Festivino at the Venetian and Palazzo Resorts celebrate the French AOC of Bordeaux with dinners and a starlit intimate wine tasting at the AZURE luxury pool

Las Vegas is has made quite  a reputation on  giving its guests an opportunity to have very unique experiences.  The Palazzo Resort is known for its classic Italian feel  and unparalleled beauty located in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.

In  the  case of the Palazzo's newest event , Festivino,  in September they featured a celebration of the renowned French AOC of  Bordeaux , guests got  a feel of France in Italy !

 Guests could enjoy  three quality Bordeaux wines by the glass at The Venetian and The Palazzo casino bars such as Laguna Champagne Bar and Fusion Bar at a great price in celebration of this event.

Select choices from this premier wine making region of France were also  showcased in three-course prix fixe menus from two of Las Vegas’ foremost French eateries, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at The Palazzo and Joachim Splichal’s Pinot Brasserie at The Venetian, along with a special poolside Bordeaux tasting event at AZURE Luxury Pool at The Palazzo.

Before we headed out around the Palazzo's lovely pool we had to pause and think about he wines of Bordeaux and  what to expect. A Red Bordeaux, which is traditionally known as claret in the United Kingdom, is generally made from a blend of grapes. Permitted grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carménère. Today Malbec and Carmenere are rarely used, with Château Clerc Milon, a fifth growth Bordeaux, being one of the few to still retain Carménère vines.

Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux's second-most planted grape variety) dominates the blend in red wines produced in the Médoc and the rest of the left bank of the Gironde estuary. Typical top-quality Chateaux blends are 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc & 15% Merlot.

This is typically referred to as the "Bordeaux Blend." Merlot (Bordeaux's most-planted grape variety) and to a lesser extent Cabernet Franc (Third most planted variety) tend to predominate in Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and the other right bank appellations. These Right Bank blends from top-quality Chateaux are typically 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

White Bordeaux is predominantly, and exclusively in the case of the sweet Sauternes, made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle - Typical blends are usually 80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc. As with the reds, white Bordeaux wines are usually blends, most commonly of Sémillon and a smaller proportion of Sauvignon Blanc. Other permitted grape varieties are Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Merlot Blanc, Ondenc and Mauzac. Now that we had our "banks" and varietals straight we began our stroll in to The Palazzo's Bordeaux at the AZURE Luxury pool on a starlit Las Vegas evening.

Our trip began with none other than The Venetian and Palazzo Resorts Vice President of Food and Beverage Sebastien  Silvestri and FIRST Food and Bar Executive Chef Sam DMarco  welcoming us in to sample some great food and of course those wonderful wines of Bordeaux.

Table after table of acclaimed wineries such as Château de Parenchere, Doyac Haut-Medoc and Château Vieux St. Andre enticed the guests with their "old world" flavors that the world has come to hold to such high regard.

Situated in the eastern edge of the Bordeaux wine growing area, the Château de Parenchère vineyard lies on the borders of the Dordogne and the Lot et Garonne departments.
Here they grow in chalky clay with a very high clay content, which is unusual for this area and which goes some way to accounting for the strength of the wines produced from them.

The total size of the estate is 153 hectares of land.
The vineyard is concentrated on
63 hectares (161 acres), planted on the estate’s best exposed plots and solely on hillsides so that rainwater drains away naturally. This way, fruit quality is not harmed by stagnating water, which would cause the grapes to swell.

Also, thanks to this ideal exposure, the grapes get a lot of sun from the early morning until late in the evening, which help them to reach their best maturity level even in very difficult years. The grapes will therefore be able to plainly express all their aromas and richness.

The White Bordeaux wines  were our first stop along our Bordeaux wine trail . These have always been among are favorites. Many were not aware that Bordeaux does have white varietals and in our opinion , some of the best. The fruit forward flavors and aromas of the Semillion and Sauvigon Blanc blends gave  us a nice refreshing start to the evening.

