Wine and Food Festival Offers International Flavor
The celebration, sponsored in part by A Southern Season, is a weekend of fine wine, gourmet food and pure Southern hospitality. Luis Torres, sommelier from Beam Wine Estates, returns as master of ceremonies. Featured guest chefs include Roland Mesnier, former White House executive pastry chef and John Ash, chef, author, educator, and partner in Sauvignon Republic Cellars.
Highlights of the weekend include:
-- An International Passport Food and Wine Tasting
-- Black, White and Wine Gala Dinner featuring the Gary Lewis Swing Band
-- Food and Wine Showdown --A Chef's Competition
-- Opening Italian Wine Reception
-- Nearly 100 labels represented -- featuring Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, South Africa, Washington State, California and North Carolina
-- Featuring A Southern Season, Gourmet Purveyors and their experts in wine, chocolate and cheese
-- Rare and Large Format Bottle Silent Auction to Benefit the Sandhills Childrens Center
-- The Art of Artisan Wines, a seminar focusing on the life of the small producer will be presented by Jay Murrie, wine department manager on Saturday, Sept. 2, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Participating wineries and distribution houses include Atlas Peak, Bacchus, Beam Wine Estates, Biltmore Wine Estates, Bonterra-Tal Abrose, Bridlewood Winery, Bridgeview Winery, Castello Banfi, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Clos Pegase, Hogue Genesis, Inniskillin, J. Triggs, Kim Crawford, Kumula, Moet-Hennessey, Montecillo, Osborne, Quality Wines of Spain, Rodney Strong, Saintsbury Winery, Shannon Ridge, Shelton Winery, Steele / Shooting Star, Toasted Head, Trefethen, Trinchero, Vias Italian Imports, Vincor, White Oak Vineyards and William Hill.
Pinehurst's 18th Wine and Food Festival presents an international flavor, and the list of featured guests is no exception.
One of nine children, Roland Mesnier, former executive chef at The White House, grew up in the tiny village of Bonnay, France, population 140. He began his career in the kitchen at age 14 as an apprentice. From there, he worked in many different kitchens throughout Europe and eventually found himself in Bermuda, where he met his wife Martha. After nine years in Bermuda, Chef Mesnier made his way to the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va.
In 1979, First Lady Rosalynn Carter hired Mesnier and he became the sole pastry chef, which allowed him to mold and shape the pastry kitchen into his own.
"This is when I realized why I became a pastry chef in the first place. Because I totally enjoy, even today after 48 years in the kitchen, creating anything from a simple cookie to a pie to a wedding cake to a beautiful showpiece which you have seen on television for Christmas," Mesnier says.
He insisted all desserts made in the White House would come only from the White House, causing him to work endless hours. Mesnier recalled making 1,500 cookies without any assistance and another time creating a half ton of fruitcake by himself. He has prepared hundreds of desserts for State Dinners over the years -- never once making the same dessert twice.
Mesnier has a quick wit evidenced by his repertoire with visitors on the White House Web site. When asked if he himself could be a pastry, what would that pastry be, Mesnier responded, "I would like to be a big, fat doughnut."
Mesnier's perfection and dedication have been felt throughout the entire White House; whether the First Family, their guests, or the White House staff, he has left his mark.
John Ash came to national prominence in 1985 when he was selected by Food & Wine magazine as one of America's "Hot New Chefs." He founded his restaurant, John Ash & Company, in Northern California's wine country, in 1980 and it continues to be critically acclaimed more than 25 years later.
Nationally renowned as a wine and food educator, Ash served for many years as the culinary director for Fetzer Vineyards and is on the faculty of the Professional Wine Studies Program at the CIA Greystone. He travels widely teaching both home and professional cooks.
He has a new winery venture called Sauvignon Republic Cellars specializing in sauvignon blanc only, produced around the world. Currently there are three including Russian River Valley appellation in Sonoma County, Marlborough from New Zealand and the Stellenbosch in South Africa. Sancerre in France, Friuli in Italy and Styria in Austria are targeted for future releases.
Ash has written three books. His latest, "John Ash Cooking One-on-One: Kitchen Secrets from a Master Teacher," was published spring 2004 by Clarkson Potter. It won a 2005 James Beard award. He has written two other books: "From the Earth to the Table: John Ash's Wine Country Cuisine" and "American Game Cooking." The former was awarded the IACP awards for Best American Cookbook and the Julia Child Cookbook of the Year and also was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Best American Cookbook. Chronicle Books will release a completely revised and updated version of "From the Earth to the Table" in 2007.
Ash writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and is a contributor to publications such as Bon Apptit and Fine Cooking magazines. He was featured for two years on the Food Network and has co-hosted a live food and wine radio talk show in Northern California for the past 19 years. He is also a passionate voice on sustainable food issues and serves on the Board of Overseers for the Chef's Collaborative, a national organization of chefs who support ethical agriculture.
