This looks like another outstanding wine dinner curated by Andrew Lampasone over at Wine Watch. Winemaker Chris Millard from Newton Vineyards will be on hand to share and discuss six of his wines. The dinner is being hosted by one of my favorite restaurants, The Dutch Miami and I'm sure the rising superstars in the kitchen, chef Conor Hanlon and pastry chef Joshua Gripper will serve a fantastic meal.
Tour the Newton Estate
Newton Vineyard Collectors Dinner at the Dutch in the W Hotel on South Beach
with Specail Guest winemaker Chris Millard
Thursday, May 30th
West coast oysters with grapefruit granita
Cucumber cup with smoked salmon rillette, dill, salmon roe
Piquillo pepper and goat cheese arrancini
Chandon Etoile Brut Napa
Price: $26.25 Sale $23.10 Case $268
A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and 6% Pinot Meunier, on the lees for 5-6 years, has aromas of almond and smokey toasty briouche like notes very rich and layered with fresh baked apple and pear like fruit, notes of ginger spice. Lovely richness on the palate with ripe pear and spiced apple fruit with a smooth and creamy texture on the tongue with hints of ginger spice and white flowers through the finish. Finish 40 Excellent
Crispy pork belly, Homemade saurkraut, Clams, thyme
Newton Red Label Chardonnay 2011
Price: $26.00 Sale $22.88 Case $266
The 2011 Chardonnay displays a bouquet of vibrant fruit notes, from melon to green apple. The flavors on the palate are similar with fresh fig and pear balanced by racy acidity and hints of vanilla from the French oak barrel fermentation.
Smoked bone marrow, escargot, roasted mushrooms, soft herbs
Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2010
Price: $56.25 Sale $49.50 Case $574
Our 2010 Unfiltered Merlot reflects its Spring Mountain roots with brambly fruit flavors complemented by black plum, cassis, cherries and currant. It shows tremendous balance with present tannins integrated with the fruit and oak influences all lingering in its long finish.
Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Price: $56.25 Sale $49.50 Case $574
The 2010 Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon displays delicate notes of Spring Mountain juniper, blackberry and dark black plum. In both aromas and taste, hints of mocha, bittersweet chocolate is partnered with herbal spice and sage.
Sous Vide Lamb saddle, roasted garlic and sunchoke purée, oven dried tomatoes. Olive caramel. Garlic flowers and nasturtium.
Newton Puzzle 2009
Price: $135.00 Sale $118.80 Case $1377
The color on this wine is terrific—dark and inky red. The Spring Mountain terroir makes itself known early with aromas of blackberry brambles and cassis, followed by juniper, manzanita and sage high notes. Intense and concentrated, the 2009 The Puzzle on the palate has generous vanilla, mocha and blackberry syrup flavors mingling with toasted cedar, spices, and bittersweet chocolate. The tannins are full and plush, providing tremendous structure for this big, rich wine with its long finish.
White chocolate mousse, mint marinated FL. CITRUS, orange honey sorbet.
Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay 2010
Price: $56.25 Sale $49.50 Case $574
The 2010 vintage opens with honey suckle on the nose, with the richness of a sauterne. Fruit aromas of fig and melon are followed by more complex notes of honey and brown sugar. Baking spices with hints of vanilla and almond follow as caramelized sugar notes add to the voluptuous depth of aromas. On the palate, grilled pineapple flavors offer fresh acidity while creaminess is balanced. Cream and brioche linger while the freshness of fruit remains forward. The wine is a satisfying weight with present oak that is delicately integrated.
Dinner is $100 + Tax + Gratuity, for reservations call 954-523-9463.
A bit about Newton Vineyards:
Peter Newton first came to the Napa Valley from England in 1952. He was immediately struck by the natural beauty of the area and the romance that surrounded the growing of grapes. A year later he founded Sterling International Paper Company in San Francisco, and it completely consumed his time for the next eleven years. However, the Napa Valley was always close by; and its enchantment would eventually lure him to return to develop an interest in it. In 1964, Sterling International began purchasing vineyard property; and by 1969 - with eleven parcels of vineyard land totaling over 500 acres - a winery had become an inevitability. That winery - the second major cellar to be launched in the Napa Valley since Prohibition - was christened Sterling Vineyards. The first crush came from the 1969 harvest. The imposing, white-walled, monastery-like, hilltop edifice was officially opened in 1972; and is now a Napa Valley landmark. Sterling Vineyards became a significant force in the Napa Valley throughout the seventies, and it was at its zenith when Peter Newton sold Sterling to the Coca-Cola company in 1977. Although Sterling was known during that time for its world-class Cabernets, history will record that the winery's greatest contribution was the development of the merlot grape in the Napa Valley. Sterling was the first winery to extensively plant merlot and the second winery to offer it as a solo varietal (Louis Martini was the first).
