By Andy J. Gordon
A wonderful weekend of summer-inspired culinary bites, wine tastings, craft cocktails and DJ curated musical entertainment took place at the third annual Pacific Wine and Food Classic on Saturday, August 17, and Sunday, August 18, 2019. The Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort in Newport Beach hosted the event; that luxurious beachside venue with breathtaking views of the nearby lagoon, ocean breezes and comfortable layout made it a special occasion.
Chefs, mixologists and sommeliers presented some of their favorite recipes and discussed wine pairings, as well as the creative use of fresh ingredients. There was an abundance of premium wines to choose from at the event. For those looking for light and refreshing choices, The Bubble Bar offered a variety of sparkling wines including selections from Scharffenberger Cellars, Wilson Creek, Gloria Ferrer, Argyle and G.H. Mumm.
JaM Cellars had their Butter Chardonnay and Candy Rosé, while Bouchaine Vineyards served a silky 2016 Estate Chardonnay. The Boen Chardonnay, Elouan Rosé, Justin Sauvignon Blanc and Landmark Chardonnay were all excellent choices as well. In the VIP area, guests enjoyed the Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay, the 2017 Quilt Chardonnay and Daou Sauvignon Blanc.
Fantastic reds were widely available as well. Our favorites included the 2016 Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir – lucky VIP guests got to taste their 2016 limited-release Balade Pinot Noir. We also enjoyed the 2017 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir from Bouchaine Vineyards, the 2016 Sanford Pinot Noir, the 2016 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2017 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon. Bronco Wines offered the delectable Pacific Pinot and the Garnet Pinot Noirs as well as the tasty Rosenblum Zinfandel.
There were many other excellent sips available at the event, as various cocktails and craft beers were flowing all afternoon. Casamigos Tequila had a luxurious display in the VIP area, where they served two special cocktails; their blackberry basil smash was beautiful and refreshing. Lillet, Hornitos, Makers Mark and Absolut Elyx had booths interspersed among the food booths that lined the lagoon beach and each was serving creative cocktails. A variety of refreshing beer styles was available from Unibroue, Towne Park, Chapman Brewing, Helmsman Ale House and Merchant Du Vin as well.
Many of the food vendors had delicious choices from the sea and land. Bristol Farms Catering served incredibly tender beef brisket sandwiches while Georgia’s Restaurant presented equally delectable pulled pork sliders. Solita served a melt-in-your-mouth open-faced Cadillac taco with grilled carne asada, chipotle garlic shrimp, cheese, avocado and salsa fresca – yum!
The Hilton Waterfront Resort offered tasty, bite-sized Ahi tuna and avocado rolls. Roe Seafood served Ahi tuna over brown rice in a ponzu sauce and a ceviche-style rockfish and shrimp in a coconut-milk marinade, with fresh pico de gallo piled onto tortilla chips. Villa Roma prepared a massive seafood paella and the combination of clams, mussels, shrimp, sausage and chicken with the seasoned rice and vegetables was amazing.
When it came to sweets, Mixed Bakery had a beautiful display of dessert treats including mascarpone with sprinkles and lemon-curd raspberry meringue. Moody Judy Cookie Dough presented their no-bake delicacy in mini-cones with multi-colored sprinkles. Miss Mini Donuts served their petite, gooey deep-fried treats. The third annual Pacific Wine & Food Classic celebrated the great Southern California summer season, showcasing many of Orange County and Long Beach’s finest restaurants as well as first-class wines, beers and spirits from around the world. It was a grand weekend of culinary indulgence in an especially relaxed, beautiful spot. The event gets better every year and we are already looking forward to the 2020 Pacific Wine & Food Classic. We’ll see you there.