Alsace Varietals Festival Showcases International Whites
For the seventh consecutive year, the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association will host the International Alsace Varietals Festival – an event that has become a popular showcase for Alsace-style white wines from around the world. The 2012 festival, to be held February 18-19, will also feature a celebrity chef cooking demonstration and a New Zealand Riesling challenge.
Producers from both near and far will pour five highlighted varietals during the two-day celebration: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat. Festival events will include a technical conference, a cooking demonstration by Food Network star chef Beau MacMillan, a grand tasting, a group winemaker dinner and winery open houses.
The technical conference on Saturday morning will highlight pertinent issues in winemaking and grape growing for these varietals, with talks by industry experts and winemakers. The conference will also include a New Zealand Riesling challenge, with attendees tasting 12 Rieslings – all sourced from the same vineyard, but crafted by winemakers from around the country. Tasters will try to identify which elements originate from the vineyard site, and which from the winemakers.
The Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon will showcase aromatic white wines from approximately 40 producers. Fantastic small bites, including fresh oysters and dishes from several well-known chefs, will be paired with the wines.
Chef Beau MacMillian – former “Iron Chef America” winner, current “The Next Iron Chef” challenger and executive chef at Scottsdale’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain – will host an engaging and educational cooking demonstration with chef Francois de Melogue (former executive chef at Dayboat Restaurant, Copper Beech Inn and Pili Pili). Together they will cook Asian-inspired and Alsace-style dishes for attendees, pairing them with the highlighted wines. Attendees will be able to savor both dishes at the grand tasting and try their own food and wine pairings based on the chefs’ recommendations.
Participating wineries at the festival normally include: Anne Amie Vineyards, Arista, Banyan/The Hobo Wine Co., Alderbrook Winery, Bowers Harbor, Brandborg Vineyard & Winery, Breggo Cellars, Brooks Winery, Grand Traverse, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Chehalem, Claiborne & Churchill, Claudia Springs Winery, Domaine Charles Baur, Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss, Domaine Weinbach, Domaines Schlumberger, Esterlina Vineyards, Foris Vineyards Winery, Graziano Family of Wines, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Gundlach Bundschu, Hagafen Cellars, Handley Cellars, Husch Vineyards, La Rochelle Winery, Lazy Creek Vineyards, Left Foot Charley, Londer Vineyards, McFadden Farm, Navarro Vineyards, New York Finger Lakes Wine Alliance, New Zealand Winegrowers Association, Phillips Hill Estates Winery, Philo Ridge Vineyards, Robert Sinskey, Sheldrake Point, Steele Wines, Tatomer Wines, Thomas Fogarty Winery, Toulouse Vineyards, Tudor Wines, Valckenberg, Zina Hyde Cunningham and Zin Valle Vineyards, among others.
The winemaker dinner at Scharffenberger Cellars on Saturday evening will focus on Alsace-style wines (including Pinot Noir) produced by participating wineries. The gourmet, sit-down meal will offer attendees a chance to meet and get to know each winemaker and taste their favorite wines.
On Sunday, local wineries will host open houses that include live music, vineyard tours, food and wine pairings, and more.
A detailed schedule for the weekend follows and any additional information about the event can be found at the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association website at www.avwines.com, or by contacting the Association via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (707) 895-WINE. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online.
EVENT DETAILS AND COST:
Technical Conference: Saturday, February 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Cost: $45 per person. Location: Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14400 Highway 128, Boonville
Come listen to and interact with winemakers from around the globe as they discuss winemaking and grape growing specifically for Alsace varietals. A special treat will include a New Zealand “Riesling Challenge,” with 12 wines from various winegrowing regions throughout the country. Breakfast will be included.
Cooking Demonstration with Food Network Chef Beau MacMillan:
Saturday, February 18, 12-1 p.m.
Cost: Included in the grand tasting ticket price
Location: Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14400 Highway 128, Boonville
Food Network chef Beau MacMillan and renowned chef Francois de Melogue will create Alsace – and Asian-style dishes for attendees during an educational and entertaining cooking demonstration. The chefs will discuss food and wine pairing tips, and the audience will sample their creations and even try their own pairings during the grand tasting – a great way to learn more about the versatility of Alsace-style whites!
Alsace Varietals Grand Tasting: Saturday, February 18, 1-4 p.m.
Cost: $65 per person. Location: Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14400 Highway 128, Boonville
Meet the winemakers and taste Alsace-style white wines from around the world, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat! Enjoy perfectly paired bites crafted by local purveyors, including dishes made by celebrity chefs. It’s an event that will brighten even the darkest winter month!
Alsace Festival Winemaker Dinner: Saturday, February 18, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $125 per person. Location: Scharffenberger Cellars, 8501 Highway 128, Philo
Relax and enjoy a sparkling wine reception, followed by a sumptuous sit-down dinner paired with Alsace-style wines (including Pinot Noir). Meet and dine with the winemakers in a gorgeous, wine country setting. Seats are limited.
Winery Open Houses: Sunday, February 19, All Day
Cost: Free. Location: Varies
Visit our local wineries at their open houses and participate in wine tastings, seminars, and other special events.
A list of participating wineries and event details will be posted online, closer to the festival, at www.avwines.com.