Although Peter Newton sold Sterling Vineyards, he had no intentions of quitting the Napa Valley. In fact, he never would have sold Sterling had not Coca-Cola offered him such a staggering sum of money that "it was an offer we could not refuse". Soon after the sale, Newton and his wife, Chinese-born Dr. Su Hua Newton, launched a new winery in 1978 called Newton Vineyards. The Newtons acquired 560 acres of untamed land on Spring Mountain in the western hills above St. Helena. The land had actually been planted to grapes over a hundred years ago and then abandoned during Prohibition. Sixty-two acres of terraced vineyards were put in place over the next two years under the supervision of Ric Forman, the former Sterling winemaker who also left Sterling after the sale.
The Newton winery was constructed completely underground with a formal garden on top that reflected Peter Newton's strong interest in horticulture. The vineyards were planted to sauvignon blanc, semillon, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot. By 1984 the winery's own grape sources made it almost completely self-sufficient. After mediocre success with Sauvignon Blanc, Newton dropped that varietal after the 1987 vintage. Currently, Newton produces two tiers of Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, and an inexpensive "Claret", which is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. Newton is also exploring viognier and pinot noir; their first commercial release was from the 1995 vintage. Only the chardonnay grapes are purchased elsewhere. The winery's production is about 6000 cases of red wine and 9000 cases of white. The first winemaker was Ric Forman, who fashioned some of the great Sterling wines of the seventies. Forman's tenure at Newton was clouded with controversy. The first wines he produced at Newton did not live up to their promise, and rumors of a falling out between Forman and the Newtons were soon rampant throughout the Napa Valley. Finally, Forman left in 1983 to begin his own venture (Forman Vineyards is now well established and one of Napa's most sought-after wineries). John Kongsgaard, who apprenticed at such famous wineries as Stony Hill and Stag's Leap, took charge.
During the 1980's there were some flickers of greatness at Newton; the Cabernets - and particularly the Merlots - displayed promise. However, some of the Newton wines were not always consistent; and the Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs were occasionally disappointing. For a time it seemed as if Newton had been swallowed up in the highly-competitive fray that is the Napa Valley. In order to turn up the quality several notches, the Newtons hired famed Bordeaux enologist Michel Rolland to work with Kongsgaard. We are unsure if Rolland deserves the credit for the upswing at Newton; but we do know that, seemingly overnight, this winery has become one of the hottest properties in the Napa Valley. Robert Parker wrote in the 1995 edition of Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide: "After a decade of changes in direction...Newton Vineyards began to produce wines of extraordinary complexity and intensity...and is making no compromises in what are some of the most celestial wines being produced in California. Since 1990, the quality of their wines has soared to the top of the California hierarchy."
From the outset Newton's reputation has hinged on its red wines. The Newton Cabernet has usually been good and sometimes outstanding - our first experience was with the 1983 vintage. It was one of the highest scoring wines (96) of 1987 in The Wine Spectator, where it was awarded that publication's most prestigious rating: "Spectator Selection". We selected it as one of the top three Cabernets of 1987 in The Wine News. Over the intervening vintages Newton's Cabernet was overshadowed by its Merlot - the winery's consistent strong suit for the better part of a decade. However, beginning with the 1990 vintage (no doubt because of the influence of consulting winemaker Michel Rolland) the Cabernet appeared to edge up on the Merlot. Merlot was the first wine made at Newton when 2000 cases were crushed from the 1979 vintage. Because the merlot grape occupies such a special place in the hearts of Newton's founders, it is no doubt quite satisfying for them to know that Newton Vineyards is now regarded among California's leading producers. As far back as the 1983 vintage, the Newton Merlot won several top medals in wine competitions including the Platinum for "Best American Merlot" at the 1986 American Wine Competition. We selected it as "Best Merlot of the Year" in The Wine News in 1986. In the intervening years Newton's Merlots have always been among the leaders in the Napa Valley, but the vintages in the 1990's seem to have taken a step up in quality. The 1990 Newton Merlot was rated a (93) by Robert Parker who exclaimed that it was (along with Matanzas Creek) "one of the two best Merlots of the vintage". Parker has given every succeeding vintage at least a (90) or above.
