From left: Chefs Jonathan Benno of Per Se, New York; Mary Ann Esposito of PBS’s Ciao Italia; John Tesar, formerly of The Mansion, Dallas; Eric DeLano of Trilogy, Naples; Sean Brock of McCrady’s,Charleston, S.C.; Sandro Durante of Vergina, Naples.
The local chefs included Eric DeLano of Trilogy, Sandro Durante of Vergina, Maria Furetta of Bellini, Ettore Laccetti of Ristorate d’Angeli, Michael Rakun and Brian Wubbena of Truluck’s, and Richard Demarse, Michael Mueller and Andrew Wicklander of Café Lurcat. The food was light and flavorful, and I’ll soon visit each restaurant to sample the Season’s best.
Bellini’s Vera Leo and Chef Maria Furetta serve Chef Emeril Lagasse at the Inn on Fifth.
Jacques Péters and Dominique Demarville of Veuve Clicquot
I met with Jacques Péters and Dominique Demarville, the former and current deputy cellar master, respectively, of Veuve Clicquot, which has bottled under its famous yellow label some of the consistently best champagnes for more than 200 years.
Vintner Jacques Péters, Co-hosts Anne and Tom Wamser, Vintner Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, Vintner Dominique Demarville, and Co-hosts Therésa and Tom Wajnert.
I briefly visited Festival Trustees and co-hosts Anne and Tom Wamser and co-hosts Therésa and Tom Wajnert at the Wamsers’ warmly elegant home. I took out my trusty camera, gathered the group for a photo, and the camera froze, flashing “ERROR!” My brain flashed “TERROR,” and my heart stopped! Mrs. Wamser didn’t miss a beat, saving my bacon and the photo, by generously loaning me her own camera. Whew! Thank you, thank you! I was resuscitated by the sight of Vintner Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle presenting the Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2005, Wine Spectator’s Wine of The Year 2008. It doesn’t get better than that in the wine universe!
The Vintner Dinner place settings at the home of Anne and Tom Wamser.
Executive Chef Linton Hopkins with wife and sommelier Gina
From a Foie gras terrine to chilled crab with pressed apples; corn milk poached lobster to a black truffle fondue with potato mousseline served in an eggshell, Chef Hopkins amazed the guests with fresh foods, masterfully cooked. He then plated roast duck breast, confit leg, and small white beans as a deconstructed cassoulet.
Therésa and Tom Wajnert
The “Pot au feu” braised short rib in broth with marrow and root vegetables was matched with the superb Clos Apalta 2005. Dessert and Veuve Clicquot Rare Vintage 1988 Champagne topped off the meal. Hosts and guests then generously raised funds at auction for Collier County’s neediest children.
Life Beyond the Wine Festival