Monday, June 16, 2014

St. James VIP Wine and Food Paring

For our final Missouri Wines Passport Program reward we were hosted at St. James Winery's Cottage. Level 3 included a private Food and Wine Pairing. We met with Calli Collier, St. James Winery's Event Coordinator at the tasting room in St. James, MO. Our group followed her into the countryside to the cottage in the middle of their vineyards. The cottage was quite quaint and inviting.  It featured a long bar, patio and swimming pool. We were greeted by our bartender, Tony and a full spread of cheeses, fruit and chocolates. The presentation was flawless.

Our tasting included: St. James Winery's Pioneer Red, Cynthiana, Pioneer White, Riesling, Blackberry, and Mango wines. Our most notable pairings where the Espresso BellaVitano cheese with the Pioneer White and the Mango wine with the fresh peaches. Calli did a nice job of walking us through the taste and giving us lots of background information on the winery. We took a walk out to look at the vines and enjoy a glass of wine. It was a perfect day to be among the vines enjoying great wines and fun conversation. 


Calli offered to give us a tour of the cellars back at the tasting room which we eagerly accepted. We have been to the tasting room many times but have never had time to take a tour. We were able to see lots of barrels and fermenting tanks which was impressive. This is by far the largest winery that we've ever toured, and the amount of wine they produce is breathtaking. 

We had a fabulous time at our food and wine pairing and our tour of the winery. St. James offered us some top-notch hospitality. Later that evening, we attended St. James Movie in the Vineyard event. It was a bit chilly but the food from CrepEscape was fabulous, the movie was a classic (Casablanca), and the wine was flowing (we were enjoying the Pioneer Red)! Overall, our day at St. James was very unforgettable. We are sad that all of our Missouri Wine Passport Rewards have been used up, but we are hopeful that a new program will be introduced soon. Until then, we'll continue to explore Missouri Wine Country on our own! 

See all of the photos from our day at St. James Winery here

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Missouri Wines Century Club Dinner

We did it! One-Hundred Missouri wineries visited in 2013. We cannot lie, we are very proud of ourselves. It was by far one of the most enjoyable yet challenging goals we have ever accomplished. The Level 4 prize for the Missouri Wines Passport Program was an exclusive dinner for all of the participants who made it to at least 100 wineries. This Century Club Dinner took place May 31st at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, MO. The event was superb!

The evening started with a cocktail hour in the lobby of the theatre. We had a large selection of familiar Missouri wines to choose from and delightful appetizers to snack on as we mingled with the other Missouri wine lovers. We ran into some familiar faces including  Kraig and Becky Keesaman, owners/winemakers of Windy Winy Company, and Jacob Holman, head winemaker at Les Bourgeois Vineyards. We made the acquaintance of a couple fellow Missouri Wines Passport conquerers, Brandon and Erin Wisemore. They reside on the West side of the state, so it was interesting discussing their thoughts on our local wine trails and vice versa. It was also great being able to chat about wineries with people who have been to as many as you. The level of passion for Missouri wines was extremely high in the room, and we knew the night was off to a great start.

The dinner was served on the stage of the theatre with Missouri winery owners or makers placed at each table. We had the honor of having Tony and Cindy Kooyumjian, owners/winemakers of Montelle and Augusta Wineries at our table. It's always a pleasure getting to converse with some of our favorite winery owners. We were served a stellar three course meal with each dish paired with a Missouri wine. We started with a salad made of baby greens and lollo rosso laced with a Les Bourgeois Vineyard sparkling wine vinaigrette served next to a fried Goats Beard cheese that gave the salad great texture and added tremendous flavor. The first course was served along side Montelle Winery's 2012 Seyval Blanc. Secondly we were poured a Chambourcin from Stonehaus Farms Winery and served a pan-fried Missouri pork tenderloin with stone ground grits and Adam Puchta Signature Port balsamic reduction. The last course was St. James Winery "Norton 42" braised Missouri beef shorts ribs with mashed yukon potatoes paired with the St. James 2012 Norton 42. This was by far the most "Missouri Wines" of a meal you could ever imagine, and it was delicious!

After dinner, the 19 Century Club members were honored with awards, and we heard speeches from influential people in the Missouri Wines industry including Dr. Peter Hofherr and Glenn Bardgett. The dessert course was served on the roof of the theatre and included lavender creme bruleé, Belgium chocolate Chambord tortes, raspberry macaroons, and opera cakes. There was a plethora of Missouri Wines such as the Adam Puchta's Signature Port, OakGlenn Winery's White Port, Montelle Winery's 2012 Vidal Icewine, Stone Hill Winery's Cream Sherry,  and Windy Wine Company's White Chocolate Strawberry and Raspberry wines. The entire evening was perfect and more than we ever expected. It was an amazing journey, and we are somewhat sad that it's over. 

We would like to thank and give a few shout outs to people and wineries who helped make this event possible. Biggest thank you to Danene Beedle and Christa Holtzclaw from Missouri Wines for all their help with the Passport Program and for throwing the Century Club Dinner as well as everyone on the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. Thank you to the wineries who sponsored the event and served their delicious wines: Stone Hill Winery, Augusta Winery, Les Bourgeois Vineyards, Stonehaus Farms Vineyard and Winery, Montelle Winery, St. James Winery, Adam Puchta Winery, Chaumette Vineyard and Winery, Wenwood Winery, Baltimore Bend Vineyard, Noboleis Vineyards, Edg-Clif Farms and Vineyard, Meramec Vineyards, OakGlen Vineyards and Winery, Windy Wine Company, and Bommarito Almond Tree Winery. And of course EVERY winery we visited last year! We couldn't have done it without you, and we hope to visit again soon!

The sweet swag bag we got at the end of the night!