If you’re free on Saturday, April 18, you should go here now to purchase tickets for bASH 2015, an annual food and wine event from Appellation St. Helena. What is bASH? Well, it’s a popular spectacle showcasing the Napa Valley community with over 35 premium wineries joining forces with local culinary talent between 6 pm and 8:30 pm. More than just a wine tasting event, it’s a delightfully fun food and wine pairing competition where your votes help select the ultimate winners (and believe us, the competition is fierce).
In addition to trying dozens of delicious wines at bASH 2015 you will be able to enjoy food offerings from local restaurants such as Archetype, The Farmer & The Fox, Goose & Gander, The Grill at Meadowood, and PRESS. However, most of the food pairings will be created by “Rising Star” students at the Culinary Institute of America. These competitors will present dishes specifically designed and developed to pair with the wine that they will be paired with. This makes your evening of wine sipping and food tasting a challenge as you keep trying to figure out which combination (and team) deserves your vote the most.
The St. Helena appellation is (deservedly) well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and you’re bound to find many outstanding food pairings with that varietal on April 18th. However, we’ve also enjoyed pairings with well crafted wines made from Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel grapes at past competitions.
For the fourth time, this lovely extravaganza will take place in the historic Barrel Room at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (255 Main Street, St. Helena, 707-967-1100). Tickets for bASH are $125 each and that’s a pretty good price for what is practically a 35-course Chef’s Tasting Menu with wine pairings for each course (which also comes with a chance to win an instant wine cellar).
We’ve been to many food and wine events and bASH is phenomenal with respect to the pairing of food and wine and it is clear a LOT of thought goes into the chefs’ dishes. Lamb Taco with Fig Crema? Been there. Venison, Elk and Duck Ragout? Done that. Stout-Braised Wild Boar Sliders? That box was checked at bASH back in 2012. We’ve enjoyed Gougères, Tostadas, Cones, Lettuce Wraps, and even Breadsticks used as delivery methods for dishes based on Beef, Pork, Lamb and a cornucopia of vegetables.
For a more complete picture of the temptations you can expect, these were some of our favorite combinations at last year’s bASH:
- Calafia Cellars’ “La Reina” (Bordeaux Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) was paired with a Blue Cheese, Bacon and Apple Mousse Cone garnished with Fig Jam and a Candied Walnut.
- Clif Family Winery offered their Bruschetta of Burrata Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower & Garum and then poured some of their “Rte Blanc” Sauvignon Blanc to go with it.
- Crocker & Starr showed off their “Stone Place” Estate Cabernet Sauvignon with a plating of Spiced Pears, Almond Milk Panna Cotta, and a Brown Butter Shortbread Crumble.
- J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines’ Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc went perfectly with a spoonful of Cured Snapper with Green Bell Pepper Gelée, Goat’s Milk Yogurt and Fennel.
- Pellet Estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon was complimented by a serving of Wine Braised Oxtail with Cauliflower/Parsnip Purée and Herbed Brioche Cauliflower Crumb.
- Taplin Cellars poured their Cabernet Sauvignon alongside a Lamb Slider topped with Gorgonzola Dolce and Cabernet Caramelized Onion Jam on a Herbed Gougère.
All six of those wineries will be returning for bASH 2015 where they will be joined by others such as Anomaly Vineyards, Ballentine Vineyards, Benessere Vineyards, Casa Nuestra, Chase Cellars, David Fulton Winery, Del Dotto Vineyards, Edge Hill Estatee, Ehlers Estate, HALL Wines, hope & grace, Parry Cellars, Raymond Vineyards, Revana Family Vineyard, Rombauer Vineyards, Robert Biale Vineyards, Roberts + Rogers, St. Helena Winery, Sequum, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Titus Vineyards, Varozza Vineyards, Vineyard 29 and Young Inglewood Vineyards.
This year the event organizers have added another attraction to the evening: a chance to win an Appellation St. Helena Instant Wine Cellar. When you purchase an event ticket you are automatically entered for the drawing (held at the end of the evening and no, you do not need to be present to win). To increase your odds, you also have the ability to purchase extra drawing tickets ($25 each) online after you’ve purchased an admission ticket. But, you should go here quickly to get your tickets for bASH 2015 before the evening sells out.
Personally, we can’t wait!
Appellation Saint Helena is a non-profit organization of over 70 wineries and grape growers dedicated to showcasing and promoting the quality of the wines produced from the Saint Helena American Viticultural Area (AVA). The official AVA was approved in 1995, with its boundaries in northern Napa Valley defined by Bale Lane to the north, Zinfandel Lane to the South, the intersection of Howell Mountain and Conn Valley Road to the east, and the 400 ft. elevation line marking the west. Proceeds from bASH 2015 will go to benefit Appellation St. Helena and the scholarship fund of the Culinary Institute of America.