This is my last Wine Line column for 2017. It’s been quite a year, starting with a trip to India in January and ending with the Grand Grape Celebration in Yosemite in December. Talk about contrasts. Our 17-day trip to India was definitely a journey. The Taj Mahal was incredible and if you like riding elephants, you should go. The Navigator likes to hear me say that because she really wanted to go and I really, really didn’t. So we compromised. I gave in but got the next three travel picks. Yes!
One of my picks was the Grand Grape Celebration in Yosemite. It’s one of my favorites, here’s why. I love Yosemite. So do 4 million other people. The event is held in the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, formally known as the Ahwahnee, in November/December. It’s the perfect time to visit because it feels like you have the park to yourself with most of those 4 million gone. There are six sessions to choose from, each featuring four wineries. Each winery gives a one hour wine tasting seminar in the Great Room of the Majestic. They also provide the wine for the Meet the Vintners Reception and the the five-course Gala Dinner.
We chose session six, Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Our first seminar was with Domaine Carneros’ founding winemaker and CEO, Eileen Crane, who lead us through four sparking wines. David Duncan of Silver Oak Winery led the next session with six cabernet sauvignons, three from Alexander Valley and three from Napa Valley. That evening we met in the Solarium for the Meet the Vintners Reception. Six wines were served with a beautiful table of cheeses and an interesting assortment of appetizers. The next day, Mark Lingenfelder from Chalk Hill showcased four chardonnays with different clonal characteristics. The final seminar was led by Erin Miller from Twomey Cellars who shared six 2015 vintage pinot noirs. That evening was the Gala Dinner with wines paired with five amazing courses. This was the 35th year of this top-notch event and I’m already looking forward to 2018.
Sipping a Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon in the beautiful Majestic Yosemite Hotel and seeing a snow dusted Half Dome is pretty cool, but so was the magnificent Taj Mahal. However, I do love Yosemite so the first class Grand Grape Celebration gets my vote, hands down.
What’s on our table: Five reasonably priced bubblies for New Year’s Eve: Under $7, Barefoot Brut; Under $9, Segura Viudas Brut Rose Cava; Under $11, Korbel Brut Rose; Under $15, Gloria Ferrer Brut; Under $20, Le Grand Courtage Brut or Brut Rose from France, available at World Market. Cheers to 2018!
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