A bit about Newton's current winemaker Chris Millard:
Chris Millard’s bike tour through the wine regions of France during high school wou ld ultimately lead to his career as a winema ker. In
college, Chris started as an unenthusiastic Computer Science major, then pa rlayed h is ana ly t ic a l sk i l ls to an indust r y more a lig ned with his passion for wine. He went on to major in Enology at Fresno State University. Chris’ first job after college was at Bernardus winery, starting in the cellar and ending his 4-year tenure there as Assistant Winemaker. In 1998, he lef t to mana ge Brid lewood before mov ing on to Sterling in June 2000. Chris joined Newton Vineyard in May 2008 – an interesting parallel given that Peter and Su Hua Newton founded Sterling vineyards in the 1960’s and sold it before creating Newton Vineyard in 1977.
While at Sterling, Chris discovered an appreciation for mountain terroir working with their Diamond Mount a in Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. A t Ne w ton’s Spring Mount a in Estate, Chrisis located on the same Mayacamas mountain range that defines Napa Valley’s eastern border and can leverage his expertise with intensely concentrated mountain fruit.
As Newton Winemaker, Chris continues the legacy of producing the winery’s highly acclaimed wines, including the Unfiltered Chardonnay and its Bordeaux-style red wines from the estate on Spring Mountain in St. Helena. “Newton Vineyard is a very special place,” he says. “The rugged terrain can be difficult to cultivate, but the purity and intensity of f lavors in fruit from this estate are great. All of the 112 vineyard blocks are different; each one becomes a unique component that helps create the final composition. Even with a single varietal, I have a lot of options for blending, which helps me make a more interesting wine.” Newton’s custom-built winery was carved into the hillside property and designed to create an ideal palette for blending distinctive wines. For Newton’s award-winning Chardonnay, Chris maximizes the eight separate galleries in the Chardonnay cave by grouping similar barrel lots together to allow for optimal fermentation of individual batches. To craft Newton’s acclaimed red wines, he takes advantage of the winery’s small tanks to keep the fruit from each vineyard block separate before artfully blending them to create the final Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bordeaux-blend red wines.
In addition to making and enjoying fine wine, Chris has uncovered a passion for coffee, going so far as to roast his own beans at home. This artisanal hobby hones his winemaking skill because like wine, coffee offers the refined palate a variety of aromas and flavors to savor. He also spends free time woodworking, allowing him to express his art-meets-science craftsmanship in another arena. Chris is married to his high school sweetheart, Christina, and the couple has two children.
Chef de Cuisine, THE DUTCH
Chef de Cuisine Conor Hanlon 30 always felt at home in the kitchen. The talented young toque was born in Syracuse, New York and at the age of 14, started working in restaurants. Stints during high school at local Syracuse eateries sparked Hanlon’s interest in the culinary arts.
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta, Hanlon worked his way around kitchens on Nantucket and St. Thomas, learning the various roles on the line. After two years at Nantucket’s French brasserie, Chanticleer, Hanlon knew he was destined for a career as a chef and sought out the nation’s top toques to hone his skills.
After landing a job at Café Boulud in Palm Beach, Hanlon experienced the culinary world in a whole new light; the caliber of food, technique and discipline inspired him like no other restaurant ever had. Now part of the Boulud family, Hanlon joined the team in Las Vegas to work under Wesley Holton at DB Brasserie at Wynn Hotel, where he was quickly promoted to executive sous chef at one of Las Vegas’ most touted dining destinations.
An offer to open DB Bistro at the Mariott Marquis on Brickell Avenue, lured Hanlon to Miami, where he earned rave reviews for the downtown bistro’s culinary offerings. Not content to rest on his laurels, Hanlon flew to New York, seeking out top chefs that would continue to challenge and teach him. A tasting for two time James Beard Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini of The Dutch and Locanda Verde resulted in a job heading up the kitchen at this renowned chef’s first restaurant outside of New York.
At the Miami outpost of The Dutch, Hanlon works closely with Carmellini and fellow owners on operations, menu development and specials, adding a bit of homegrown Miami flavor to The Dutch’s roots-inspired American cuisine. The restaurant has garnered critical acclaim and rave reviews since its opening in November 2011.