20 May 2014

Wine Dining Nantucket Style

Nantucket Island is still basking in the after-glow of another wildly successful Wine Festival.  With dozens of culinary and tasting events that spanned every sandy corner of the island, thousands of residents, visitors and the winemakers themselves had the opportunity to sample new vintages, nibble on some gastronomic masterpieces and pop the cork on a few hundred (perhaps thousand?) bottles of bubbly in celebration of the eighteenth Nantucket Wine Festival and the full bodied allure of the island itself. Wine Dining Nantucket Style at its finest.

The festivities kicked off with an elegant Opening Reception at the White Elephant Hotel where guests had the opportunity to meet with many of the vintners, chefs and luminaries as well as pay homage to this year’s Luminary of the Year, Ridge Vineyard’s Paul Draper. Thursday evening’s Festival Gala found wine enthusiasts and foodies decked out in their bedazzled cocktail attire (and sassiest shoes I might add…oh those shoes!) as they gathered under the tent overlooking Nantucket Harbor to sip, sample and salivate their way through the labyrinth of gourmet goodness.

The weekend activities included multiple symposium’s, grand tastings, elegant wine dinners in fine homes and fantastic pairing meals including the Frog’s Leap, Argyle and Cliff Lede dinners at Company of the Cauldron and J. Christopher and Dr. Loosen Dinner at Dune. The festivities culminated with a final clink of the glasses on Sunday with “bubbles, burgers and beer” on the sand at The Galley on Jetties Beach.

Even with many large scale events to choose from, some opted to gather old friends and new around their own dining room tables for an intimate candlelit evening of toasting, tasting and merriment.  At our house, it was a great excuse to open some coveted well-aged wines, discover some new favorites courtesy of Epernay and Current Vintage, try our hand at some complex recipes (savory mushroom bread pudding and caramel drizzled spice cake!) and most importantly spend hours breaking bread with people our busy lives don’t allow us enough time with. As Christian Moueix once said, “More important than the food pairing, is the person with whom you drink the wine!” It is true…there is just nothing like raising a glass and toasting life with good friends.

As we kick off a new summer season on Nantucket and think about the many opportunities we’ll have to celebrate, let’s raise a collective glass and toast to another successful Nantucket Wine Festival, a beautiful island where the scenery and hospitality make any event magical and to the people in our lives…family, friends and neighbors…who make us better and make it all worthwhile.

Nothing finer.

Shellie Dunlap


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