“We got our holiday wish. Now we’d like to help others with theirs.”
Adam Beaugh, Social Media Director for Jackson Family Wines, sent me this intriguing invite to taste wine at Craft LA with a nice note that continued, “I read over your blog and would love for you to come if you are available. Should be a pretty good mix of folks there, but I’m hoping to bring out a few wine lovers who dig social media. Basically.. good wine, good people, good food.. just another lovely evening in L.A.”
The party was to celebrate Wine Enthusiast magazine’s #1 ranking of Cambria Winery’s ’06 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.
I wanted to “refresh” my palate and have some sense of the wine before the event. That said, I ran out and bought 3 bottles of different vintages to try. (Easily found at Ralph’s Santa Clarita and Castaic. No complaints from the wine students, hard liquor fans or my hubby in the three occasions I found to share my Cambria.)
The event turned out to be a bit of a “Twitter Meet-Up”. When I arrived at Craft in its Century City location, and ushered into a private room, the first thing I noticed was a large screen on one wall with a live Twitter feed.
Twitter, like Facebook, has little icons, or Avatars, for each member. A “Tweet” is limited to 140 characters (which is why I prefer Facebook, writers need a wee bit more space) and, for this group it was all about networking over, you guessed it, wine.
I had fun matching the live feed of my Tweet friends to guests around the room and quickly went to meet the match for Adam Beaugh himself, Jesse Hiestand, Luke Mathews and Ben Mason (friends from Hipsterenology.com that I’d met at Rhone Rangers this summer), Denise Lowe (Goddessofvino.blogspot.com), her husband John Dickey and uber social media strategist Tom Martin.
By then we were sipping on Cambria’s very classy 2007 Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay and Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, and munching on some elegant appetizers (See food section below. Yes I e-mailed the chef!)
While I met and chatted with the proprietor Barbara Banke about her daughters due to arrive, and then winemaker Denise Shurtleff on winemakers that don’t always stick to the rules in admitting to what’s really been blended into their Pinot Noirs, and her hubby that won’t come to pour with her as people presume he is the winemaker – the clock struck midnight for me and I had to dash home.
The star of the evening, the 2006 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot is reviewed quite nicely by my friend that stays up later here: http://goddessofvino.blogspot.com/2009/12/celebrating-with-cambria-wines-at-craft.html
The other star that I missed was special guest Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast California editor that I met later, you guessed it, on Facebook.
The Food and Venue
From the attentive wait staff, hostess, coat check, valet services all the way down to the elegant glassware, guests were greeted with “too many spoons” to count. Think stacked appetizers cradled in metal spoons, as well as the expected charcuterie. I especially liked the salami, Goat cheese, the bite from the poached pomegranate in the “Chestnut Agnolotti”, lobster, duck ham and Hamachi.
We had selections, if not all, from this list:
1. Charcuterie Plates
Chorizo, Prosciutto, Salami, Speck
2. Cheese Board
Cavatina, Goat – Andante Dairy
San Andread, Sheep – Bellwether Farms
Serena, Cow – Three Sisters Dairy
3. Chestnut Agnolotti
Candied Pomelo Zest – Hamada Farm
Blood Orange Butter – Hamada Farm
Poached Pomegranates – Dautch Farm
Yuzu Vinaigrette – Hamada Farm
5. Liberty Farms Duck Ham
Kumquat Jam – Dautch Farm
6. Maine Lobster
Cherry Tomato Jam – Tutti Frutti Farm
7. Niman Pork Belly
Pink Lady Apple Butter – Cuyama Orchard
CompressedPiIllc Lady Apple – Cuyama Orchard
8. Japanese Hamachi
Finger Lime Vinaigrette – Churchill Orchards
Pickled Red Onion
9. California Natural Sirloin
Tiny Potato Confit – Heirloom Organics
10. Spaghetti Squash Panna Cotta – McGrath Farms
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
The private invitation-only wine tasting was to benefit Children’s Bureau and their new Magnolia Place Family Center Library. In the spirit of the season, donations of children’s books were encouraged. (I brought a bag full myself!) All was sponsored by Children’s Bureau in conjunction with Cambria.