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Pinot Envy at the William Aiken House

on Tuesday, 11 March 2014. Posted in Magazine, LOCAL Bites, Do This!, Follow This!, From the Cellar

by Chris Hart

Photos by Robin Riebman

3:00pm-6:00pm, Saturday, March 8th

456 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403


     Excited attendees lined up down the street, happily waiting outside as they caught glimpses of winemakers and chefs setting up at the William Aiken House. The fortunate shift in weather contributed to the setting, as there could not have been a better day to host a wine and food event in such a beautiful historic courtyard. Pinot Noirs from all over the globe were represented, alongside dishes from some of the festival’s guest chefs.

     Among the note worthy wines was Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir. This pinot really grabs the attention of your palate. With bursting red fruit, well matched acidity, and a smooth rich minerality, this is a wine that screams to be consumed on a Lowcountry Spring day. The long crisp body with a light dry sensation leaves your palate screaming for another taste.

     _RHR3093ed.jpegLana Restaurant & Bar is always a favorite bite at events. Chef John Ondo understands how to make food that is an easy accompaniment to wine and certainly any pinot you can get your hands on. With a choice of rich duck confit, or a crispy and tender pork belly dish, Lana stood out from dozens of dishes.

     The 2011 Aurox Pinot Noir made a big impact. Before you get your nose into a glass of Aurox you can smell the ripe cherry aroma. Rich red jammy fruits completely control your palate. As the wine opens up you taste the complexity that is initially overwhelmed by the “fruit punch” and it shows characteristics of a classic French pinot. It's crisp minerality, and balance of acidity and oak would set off a wild game dish.

     At the Arcadian table, winemaker Joe Davis, rushed to greet guests and  and offer the best one of his wines for their desires. The star here was their Fiddlesticks Pinot Noir. On the nose you pick up musty red fruit and cellared oak. This “Old World” style nose leeds into complex fruit and a dry finish that will make you salivate._RHR3098ed.jpeg

     Wally Joe, of Acre Memphis, presented a small plate that was both artistic and creative. Moist grilled duck breast, and eggplant were complimented by a spicy, nutty ginger-kanzuri glaze.

Just in case you hadn’t had enough to drink Chef Tyler Dudley of Daniel Island Club brought out an incredible bourbon glazed duck with just enough bourbon to let you know it was there, complimented by a bed of roasted sweet potatoes.

     Celebrity chefs, local celebrities and participants took more than full advantage of all the food options, decimating dishes as they toured the courtyard. Live music poured down from the balconies and everyone had an opportunity to casually investigate the property with abandon on a busy festival day.

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