Masters and Makers Napa Valley create a perfect blend at Meritage Resort

This past Valentine’s Day, the Masters and Makers Napa Valley wine and food event premiered. Its aim was to showcase wine from Napa’s and Sonoma’s most renowned wineries. A variety of educational panels were present, and world-class fine dining graciously prepared by the team of Meritage Resort. Masters and Makers Napa Valley provided everything one could desire.

Undoubtedly, Masters and Makers Napa Valley left one thirsting for more. Situated directly behind “The Grape Crusher” statue at the entrance to the Napa Valley, it is Tuscan inspired. The Meritage resort is known not only for its fantastic location and plethora of amenities, but for the uniformly attentive attitude of its staff.

The first tasting was led by two renowned Master Sommeliers. One being Jillian Ballance, one of only 19 female Master Sommeliers in the world, and Fred Dame, an industry veteran and the President of the Court of Master Sommeliers.

The featured wines at this tasting were from Trinitas cellars and a Robert Parker favorite, Pine Ridge Vineyards. 2011 was one of Napa’s coolest growing seasons in over 100 years. Wines from that vintage provided a formidable challenge to even the most seasoned winemakers. The 2011 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2011 Dijon clones chardonnay, were both exceptional wines given the vintage. A great wine from a challenging vintage highlights the skills of exceptional winemakers.

The evening was capped by an extraordinary dinner hosted in Trinitas magnificent 4000 sq. ft. wine cave. The dinner was nothing short of superlative, with no detail left to chance, from flower arrangements to wine and food pairings.

Chef Krisztian Karkus’s creative and cohesive vision made for an unforgettable dining experience. His goal was to complement Pine Ridge’s beautiful portfolio of wines with sophisticated but not overpowering flavors.

After dining at Meritage, it would not be surprising if Chef Karkus captures Michelin Guide’s attention. This talented chef is someone to watch closely.

On the following day, attendees went to the Beringer Vineyards for a wine blending seminar. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to get inside the mind of the originator of Beringer’s Private Reserve offering, the legendary Ed Sbragia, who passed the reigns to Laurie Hook, a very talented winemaker.

The evening’s gala event that night redefined culinary opulence with 8 different varieties of domestic caviar. There was a tower of local artisan cheeses, house made charcuterie, pates, and every other seafood and meat delicacies conceivable. The event featured stellar wines for producers such as Roederer, Pride, Caymus and Duckhorn to name a handful. Eighty-five wineries poured literally hundreds of offerings, from sparkling to dessert.

The next day’s brunch provided cheese filled blintzes with mint berry compote. The following seminar focusing on appellational wines was very unique and informative but also lighthearted and fun.

In conclusion, Meritage means blend, a confluence, the summation of the best parts that make for a powerful whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Michael Palmer, the Resort’s General Manager, when asked what the envisioned the guest’s experience to be during the six years it took to conceive and produce the event, said that he wanted it to be “the experience like none other.” This unique and unforgettable event highlighted some of Napa’s and Sonoma’s greatest achievements in wine and food in a perfect setting. It celebrated life, laughter, and camaraderie, and blended them artfully and seamlessly. Check out http://themeritageresort.com/napa-valley-restaurants/masters-makers/

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Ilona Thompson
Ilona grew up in St Petersburg. Awestruck by the beauty of Napa Valley, she moved to SF Bay Area to pursue her undeniable passion for food & wine. She spends a lion's share of her time traveling California wine regions and attending a wide variety of diverse tastings held in San Francisco. She knows her way around some of the most prestigious & exclusive wine & food events in the country. Her inner wine geek led her inside the cellars of highly notable, sought after, elusive, fascinating wineries in California. Follow her whirlwind adventures on twitter @PalateXposure

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