Thursday, October 20, 2016
Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival 2016: Grand Tasting
We have often said that the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is our favorite event of the year. It's not just the Gilded Age setting but more importantly the people and the discovery of new wines and food products in a very comfortable social environment.
As soon as one steps through the opulent foyer of Marble House and onto the back terrace one is greeted by a long line of smiling servers who hand you a goblet for the event and then offer up some tasty bites right away.
Like, for instance, this eye-popping taste of salmon and beets on rye bread. It was a cool, sunny day and first impressions do count. This set the tone for what was to follow: several hours of tasting great artisan flavors and sipping interesting wines at a leisurely pace with the most interesting people.
Of course, I immediately headed to the demo stage where I bumped into Lydia Shire and Jacques Pepin chatting amicably. It was a special mission for me to meet Jacques Pepin. I've been watching him on TV for years but he has always eluded me. He was very gracious and surprisingly spry. Before the show was open to the public he wandered through the tent in serious conversations with vintners and food purveyors with never a hint of any star status expectations. My only regret was that I never got a photograph with him. I guess I'll just have to keep attending these events until that happens!
We checked out the food first. There were many artisanal craftspersons there serving up samples of their best products and the quality was not lost on anyone.
As one can imagine, there was tons of cheese being served up. It is impressive just how many quality small batch cheeses are being made throughout New England now. And we make it a goal to try as many as possible.
One of the things we really liked about the subtle changes made this year was the setup of the chef demo table right on the water. It made for some great photos and a way to enjoy the spectacular view.
We also had fun playing fashion photographer with the different vendors who were more than willing to oblige.
We tried a different tactic this year. Instead of walking around and around for four hours resulting in exhaustion and aching feet we basically set up camp at a table in front of the Estrella Damm tent (very gracious people by the way) and let the party come to us.
And come they did, from all over. We met people from Chicago and Canada and even this happy couple, Mark and Keri, who turned out to be from neighboring Somerville.
The wines? Oh yes, almost forgot. Our favorite sips from the event included the Chateau d'Esclans 2014 Les Clans Rosé, and the Prestige Rosé from Champagne Taittinger. Our favorite wine of all, however, was the 2012 Riesling, Graacher Domprobst Grand Cru from Weingut S. A. Prüm of Mosel, Germany. Absolutely fantastic. Can't wait until next year!
It won't be long now until the garden clubs of Newport gather to decorate the mansions for the holidays. We're totally looking forward to seeing that.
We were the guests of the Newport Mansions Preservation Society for this event with no consideration for coverage required or expected.