Spring is a beautiful time in Wine Country. Each year in April, the Santa Barbara Vintners hold their Spring Weekend. The kickoff event this year was the Big Bottle Bash held at Presqu’ile Winery & Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley.
The evening began with the drive and the views. An hour or so before sunset we were driving through the vineyard to Presqu’ile with the vines bright green in the spring. Part way up you can see the Winery and tasting room. It’s a stunning design with the winery above and the tasting room below with its windows reflecting the light.
The views from up here are vast and beautiful. In the distance you can see the ocean, closer to you are the vineyards and looking inland the San Rafael Mountains. Presqu’ile wants you to enjoy this view, the terrace is expansive with nooks to sit in, enjoy a glass of wine and the view.
As guests arrived we were directed to the outdoor lounge, usually reserved only for club members. The beautiful courtyard has a fire pit, as well as a foosball table and multiple cozy seating areas, but immediately everyone headed to the bar. Here smaller bottles were being popped, with something for everyone.
As the sun began to set, we were ushered back into the tasting room where tables were set for the dinner. The tables were dotted with the Magnums of wine that each couple were asked to bring and after a welcome from Matt Murphy, the co-founder and President of Presqu’ile the guest Sommeliers set about pouring wines.
This dinner by Chef Nick Barainca was served family style at two long tables and the magnums of wine were poured by several amazing Somms, including Rajat Parr who is also the owner of Sandhi, Dustin Wilson (from the Movie Somm) and Eric Railsback, one of the founders of Les Marchands in Santa Barbara and a founder of Lieu Dit Winery.
Dinner began with Gougeres (a savory choux pastry with cheese) , Comte (a French cow’s milk cheese), Aged Ham and Pickled mustard seeds.
Soon after a beautiful platter of Lacinato Kale Salad with fennel, bread crumbs and a verte vinaigrette arrived. Lacinato Kale is a Tuscan kale that is often called black kale.
The main dish came in a dutch oven and was smoked short ribs with spring barigoule, pea tendrils and ramps. A Barigoule is a traditional Provençal dish with braised artichokes and vegetables in a savory white wine sauce. Ramps…if you are not familiar with them are a wild onion, they tend to be smaller like a green onion, but with leafier tops.
As the evening progressed and the wine flowed conversations and friendships were made.
Dessert is Savarin with ripe and unripe strawberries and a brown butter crème fraiche. Savarin is dry brioche that is soaked in a syrup (often rum) and served with crème and fruits. The combination of the ripe and unripe berries added a depth to the dish. And…it’s so pretty.
The warm hospitality of Presqu’ile envelopes everyone you can hear it in the voices in bubbling conversations around the room.
This was a unique opportunity for wine to be shared at table. Magnums are something precious, so to share them is an honor and a joy. Winemakers mixed with wine enthusiasts to talk about wine and the world, to come together at table and share food.
This great event was part of the Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend 2016. The event was held at the beautiful Presqu’ile Winery in the Santa Maria Valley AVA.