Festivals and Events: The 12th annual Nantucket Wine Festival
The 12th annual Nantucket Wine Festival will be held May 14 to 18. Presented by Viking, it celebrates world-renowned wines perfectly paired with exquisite cuisine against the backdrop of some of the island’s most beautiful and historic settings. New elements for the 2OO8 Festival include the introduction of the Wine Luminary of the Year award and the addition of Luncheon Symposia. The Luncheon Symposia series program will unfold with a one-hour symposium featuring 2 to 8 distinguished winemakers, followed by a four-course luncheon featuring the wines of the guest winemakers. Attendance will be limited, allowing for meaningful interaction between guests and winemakers. Available symposia include: The Stars of Stag’s Leap at Straight Wharf Restaurant; Burgundy Master Class at Nantucket Golf Club; and Soaring Wines of Spain at Cinco.
This year’s stellar lineup of wine and food luminaries also stresses the Festival’s emphasis on quality. Wine Luminary of the Year, Jorge Ordonez, President of Fine Estates from Spain, will be on hand for the premiere of Plum TV’s “Coming of Age”. A documentary filmed in the fall of 2OO7, it offers a window into the dramatic changes that have occurred on the Spanish wine and food scene. Other respected winemakers attending include: Cyril Brun of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, John Shafer of Shafer Vineyards, Philip Prost of Bouchard Père & Fils, Alex Gambal of Maison Alex Gambal, Dave Guffy of the Hess Collection Winery, Adria Perez of Cims de Porrera, Laurent Drouhin of Maison Joseph Drouhin, Koerner Rombauer of Rombauer Vineyards, and Christian Tietje of Four Vines Winery. From the culinary world, attending chefs include Marco Moreira (Tocqueville, NYC), Cyril Renaud (Fleur de Sel, NYC), Kevin Williamson (Ranch 616, Austin, Texas), Jody Adams (Rialto, Boston), Damian Sansonetti (Bar Boulud, NYC), Antoine Camin (La Goulue, NYC), Adeline Folley (Vermont Butter & Cheese Company), Gabriel Frasca & Amanda Lydon (Straight Wharf, Nantucket) and Michael LaScola (American Seasons, Nantucket).
Other returning Festival favorites include: Great Wines in Grand Houses (consult website for complete list of offerings and dates) offers an exclusive opportunity to experience fabulous wines in the rarely-seen surroundings of some of Nantucket’s most exclusive homes. These intimate “sit-down” tastings, limited to 12 to 2O people, begin with a palate-honing glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne. Choosing from wine or dinner tasting options, a sampling of 2OO8 GWGH includes: Domaine Comte Senard dinner, featuring cuisine of Daniel Bruce; Jorge Ordonez Fine Estates from Spain dinner, featuring cuisine of Marco Moreira; a vertical of Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select; Leonardo LoCascio Selections.
The Gala, May 15, which takes place at the White Elephant, Nantucket’s landmark harborside hotel, will feature 3O stations, each with a winemaker or winery representative and a distinguished restaurant chef from some of the country’s finest establishments, whose signature cuisine is chosen to match the wines. Peruse and bid on luxury lifestyle items at the silent auction, to benefit the Nantucket Historical Association.
The Celebrity Chef & Winemaker Auction Dinner on May 17, back for the sixth year, is the spectacular dinner auction benefiting the Nantucket Historical Association. Opening with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne, it features a menu of the culinary talents of David Daniels, Executive Chef of Topper’s at The Wauwinet. The dinner will be paired with the critically-acclaimed wines of Maison Alex Gambal, presented by Alex Gambal himself. The Auction will feature rare wines and large-format bottles signed by the winemaker, with a variety of luxuriously unique “life-style” packages.
The Grand Tasting, on May 17 and 18, is the festival’s signature event, offering a unique sensory experience as more than 15O of the world’s most celebrated wineries pour their wines. Samplings of sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, including artisan breads and cheeses, smoked meats and seafood, Nantucket shellfish, and innovative tapas and delicacies, will emphasize the important relationship between food and wine. In addition, specialty items from many of Nantucket’s finest purveyors and restaurateurs will be available. Other highlights include hourly cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs sharing their secret techniques, stunning wine-related art and glasswork, and fascinating exhibits. Held for the second year at the Nantucket Yacht Club, the harborside venue creates a memorable backdrop for enjoying wines.
Wine and Food Seminars (consult website for complete listing of seminars and dates) Led by the industries’ leading experts, these are educational yet relaxed and enjoyable in this setting. New topics for 2OO8 include Texas Throwdown, Un Monde de Fromage from France to Vermont, Entertaining with Sparkling Cocktails, Gang of Five, Bargain Hunting for Fine Wine Treasures, and Secrets of Napa Revealed.
Winery Lunches & Dinners (consult website for complete listing of offerings and dates) During the festival, some of the world’s finest vintners join forces with Nantucket’s distinctive restaurants to create exquisite dinners, showcasing wines from prized bins deftly paired with gourmet cuisine. Guests at the prix-fixe lunches and dinners will discover the nuances of wine production and explore the marriage of wine and food as experts from the wineries discuss the merits of each selection and answer questions.
One Ticket Package is available this year: Grand Cru Package (a $775 value for $55O). Includes: Access to all four Grand Tasting sessions, access to Saturday morning Early-Admission VIP Reception at the Grand Tasting (available to package purchasers only) and access to the Opening Night Reception.
Tickets to the Grand Tasting are sold in two-hour increments, from 12 to 2 or 3 to 5 on both Saturday and Sunday. Advance tickets are $85 per session or $15O for two sessions (sessions may be either on the same day or separate days); one ticket package is also available. Ticket prices increase as of April 18. Proper ID required. For a complete listing and price information for all events contact the Nantucket Wine Festival at 5O8.228.1128 or visit them online at www.nantucketwinefestival.com for constant updates.