The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2016

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Page 34 of 100

34  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2016 PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENCILBOXSTUDIOS.COM PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENCILBOXSTUDIOS.COM Master Sommeliers Thomas Price, Christopher Miller, Steven Poe and Michael Jordan lead a panel on Willamette Valley Pinots. Stella Artois was one of the beers served at the festival. EVENT RECAP Wining and Dining in SoCal NEWPORT BEACH FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL SLAKES OUR THIRST by Jesse Hom-Dawson N ewport Beach has blue skies, a gorgeous coastline and, at this time of year, is the lucky host of the Newport Beach Food & Wine Festival. In its third year, the festival continued its reputation of featuring the best of the best, with cooking demonstrations from acclaimed chefs like Hubert Keller and Rick Bayless and a tasting with Master Sommelier Michael Jordan. Forty Orange County restaurants provided dishes to taste, including fresh lobster rolls from Waterline in Newport Beach and Mozza's famous caprese. Cocktails and beer were in abundance too, with a fruit- themed play on a Sidecar called a Passion Car from Courvoisier, Highballs from Duke Bourbon and beers on tap from Stella Artois and Goose Island. To pair with the food, 250 wines were available from 85 wineries, all hand-picked by Michael Jordan. "I chose wineries that enjoy sharing their wine in this setting, and I wanted everything from big established names to little fabulous jewels. I want to turn guests on to new wines and introduce them to new winemakers," Jordan declared. Larger wineries like Jackson Family Wines and Williams Selyem co-mingled with boutique wineries like Ascension Cellars. Along with Jordan, fellow Master Somms Peter Neptune, Christopher Miller, Sur Lucero, Thomas Price and Steven Poe hosted two tasting panels: Best of Willamette Valley, Oregon, and Hidden Jewels of Santa Barbara County. Jordan was a funny and engaging host, and all the somms were able to speak to the attendants—all consumers—in a way that made the wines accessible to everyone, enophile or amateur. "They call me the sommelier for the people," Jordan laughs. "This isn't a hospital; people won't die! I specifi- cally asked Master Somms to join me who have a great breadth of under- standing, good chemistry with each other and the audience, and can talk to consumers to demystify wine and make it more fun." As an Orange County native, Jordan has been involved with the festival since the beginning, and he calls himself a "faithful worker bee ever since!" Jordan's involvement, along with all the other panelists and chefs, guaranteed that the Newport Festival was a smashing (and delicious) success! PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENCILBOXSTUDIOS.COM Attendees mingle among winemakers at the Newport Beach Food & Wine Festival in Orange County, CA.

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