The world’s greatest grape — and its most versatile — is being celebrated this weekend at the Central Coast’s International Chardonnay Symposium. The festival has been bustling since Thursday with seminars, a grand tasting and a decadent Paulée dinner + Vintners Awards, but not to worry. You still have plenty of time to get your Chardonnay on!
Saturday’s upcoming events promise you an interesting education on this popular grape — like did you know Chardonnay is the main component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne? At the grand tasting, try a multitude of top Chardonnays from around the world with a panoramic ocean view. And finally, attend the delicious and fascinating farm-to-table dinner where you can taste Chardonnay blind along with top winemakers and sommeliers.
Sat 10am — Diversity in Balance: Pairing Chardonnay with Food
This panel will evaluate components such as minerality and acidity and how these traits, whether enhanced by modern winemaking practices or caused by terroir, tend to pair with complex or unusual cuisines. But what about the rich & buttery Chardonnays? Can’t they also be a part of happy food pairing relationships? Lunch will be served during this panel so we can all decide for ourselves.
Sat 10am — Hanzell Vineyards & Mount Eden Vineyards Retrospective Tasting
Hanzell Vineyards and Mount Eden Vineyards come together for a one-of-a-kind retrospective tasting of classic Chardonnay. Mount Eden Vineyards Winemaker, Jeffrey Patterson, will be sharing the 1996, 2001(from magnum), 2006 and 2011. Hanzell Vineyards Winemaker, Michael McNeill, will pour their 1994 (from magnum), 2001(from magnum), 2008, and 2011 vintages. To accompany the tasting, a sumptuous pairing lunch will be prepared by Chef Christopher Manning of the famed Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles.
Sat 1pm — Saturday Grand Tasting
Guests have the chance to taste top Chardonnays from the US and around the world with an all new line-up unique from the Friday Grand Tasting. For those who are attending both grand tasting events, rest assured that your palate will be rewarded with something new and exciting during every sip. Guests will continue to enjoy hand selected cheeses provided by Vivant and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, view a host of vendor booths, and engage in a wine lineup unique to this event. To expand upon the ambiance, this event will take place on the Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa terrace, providing breathtaking views spanning from Avila Beach to the Pismo Dunes. A silent auction will be included with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Cal Poly’s Wine & Viticulture and Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Administration departments. Come taste and discover for yourself why Chardonnay is the world’s greatest grape!
Sat 6:30pm — Taste Like a Somm Double-Blind Winemaker Dinner
Join seven sommeliers and winemakers for an interactive evening of farm-to-table cuisine paired with prominent Chardonnays from near and far. Chef Gregg Wangard, of the Gardens of Avila, has handcrafted a menu that is set to complement Chardonnay and impress both the foodie and wine lover. During dinner there will be a sommelier and winemaker assigned to each table to help guests begin the double-blind portion of the evening. The wines are blind to the guest as well as the winemakers and sommeliers. The fun begins as the wines are poured blind for all guests to engage with their host sommelier in a discussion about taste, texture, and terroir, while winemakers can offer insight as to what qualities make this varietal so unique and special.