If you’re a fan of awesome wine and food pairings then you should clear your calendar for bASH 2017, coming to St. Helena on April 1 between 6 pm and 8:30 pm. What is bASH? More than just a wine tasting event, it’s a showcase for this northern Napa Valley community when 25 premium wineries that are part of the Appellation St. Helena organization join forces with local culinary talent to compete for your favor. That’s right: if you attend the event, you get to eat, drink AND judge.
bASH 2017 will feature tastes of wines from wineries such as Anomaly Vineyards, Benessere Vineyards, Del Dotto Vineyards, Flora Springs Winery, Melka Wines, Parry Cellars, Pellet Estate, Robert Biale Vineyards, St. Helena Winery and Taplin Cellars served alongside delicious food offerings from participants such as Acacia House, Goose & Gander, PRESS and Woodhouse BBQ.
However, most of the food pairings at bASH will actually come from “Rising Star” students at the Culinary Institute of America who will be creating dishes from scratch specifically designed to complement the wine that they have been matched 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(s) the most.
In fact, our favorite combination at last year’s bASH started with a dish prepared by CIA Student Chefs Taylor Guglielmino and Samuel Hamlin: a serving of Short Ribs on Polenta Cakes with a Mushroom Reduction and Citrus Lime Sauce which was paired with a delightful 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Pellet Estate. Three other excellent dishes from CIA Student Chefs last year were Oxtail Agnolotti, a Lamb Tartine with Smokey Goat Cheese Spread and Pistachio Picata and a Triple Berry Vol au Vent with Fig Balsamic Glaze.
The St. Helena appellation is well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and you’re bound to find many outstanding food pairings with that varietal on April 1st. However, we’ve also enjoyed dishes paired with wines made from Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel grapes at past competitions so you never really know what you’ll find.
To help you better understand what you could encounter at a bASH event, here are some of our other favorite combinations from recent years:
Anomaly Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a Rosemary Bone Marrow Vol au Vent Stuffed with Braised Beef and Rosewater Crème Fraiche
Calafia Cellars La Reina Estate (Cabernet Sauvignon blend) paired with Whipped Goat Cheese Tart with Reconstituted Cherries, Walnuts and Port-Spiked Whipped Cream
Chase Cellars Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel paired with 5-Spice Braised Pork Belly on a Steamed Bun with Fennel Relish and Pickled Beets
Clif Family Winery “Rte Blanc” Sauvignon Blanc paired with a Crostini of Burrata Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower and Garum
Corley Family Napa Valley Yewell Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Monticello Braised Shortrib Tortellini with Black Pepper Cream Sauce and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Del Dotto Vineyards “Vineyard 887” Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Black Truffle and Bacon Wagyu Sliders
Ehlers Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc paired with Fava Bean and Sheep Milk Ricotta with Pecorino Pepato on Grissini
hope & grace Lewelling Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Porcini, Cremini and Oyster Mushroom Soup with Basil Olive Oil
Stanton Vineyards JB Vineyard Petite Sirah paired with Duck Mole Nachos served with Avocado, Cilantro, Queso Fresco and Nasturtium
Taplin Cellars Terra 9 Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Caramelized Green Garlic & Spring Onions, Blue Cheese Mousse, and a Balsamic Glaze
Titus Vineyards Cabernet Franc paired with Pickled Piquillo Pepper stuffed with a Three-Cheese Blend
Trinchero Napa Valley Central Park West Petit Verdot paired with a Garden Radish with Beef and Blue “Butter”
Other Appellation St. Helena wineries (so far) that have confirmed their participation in bASH 2017 are Ballentine Vineyards, Chase Cellars, Edge Hill Estate, HALL Wines, Prager Winery and Port Works, Raymond Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Stanton Vineyards and Varozza Vineyards.
This lovely extravaganza will take place in the historic Barrel Room of The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (255 Main Street, St. Helena). Tickets for bASH are $125 each and that’s a pretty good price for what is practically a 25-course Chef’s Tasting Menu with wine pairings for each course. You can purchase tickets here and if you have a lot of friends free that evening, there is a 10% discount when you buy ten tickets at the same time. But, you should probably move quickly because it’s expected to sell out (like it did last year).
Also, when you buy a ticket you will be automatically entered into a drawing for an Appellation St. Helena “Instant Wine Cellar” where each of three winners will receive a case of wine collected from participating wineries at the event. The drawing takes place at the end of the evening and no, you don’t need to be present to win (but it’s more fun if you hang around and hear who won the evening’s judging).
Appellation St. Helena is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and promoting the highest quality standards in grape growing and wine making in the St. Helena American Viticultural Area (AVA), and to gain recognition for this quality through education of the membership and the public. The official AVA was approved in 1995, with its boundaries in 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 2017 will benefit the scholarship fund of the Culinary Institute of America.
If you aren’t already familiar with the appellation, please click here to link to an introductory 5-minute video about the special wines and vineyards of Appellation St. Helena.