The guru of grapes visits the Vail Valley |

The guru of grapes visits the Vail Valley

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado “-High-quality and multi-layered with big, bright fruit characteristics. These are some of the ways that Derek George, sommelier for Wildflower restaurant in Vail, describes the wine Peter Cargasacchi crafts. Its those very traits that draw George to his wines, he said. Cargasacchi’s vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills region of western California was planted in 1998 and is the site of Cargasacchi’s winemaking operation. It’s also where he grows the grapes he sells to other winemakers.

“He is sort of known as Mr. Santa Rita Hills as far as he is the grape grower down there with probably the most respect. All the other guys go to him when they have questions about what’s going on (with wine),” George said.

You could say that winemaking is in Cargasacchi’s blood as he comes from a long line of viticulturists.

“It’s my family tradition in Italy,” Cargasacchi said. “I’m the first person born here (in California) and in Italy they all grow wine. That’s a very common thing. So for me it’s kind of wanting to pursue that romantic tradition, and because it’s fun.”

Two local restaurants ” Wildflower and Restaurant Avondale ” will host separate dinners with wine pairings highlighting both of Cargasacchi’s labels ” Point Concepcion and Cargasacchi ” and other wines that use his grapes.

“We just really want to expose people to the wines of the Santa Rita Hills. It’s just a great wine growing region that we’re excited about and this is just a perfect opportunity to have the guru of the area come in and be able to expose the public to it,” George said.

The Wildflower will host the first dinner Tuesday night. The winemaker dinner will pair Cargasacchi’s wines with a five-course menu that includes seared diver sea scallops, roast breast of Pennsylvania Guinea hen and antelope filet.

“We grow the wine in a region that’s very, very cool so what happens is when it’s ripe, we’re able to get ripe flavors with a lot of good natural acidity so the wine ends up being really, really good with food,” Cargasacchi said.

Restaurant Avondale is taking a different approach to the wine pairings with its dinner Wednesday night.

“Avondale’s dinner is a study in different winemaking styles ” guests will taste wines by four different winemakers who have used grapes grown in the same vineyard in 2006,” Sue Barham, director of marketing for Restaurant Avondale, wrote in a an e-mail.

Along with wine from Loring, Hitching Post and Bonnacorsi, Avondale’s dinner will feature dishes like Hudson Valley foie gras torchon with solar cherries and vanilla and Liberty Farm duck two ways with sweet potato and brussel sprouts.

Cargasacchi will be in attendance at both dinners to speak about his products and answer any questions diners may have about the wine.

“It really is a great value to come and partake in the Wildflowers food as well as meet a cool winemaker and winegrower and taste his wines,” George said.

High Life editor Caramie Schnell contributed to this story. High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

What: Five-course Winemaker dinner featuring Peter Cargasacchi and winepairings.

When: Tuesday night beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Wildflower in Vail.

Cost: $100 per person.

More information: Call 970-476-5011 or visit

On the menu:

– First course: Seared diver sea scallops, housemade chorizo, date puree and citrus foam with 2007 Point Concepcion Chardonnay

– Second course: Grilled white and green asparagus salad with Jamon Iberico de Bellota and 20-year-old port vinaigrette with 2007 Point Concepcion Pinot Grigio Rose

–Third course: Roast breast of Pennsylvania Guinea Hen with leg confit and pistachio rillet in a puff pastry basket with brunoise root vegetables with 2006 Peter Cargasacchi Pinot Noir

–Fourth course: Mole-rubbed South Texas antelope filet, fresh corn polenta, hutlacoche popcorn and candied red dragon baby carrots with 2004 Point Concepcion Syrah

–Fifth course: Tarte tatin and ginger ice cream with 2006 Point Concepcion Late Harvest Pinot Grigio

What: Five-course Winegrower dinner featuring Peter Cargasacchi and wine pairings.

When: Wednesday night 5:30 p.m.

Where: Restaurant Avondale in Avon.

Cost: $100 per person.

More information: Call 970-790-5500 or visit

On the menu:

– First course: Golden chicken broth, oxtail ravioli with 2006 Hitching Post Pinot Noir

– Second course: Hudson Valley foie gras torchon, solar cherries, vanilla with 2006 Bonaccoisi Pinot Noir

– Third course: Sea scallops a la plancha, housemade bacon, marcona almonds with 2006 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir

– Four course: Liberty Farm duck two ways, sweet potato, brussels sprouts with 2006 Loring Pinot Noir

– Fifth course: Chocolate nevan souffle, vanilla bean creme anglaise with 2006 Cargasacchi Invincible Sun, Late Harvest Pinot Grigio

Support Local Journalism