Report on Pinehurst Wine Festival - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 09-04-2001 04:36 PM

The Pinehurst Wine Festival (13th) was held from 30 Aug through 3 Sep (Labor Day). I attended events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (31 Aug to 2 Sep). It was great fun and attracted people from Houston, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, etc. as well as many cities in North Carolina. Almost all the wines were from California or Australia (Greg Norman Estate wines from Beringer Blass)with the exception of Veuve Cliquot Champagne. To my disappointment and that of some others, there were no zinfandels offered. Vendors seemed to be catering to the merlot, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay trends as well as a few less familiar red and white wine grapes.
The attendees voted for Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay Reserve as the best white. Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was voted best red. (Greg Norman shiraz was also well received). Carmenet (new to the festival and presenters of a seminar on organic grapes) were named favorite winery (for educational efforts and interchange with the consumers) and Peju (also a newcomer to the festival) won the vote for best display.
I attended a Robert Mondavi seminar where we tasted barrel samples of filtered, and nonfiltered Chardonnay, Chardonnay inoculated with purchased yeast and Chardonnay made with native yeast, and Chardonnay from an Old Wente Clone or a Dijon Clone to see how winemakers make choices about producing their wines. We also tasted some of the finished product. At a Merryvale seminar we tasted blind two non-reserve cabernets that turned out to be from 1997 and 1998 and the Cabernet Reserves from 1997, 1998 and 1999. Strangely I prefered the 1997 reserve to the other two vintages but the 1998 non-reserve to the 1997. The presenter says his favorite reserve is the 1999 which has not been released yet but I couldn't see much in it. Maybe it was just too young and closed up to show well. I was glad we got to taste the 97 vintage. I also went to a seminar on Australian wine districts and a Duke Heart Center presentation on women and heart disease. An auction of Duke sports memorablila benefited the Duke Heart Center and an auction of wines benefited the Moore County School System. The food was pretty incredible throughout. We had to have the Friday night "picnic" indoors due to rainy weather and it also rained on the golfers on Saturday. The Saturday luncheon included raspberry chilled soup with pink peppercorns, fried lobster, and a dessert reminiscent of an Irish or English trifle (layers of cake and custard or creme) under a shell of chocolate. There was a raspberry creme in it to match the raspberry soup. Saturday night the distributors' dinners were held in four different rooms with four well known chefs. The dinner I attended was prepared by the chef of Fearrington, and was southern in concept with quail, triggerfish in crushed cashews and "Confederate caviar" (peas, beans, corn?), pickled watermelon and dandelion salad, and another dessert under chocolate shell. (One attendee remarked that none of the wines went very well with pickled watermelon salad. At least they didn't have us drinking dandelion wine--thoughts of Ray Bradbury).
The grand finale dinner on Sunday had three buffet stations--a caesar salad made on the spot, an Italian buffet with mushroom ravioli and a pasta with tomato-herb coulis, etc., and a dessert buffet with various pies and pastries available as well as a flambeed strawberry dish. Breakfast was also buffet style with an omelette bar. Wow! What a treat. I'm already thinking about going back next year. People I met ranged from local politicians, Scott Carney, a Master Sommelier from New York City, to the woman who designed the brochure and web site for the festival, a Charlotte lawyer and a Charlotte landscaper, etc.

- winoweenie - 09-04-2001 05:50 PM

WOW....Wow! Sounds like a blast and extremely informative. Glad they poured the 97 Merryvale for you. The menu seems to be well thought opy. Too bad it's east of ye' ole' Miss ribber. WW

- Bucko - 09-04-2001 08:21 PM

pickled watermelon and dandelion salad
Now that would be fun to match a wine to!

- winoweenie - 09-05-2001 06:37 AM

Ish'll Drink,hic, to that. (Matching the watermelon0 WW

- wondersofwine - 09-05-2001 07:26 AM

WW, Yeah, I hadn't thought about the possibility that some of the attendees might be as pickled as the watermelon!