A Weekend of Perfect Pairings

Writer Shoshana Leon
Photography Courtesy of L’Auberge de Sedona and Jason Tinacci

Wine lovers rejoice! An extraordinary event is coming to Arizona that will feature food and wine pairings curated by an acclaimed international chef and one of the world’s most celebrated winemakers, all in a spectacular setting.

“An Intimate Weekend with Isabel and Michael Mondavi” takes place November 2 through 4 at the award-winning L’Auberge de Sedona Resort and Spa, located on the picturesque banks of Oak Creek. In addition to the gorgeous setting and stunning views, what makes this weekend so special is the unique opportunity for guests to experience sophisticated cuisine created by L’Auberge de Sedona’s executive chef Franck Desplechin, expertly paired with wines selected by Michael Mondavi and his wife Isabel.

Events throughout the weekend highlight exceptional wine tasting experiences, and thoughtful food and wine pairings. The weekend festivities begin Friday with a “Meet the Winemaker” reception. Guests can enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres, and mingle with Michael and Isabel Mondavi. Saturday’s events include a wine and chocolate tasting with Sedona chocolatier Chocolita, a creekside lunch and a four-course winemaker dinner. The weekend concludes with Sunday brunch.

During the weekend’s events, guests will learn about winemaking, tasting and pairing from one of the world’s most highly regarded vignerons. In 1966, Michael Mondavi and his father Robert cofounded the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley. In 1999, Michael, his wife Isabel and their two children purchased Animo vineyard in Atlas Peak northeast of Napa to create the Michael Mondavi Family Estate. In 2008, Michael launched M by Michael Mondavi wines.

Michael has ensured that all estate vineyards are farmed sustainably, with the winery achieving recognition as a Napa Green Certified Winery. Michael’s other industry honors include being named 2015 Person of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine and receiving the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage award by the James Beard Foundation in 1997.

“An Intimate Weekend with Isabel and Michael Mondavi” is the first event of its kind in Sedona.

“Isabel and I love to visit Sedona in the fall. Sedona is a wonderful place where people go to relax and this is an ideal time of the year,” said Michael Mondavi. “Taking place during the first part of November, just a few weeks after the completion of the 2018 harvest, it will be a pleasure to showcase some fermenting juices, barrel-aging wines, as well as beautifully finished and aged wine.

“For wine lovers, this timing means we are able to share our wines from their infancy through to maturity, which is an experience that most food and wine lovers never have the opportunity to enjoy. I look forward to introducing wine lovers to some experiences they’ve not had before.”

The Mondavis are working closely with Chef Desplechin and his staff to create pairings that highlight the complementary flavors of the wine and food with a focus on sustainability and local ingredients.

“Along with many delicious wine tastings, we’ve come together to curate an array of pairings and events that showcase aspects of both food and beverage,” said Chef Desplechin, who joined L’Auberge in June and has cultivated more than 18 years of culinary experience at some of the world’s finest restaurants and hotels.

“We’ve studied flavor profiles and seasonal ingredients to create a menu that pairs with each perfectly. We’ve realized there are many components to this, including knowing your product, weather patterns, seasonality and outside temperatures. Experiences from each event will blend and carry throughout the weekend, as they are all complementary to each other.”

With its exquisite views and tranquil atmosphere, L’Auberge is the perfect location for the weekend.

“L’Auberge is a unique place that reflects a special sense of healing, connection and relaxation, one where lasting memories are formed and romance is created,” said Chef Desplechin. “Our team understands every need when it comes to food and respects the nature, seasonality and sustainability of products. We’ve partnered with several local farmers in order for guests to receive a clear picture of the environment here in Sedona and the Verde Valley. Our team wants nothing more than to provide a truly hospitable and unique experience for our guests.”

Although the menus for the events are still being developed, Chef Desplechin provided a sneak peek into one of the pairings for Saturday night’s four-course dinner: lemongrass poached lobster tail with mascarpone and tangelo parsnip tortellini and crisp pumpkin, finished with citrus lobster bisque and a drizzle of ancho chile oil. This dish will be paired with Animo by Michael Mondavi Heritage 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.

The description of that single dish sparks the imagination of the potential of what is in store for the weekend as two experts come together to create a once-in-a-lifetime wining and dining experience in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. For those fortunate to attend, it will be an intimate and exclusive weekend that will not be forgotten.

An Intimate Wine Weekend

with Isabel and Michael Mondavi

November 2-4, 2018

L’Auberge de Sedona Resort and Spa

301 L’Auberge Lane, Sedona

Individual tickets are available for the Meet the Winemaker reception. Several resort packages are available starting at $1,639.




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