The 14th annual 2019 Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held on September 19-22 in Newport, Rhode Island.
The event was hosted by the Preservation Society of Newport county and supports historic preservation in Newport. All the proceeds from the festival go to preservation, protection and presentation of the historic homes.
It was three days of wine dinners, seminars, a Jazz brunch, an after party and a Grand Tasting. The Grand Tastings were held on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I attended on Sunday afternoon. The events were held at the various historic homes in the area that included The Elms, Rosecliff, The Breakers and Marble House. The Grand Tastings were held at the Marble House.
These “summer cottages” were built for the wealthy industrialists of the Gilded Age in the late 19th to early 20th centuries and no expense was spared. It became sort of “arms race” among the wealthy tycoons to see who would build the more opulent mansion. The Marble House where the Grand Tasting was held was built between 1888-1892 for William Vanderbilt as a gift for his wife’s 39th birthday at an estimated cost at the time of $11 million. To say no expense was spared would be an understatement.
The Grand Tastings were held in the backyard of the Marble House. Throughout the afternoon there were Chef demonstrations at the Culinary Stage, tasting stations with food from various local restaurants and tables full of wine and spirits scattered under the tents and on the cliffs overlooking Narraganset Bay. A notable feature in the backyard that was used as a seminar space this day was the Chinese Tea House which was modelled on a 12th century Song Dynasty temple.
The crew from Dole & Bailey, a purveyor of fine meat and fish, always have an impressive display of a massive grill with cooks mingling with the rising smoke to grill up various meats and fish for us to sample.
There were sprits from Tito’s vodka, Mount Gay rum, Brockman’s gin, Knob Creek whiskey, Don Julio tequila, hard cider from Angry Orchard and over 100 international wines. This is one of the better consumer festivals, held at a beautiful venue with some nice nibbles and lots of good wine and spirits to wash them down with. I did attend one seminar.
Seminar: Elegance and Balance; the style of Palmer & Co. Champagne
NV Brut: Steel aged, medium gold, yeasty, green apple nose, crisp and tart with a lemony finish.
NV Blanc de Blanc: Medium gold, subdued nose of brioche, more pronounced yeast and green apple notes than the Brut with a stone, minerally finish.
NV Rosé: Medium copper, light strawberry on the nose, medium body with mushroom notes on the finish.
Some of what I sampled:
2018 Whispering Angle Rosé
2018 Cuvaison Sauvignon Blanc
2017 Chapellet Chardonnay Calesa Vineyard
2017 Cuvaison Chardonnay Napa Valley
2017 Scarpetta Friulano
2014 Seghesio Vineyards Sangiovese
2015 Seghesio Vineyards Zinfandel Home Ranch
2016 Sojourn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville
2016 Sojourn Vineyards Pinot Noir Gaps Crown
2016 Landmark Overlook Pinot Noir
2015 Smoking Gun Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2017 Olivier Leflaive Pugliny Montrachet
2016 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
2015 Ferraro-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
2015 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva
2011 La Macioche Brunello de Montalcino
2011 Chateau Musar Red Blend