Food and drink

Feast for the senses

Four-day Taos Winter Wine Festival blends fine food, fine wine and fine art

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The Taos Winter Wine Fest is a four-day Bacchanalian celebration spread across venues in the town of Taos to the alpine vistas of Taos Ski Valley.

The epicurean extravaganza that begins Thursday (Feb. 1) and continues through Sunday (Feb. 4) features world-renowned wineries and viticulturists pouring the best of their grapes. In the background, executive chefs from Santa Fe and Taos will be scrambling in the kitchen to marry the wine with the right cuisine.

Opening night

The first event of this year’s Taos Winter Wine Festival is Thursday (Feb. 1) from 5-7:30 p.m. It is a reserve wine silent auction and tasting to benefit the Taos High School Culinary Arts Program. The event will take place at El Monte Sagrado Living Resort, 317 Kit Carson Road, in Taos.

Lamb roast

The following day, Friday (Feb. 2) from noon until 2 p.m., a delectable “On-Mountain Lamb Roast” will be held at Taos Ski Valley, hosted by The Phoenix Grill near Chair 4. Joseph Wrede of Joseph’s Culinary Pub in Santa Fe roasts the lamb for this al fresco luncheon and Chris Barnes, the general manager of Jose Pastor will be pouring an exclusive selection of Spanish wines.

Happening later that afternoon from 4-6 p.m. is the “Après Ski Tasting.” Twenty wineries will feature new releases  around the roaring fireplace at TSV’s Snakedance Resort with canapes served by Santa Fe’s El Farol restaurant executive chef, Shane Alexander.

Art of Wine Gala

The Harwood Museum’s Art of Wine Gala, scheduled for Friday (Feb. 2), 4-7 p.m., is a lavish social event with a silent auction of unique artworks paired with wines from M. Capoutier, Gruet, Brown Family, Au Contraire, Chateau D’Esclan Whispering Angel and Alexander Valley Vineyards. Tickets for the Harwood gala are $20 if you’re not yet a member and free for those who are.

Harwood Museum Board President Linda Warning said the Art and Wine Gala “is like visiting the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.” She is referring to the airy State Capitol rotunda, which houses a permanent collection of pieces by New Mexican artists. “The silent auction offers works by artists who were in some way part of the Taos art scene, but were not necessarily commercially successful,” she said.

There are notable exceptions, however. The auction includes, among other things, a Renoir and two Japanese prints. The Renoir, titled “Femme Nue Couché,” translated as “Nude Woman Reclining,” is an etching from 1906. It  is not exactly an Impressionist masterpiece, but important given its context. It closely resembles another painting of Renoir’s in the Musée de l’Orangerie’s collection in Paris, along with other nudes he was making at the time, leading the curious observer to question if it may have served as a sketch for one of the later works. Warning said the event is “a great place to get a bargain on some outstanding quality work that is unique, and you won’t find other places.”

The University of New Mexico’s Harwood Museum of Art is located at 238 Ledoux Street in Taos.

Wine and chicken

The Wine Festival returns to Taos Ski Valley Saturday (Feb. 3) on the deck at Snakedance Resort near Chair 1. From noon until 2 p.m., Chef Colin Shane of Arroyo Vino in Santa Fe will assemble a fried chicken with all the fixin’s paired with Willamette Valley wines from the three young winemakers at Beaux Freres, Argyle, and Martin Wood. Later that day is the big event from 4:30-7 p.m. This is “The Grand Tasting,” highlighting representatives of 40 wineries who will present 100 different wines for tasting. Gourmet nibbles and a silent auction will be available.

Seminars

Seminars for detail-oriented wine enthusiasts are scheduled throughout the weekend, starting today at the TSV Resort Center from 2:30-3:30 p.m. That’s when David Gates, the vineyard manager at Ridge Monte Bello Estate in Santa Cruz, Calif., will lead an exploration of six of Monte Bello’s vintages, two from each of the past three decades. It is an opportunity to learn and taste how this wine gains complexity over time.

Then, on Saturday (Feb. 3) from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the TSV Resort Center,  Sonoma, California’s Bedrock Wine Company and Limerick Lane, two of the area’s top winemakers will showcase eight wines handcrafted from historic vineyards. Rare wines include pairings of syrahs and zinfandels.

The final seminar is a roundtable discussion from 2:30-3:30 p.m. with two of Napa Valley’s top viticulturists: Robert Sinskey and Steve Matthiasson. Topics include: the influence of punk rock, regenerative agriculture, diversity or lack thereof in Napa wines, and the connection of wine and food. Wines available will be Sinskey Vineyards’ abraxas, orgia, pinot blanc, marcien, and Matthiasson’s ribolla gialla, pinot meunier, refosco and white.

Grand finale

What is a wine festival without a glorious finale featuring a fabulous brunch? On Sunday (Feb. 4) from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., the “Super Sunday Champagne Brunch” prepared by executive chef Cristina Martínez will be held at El Monte Sagrado Living Resort, 317 Kit Carson Road in Taos. She will match four successive plates with four creamy Remy Champagnes provided by Hope Shiverick of Shiverick Imports.

Tickets

Taos Winter Wine Festival tickets are available online at taoswinterwinefest.com. Prices range from $35 to $95 depending on the event. Tickets for the Harwood Gala are $20, free for Harwood Alliance members.

Be safe and take the shuttle

A free shuttle will be available between Taos Ski Valley and Taos. Call (505) 660-6151 for a schedule and to reserve a seat. For more, visit taosskivalley.com/member/north-central-regional-transit-district.

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