Tickets provided by Hall Wines; photography courtesy of Elizabeth Proctor
For the past 7 years, Hall Wines has hosted a Cabernet Cookoff. Loaded with celebrity guests, skilled local chefs, and – of course – lots of their signature Cabernet Sauvignon, this springtime Napa Valley event is a celebration of wine, sunshine, and camaraderie.
With the day being bright and warm, there was plenty of Sauvignon Blanc on hand to help beat the heat. Sauvignon Blanc might be my favorite wine – fresh, grassy, and tasting of citrus – and Hall Wines does a very good one, at a price point that won’t make you wince as you reach for your wallet.
The day was perfect; the grounds were beautiful and spacious. Despite a line to get in – and a packed parking lot – the event never felt overcrowded or unmanageable. Major props to your event coordinators, Hall Wines!
And now, onto the main event: the food.
Bison carnitas topped with marinated onions.
Smoked octopus with heirloom tomatoes, microgreens, and fingerling potatoes in local olive oil.
Lamb meatballs with feta, mushrooms, and spring peas.
There is so much more we didn’t get to photograph, because it was in our mouths right after it was ready.
The portions were large enough to really get a feel for each dish, but not so large that you were overstuffed. You didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes to get a serving, and in most cases, food was waiting for your hands. The crowds were polite, and moved along once people got their share – this is the most pleasant food festival I’ve ever attended.
And, of course, let’s not forget the desserts!
Caramel popcorn and chocolate buttercream cupcakes pair well with the dark, berry notes of Cabernet.
These macarons were perfect: filled with black currant jam and dusted with rose, they were sweet, sticky, melting, and utterly indulgent.
The Hall Cabernet Cookoff is an excellent way to spend an afternoon: decadent, filling, sociable, with enough competition and people watching to make it interesting. I highly recommend attending!