Jan I. Shrem
Jan Shrem is the proprietor of Clos Pegase Winery in California's Napa Valley. Born of Jewish-Lebanese heritage, Shrem grew up in Jerusalem and then moved to the United States at age 16 to finish high school and attend college.
While studying for his master's degree at UCLA, he made a visit to Japan and ended up staying there for thirteen years, creating a successful publishing business, which he continued in Europe. He eventually sold the business there to pursue his passion for wine and art, studying enology at the University of Bordeaux before returning to California to create his 450-acre wine estate, Clos Pegase.
Clos Pegase represents Shrem's reverence for quality, for wine and for art. The Napa Valley winery was built as a temple to wine in a design by noted Princeton architect, Michael Graves. The winery features 20,000 square feet of caves hewn out of the rocky hillside behind the Graves signature building. The art collection contains nearly one thousand works, including paintings and sculptures of twentieth century masters, wine related antiques, and wine vessels spanning four thousand years. The modern sculpture garden includes major works from Henry Moore, Richard Serra and Mark DiSuvero.
He is a member of the Director's Circle, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; member of the board of Family Winemakers of California; member of the board of Coalition for Free Trade in Alcoholic Beverages; founder of the American Institute of Wine and Food; and founder of "Wine First." He has chaired numerous charity wine and art auctions for schools and museums and has hosted or contributed to hundreds of fundraisers for museums, universities, and wine societies with his humorous slide lecture, "Bacchus the Rascal: A Bacchanalian History of Wine Seen Through 4000 Years of Art."
George A. Foote
George A. Foote, national wine educator from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, has been involved with the wine industry since 1977, with a start-up in retail at The Liquor Shoppe LTD, Dennis, Mass. From there he moved to the distribution venue working as a wine manager, on-premise manager and sales manager, with companies in the New England markets.
In 1983, Foote graduated to a 20-year supplier career with Heublein/Diageo. Over a 10-year period Foote experienced several facets of supply side fine wine business; managing an on-premise territory in the Mid-Atlantic; managing distributors' business in Mid-Atlantic states; and specialized focus with a small Beaulieu Vineyard sales team. The next 10-year opportunity with Heublein/Diageo began in 1993. Foote co-developed the wine education program for BV, which evolved into the wine education program for Diageo. This appellation-driven education program relied on component seminars to advance information and understanding about vineyard locations, grape varieties and winemaking techniques.
In 2004 Foote was hired as national wine educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the largest vineyard owner and producer of Washington wines. His responsibility as wine educator is to develop and present the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Washington story to a network of distributor sales organizations, trade partners, consumers and company sales employees in key markets.
Foote is a graduate of Suffolk University in Boston with a major in journalism. He is a Master Knight in the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine, a continuing education member of CIA, Society of Wine Educators and American Wine Society. Foote resides in Severna Park, Md., with his wife of 16 years, and is an avid golfer when time allows.
It's not so much that Nichole Birdsall was fascinated by bugs when she was younger, but she did "catch the bug" for winemaking while enrolled in food microbiology and fermented foods and wine courses at Cal Poly, part of her study in food nutrition. She was taken by the mystique of the microbes that went to work during fermentation, marveling at how a simple ingredient could be transformed into a delicacy, influenced along the way to gain depth, flavor and complexity.
It is this beginning as a food nutritionist that helps Birdsall bring a deeper understanding into winemaking, focusing on her goal of allowing the true character of the vineyard fruit to emerge without masking it with oak. Organic and biodynamic farming comes naturally with this viewpoint, and Bonterra's leadership allows her to explore and develop fully this greater sensibility. Her own highly evolved food sensibilities bring an added dimension to winemaking.
Winemaking was all around her at home in Healdsburg, in Northern California's Sonoma County. But a degree in nutritional science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo came first, after an early consideration of a career as a veterinarian.
Returning home from Cal Poly, she pursued her interest in fermentation science by working both as a bartender and beer maker in a local brewery, gaining practical knowledge and confirming her interest in an unexpected career direction. Her first wine industry experience came on the bottling line at Korbel Champagne Cellars in the Russian River, graduating to the lab and eventually to an assignment as crush supervisor before returning to California State University at Fresno for studies in enology.
After an internship with Bronco Wine Company, where a variety of assignments there helped pack deep experience into a short time, she joined Bonterra Vineyards to study and work with Winemaker Bob Blue, and now has gained her own measure of excellence with the award winning wines produced in the vintages since she joined Bob's team.
She's learned the old adage is true: "it takes a lot of good beer to make a great wine" but then, she comes by it naturally as a former bartender and brewer, and she continues to make her own Birdsall brew as a beermaking 'garagiste'.
Rates per person per night include accommodations, breakfast, dinner and all wine seminars/tastings.
Schedule and reservation forms are available online at www.pinehurst.com, call 800-487-4653 or e-mail pinehurst.info@ pinehurst.com.
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