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A Pairing of Wine, Food and Music

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger | Photos by Don Perry

Stephanie Ferreira curated a brand new festival, Vintage901, as an intimate, three-day event that took place at different locations around town—all promoting good wine, good food and good music. Her committee members included Belinda Anderson, volunteer coordinator; Shannon Little, publicity coordinator; Deidre Malone, sponsorships and advertising; Bonnie Pinkston, event team leader; and Jess Vandenberg, graphic design.

“Each of the three days featured nationally recognized Grand Sommelier Laurie Forster, the best in artisanal wines, an array of local flavors with a nod to global sensibilities, and music that blended the classic and the eclectic,” said Ferreira.

The event opened with “Perfect Pairings” at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum Theatre Memphis with a reception featuring Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne from  France. Forster, The Wine Coach, presented the opening toast at a three-course dinner provided by Restaurant Iris. The food and wines were selected to experience the perfect pairings. Chef Kelly English and Forster each gave a short talk about the chosen food and wine pairings at the beginning of each course. The evening’s entertainment featured international jazz artist Monty Alexander.

The meal began with smoked char with dill emulsion, preserved lemon, and “sauce gribiche” paired with Trimbach Riesling 2013, Alsace, France and Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand. The second course followed with Gochujang braised short ribs with whipped celeriac, pho jus, and Vietnamese gremolata, grilled eggplant over early ratatouille with persillade and fried herbs paired with Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah 2014, Lodi, California and The Prisoner Blend 2015, Napa Valley, California.

The dessert course featured rosemary custard with cayenne crisp and burnt sugar paired with Kiona Red Mountain Ice Wine 2014 Red Mountain, Washington and Porto Ferreira Quinta do Porto 10 Year Tawny, Douro, Portugal.

Day Two was titled “Grand Tasting” and brought crowds of people to the Fairgrounds, to the Creative Arts Building on Tiger Lane, for what was described as “edu-tainment” (education + entertainment). Over 90 wines from 10 countries and four states were available for the tasting. In addition to the tasting stations set up around the room, Forster led a tasting of four wines, explaining the nuances of each. Following Forster, Chef Ayanna Johnson from Chef DuJour gave a cooking demonstration, preparing Salmon and Gnocchi in a white wine cream sauce. Chef Sleepy Johnson of Tart and Chef David Johnson of Belle: A Southern Bistro also taught the crowd different ways to cook with wine.

Several local artisans set up shop. Melissa McGuire Bridgman brought her Bridgman Pottery to the event, showcasing a new item, a wine cup, as well as her handcrafted signature Vintage901 cheeseboards and serving platters. Wolfgang Marquardt’s Gardens Oy Vey offered various sizes of tabletop gardens, perfect for decorating a patio or porch to enhance the ambience of your place to kick back and relax. Other vendors included Cosgrove and Lewis, Dodson’s Farms, Frost Bake Shop, Jamila Naturals, Jams & Jellies, MEMPops, Mighty Olive, My Cup of Tea and Seafood Nutrition. Kroger/Murray’s offered an antipasti station of heart-healthy foods including Turkish dried apricots, dried bing cherries, marinated artichokes hearts, Calabrese antipasto salad, flatbreads, and a variety of specialty cheeses.  

Several food trucks, including Fuel Cafe/Food Truck, Say Cheese, and Sledd Concessions, were also on hand with their specialty offerings. Live musical entertainment by Willie Ziavino and the COT Band, a Latin group from Atlanta, kept the atmosphere festive and fun.

The final day served up a “Sparkling Brunch” offering a four-course meal with wine pairings, live local jazz performances, and additional themed giveaways.

Ferreira summed up the event saying, “This festival is designed to draw more people to Memphis and give them a wonderful ‘taste’ of what our city has to offer.”

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