July 22, 2010
Wine Goes to Your Head Faster in Aspen - Part 2
The final day in Aspen, Saturday, is always bittersweet because you realize it's the last day you get to enjoy the festival but, part of you is really looking forward to going home and giving your liver a rest.
The afternoon was partially spent touring a Prince of Saudi Arabia's guest house, his horse stables and his 20,000 square foot "game cabin" in the Aspen mountains. To say that this Prince has an extravagant lifestyle is an enormous understatement!
After picking my mouth up off the floor, I went with a small group of people to the Southern Wine & Spirits "Party On the River" event. This was an awesome wine, cocktail and appetizer party set on a picturesque stretch of land that had a river running on both sides of the property. The cocktails and food looked ever so tempting but I really had to restrain myself in order to make sure that I had a huge appetite for the incredible dinner that was being prepared at the Hyatt Grand Apsen hotel by the Executive Chef for Simi Winery, Eric Lee.
The grand finale on the Aspen Food and Wine Festival was an "invitation only" Constellation Wines dinner event that I was so honored to have been a part of. The theme of the dinner was titled "Decades of Excellence" and featured popular food courses from the 70's, 80's, 90's and the current decade. Chef Eric Lee's personal twist and take on these "dated" courses subsequently were made to taste current and relevant in today's highly competitive culinary world. The first sit down course was a Ginger Waldorf Salad paired with the Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc. This wine had intense primary aromas of lemongrass that mingled with the subtle scent of lime blossoms and hints of sage and spice. Mouthfilling flavors of crisp yellow peach were followed up by a very smooth, rounded texture. The pairing was genius because we found ourselves salivating and more than ready for the other courses that were yet to come. My favorite course of the evening was a Duck and Foie Gras Pot Pie paired with the Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel- truly incredible! This yummy Zinfandel had striking precise aromas of blackberry, black pepper, vanilla, coffee, smoke and mint. The pairing was by far the highlight of the entire weekend and the room was definitely buzzing about that course! At the conclusion of the evening I was persuaded to serenade the wine dinner attendees with a song from Phantom of the Opera. Even though I have sung professionally on a cruise ship, amusement park and at weddings, this was proof that the wine does indeed "go to your head faster in Aspen"!
Cheers To You,