From takeoff to landing, the Party in the Hangar, a celebration of Monterey’s best wine and food, was high-octane, barnstorming fun.
Kudos to past MCVGA board president Scott Scheid for coming up with the idea of the Bubble Lounge to promote under-appreciated Monterey County sparkling wines. What’s not to love about our sensational sparkling producers, Carraccioli, McIntyre and Scheid, with their distinctive, delightful Champagne-style bubblies?
In the Lounge, VIPs got to indulge in their nose-tickling sparklers, while the many local chefs put finishing touches on a full-throttle menu of amazing first class comestibles. Actually, probably much better than anything you’ve recently had in First Class, unless you’re flying on a private jet, many of which were buzzing in and out of Del Monte Aviation Center, while the crowd rev’d up to a fever pitch of satiation.
This event was First Class in the food department, and for that, we thank all the amazing chefs, and the gal who rounded them up, Stefani Cheney, director of hospitality at Scheid. “This year’s party was just as much about the food as it was about the wine,” says Cheney, a key driver behind the event. “The agricultural riches of Monterey County are abundant, and we wanted this event to reflect that, from field to fork, from vineyard to glass. Our esteemed chef partners are essential to creating the caliber of event that truly showcases the bounty of this county.”
Highlights from the Hangar
Among the highlights of this remarkable panoply of culinary extravagance were Chef Truman Jones with delectable savory cheesecake bites of spinach and sundried tomato with truffle, paired with the 2010 Wrath Swan/828 pinot noir (just the right amount of pomegranate fruit meets earth), and the Carmel Valley Ranch stew of calamari, fennel, onion and fresh tomato, served with pumpkin gnocchi, paired with 2008 Blair Estates Arroyo Seco pinot, a soundly satisfying effort.
Ah, but the La Playa Carmel lobster mac n’ cheese made cozy, comfy friends with the 2011 Chalone
The crazy off-the-hook chicken fried bacon with a drizzle of balsamic from Sticks at Inn at Spanish Bay (inspired by Chef Todd Fisher) was almost tamed by the riotous 2011 Le P’tit Paysan, made by Ian Brand. This was certainly my other-than-pinot favorite red discovery of the day.
The mini-Thanksgiving dinner plate by Williams Sonoma included bitsy-bites of everything you’d love about that blessed meal, including pumpkin pie.
A most righteous pair for that was the 2011 McIntyre Vin Gris of pinot noir: a remarkably good choice for all the vagaries of a typical holiday dinner.
On the spicy side of life, Aqua Terra Culinary and Mann’s Fresh Vegetables presented juicy-tangy beef lettuce wraps, a lovely dancing duet with the 2010 Shale Canyon cabernet franc, which was spicy, smooth and svelte, and on sale for about $17, a bargain in this girl’s book.
Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen was searing up a huge pan of Cajun shrimp, dripping with red jambalaya finger-licking goodness. At that point, I craved the 2011 Scheid sauvignon blanc or the 2010 Marin’s Vineyard viognier, both on the heftier side, the latter displaying tropical lushness and flavors of Asian pear sautéed in butter.
Actually, the brand-new Morgan 2011 Double L riesling, a “Kabinett” style with 10.5 percent alcohol and 3 percent residual sugar, would have come to the rescue nicely, but my husband was steering me out the door, having had quite enough of the booming sound system. This classic petrol-nosed riesling is drippy rich with white peaches, apricot and tangerine, and laced with oscillating acidity.
You could truly succumb to death by chocolate at this event, with Lula’s Chocolate, Marich Confectionery and Monterey Chocolate all serving ample portions of their wicked wares. And just in case you didn’t have enough, Ultimate Sin Cheesecake twisted your arm. Truly the food was just as attention-getting as the wines. You could safely take flight on the sugar rush alone.
The fine folks at Wrath, Sabrine, Chris and Michelle wish you a Happy Landing in Monterey Wine Country, where you’ll always find a fabulous selection of local wines to suit every flight pattern. Visit them in downtown Carmel, where 18 other tasting rooms eagerly await your arrival.