Guests  followed the lovely trail of White Bordeaux wines and indulged in many culinary  delights as they came across more  of these French works of art that have tantalized mankind for centuries. The Red Bordeaux wines were next up for our palates to enjoy.

The blend of Cabernet , Cabernet Franc , Merlot and other Bordeaux varietals combined with earth , leather and old word charm to make the evening complete and a nice finish to our trip to Bordeaux.

Again and again , The Palazzo Resort and its AZURE pool provided guests a night to remember. And the best part of it all, is that there will be more Festivino events coming up featuring even more celebrated wines.
See you at the next Festivino at the Palazzo Resort featuring as always great food and in the case unparalleled wines.

The Cuisineist , VINO LAS VEGAS and Garfields Restaurant team up for a Broman Cellars Wine Dinner with a lakeside view

For Centuries great food and wine have brought people together and in more modern times this is still the case.

Garfield's Restaurant partnered with VINO LAS VEGAS , The Cuisineist Culinary Magazine and Broman Cellars from Napa Valley for a wine dinner taking in the relaxing views of Lake Jacqueline at the Desert Shores while sipping on great wines and enjoying dishes created by Executive Chef Jean-David Groff-Daudet especially for the event.

Broman Cellars handcrafted wines are made exclusively from Napa Valley grapes and have long term contracts with several highly acclaimed vineyards. They source their Cabernet from Beckstoffer’s Dr. Crane Vineyard in St. Helena and Georges III in Rutherford; and their Sauvignon Blanc from the Melrose Vineyard in St. Helena.

The Broman Syrah is sourced from the Page Nord vineyard in North Napa and also a small, two-acre vineyard in St. Helena on their Deer Park Road property, which is below the Howell Mountain appellation boundary on the western facing slope.

Garfield's is lovely nautical themed restaurant named in honor of Sir Garfield Sobers, Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on the playing fields of Barbados in 1975. Sir Garfield is considered the greatest all-around Cricket player of all time.

Executive Chef, Jean-David Groff-Daudet is well known for preparing delicious dishes with emphasis on the SlowFood® movement which is a global, grassroots movement that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.


TARTELETTE CRAWFISH with Vegetable Brunoise

This delicate beginning to the dinner paired wonderfully with
the 2009 Broman Sauvigon Blanc , Napa Valley.

This Vintage was crafted from 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc grapes sourced entirely from the esteemed Beckstoffer property, Melrose Vineyard in Rutherford. This wine is very fruit forward as it was cold fermented in a small stainless steel tank with no malolactic fermentation or oak treatment.
Aromas of grapefruit, and lime zest with undertones of stone fruit came through on the nose with citrus , peach and apricot on the palate with a clean, fresh finish. A production of only 397 cases show the love and passion that went into this lovely refreshing wine

Chef Jean-David is a native of Burgundy and could not resist showing off a little french flair for the main course


BRAISED SHORT RIB with Cabernet Reduction and Mashed Potato

Getting big and bold, Chef Jean-David hit the mark it what many thought was the best dish and pairing of the night. The mouth watering Braised Short Rib fell off the bone and the Cabernet Reduction was non other than spectacular. Paired with the Broman Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Napa Valley brought out the best in the dish and the wine.

The 2004 Broman Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet from two esteemed vineyards. The blend consists of 40 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon from the gravelly Dr. Crane Vineyard in Saint Helena and 60 per cent Cabernet from the gently sloping Georges III vineyard in eastern Rutherford. This wine was aged in French oak for 24 months.

Rich and lush , with flavors of black cherry, plum and cocoa and hints of leather and herbal notes and its lingering finish with nice tannnis round out this excellently balanced wine. With only 334 cases produced this was a real treat.



We have spoke often about the art of pairing or contrasting dishes with wine. The Broman 2004 Syrah offered Chef Jean-David a variety of choices and he took the hard way and decided to contrast the Cheese Course. The boldness of the Syrah combined with the sweetness of the honey ( made by local bees ) and creamy goat cheese provided guests the most interesting pairing of the night and it worked.

