green apple flavor and exceptional balance.

“Re-releases from the domain that we got at auction for around $300. The primary flavors break down into complex perfume at that age.”

Will Sherer and I pose with one of the more esteemed dead soldiers.

Will Sherer and I pose with one of the more esteemed dead soldiers.

•Cote-Roti, Rostaing Landonne, 2003 (retail around $175)

“A beautiful sweet smoky meat character with cracked pepper, blackberry, blueberry fruit, which blended very well with smoked duck.”

•Riesling, Breuer, “Montosa Charta,” Rheingau, Germany 1997 (retail around $20)

A dry Riesling with strong citrus notes, light on the palate.

“This is their apex blend, designed to be aged. Ripping acid. More lemony than the apricot-peach young german Riesling.

Megan Romano demonstrates chocolate-making.

Megan Romano demonstrates chocolate-making.

•Gruner Veltliner, Huber, “Berg,” Traisental, Austria 2004 (retail around $30)

Sharp aromatic white, light yet still complex.

“A regional hero, Berg is a historic vineyard. A subdued medley of nectarine and white flower components with minerals more front and center.

•Syrah, Columbia, “Red Willow,” Columbia Valley 1988 (retail around $150)

A rich red with citrus and tobacco notes, very rewarding.

“Concentrated, depth of flavor, traditional winemaking, dry blackberry spice and complex earthy flavors, cracked pepper, tobacco.”

•Syrah, McCrea, “Amerique,” Columbia Valley 2000 (retail around $34)

The softer side of syrahs, an excellent pairing partner (we had sole and oysters, believe it or not).

“McCrea is a specialist with syrah and viognier, juicy soft textured fruit that tastes good young but ages well.”

Megan Romano handmade chocolates

Megan Romano handmade chocolates

•Cabernet Sauvignon, Martin Estates, Reserve, Napa 2001 (retail around $99)

Beefy, jammy cab that can stop conversation in its tracks.

“Cabernet is king, it has so much flavor up front, you get hit with dense cassis, black olive, roasted bell pepper.”

•Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaulieu Vineyards, “George de Latour,” 1976

The kind of complex wine that legitimized California, practically perfect in every way.

“A little bit of American Oak, pristine bottle of a great vintage. It had the bottle-aged perfume, but also carmelized fruit compote”

•Moscato d’Asti, Dante Rivetti, Piemonte, Italy 2007 (retail around $15)

Lovely sparkling wine with strong pear, peach and apricot sweetness, something to enliven a brunch

“Natural fruit flavors, like biting into a peach.”

•Brachetto d’Acqui, Giacomo Bologna, Piemonte, Italy 2007 (retail around $25)

One of Italy’s rare lightly sparkling reds, a sour cherry celebration that would make a picnic unforgettable.

“A very authentic style with a sense of place, an earthy tone with a little rose, pomegranate, half-sparkling and just a touch of sweetness”

ORIGINALLY POSTED 2009-2010


Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *