DRINK EAT – Auction Napa Valley 2010

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Recession worries seemed to fade as wine lovers opened their wallets and raised paddles bidding up the prices at the 30th Auction Napa Valley, held over this past weekend. There was lots of good food and great wine flowing throughout the event. I went to the Taste Napa Valley and Barrel Auction on Friday, at Rubicon Estates. I love this annual event, and it’s a great one to go to even if you don’t make it to the live auction on Saturday. Dark skies and cool temps threatened rain, but it held off.

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At Taste Napa Valley, wineries pour whites and rose´and many of Napa’s top restaurants dished out bites.

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You could nosh on anything from chickpea fries to pulled pork sliders from BarBersQ and watermelon sorbet with chocolate chips (for seeds!), topped with fleur de sel. Martini House served up a creamy mushroom soup that was an inspired pairing with the Kongsgaard “The Judge” Chardonnay. Check out this incredible paella, from Zuzu in Napa.

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What I really noticed was that there were many more wineries pouring Rose´ than in past years. No complaints here, I love Rose´especially this time of year. Some of the best I tasted were from Entre Nous, (a Cab rose´) where Philippe Melka is the winemaker, and Louis M. Martini, also a Rose´of Cab.
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The real excitement was inside the caves at Rubicon, where the live barrel auction was taking place. As you can see, it was jammed-packed, as people went from barrel to barrel, sampling and bidding.
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Opening bids on the barrel lots started at $175 per case with the minimum increments of $50. In about 15 minutes time, I saw the Shafer Vineyards lot go from $5700 to $6000 (and yes, that’s for one case).
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If you think that’s a lot, the final bid on the Shafer lot, the 2008 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, went for $58,650. Amazing! The second highest bid was $37,700 for the Spottswoode Estate lot, a St. Helena Cab.

At the end of the weekend, when all was said and done, more than $8.5 million was raised, with $1 million coming from the barrel auction alone. All proceeds benefit
health, youth services and housing non-profits in Napa County.

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