The 2004 Broman Napa Valley Syrah was produced from grapes from two different vineyards in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. It is 100% Syrah and was aged in French oak for approximately 28 months.

This is a big Syrah that is inky, ripe and satisfying. Blueberries and blackberries blend with earth, and leather undertones that ended with with long, lingering tannins.

Experiencing these great wines from Napa Valley was a real treat but Chef Jean-David had one last tidbit for the guests. A visit to South Australia for dessert.


SHORT BREAD COOKIE , with Bitter Chocolate Mousse

What else can we say but yummy and decadent. Layers of creamy Chocolate filled our mouths making this a good end to a wonderful dinner.

Paired with Stanley Lambert NV Choc-a-bloc from South Australia , this luscious dessert wine, made using a fortified Australian Tawny wine base and seeping it with chocolate was a "home run" need we say more ?

Overall , Executive Chef Jean-David and his staff did a wonderful job provided unmatched service and great dishes to the guests of this very special event. Four delicious courses , paired with "pointed" wines with a great view for $55.00 was one of the best deals we have found in a long time. It was a true honor and pleasure to have been a part of it.

Eat, drink and learn about one of California’s most exciting culinary and wine destinations with SAVOR the Central Coast Sept 30-Oct 3 2010

We know the Central Coast very well and now join us and everyone who is as interested in eating great food as we are in meeting the farmers and artisans who produce it. Sunset presents “Savor the Central Coast.” Tucked away in the pristine Central Coast of California (only three hours from both the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles), “SUNSET – Savor the Central Coast” gives food lovers the opportunity to meet the chefs, local farmers, winemakers, and food artisans that are setting some of the country’s biggest culinary trends.

From September 30 to October 3, 2010 at Santa Margarita Ranch, San Luis Obispo and surrounding communities, attendees will have the opportunity to sample delights prepared by 35 talented chefs, using the region’s freshest bounty—from organic produce and herbs to locally raised lamb and sustainably farmed seafood. Recipes presented will include:

Abalone Carpaccio with Sake Mignonette, Grapefruit, Avocado, Sesame” by The Lido/Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa Chef Evan Treadwell

· Roast Rack of Lamb with Braised Lamb Shank Arancine, Lamb Confit, Lavender Roasted San Marzano Tomato and Garlic Crumbs” by Post Ranch Inn Chef Craig Von Foerster

“Sustainable Seafood” prepared by The Sidecar Chef Tim Kilcoyne in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seafood Watch Program

“Far Western Certified Angus Beef Cheeseburger” by Far Western Tavern Chef Barbara Abernethy

“Roasted Figs, Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, Toasted Hazelnut Brittle” by Thomas Hill Organics Chef Julie Simon.

On October 1, the weekend’s “edu-tainment” focus rolls into high gear as Sunset editors and other experts lead exclusive guided tours around San Luis Obispo County, including Ocean Rose Abalone Farm, Morro Bay Oyster Company, Happy Acres Goat Farm, Pasolivo Olive Oil, Thomas Hill Organics, Talley Winery and Organic Farm and Cal Poly’s Escuela Ranch. All culinary tours include lunch; visit www.savorcentralcoast.com/culinary_tours for schedule.

On October 2-3, the SAVOR “edu-tainment” continues at Santa Margarita Ranch with presentations in the demonstration kitchen by The Food Network’s Tyler Florence and seminars with Sunset editors on such topics as “Fresh from the Fields-California Breakfast,” “Preserving the Harvest,” “Cheese Making 101,” “Beyond the Chop: How to Cook with Different Cuts of Lamb,” and “Sunset’s One Block Feast – The Grand Experiment.” Wine-themed seminars will include “Distinct. Different. – Paso Robles,” “The Perfect Cuvee” and “Why We Love Central Coast Wine.”

