Wine and food, they bring us together. That describes what took place from Nov 1-4, 2012, during the spectacular 4th Annual Big Sur Food and Wine Festival. Wineries from many areas partnered with local culinary genius to present a varied program, including the Opening Night Gala, hiking tours, panel tastings, dinners, an auction luncheon and a grand public tasting held at the Post Ranch Inn.
The Santa Cruz Wine Examiner was delighted to attend the Gateway to Big Sur Opening Night Gala, held at the renowned Hyatt Carmel Highlands. The Pacific’s Edge restaurant, Lobos Lounge and Fireside Room opened to 36 wineries and 16 chefs whose only goal was to entice the crowd with excellence in their craft. All this accompanied by a backdrop of the spectacular Big Sur coastline!
Birichino and Ghostwriter wineries take part in the festival
Two wineries with Santa Cruz roots poured their wines.
Birichino, founded in Santa Cruz in 2008 by winemakers Alex Krause and John Locke, who have both worked with Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard, say that the name Birichino means naughty and mischievous, which describes the slightly racy character of the popular Malvasia.
“We were honored to kick off Big Sur Food & Wine with our 2011 Malvasia Bianca and 2011 Grenache VV atop a cliff on Grimes Ranch with Shiho of Ocean Sushi Deli, and also ingested more than our share of pork at Wine & Swine and the Grand Tasting at the Post Ranch Inn where we also brought out our 2011 Pinot Noir Saint Georges. We were honored and humbled to contribute, while sharing fantastic food and wine with new and old friends in the severe beauty of Big Sur. We’ll be back!” they exclaimed.
Ghostwriter is a partnership between the Likitprakongs and the Wilkersons to reach the potential of the Santa Cruz Mountains area. In early 2008, Brian Wilkerson and Kenny Likitprakong took over the farming on two of the appellation’s oldest vineyard sites, the Woodruff Family Vineyard planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Corralitos, and the Aptos Creek Vineyard, planted to Pinot Noir.
They introduced sustainable farming and carried that through with natural winemaking in the cellar, all in an effort to emphasize individual terroirs. “Simply put, there is unrealized potential when it comes to wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Legends like Martin Ray, Paul Masson, and Chaffee Hall recognized it early enough to make the area one of California’s original viticultural areas,” they say.
Ghostwriter Belle Farms Pinot and Folk Machine Pinot were presented at the Henry Miller Library and the grand tasting at Post Ranch.
Wine marketing expert Laura Ness shared her tasting notes: “2011 Folk Machine Pinot Noir – Monterey County, a full-on cool climate Pinot with zippy, zesty strawberry rhubarb pie flavors and coloratura soprano acidity.
2010 Ghostwriter Pinot Noir, Belle Farms Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains. Made from champagne clones of Pinot Noir, this wine is spicy and electric, with zingy ginger-cranberry and pomegranate flavors.”
She also shared some favorite food notes: “Loved the seared tuna with white beans, olives and artichokes, topped with roasted yellow heirloom tomato aioli from Chef Jerry Regester from C Restaurant.”
As for this wine examiner, Ben Spungin from Marinus Restaurant at Bernardus of Carmel Valley got a special handshake from me for his innovative desserts of lavender infused macaroon sandwiches, chocolate shortbread cookies with sea salt and chocolate mousse with a surprise under-layer of carrot puree.
Big Sur Food and Wine Auction benefits community
President and founder Toby Rowland-Jones proudly announces that the festival, sponsored by Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Hyatt Hotels, Mercedes-Benz of Monterey, Post Ranch Inn, J& L Wines, and Farmer Family Fund, has raised over $65,000 in the last three years for “this fragile and unincorporated little area at the edge of the world.”
By June Smith