On Wednesday, August 15th from 5:30 – 8 pm at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor, the Wendell Gilley Museum of Bird Carving invites ticketed guests to spread their wings and fly around the world of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. “A Flight of Swallows,” an exclusive wine tasting event has been organized by Scott Worcester, proprietor of Sawyer’s Specialties in Southwest Harbor to benefit the Museum while providing a unique opportunity to discover hidden gems and to taste legendary wines.
The evening will have a bubbly beginning with a welcome sip of Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne, appropriate since both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are key ingredients. Then, aided by their personal “field guide to the swallows,” guests will flit from flights of red Pinot Noirs and white Chardonnays from the United States, France, Chile, Italy, Austria, Australia, Spain, Argentina, Germany, South Africa, and New Zealand. The guide will have room for tasters’ own notes on every type of “swallow,” for future reference when choosing wines to select for dinners out, home cellars or gifts. Hors d’oeuvres by Jennifer Worcester of Southwest Harbor’s Sips, designed to pair well with the wines, will be served throughout the evening. For those wishing to rest between flights, they can watch Museum Carver-in-Residence, Steven Valleau demonstrate how to carve birds (swallows, of course) or relax and enjoy the sounds of the A-Train jazz trio, with Jim Frick on vibes, John Gallagher on bass and Scott Cleveland on keyboard. Don’t miss “A Flight of Swallows;” tickets are limited and available only by advance purchase at the Wendell Gilley Museum, on-line at www.wendellgilleymuseum.org or 207-244-7555, or in person, Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm. Tickets are $150 each, $75 of which is tax-deductible. Media sponsorship of the event is by Maine and Maine Home+Design magazine. Pine State Trading Company provided sponsorship of elegant stemware.
Some 40 different wines will be available for tasting, among them: Domaine de la Chapelle Pouilly-Fuissé, 2010 Vielles Vignes, from France’s Burgundy region. Pouilly-Fuissé is the appellation reserved for the finest white wines of southern Burgundy’s Mâconnais region. Delicious flavors of sweet honeydew and pears with a healthy dose of minerals characterize this carefully crafted wine from Catherine & Pascal Rollet.
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay, 2007 from the Marlborough region of New Zealand is an irresistible mix of ripe citrus and toasted nut aromas reminiscent of grapefruit, fig and pistachio biscotti taken with chamomile tea. The palate leads with savory notes which give way to a taut citrus core, revealing the vibrant Marlborough fruit.
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay , 2010, is made from grapes grown in the most southerly vineyard in South Africa, close to the cooling sea of Walker Bay. This wine has bright, natural acidity and depth indicative of the extremely low yields used to produce this elegant wine. Textured and intense with a strong personality of both place and vintage, it features unusually prominent pear and lime fruit aromas and flavors as well as a long, dry minerality.
Domaine Des Moirots Bourgogne, 2010, and acclaimed Burgundy vintage, stems from a family-owned, sustainably-farmed 30-acre vineyard in the southern portion of the Côte Chalonnaise in France. The tannins are a bit sweet, with raspberry notes, making this light, round wine a perfect choice during the warm summer months.
Mohua Pinot Noir, 2008 comes from Central Otago in New Zealand, made by the Peregrine Winery, Mohua is named after one of New Zealand’s rarest birds, also called the Yellow Head or Bush Canary. The wine is almost as rare – a high-quality Pinot noir at a tremendous value. Redolent of cherries mixed with cocoa and spice, Mohua has a rich mouthfeel that begs the next sip.
Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir, 2010 is imported from Chile’s Colchagua Valley. You might mistake the name as a play on the word connoisseur, but in fact Cono Sur refers to the Southern Cone of Chile, the geographical origin of this single vineyard Pinot Noir. Organically-grown grapes from old vines grown in a cool valley are key to this wine that gives forth fantastic fresh flavors of spicy red fruits and soft, silky tannins. These are but a few examples of the wines to be offered for tasting at A Flight of Swallows.
Opened in 1981, the Wendell Gilley Museum is a community center in Southwest Harbor, Maine that celebrates the life and work of Wendell Gilley, a pioneer in the field of decorative bird carving. It teaches the art of bird carving and presents art exhibitions and educational programs with a special focus on people, nature and art. The Museum endeavors to inspire appreciation of the visual arts, engagement in artistic creativity, and respect and care for the natural world.