The evening of October 2 is devoted to intimate multi-course gourmet winemaker dining and Tolosa Winery and Vineyards. “Paso Glow,” a dinner focusing on the wines and winemakers of the Paso Robles AVA rounds out the evening’s choices, along with dinners showcasing the Tolosa Winery and Vineyards. “Paso Glow,” a dinner focusing on the wines and winemakers of the Paso Robles AVA rounds out the evening’s choices, along with dinners showcasing the wines of Santa Barbara, Monterey and Ventura counties.

For more information regarding “SUNSET – Savor the Central Coast,” call 800-768-6653, visit http://www.savorcentralcoast.com/, become a fan on Facebook HTTP://tinyurl.com/SavorCC, or follow SAVOR on www.Twitter.com/SavorCC. Ticket proceeds and sponsorships are considered donations to the San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Convention Bureau, a 501 c 6 non-profit tourism organization promoting San Luis Obispo County.

See you there !

The 4th Annual Opportunity Village's O-Vino benefits many in the community

We have attended all of the annual O-Vino events to benefit people with disabilities. We could not think of a better way to give back to the Las Vegas community.

Over 40 wine vendors , a silent auction , great food prepared by the Chefs and students of Le Cordon Bleu , original artwork from Opportunity Village's talented artists and live entertainment provided the guests, families and people of Opportunity Village a great way to spend an afternoon.

Opportunity Village is a not-for-profit organization that serves people in the Las Vegas community with intellectual disabilities, to enhance their lives and the lives of the families who love them. Opportunity Village is dedicated to helping people with severe intellectual and related disabilities become the very best they can be.

Through vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, arts and social recreation, people with severe disabilities are able to find new friends, realize future career paths, seek independence and community integration and unleash creative passions.

Opportunity Village was founded in 1954 by a small group of local families seeking to improve the lives of their children with intellectual disabilities. Since then, Opportunity Village has grown to become Nevada’s largest private, not-for-profit community habilitation program, serving more than 3,000 people annually through vocational training, community job placement, art & life skill enrichment, advocacy, and social recreation programs.

Opportunity Village gives back to the business's in Las Vegas by stimulating the economy . The majority of programs offered by Opportunity Village to people with severe intellectual disabilities are funded by the work-related activities of those individuals and by the charitable donations of local individuals and organizations.

In the absence of Opportunity Village, state and local governments would be required to provide similar services that would increase public cost by more than $17 million annually.

Opportunity Village helps the people it serves in a variety of ways.
Unlike many short-term job placements that are here today and gone tomorrow, the procurement of commodities and services with local businesses provides long-term, stable employment for people with severe disabilities.Through the vocational training and employment programs, people with severe disabilities have a chance to develop job skills that offer opportunities for individual advancement.

By expanding their scope of experience, and enhancing their abilities, some workers with disabilities are able to tackle new assignments at increasingly higher levels of difficulty. This experience prepares them for a wider variety of jobs, either within Opportunity Village Work Centers or at a variety of jobs throughout the community.

Many of the people served by Opportunity Village live either with their families or in supported living arrangements in the community. Most of the income received from disability insurance goes for basic room and board costs, meaning the income earned while working on contracts at Opportunity Village is often their only source of disposable income. People with severe disabilities are human beings, just like you and me, and they want to live as normal a life as possible. Most adults usually go to work, but the unemployment rate for people with disabilities continuously exceeds 60 percent.

This years O-Vino was held at The Ralph and Betty Engelstad campus Opportunity Village’s newest . This state-of-the-art campus houses the Kitty Rodman Multi-purpose Center for Arts & Life Skill Enrichment and the Thomas & Mack Employment Training Center and was a great venue for the event.

We look forward to the 5 O-Vino and having the chance to help people with disabilities help the community. With Opportunity Village everyone in the community benefits. To find out more about Opportunity Village please visit http://www.opportunityvillage.org/
See you next year !

Bledsoe Family Winery Opens Its Walla Walla Winery At The Box Factory Location.

Not long-ago Drew Bledsoe was throwing touchdowns in the NFL. Shortly after his retirement in 2007,  they planted their first vineyard. ...

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