A Weekend in Wine Paradise
The first annual Four Seasons Maui Wine & Food Classic ended a few weeks ago, but we are still on cloud wine to say the least. Thirty of the world’s best wineries, five celebrity chefs, and 200 wine & food lovers gathered at the Four Seasons Maui Wailea for a weekend to indulge, unwind, and enjoy life. You could feel the sheer euphoria and excitement radiating off everyone the entire time. Many said it felt like a luxury wine-themed summer camp for adults (we couldn’t agree more).
Recap written and provided by Katherine Levy, Photos by Andrew Richard Hara
The festivities kicked off late Friday afternoon with five masterclasses overlooking the beautiful pacific. Whales dancing in the sunset completed the unreal backdrop. Tancredi Biondi Santi, 7th generation of Biondi Santi, led attendees through a tasting of four vintages of his famed Brunello di Montalcino Riserva- 2011, 2004, 1997, 1983. Across the way, five top winemakers from Napa Valley (Dana Estates, Realm, The Mascot, Sinegal Estate, and Opus One) shared two different vintages from each of their respective estates. The “Discovery of Pinot Noir Masterclass” was led by five of the best pinot noir producers in the world- Williams Selyem, Kistler, Peter Michael, Maison Joseph Drouhin, and Maison Louis Jadot. Attendees sampled two different wines from each producer, while comparing the nuances of California versus Burgundian pinots.The Roederer Estate & Louis Roederer class allowed guests to taste through eight different cuvees from the estate in Champagne and sister property in Anderson Valley, California. Lastly, the Louis XIII Cognac masterclass surprised and delighted guests with an in-depth tasting of the illustrious cognac paired with caviar and Iberico Ham.
The Elite Wine Dinners
After the masterclasses, guests headed to their dinner tables with Dom Perignon in hand. Five intimate dinners were hosted by five superstar winemakers underneath the twinkling Maui stars. The featured wineries were Marciano Estate, Colgin Cellars, Harlan Estate, Chateau Cos d’Estournel, and Pio Cesare. A visiting celebrity chef prepared four unique courses that paired perfectly with each estate’s wines. Wally’s Executive Chef, Ryan Kluver, used local fresh ingredients, such as Opakapaka fish and Okinawa sweet potato. His decadent touches on the local flavors brought out different aspects of each Marciano Estate wine on the table.
The party didn’t stop after dinner. With satiated stomachs and big bright grins, guests made their way to the serenity pool to enjoy signature Casa Dragones tequila cocktails, decadent island-inspired desserts, and fire dancers.
The 200th Anniversary Billecart-Salmon Celebration
On Saturday afternoon, guests walked down a long hallway eventually discovering the Presidential Suite- a grand 3-bedroom suite with sweeping views of the ocean. It gets better- the beautiful suite was the location of the 200th Anniversary Billecart-Salmon Celebration. With the magenta sun slowly setting in the background, guests tasted 8 different cuvees from the legendary Champagne house and even got to witness Billecart-Salmon’s long-time brand director, Geoffrey Loisel, saber a bottle off the balcony!
The Oceanfront Gala Grand Tasting
After the lavish Champagne celebration, everyone headed to the ocean-front for the grand wine & food gala. If you can imagine the ultimate island party- this was it. Everywhere you looked there was one amazing wine after another. From Krug, Dom Perignon and Louis Roederer to Harlan, Realm, and Maison Joseph Drouhin, it was almost overwhelming with all the goodness to savor. The wines were paired with fresh island cuisine prepared by the visiting celebrity chefs.
The Sunday Brunch & Bubbles
The weekend’s events concluded in the best way possible- a decadent Champagne Brunch hosted at Spago Maui. The world’s best Champagne producers (Dom Perignon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Louis Roederer, and Billecart-Salmon) along with Bisol Prosecco showed off their top cuvees. Guests sipped on different champagnes while savoring mouthwatering omelets, caviar topped uni, and fresh sashimi.
What a weekend....
What truly set this event apart from other food & wine festivals was the emphasis on fine wine as well as the intimacy of the setting. Limited to 200 guests overall, meant you could spend one on one time chatting with the winemakers and chefs. The various events were true learning experiences, but more importantly they were so much fun. Guests gained deeper knowledge of beloved wineries and spirit makers. Personal interactions with the owners and winemakers over the course of the weekend allowed conversations to continue and friendships to form. It was like a month of private tastings wrapped into one weekend in paradise. Next year’s date will be announced soon- stay tuned!
The Wally's Team at the Four Seasons Maui Wine & Food Classic. President and Principal, Christian Navarro, Wally's Executive Chef, Ryan Kluver, and Marketing Manager and Director of Fine & Rare Wine, Katherine Levy.
Check out Forbes' coverage of the event below!