Winemaker dinners abound for the Taste of Vail this week |

Winemaker dinners abound for the Taste of Vail this week

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Gluttony is the name of the game this week in Vail. Taste of Vail kicks off Thursday and in honor of the three day food and wine extravaganza, five restaurants in Vail are hosting winemaker dinners. Take it from us, the menus look fabulous, but it would take the entire High Life section to print them all, so we’ll give you a sneak peak at one course from each dinner that got our mouths watering. Here’s the scoop:

Today, 6 to 8 p.m.

Block 16 restaurant at The Sebastian in Vail hosts “The Vintner Dinner” with wines from Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Co. Margerum produces small lots of Santa Barbara County Syrah, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris. Margerum Wine Co. produces three primary wines: a sauvignon blanc called Sybarite, a Syrah called Uber and a Rhone blend called M5. They also produce a variety of single-vineyard wines from pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, Grenache and Syrah, a distinctive pinot gris called Klickitat from its vineyard in Washington State and small lots of Chenin blanc, Riesling and rose.

Chef Sergio Howland will make five courses that will be paired with the wines.

First course: Hamachi ceviche with cilantro salsa verde and tangerine emulsion paired with 2009 Klickitat Pinot Gris.

Attendees also will nosh on seared diver scallops, foie gras, roasted quail and Colorado lamb. The cost is $125 per person (includes tax but not gratuity). Call 970-331-0015.

Ludwig’s at the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail hosts “Mingle with the Masters” with three master sommeliers: Jay Fletcher, Doug Krenik and Sean Razee. Talk about a vino coup. With five courses of food and 11 – yes, you read that right, 11 – wines, you’re definitely going to need a ride home after this experience. There also will be a silent auction and proceeds will benefit the Sonnenalp Foundation.

First course: Ahi tuna toro, beet napoleon and Colorado goat cheese cream paired with 2008 Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Domane Wachau, “Achleiten” and 1998 Grauburgunder Smaragd, Hirtzberger, “Pluris.”

And that’s only the beginning. Foie gras three ways, braised veal cheeks, Colorado elk loin and plum dumplings will all have their due, as will wines (including Riesling, Burgundy, pinot noir, Pauillac, cabernet sauvignon, zweigelt beerenauslese and eiswein) from Dr. Loosen, Maison Louis Latour, Capiaux Cellars, Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron, O’Shaughnessy and Kracher.

The cost is $195 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Tickets were still available at press time. Call 970-479-5429.

La Tour Restaurant in Vail hosts “An Evening of Pinot Noir.” Ten pinot noirs from MacPhail Family Wines, Sequana Vineyards, Bergstrom Winery, Vueve Clicquot, Domaine Francios Gaunoux, Domaine Dujac and Domaine de la Romanee Conti will be paired with four courses prepared by Chef Paul Ferzacca.

Third course: Duck “menage a trois” with duck breast, foie gras, confit rosti and a truffled huckleberry sauce paired with three wines: 2004 Macphail Sangiacomo

Vineyard Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Calif., 2007 Bergstrom Vineyard Pinot Noir from Dundee Hills, Oregon and 2004 Domaine Romanee-Conti Echezeaux grand cru from France.

Other culinary highlights include scallops with pork belly and ginger-brased oxtail and filet mignon tartare with quail eggs. Tickets are $195 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Tickets were still available as of press time. Call 970-476-4403.

Sapphire Restaurant in Vail hosts an evening with Violet Grgich, owner and winemaker of Grgich Hills Estate. Five courses of food will be served alongside the wines, which include 2009 Fume Blanc, 2008 Merlot and Grgich Hills Violetta.

Fourth course: Potato-crusted organic salmon with morel mushrooms, fiddleheads and zinfandel beurre rouge paired with a 2007 Napa Valley Zinfandel.

There’s also Maine lobster salad, baked Hog Island oysters with creamed leeks and caviar and grilled elk loin chop with merlot and black cherry demi glace. The cost is $125 per person with tax (not gratuity). Call 970-476-2828.

The King’s Club in the Sonnenalp in Vail will host local winemaker Kevin Furtado for a casual apres wine tasting on Saturday afternoon. Furtado, the wine director at Larkspur, owns a Santa Barbara winery but he’s mostly sold out of his wines, which means this is the only opportunity during Taste of Vail to try his vino – specifically his 2007 and ’08 Syrah, the 2008 and ’09 Rose, the 2009 Milemarker (a Rhone blend), a 2009 Chardonnay and a ’10 Sauvignon Blanc.

“This will be a super intimate tasting before the Grand (Tasting),” Furtado said. “It’s an opportunity for people to pick my brain and talk about small production wines.”

The event is $10; call the Sonnenalp to RSVP as space is limited. Call 970-479-5429.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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