Every now and then, you come across an event that is so perfectly suited to what you'd like to communicate about your wines that it seems impossible that someone else should have come up with the idea. The Outstanding in the Field dinner series is this sort of event.
Outstanding in the Field pairs chefs who focus on local, organic ingredients with the farms and farmers who produce these raw materials. Then, they bring in wineries who also share these commitments. So far, this is admirable but not unusual. Then, they take it one step further, by holding the dinners in the fields where the produce is grown, and serving everything at one long table, family style, where the attendees, chefs, farmers and vintners eat together (most of them on their own plates, which frequent attendees bring from home and reuse at each dinner).
These dinners are held all over the country (the upcoming dinner schedule lists events in such diverse places as Half Moon Bay, Nantucket, Chicago, New York City and Hollywood) and we have even hosted one here at Tablas Creek back in 2004.
A few months back, we were approached to partner with a dinner that is scheduled for this Sunday (July 22nd) in Carpinteria, California. The location is Coleman Farms, while the chef is Richard Mead of Sage and Sage on the Coast Restaurants of Newport Beach. The menu has not quite been finalized (Chef Mead is waiting to see what is particularly enticing from the farm this weekend) but it will be a 6-course meal, each paired with a different Tablas Creek wine, and is slated to include dishes like local white bass crusted with citrus zest and steamed with Coleman Farms vegetables (paired with the 2005 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc), braised grass-fed beef shortribs (paired with the 2004 Esprit de Beaucastel) and an orchard peach tart, paired with our 2004 Vin de Paille.
These dinners are a wonderful experience, and provide a wonderful camaraderie as you sit with farmers, chefs, and winemakers all committed to the production of food and wines that show a sense of place. If you are not already, join their mailing list, save your pennies (the dinners aren't cheap, but neither is the experience) and get ready to feel yourself reconnect with your food. Outstanding indeed!