Edible Monterey Bay

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Party in The Hangar: Monterey Wines Take Off

From take off to landing, the Party in the Hangar was high octane, barnstorming fun.


What’s not to love about the usual sparkling suspects, Carraccioli, McIntyre and Scheid, with their distinctive, delightful Champagne-style bubblies? VIPs got to indulge in their nose-tickling sparklers, while the many local chefs put finishing touches on a full-throttle menu of amazing first class comestibles. Actually, probably much better than anything you’ve recently had in First Class, unless you’re flying on a private jet, many of which were buzzing in and out of Del Monte Aviation Center on Saturday, Nov 10, while the crowd of nearly 1,000 wine lovers rev’d up to a fever pitch.

BlairAmong the highlights of this remarkable panoply of culinary extravagance were delectable savory cheesecake bites of spinach and sundried tomato topped with truffle, prepared by Chef Truman Jones of The Restaurant At Ventana, paired with the 2010 Wrath Swan/828 Pinot Noir, and Carmel Valley Ranch with a stew of calamari, fennel, onion and fresh tomato, served with pumpkin gnocchi, paired with 2008 Blair Estates Arroyo Seco Pinot.

Ah, but the La Playa Carmel lobster mac n’ cheese made cozy, comfy friends with the 2011 Chalone Chenin Blanc, and the crazy off the hook chicken fried bacon with a drizzle of balsamic from Sticks at Inn at Spanish Bay (inspired by Chef Todd Fisher), was almost tamed by the exuberant 2011 Grenache from Le P’tit Paysan, made by Ian Brand.


The mini Thanksgiving dinner plate by Williams Sonoma included bitsy bites of everything you’d love about that blessed meal, including pumpkin pie.  A most righteous pair for that was the 2011 McIntyre Vin Gris of Pinot Noir: a remarkably good choice for all the vagaries of a typical Thanksgiving dinner.

SchoonersPanOn the spicy side of life, Aqua Terra Culinary and Mann’s Fresh Vegetables presented juicy-tangy beef lettuce wraps, a lovely dancing duet with the 2010 Shale Canyon Cabernet Franc, which was spicy, smooth and svelte. Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen was searing up a huge pan of Cajun shrimp, dripping with spicy-red finger-licking goodness. At that point, the 2011 Scheid Sauvignon Blanc or the 2010 Marin’s Vineyard Viognier would have come to the rescue.


You could truly succumb to death by chocolate at this event, with Lula’s Chocolate, Marich Confectionary and Monterey Chocolate, all serving ample portions of their wicked wares. And just in case you didn’t have enough, Ultimate Sin Cheesecake twisted your arm—the food was just as attention-grabbing as the wines.

Monterey County is truly the candy store for some of the world’s most renowned wine brands. It’s nice to sample so many of them all in one place, along with delectable morsels graciously provided by the culinary champions that help make this place a magnificent magnet for tourists the world over.  It’s an edible extravaganza of epic proportions!

About the author

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Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.