As an event planner at Bear Creek Mountain Resort, I have a grueling and demanding position….my life is not all games, music, festivals and wine… oh wait it is!!!! The Special Events department at Bear Creek is tasked with creating exciting events both on the large scale think Spring Wine Festival or Oktoberfest and on the smaller scale like our Valentines Lift of Love and Dog Dayz of Summer. Having access to a wonderful executive chef, Michael Greenstein, and our beautiful restaurant, The Grillle, we decided to put together an intimate Wine Dinner that incorporates wine education, tantalizing foods and place it all in our beautiful base area as it begins to explode with fall colors.
For the September 19th Spanish Wine & Tapas Dinner we began our brainstorming with our executive Chef and gave him the objective of coming up with some delightful tapas dishes that would use the regional foods of Spain for his plate inspirations. Chef Michael loves to try new and exciting flavors and he came back with an intriguing menu that has everything from olives and anchovies, to octopus and manchego stuffed dates, wow! Once we had our menu created it was now time to find the perfect wines to pair with each course. Enter our wine expert Terry Balent from Southern Wine and Spirits. Terry has over 30 years of experience in the industry and is such a wealth of information as well as a fun guy. We presented Terry with our menu and he began to pull wines for us to taste.
Here is where my job becomes grueling, a select team of event planners, marketing and restaurant staff sit down with Terry and get an intensive education on the regional wines of Spain. Terry had several wines on his suggested list for us to sample. Spending time with Terry is like a master’s class in wine, way more than I can take in, but I love to listen to him describe the grapes (Tempranillo is the most widely planted grape in Spain), to joking about the Paco Y Lola label (they are the most common names in Spain like John and Mary is here), to his explanation about the differences between American and European barrels (machine cut vs hand sawn, who knew!). From these wines we then decide which wines will go best with each course and what wines that we think the guest would enjoy tasting as well as learning about. Our goal is to create a well-rounded night and to give each guest a wealth of taste sensations as well as knowledge that will help them understand the wine flavor notes, why it goes well with each food and how to recapture the enjoyment with their own wine choices.
I have to say that I was very impressed with the wines of Spain and can’t wait for our guests’ to have the full experience of tasting the wines with the foods and to compare each tapas with the different wines. The fact that Terry will be there as a guide for the night will leave everyone with plenty of information and a night spent relaxing and enjoying life to its fullest. We hope that you enjoy the experience we have created just for you. Salud!