Five…California Wines! Four food courses, three Italian vinos, two delicious desserts, one opera singer and an announcement from a group that owns two DoubleTrees. Christmas came 10 months early (or two months late) for those who attended “Napa Meets Verona” at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., on Feb. 20.
The six-course dinner, hosted by Pacific Hospitality Group (PHG), coincided with two big announcements for PHG CEO Timothy Busch: the debut of the newest and fourth property of the Meritage Collection—Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara—and plans to allow Meritage Collection’s guests access to the wines of Italian vintner Marchesi Armando Fumanelli from his Verona vineyards. In addition to the four resorts in The Meritage Collection, PHG owns two Doubletree by Hilton hotels and a Crowne Plaza in Orange County, Calif.
Held in the Estate Cave, a 4,000-square-foot room carved under the vineyards of the property, the dinner paired five main courses, which includes one dessert course, with a selection of wine Trinitas Cellars—the resort’s winery—and the Fumanelli Estate. In between these five courses was a delectable dessert cocktail, made from vanilla, ginger, champagne, vodka and mango ice. Magnific!
In between food-and-wine pairings, opera singer Carlo Solivan y Rivera performed traditional opera pieces for the 100 seated guests. Wines served included Trinitas’ sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, amarone della, zinfandel and a chardonnay that tasted like butterscotch; Fumanelli’s wines were terso bianco, squarano and the velvety smooth classico superior. Dining included courses of curry-crusted scallop and slow-braised pork belly, fennel pollen-dusted black cod, cinnamon- and star-anise braised veal and three varieties of seared duck. To finish it all off, a chocolate mousse topped with a hazelnut crisp and blood orange gelato on the side. Or, as guests said later, a gift from above.