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Wine Wanderlust Guide: January 2018

Plan your travels with wine in mind: In the new year, look for festivals in San Francisco and Boston, get your après-ski culinary fix at Beaver Creek in Colorado, and taste at Rome’s new wine-centric hotel. Plus, a new wine club opens in Uruguay
Chef Maycoll Calderón and an assistant prepare the “First Tracks & Gourmet Breakfast” meal for the 2017 Winter Culinary Weekend in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Photo by: Sean Boggs
Chef Maycoll Calderón and an assistant prepare the “First Tracks & Gourmet Breakfast” meal for the 2017 Winter Culinary Weekend in Beaver Creek, Colo.

Samantha Falewée
Posted: December 29, 2017

Want to explore wine around the world? Wine Spectator's new monthly guide opens the door with insider tips, upcoming events and seasonal packages, and once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences.


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Alejandro Bulgheroni Opens Garzón Club

Bodega Garzón
Alejandro Bulgheroni's Uruguay estate encompasses 500 acres of vineyards.

In mid-December, Uruguayan winery Bodega Garzón, founded by Argentine entrepreneur Alejandro Bulgheroni, announced the opening of the members-only Garzón Club. Members will receive early access to the estate’s special-release wines and Colinas de Garzón olive oils, as well as various dining privileges at the Restaurant at Bodega Garzón created by chef Francis Mallmann. There's also access to private tastings at Bulgheroni’s other wineries in California, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Argentina, and Australia's Barossa Valley, and educational seminars with vintner Alberto Antonini. For additional dues, members can join the 18-hole Garzón Tajamares golf club; plans to open a wellness spa, a beach club and equestrian center are in the works. Get more info.



Journeys in Wine and Food

Ready for the next adventure? Look for these wine travel experiences this January.

California

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers
The Zinfandel Experience’s Grand Tasting on Jan. 20 brings together 120 wine producers.

From Jan. 18-20, ZinEx comes to San Francisco to celebrate American-made Zinfandel. The festival is put on by Zinfandel Advocates & Producers, which organizes seminars, tastings and research efforts in the United States and abroad throughout the year. “The weekend offers rare opportunities to chat with winemakers who share their inspiring stories and insight into crafting the wines,” says Rebecca Robinson, ZAP’s executive director.

The official welcome is the Farm-to-Table dinner at Best of Award of Excellence-winning One Market restaurant, preceded by a wine-tasting reception with 20 producers pouring wines not available at the other ZinEx events. Dinner tickets for the public begin at $105 per person; ZAP members get discounts throughout the festival. The next day, join Ravenswood winemaker Joel Peterson as he moderates a seated tasting seminar ($99) with eight "next generation" producers.

ZinEx’s main and last event is on Saturday, as 120 producers pour more than 500 wines at a walk-around tasting. While you can attend just for the afternoon ($80), consider buying the all-day ticket ($180) for the chance to try barrel samples, limited-availability wines and food from winery chefs and restaurants such as Award of Excellence-winning Taste and the Best of Award of Excellence winner, the Barrel Room. The Zinfandel-friendly fare includes bites such as smoked turkey with nettles and lemon zest and duck sausage with mushroom ragout. Get the full festival schedule.


Colorado

Allie’s Cabin
Allie’s Cabin in Beaver Creek, Colo., hosts an early meal for the “First Tracks & Gourmet Breakfast” skiing experience.

With the arrival of ski season, Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado offers its Winter Culinary Weekend on Jan. 18-21 for travelers looking to complement their time on the slopes with a bit of cooking fun.

The programming balances elegant dining with family-friendly activities. On Friday night, devotees of Jonathan Waxman, chef-owner of New York's Barbuto and Jams, can attend a dinner as he works with chef Brian Ackerman at the resort's Splendido at the Chateau restaurant, while Rebekah Wineburg of Quintessa winery guides diners through multiple vintages of Cabernet-based blends. (Tickets run $200 per person.) But if kids are in tow, try the “My Perfect Pizza Kids’ Cooking Class” on Saturday for ages 4 and older ($20 per child). For ardent powder enthusiasts, the “First Tracks & Gourmet Breakfast” says it all, with access to the slopes an hour before the mountain opens to the public—followed by hearty fare at the slopeside Allie’s Cabin ($150 per person). On Saturday night, the Grand Tasting at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa showcases food from local chefs as well as all the weekend's guest chefs, including Marco Canora of Hearth in New York, Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli, and Jennifer Jasinski, whose Denver restaurants include Rioja and Bistro Vendôme.

A portion of ticket sales from the weekend events goes to the Bright Future Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Get tickets.


Massachusetts

Jack Daryl Photography
The Boston Harbor Hotel hosts winemaker dinners each year at the Boston Wine Festival.

The long-running Boston Wine Festival returns to the waterfront Boston Harbor Hotel, home to the wine-centric Meritage restaurant, with a series of dinners and seminars from Jan. 18 to March 30. The festival kicks off on Jan. 12 with a grand-opening reception featuring 50 wines and food from chef Daniel Bruce, who has been organizing the festival’s wine dinners since its inception in 1989.

Look for two particular highlights in January. “The Battle of the Cabernets” dinners on Jan. 18 and 19 invite participants to vote for their favorite wine as they sip Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons like the Ramey Annum 2013 and Martin Ray Synthesis 2014. The two nights differ in their lineups—divided up among producers like Hall, Paul Hobbs, Plumpjack, Pine Ridge, Odette, Robert Foley and others—so check the event calendar for details. Tickets cost $250 per person. A Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine dinner on Jan. 24 ($175 per person) pairs eight wines with a four-course dinner that draws from the fare of France's Rhône Valley, and tickets are selling fast.


Italy

Stefano Scatà
Hotel de’ Ricci occupies a luxury apartment building just off the Piazza de’ Ricci in Rome.

Opened in 2017, the Hotel de’ Ricci in Rome is dedicated to wine. Located off a quiet piazza in the city's Regola quarter, within walking distance of the Campo de' Fiori, the hotel consists of just eight suites—each with a mini wine cellar of eight wines (four red, four white) tailored to guests’ preference before arrival. A list of select wines available via Coravin pours is also offered. The hotel cellar consists of a sizeable 1,500 selections, specializing in Italian producers, and is overseen by general manager Flavio Scannavino. The staff of sommeliers can arrange private tastings and winery tours of Italy's most famous wine regions; owner Lorenzo Lisi also runs the nearby Pierluigi seafood restaurant.

Once a month, an invited winery pours a selection of wines at a small tasting at the hotel. On Jan. 25, Cà del Bosco winery owner Maurizio Zanella will present a tasting of his Lombardy region wines that is limited to 15 people. The five wines include a Chardonnay, the 2000 vintage of the Cà del Bosco Maurizio Zanella Cabernet-based blend and three Franciacorta bubblies: Brut Cuvée Annamaria Clementi 2008 and the 2003 and 2009 vintages of Dosage Zèro RS. Reservations are required; inquire directly at the hotel for pricing.

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