The 12th annual Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held September 21-24th in Newport Rhode Island. Newport is about a three and a half hour drive northeast from New York City. The event was a fundraiser for the Preservation Society of Newport County, a cultural organization that protects and preserves Newport’s architectural heritage. Sponsors included Food & Wine magazine and Maserati.
The event was held at the Marble House, one of many gilded-age mansions in Newport at 596 Bellevue Avenue. It was built between 1888-1892 for Mr. and Mrs William K. Vanderbilt at a then cost of $11 million, $7 million of which was spent on marble. Subtle is not a word to describe the interior rooms of the mansion.
The fest was four days of wine dinners, seminars, chefs demos with grand tastings on Saturday and Sunday. I attended Sunday afternoon and the event actually took place on the back lawn of the mansion overlooking Narragansett Bay.
Local and regional Chefs provided food, a favorite of mine was a green gazpacho with jalapeno oil topped with lump crabmeat and any of the beef and pork that the Dole & Bailey meat purveyors were grilling. In the sweltering heat of the afternoon those grill masters manage to sling the meat while maintaining a borsht- belt chatter with the guests. In the authentic Chinese tea house on the lawn, it was “rosé all day” with wines from Chateau d’Esclans.
As far as consumer wine and food fests go, this is one of the nicer ones with a great venue, a good selection of wines and spirits and tasty food from the locals.
The afternoon started out hot and sweltering so I focused on rosé and sparkling wines and managed to try a few reds at the end of the day.
Some of what I sampled:
2016 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Garrus
2016 Notorious Pink Grenache
2016 Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir
NV Gosset Brut Grande Reserve
2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino
2014 Justin Isosceles
2014 Justin Justification