Master Sommelier Larry Stone at Restaurant 1789
Heart's Delight 2015 was an unqualified success! I've already written about the Wednesday events. Thursday brought a series of great private dinners around DC--like the one pictured above. Friday saw the city's sommeliers come togther to taste wines at lunch and then the evening's black tie gala, highlighted by the $100,000 winning bid for lunch with über critic Bob Parker. And Saturday featured the master class in Bordeaux, followed by the reception and auction (aka the big party!). Best of all, Heart's Delight 2015 set a record--netting ~$1.2 million to help in the fight against heart disease!
We were privileged to attend the initmate private dinner at Restaurant 1789, featuring the wines of Quintessa. Fourteen of us really enjoyed the chance to listen to rockstar sommeilier Larry Stone present the wines. Larry's official credentials are very impressive--the first American to win the title in the competition (held in France) for world's best sommelier. One of the first ten Americans to be certified as master sommelier. Sommelier and general manager at some of America's most famous restaurants, such as Charlie Trotter's and Rubicon. But his real influence goes well beyond that. He is famous for having mentored dozens and dozens of top sommeliers (including DC's Jennifer Knowles) who have spread out across the country, helping people understand and enjoy wine more.
The dinner was excellent, the wines were outstanding and the people were fun and congenial. It's the people--especially Larry Stone--that we'll remember best. He quietly shared great insights about wine in general as well as about Quintessa. I say quietly not just because that's his style, but also because strained vocal cords limited his ability to speak out (thus the microphone in the photo). But there were lots of other fun dinners around town. For example, the Icelandic ambassador hosted a group that included a skilled musician who took to the piano after dinner...and the dinner turned into a party.
Friday's black tie featured the wines of Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau d"Yquem--a formidable pair. And by all reports, it was a great evening (we took the night off--old age, I suppose...just can't do four nights in a row). But it will probably best be remembered for the single auction item that raised $100,000. Robert Parker--who played a role in helping found Heart's Delight--donated a lunch with him for 11 people (12 counting him) and 24 bottles of GREAT wine from his cellar (emphasis from his original email). Reportedly, the record for a meal with Parker at previous auctions was $25,000. That was the opening bid for this event. And it didn't take long to go north of $50,000. Several DC collectors were still in the contest, but ultimately a bidder from China--who flew in for the purpose--took the prize for $100,000. Suspect it'll be a very good lunch!
Saturday brought a seated tasting of Bordeaux's 2012s (plus added vintages of the presenters' choice). I found the '12s enjoyable...not big or bombastic, but very pleasant. Time will tell if very pleasant is enough to sell them...price will be key. And then the party! Talented and creative chefs served their favorite small plates at stations spread around the ballroom. And winemakers poured. There was Bordeaux. And the New Zealand wines from Eric Platt and Pacific Prime. And some top west coast producers like Peay, Brooks, Massican and Red Car. Really, really good.
And the auction offered opportunities to accumulate treasures--wine and otherwise. I managed to obtain two magnums of Rhys pinot noir and one of Red Car. Perhaps even more fun, I got four good tickets and a parking pass for a Redskins game this fall--a chance for my grandson to see his first NFL game. And I got practice round tickets for the Masters next April--a bucket list treat for me and for my son-in-law. All of that--the food, the wine and the auction--was shared with old friends...and some new ones.
It was a great night. A great week. And a great contribution to fighting heart disease.