THE WONDERFUL INTERPLAY BETWEEN FINE WINE AND FINE FOOD
Wine was never meant to be a solitary experience. Its true value is a rare ability to turn a fine meal into a festival of flavor and a celebration of the finer things in life. Gervasi Vineyard has designed a variety of events to help guests have more fun while learning the intricate interplay between wine and food. Andy Codispoti, director of winemaking and distilling operations, and wine steward Brad Preston, have spent the last few years helping visitors to Gervasi Vineyard expand their ability to enjoy fine food and wine. The popular Winery Pairings Tours Andy first developed in 2013 and the more recently developed “Flights and Bites” events, hosted by Brad’s team, are both wonderful rambling excursions through the dramatic symbiosis of wine and food. Both of these events are part of a comprehensive tasting program designed to enrich the lives of Gervasi guests even after they leave the scenic grounds.
Winery Pairings Tours take place once a month and feature trained guides leading guests on an informative tour through the winery. As they learn how wine is made, guests taste four or five award-winning Gervasi wines paired with small plates of food chosen to harmonize or contrast with each wine’s tasting profile.
Flights and Bites also feature paired wines and foods, but are more along the lines of traditional tastings taking place weekly in the rustic comfort of the Balconado in the Bistro. Here the total emphasis is on how wine and food can become so intertwined they unlock each other’s secretive flavors. At these monthly events three small bite plates of food — usually a salad, small entree and something sweet — are paired with a Gervasi wine. Under the guide’s leadership, guests first take in the rich aromas and taste the wine. Next comes the food before a second wine tasting as the wine and food flavors begin to harmonize in an a cappella concert of tastes.
During tastings at both events, guests learn how to detect the undercurrents, or notes making up each wine’s savory symphony of flavors known as its tasting profile. Once understood, these undercurrents can take you on a journey of culinary delights where food and wine conspire with each other to turn a simple meal into a celebration of joyful tastes.
For example, Gervasi Zinfandel is barrel-aged and noted for dark berry flavors a bit on the smoky side. When paired with grilled foods it enhances and brings out their own smoky flavors. Pinot Noirs are earthy and work well with similarly earthy foods like mushrooms and salmon dishes. Sauvignon Blancs and Pino Grigios have light citrus notes and sometimes lemon grass characteristics so will pair with similar delicate summer foods.
The wine professionals who lead every tasting event are as important to the experience as the wine and food. Each has been selected for both their knowledge of wine and food, and their ability to entertain as they educate. As Andy Codispoti told us, “People don’t come here for a college-level lecture in winemaking. They come to have a nice experience and a little fun.” Apparently, there’s more than enough fun to spread around because most winery tours and Flights and Bites tastings fill up quickly with many of the same guests attending often and enjoying a different experience every time.
Pairing wines and foods might be seen as the difference between a flirtation and a deep, long-lasting love affair. Everything is better when there’s a match. Consider Winery Pairings Tours and Flights and Bites at Gervasi Vineyard as the perfect matchmakers where you can start another lifelong love affair.
Gervasi Winery Pairings Tours take place every Saturday afternoon at both 3 and 4:30 pm. Each tour and tasting lasts for one hour. Slots are limited and, most often, sell out.
Gervasi Flights and Bites are a monthly event and cost $19 per guest. Seatings are at 5:45 and 7:15 in the Balconatta at the Bistro with each seating able to accommodate 18 people. Again, seatings often sell out so early reservations are advised.
To learn more, about all the tasting events available at Gervasi Vineyard, visit: gervasivineyard.com/play/tastings-pairings. There you will find more detailed information about all available events, and an easy place to make reservations.
To make arrangements at any Gervasi venue, visit www.gervasivineyard.com, @gervasivineyard on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, or call 330.497.1000.