Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FFWS Launch Party

Foley Food & Wine Society Launch Party

 September 28, 2013 at the Bacara Resort & Spa

It was perfect day to drive your Ferrari to Santa Barbara (or any other car without racing numbers on it to Goleta) for this premier food and wine event at Bacara.

The new Foley Food & Wine Society Wine Tasting Room at Bacara is a great addition to the resort. If guests don't have time to visit the nearby wineries they can taste wines or purchase them right there; and the drive back to their room is a short one!
The Foley Food and Wine Society celebrated their new partnership with the local TV show "The Inn Crowd with Chef Budi Kazali" on KEYT-TV.  The VIP gathering in the tasting room preceded the launch party and it included sponsors of the show. We were greeted  by Joseph Foss, Director of Hospitality, and Andrea Smalling, Chief Marketing Officer at Foley Family Wines.
Bill Foley and Chef Budi Kazali of The INN Crowd talked with partners from KEYT-TV and greeted other guests.
Ira Distenfield and Bill Foley talked about the new partnership between the Inn Crowd and the Foley Food and Wine Society. Ira Distenfield is one of the co-founders of the "We The People" franchise, an alternative source for processing simple legal documents, and an Executive Producer (along with Craig Case) of The Inn Crowd with Chef Budi Kazali.

According to Bill Foley's estimate the food and wine event sold all 1200 planned tickets plus another 50-100.  So we were lucky to actually park at Bacara and skip the shuttle buses from the remote parking lot.  Our friends  confirmed this after the event when we drove them back to their car.
Devon and I managed to sample 29 of the 38 Foley Family Wines poured in the VIP Private Reception at the tasting room and at the Launch Party that was held in the Director's Lounge, the Ballroom and the Ballroom Terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The wines we tasted included:

Did I say "we?"  Well, Devon tasted a few white wines and I sampled most of the rest.   :-)

Director's Lounge
I took these pictures before the tasting started and it became very popular (crowded).

Lancaster Estate Winery, Kuleto Estate and Firestone Vineyard

Kuleto Estate, Altvs and Merus
We initially skipped the Director's Lounge Exclusive Tasting in search of some white wines to start our tasting. The lines for these exclusive wines were a little long anyway.  No surprise--the lines were even longer when I returned about a half an hour later.  The three wines I managed to taste (*see list below) were all very good, especially the small amount of Merus.  And all were priced a little above my budget, if they were available at all.  I guess that's why they're 'exclusive' wines!
An extra bar stocked with these exclusive wines would have made a great additional tasting location.
Kuleto Estate, 2008 Lone Acre Cabernet Sauvignon

Merus, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

The list of exclusive wines included:

Altvs, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($75)

*Kuleto Estate, 2008 Lone Acre Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)

*Lancaster Estate Winery, 2010 Nicole's Proprietary Red ($115)

*Merus, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon ($145)

Firestone Vineyard, 2012 Proximity Twenty Six, Red Wine Barrel Blend (
unreleased - no price available)

Ballroom & Terrace Tasting

On the Terrace...
A great place to taste wine overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Parallel pours of the Langtry 2008 Petite Sirah and 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Lillie Vineyard.

I liked the Langtry 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Lillie Vineyard best.
A vertical pour of Three Rivers Winery 2011 Chardonnay.

In the Ballroom...
A great place to taste wine and listen to music from the Justin Claveria Quartet.
 Click here for video of the Justin Claveria Quartet.

The Roth Estate 2011 Heritage is based on Alexander Valley Merlot.

Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery poured a 2012 Roussanne and two reds: a 2009 Barbera, Sonoma Valley and a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley. I thought all three were very good.

Lancaster Estate Winery poured a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2010 Sophia's Hillside Cuveé in the ballroom.  I liked the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon best.
Chalk Hill Estate Winery poured a 2011 Chardonnay, a 2010 Viognier and a 2010 Estate Red. I've been a fan of Chalk Hill in the past and both their white and red wines continue to rank highly on my list.

Kuleto Estate poured a very nice 2010 Zinfandel in the ballroom, in addition to the equally fine 2008 Lone Acre Cabernet Sauvignon in the Director's Lounge Exclusive Tasting.

Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery poured their 2011 Chardonnay and a 2011 Two Sisters Chardonnay. The reds included a 2011 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills and a 2011 Two Sisters Pinot Noir. In both cases we liked the Two Sisters better.
I enjoyed comparing the Foley Estates Pinot Noir with the Lincourt 2010 Pinot Noir, Lindsay's Vineyard.  It was interesting that these were the only Pinot Noir wines available for tasting.  I'm used to encountering lots of Pinot Noir at wine events; I guess this was a good break with a variety of other reds.
Leslie Thomas, of WineDineDesign, tasting some Lincourt wine poured by Courtney Foley.  
(Is it dark in here or is it just a perfect exposure of the image on the ubiquitous flat screens promoting the Inn Crowd? And I thought my light meter was targeting the wine glass! Oh well, see my earlier post: Winter Wine Classic, Santa Barbara, 2013, picture #11.)
Foley Johnson Winery had a very nice 2009 Handmade Cabernet Sauvignon available. With the $150 retail price it seems like this wine could have been poured with the exclusive wines in the Director's Lounge, but I'm glad it wasn't!

Joseph Foss poured a very professional taste of Foley Johnson's 2009 Handmade Cabernet Sauvignon. 
Firestone Vineyard & Winery red wines were all very enjoyable: 2010 Chairman's Series Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Syrah-Clone 174, and 2011 Syrah. My favorite was the 2010 Syrah-Clone 174.

EOS 2009 Zinfandel Port went very well with the raspberry covered brownie!
The following wines are those that I tasted and liked the best.  I ranked them based on my tasting score for each wine and factored in their retail price (so they are not just ranked by price, although it almost appears that way).


We thoroughly enjoyed sampling the food provided in the tasting room, the Ballroom and on the Terrace.

Chef Michael Hutchings--Michael's Catering--served Potato Cakes with Caviar.  We sampled these with Langtry's Sauvignon Blanc, Lillie Vineyard and they were delicious. Unfortunately, the first batch was a little bit underdone and gooey when picked up. Devon tried another one later and it was thoroughly cooked though.
Chef Diana Cuttrel--Dining with Di--served Gorgonzola & Goat Cheese Tartlet with Fig Butter topped with Fresh Fig, Honey Walnuts & Micro Greens. I tasted this ornate tartlet while enjoying  Three Rivers Chardonnay. We were told it would pair nicely with many different types of wines and I imagine it would.  If I'd had my own personal platter I would have researched this concept further, but I had to leave some for everyone else.

Chef Stephane Rapp--School of Culinary Arts at City College served Smoked Salmon Caviar & Crème Fraiche on Endive Barquettes (Barquettes is French for 'trays').  They looked wonderful, but I'm not a salmon fan. :-(
Now we're talkin'--some hearty tri-tip sliders with your choice of picante or creamy horseradish sauce.  I tried it both ways and it was a draw! And they went well with most of the red wine being poured, I especially liked the Sebastiani 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley with it.

Chef Johan Denizot created a Kobocha Pumpkin Ravioli with Laquered Duck Confit, Rainbow Swiss Chard and Pamigiano-Reggiano. It was the best ravioli I've ever had!
Source: & Bacara website
Chef Chris Turano's Barolo Braised Short Ribs of Beef with Cauliflower Purèe and Petit Arugula was such an awesome dish I forgot to take a picture of it!  It was amazingly tender and I could cut the short rib with a fork. Now I know why he's the winner of the Food Network "Chef Wanted" show. 

Don't worry, if you missed Foley Food & Wine Society launch party you can always take the "Foley Food & Wine Society Tour" of Firestone, Foley and Lincourt--it's listed on Bacara's website.
Photo by Richard Salzberg
Getting ready to leave in my lowly Lexus IS250 and I'm looking in my wallet for a few hundred dollars to bribe the valet to swap for a Ferrari.  That would have made it a very fast Taste N Trip!
Photo by Richard Salzberg
I hope there's a repeat of this event next year!  And I'll be sure to rent a Ferrari to get one of the premium parking spots.

A special thanks to the Foley Family Wine group for giving Taste N Trip media access!


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