Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic: Berkshires to shine at festival


LENOX -- The scenic summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra will belong to your taste buds this weekend.

It's that time of the summer again, when Tanglewood hosts its annual Wine and Food Classic, bringing world-renowned chefs and vintners to serve, pour and highlight some of the best critically acclaimed wines and culinary treats from across the country.

This weekend, more so than any other Wine and Food Classic, much of the exceptional food served will be from Tanglewood's Berkshire County neighbors.

In an effort to build on the venue's summer-long commitment to locally sourced food, the weekend will kick off Thursday evening with a Berkshire Night Dinner and Cocktail Reception, according to Kyle Ronayne, director of events administration at Tanglewood.

"The biggest change to the event this year is highlighting more local food," he said. "We're kicking off the event with farm to table, and we'll be utilizing all restaurants, distilleries, wineries and breweries from the area."

The Berkshire-centered evening begins with a cocktail reception under the Hawthorne Tent, with local food prepared by Chef Nicholas Moulton of Mezze Bistro + Bar in Williamstown. Guests can then move onto dinner -- a three-course menu from local chefs Daire Rooney of Allium Restaurant + Bar, Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn and Peter Platt of Old Inn on the Green.

Dedicating an entire night to the Berkshires shows how important the local food movement is to Tanglewood, said Debbi Otto, program manager for the Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic, who was key to organizing and getting local restaurants on board to participate.

"We've always wanted to be able to feature Berkshire chefs, but it's hard to do it on Saturday night because it's the height of their season," she said. "That's why we're opening with a Berkshires night. ... We've gotten a nice response."

The evening will be capped off with chocolate treats from Chocolate Springs, of Lenox, and a Sandeman Port Seminar. Berkshire influences don't stop Thursday night, as local chefs and spirits are peppered throughout the weekend.

From Thursday to Sunday -- with tickets ranging in price from $55 to $250, depending on which events you choose -- the well-manicured grounds will fill not only with the sounds clinking glasses, but also the un-interrupted summer concert series, including a Thursday night performance from cellist Yo-Yo Ma at Ozawa Hall. It's a special mix of great tastes, sounds and incredible views that brings foodies and wine lovers from across the country to Lenox for the weekend.

One such noted vintner will be returning to the classic this year, after debuting his Napa Valley Stag's Leap District wines from his latest project, Dylan's Ghost Winery, at last year's event. Joseph Carr -- founder, owner and vintner for Dylan's Ghost Winery, the Joseph Carr Winery and the Josh Cellars brand -- has been involved with the Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic since it's beginning in 2004.

"It was held on the grounds of the Wheatleigh," he said "It was beautiful. I poured my wines from the Carr brand and Josh Cellars."

The Napa Valley vintner splits his time between California and Cape Cod, he said, and has deep local roots just over the New York border. His connection to the area and his wine is deeply personal. Josh Cellars is named after his father, and his new winery after his favorite Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.

"We make wines that are personal," he said. "We don't just come up with something, everything has a connection."

Carr will be on hand for three events over the weekend -- first, he'll be pairing three of his Dylan's Ghost Winery wines Thursday evening with the Berkshire Chefs menu.

"These three chefs came up with an amazing menu," he said. "I'll be doing commentary of the food and the wine."

Then on Saturday, during the Grand Tasting from noon to 3 p.m., he'll be on hand pouring his wines -- Hell Hollow, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc blend, which Carr calls "a very elegant wine"; Angel, a rosé of Cabernet Franc; and The Beast, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petite Sirah that Carr notes is a "big, black inky wine that gets everybody's attention real quick."

He'll also be on hand to teach the some 800-900 people expected to attend the Grand Tasting how to play Pétanque -- a French game similar to bocce that is often played at French vineyards.

"It's going to be fun," he said. "We'll be halfway to Paris."

For those who have never attended a Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic, Ronayne recommends attending the Grand Tasting to get the best feel for the event, for the best price. At $90 a ticket, the afternoon includes 70 tables, with 17 different food offerings and 100 wines to taste, glass-blowing demonstrations, cookware and large-scale cooking demonstrations.

"The Grand Tasting captures the essence of the Classic," said Ronayne.

Otto agreed, though, she points out that there is something for everyone over the four-day event.

"There are things for all level of food and wine interests," she said. "All different kinds of seminars for different levels, and things that are a lot of fun. And it's such a beautiful setting."

Just a taste

Tickets for the Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic can be purchased by calling (888) 266-1200 or by visiting www.bso.org.

Thursday, Aug. 7

The Best of the Berkshires Cocktail Reception, 4:15-5:30 p.m.

Hawthorne Tent

Nicholas Moulton, Chef of Mezze Bistro + Bar

Tickets: $85

Berkshire Night Dinner & Cocktail Reception: Continuing the Local Food, 4:15-7:45 p.m.

Featuring Joseph Carr and his Dylan's Ghost Wines

Hawthorne Tent

Joseph Carr, Founder/Vintner Dylan's Ghost Winery, Oakville, CA

Ray Coursen, Winemaker/Owner, Elyse Winery

Daire Rooney, Chef of Allium Restaurant and Bar

Tickets: $195

Treats: Chocolate Springs & Sandeman Port Seminar, 6-7 p.m.

Highwood Manor House

Josh Needleman, Master Chocolatier and Owner of Chocolate Springs

Toni McKone, State Manager at Pernod Ricard Wines & Champagne

Tickets: $55

Friday, Aug. 8

Elyse Wine Dinner at Seranak, 5:30-8 p.m.

Ray Coursen, Winemaker/Owner, Elyse Winery

Ian Just Chef/Owner Les Zygomates, Sorriso, and Society on High

Max McCalman, Maître Fromager and Author

Tickets: $195

Great Meats and Great Grapes, Jeremy Stanton's seminar with wine pairing, 7-8 p.m.

Hawthorne Tent

Jeremy Stanton, Proprietor, The Meat Market

Tickets: $55

Saturday, Aug. 9

Wine's History and Rich Relationship with the Arts, 11 a.m.-noon

Highwood Manor

Nina Wemyss, Distinguished Wine Historian and Raconteur

Jim Nejaime, Wine Merchant, Spirited

Tickets: $55

Grand Tasting, Tanglewood Wine & Food Classic, noon-3 p.m.

Hawthorne Tent

Jim Holmes, glass blower

Andrew Bonner, Executive Chef of Blue Room

Dean Corbett, Chef of Corbett's, An American Place

David Becker, Chef/owner of Sweet Basil, Needham, and Juniper

Tickets: $90

Sumptuous Summer Wines and a Provençal pastime, 3:30- 5:30 p.m.

Kennedy Lawn

Château D'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé Petanque

Tickets: $55

Sunday, Aug. 10

Midday with Max McCalman, noon-1 p.m.


Max McCalman, Maître Fromager and Author

Tickets: $65

The wonders of Riedel with Miner Wines & Lindt Chocolate, 1 p.m.

Hawthorne Tent

Tickets: $65

Bliss at Blantyre, 6 p.m.

Biennial Tanglewood Auction Dinner 6pm-11pm

Chef Arnaud Cotar, Chef of Blantyre

Daniel Bruce, Chef of Boston Harbor Hotel

Nina Wemyss, Distinguished Wine Historian and Raconteur

Tickets: $250


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