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Seven Glaciers Restaurant presents Napa Valley’s Duckhorn Vineyards and Winery for March Wine Dinner
March 12, 2012 (Girdwood, Alaska) – Seven Glaciers Restaurant’s March wine dinner features Duckhorn Vineyards of Napa Valley, California on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 7:00 P.M. Co-founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has spent a quarter century establishing itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines.
From its modest inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978 to its addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards has crafted a tradition of quality and excellence that continues today. Fundamental to this tradition was the early, pioneering decision by Duckhorn Vineyards to focus on the production of Merlot. Though many Napa Valley wineries were using Merlot as a blending grape in the late seventies, few were exploring the potential of this varietal as a standalone wine. A great fan of Merlot since traveling to St. Emilion and Pomerol, Dan Duckhorn felt that this elegant varietal was underappreciated in North America.
“I liked the softness, the seductiveness, the color,” says Dan, “the fact that it went with a lot of different foods; it wasn't so bold, didn't need to age so long, and it had this velvety texture to it. It seemed to me to be a wonderful wine to just enjoy. I became enchanted with Merlot.”
The quality of Duckhorn Vineyards wines has always been based on a commitment to selecting the finest fruit. Whether carefully sourcing grapes from top sites in the Napa Valley or committing itself to establishing a world-class estate vineyard program, the winery was built on the belief that great wines begin in the vineyard. At Duckhorn Vineyards this has always meant an emphasis on site and terroir. Beginning in 1988, hand-selected Napa Valley properties were purchased for the estate vineyard program, guaranteeing a consistent source of high quality fruit, year after year.
Today, the winery’s seven estate vineyards are located in alluvial fans of the Napa Valley and on the coveted slopes of Howell Mountain. The shallow and rocky alluvial soil drains easily, forcing the vines to send roots deep in search of water. The rocks retain the day’s heat, bringing relief to the vines during cold spring mornings and foggy summer nights. Because of its topography, soils, and climate, Howell Mountain has distinctly different grape growing conditions than the valley floor.
Often during summer months, the maritime fog seeping into the Napa Valley below will not reach the mountaintop, giving Howell Mountain more sunlight and moderate temperatures. As a result, winemaker Bill Nancarrow has numerous vineyard blocks to choose from, each offering markedly different flavor profiles.
Dedicated to making classic wines that reflect the unique character and quality of the vineyards, Bill strives to understand the needs and opportunities presented by each specific terroir and microclimate. By approaching each vineyard block individually, Bill’s goal is to harvest when the flavors have reached their peak and the tannins are at their softest.
Grapes are hand-picked and hand-sorted prior to crushing. In addition, the winery is able to pick the grapes in a timelier manner, even harvesting some vineyard sites several times, selecting only the ripe fruit with each pass through the vineyard. Through estate ownership, Duckhorn Vineyards enjoys greater control over both yields and crop quality.
In the winery, Bill applies an artisan’s approach to winemaking, blending from almost 200 distinctive lots using taste and instinct, not formula. Wines are barrel-aged separately by vineyard lot, utilizing an extensive barrel program that sources 25 different types of oak from 13 separate cooperages. The majority of the barrels are made from French oak in the Bordeaux Chateau style.
These barrels breathe easier, encouraging the wines to develop. Duckhorn also employs many water-bent barrels, a process which removes harsh tannins from the wood, bringing about toasty, caramelized flavors. The resulting wines combine accents from a comprehensive barrel program with grapes from diverse smaller appellations within the broader Napa Valley, including Howell Mountain, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford and St. Helena.
Seven Glaciers Chef Jason Porter will be preparing a paired menu to showcase a variety of Duckhorn wines. To start the evening, the Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc will be served with freshly prepared Geoduc Clam Crudo featuring tropical flavors. A spiced parsnip soup will follow topped with a mushroom duxelle and paired with Duckhorn’s Goldeneye Pinot Noir. The primi piatti will be duck bolognese and tagliatelle pasta served with Duckhorn Merlot. The piatto principale will feature Snake River Farms filet of Wagyu beef served with roasted onion risotto and seared foie gras paired with Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon. To finish the evening, the resort’s executive pastry chef and chocolatier Judy Capertina will be presenting a chocolate torte with goat cheese and fig ice cream paired with a wine selection from Paraduxx.
The Duckhorn Wine Dinner seatings are available for $165 per person, 21 and over please. Alyeska Resort Restaurant Reservations can be reached at 907-754-2237 or reservations can be made online at OpenTable.com. The chef’s pairing menu can be viewed online at AlyeskaResort.com. To finish the winter wine dinner series, Seven Glaciers presents Grgich Hills Estates of Napa Valley California on Friday, April 20, 2012. Reservations for the Grgich Hills Estates dinner are now being taken.
The Seven Glaciers Restaurant recently received Wine Spectator Magazine’s 2011 Best of Award of Excellence Honor, joining only two other recipients in the state of Alaska. Perched atop Mt. Alyeska at 2,300 feet above sea level, Seven Glaciers is well-recognized for its unique mountain-top location. The restaurant is surrounded by seven hanging glaciers, peaks of the Chugach mountain range and views of the Turnagain Arm. The restaurant first opened its doors in 1994 and has continued its tradition of excellence to this date under the tutelage of Executive Chef Jason Porter.