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    First Impressions of the 2018 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

    IMG_2595We just spent three days at the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, and it really was a DmMQr9hW4AArOfSgreat weekend.? From the seminars, to the Wine & Rosecliff Gala and the Grand Tastings, there was an abundance of world class wine, outstanding food and more things to do than anyone could possibly get to.? We tried, we really did.

    As usual, the wine was front and center.? We started with a great seminar from Bodega Catena Zapata, who took us on a journey through their Malbecs.? There were great wines here, and you’ll see them again in our Top Ten Red list coming soon.? Another seminar presented the story of Opus One, and poured six different vintages for us to compare and contrast, and enjoy.? This was pretty special, and both seminars will get an individual review

    Opus One for All!

    Opus One for All!

    in the near future.? At $350 a bottle the Opus One exceeds our cutoff for inclusion in our Top Ten lists, but it has to be talked about.

    Quality across the board from Ken Forrester

    Quality across the board from Ken Forrester

    Each year it seems some producers just shine, with excellent wines across the board.? This year it was clearly Ken Forrester, from Stellenbosch in South Africa.? Their wines were amazing start to finish, are all good values, and will be prominent in the ratings to come.? Also standing out were Dry Creek Vineyards (Sonoma), Bertani (Veneto – Italy), Trinchero Family Estates (Napa), Greece (from a variety of producers) as well as some great Riesling from Dr. Loosen (Germany).? All will have their wines represented in our lists of favorites and top values.

    Also worth mentioning was the food, which took another step up this year in quality, and quantity.? While the pit masters were grilling away outside, and the oysters were being shucked as fast as humanly possible, the restaurants inside the tent really came through.? Scallops seemed to be the protein of the year, much like duck was last year.? Mills Tavern in Providence served up a tasty scallop with heirloom tomato salad at Rosecliff on Friday night.? There was also a lot of variety,

    Raw yellowtail and pickled onion

    Raw yellowtail and pickled onion

    with a savory and complex grilled octopus dish from the Grace Vanderbilt in Newport, braised in soy and served with avocado and smoked potatoes, among other things.? Also tasty was a serving of raw yellowtail from Scarpetta, with pickled red onions.? Blackstone Caterers (always good) had a smoked bluefish pate on a homemade potato crisp, along with a fava bean, pecorino cheese and truffle oil concoction on the same potato crisp.? The bluefish was perfect,? Cheri loved the fava bean,? and the potato crisp was just outrageous.? I could eat just them, anytime.

    The weather was perfect, the crowds were very manageable, and everyone seemed to have a great time.? We

    Maybe the only frown of the weekend

    Maybe the only frown of the weekend

    didn’t see many frowns all weekend.

    Much more to come, as we’ll publish articles on the two seminars, out Top Ten Red and Top Ten White lists, and likely a wrap up looking at more of the food.? For your planning purposes, next year the event is September 19-22.? We’ve already booked our room!

    You can visit the website for next year at?http://www.newportmansions.org/events/wine-and-food-festival.? More details will be added as the year goes on, and we get closer to what will most likely be the best wine and food weekend in the northeast.? It is probably one of the best anywhere, but we’ll wait until we experience all the rest to make that call.? We can say, without reservation, that it is one of our favorite weekends every year.

    A votre santé!

    2 comments to First Impressions of the 2018 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

    • […] It’s June, and warm and sunny.? When summer hits most think of the beach and school vacation.? While we also look forward to the lazy days of summer, we tend to look ahead just tiny bit, to the last half of September, and the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival.? This is our favorite wine and food event of the year, with unbeatable venues, great wines and lots of equally excellent food. ? It is how it should be done.? You can read an overview of our impressions from last year’s event by clicking here. […]

    • […] It’s late July, and if you’re anywhere close to where we are in the country, it’s really hot.? Thoughts turn to beaches, and cold drinks, and warm evenings.? This is also the time of year when our thoughts turn to late September, when the weather gets a bit cooler, and the ocean breezes in Newport, RI come off the water and keep temperatures comfortable.? We are, of course, thinking about this year’s Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, happening at various spectacular venues in Newport, RI September 19-22.? Once again the Festival Presenting Sponsor will be FOOD & WINE Magazine.? There will be wine, there will be food, there will be good times and opportunities to indulge in any way you choose.? This is, in our opinion, the pre-eminent wine and food event in New England.? For some of our impressions of last year’s event just click here. […]

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