A Toast to Wine & Chile

It's time for Santa Fe's biggest culinary event of the year

Fall is Santa Fe's most glorious season. The aspens turn gold, the weather is perfect and the earthy scent of roasting green chile fills the air. It's also the time to savor Santa Fe's biggest culinary event, the 27th annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, and this year brings a blockbuster program of celebrity chefs, guest chef luncheons, winery dinners, cooking demos and so much more.

From September 24 through October 1, foodies from Santa Fe and around the country will enjoy an epicurean odyssey that includes a guest chef luncheon featuring Topolobampo's Rick Bayless, whose hit PBS TV show “Mexico—One Plate at a Time” introduces home cooks to Mexico's vibrant cuisine. Bayless returns to Wine & Chile after a 15-year hiatus, having just won the James Beard 2017 Outstanding Restaurant Award for Topolobampo in Chicago. He'll team up with his friend Martín Rios at Restaurant Martín to create a four-course luncheon paired with Craft + Estate wines on Friday, Sept. 29 from noon to 2 pm. Bayless also will lead a cooking demo at the Santa Fe School of Cooking focused on tips from his cookbook, "More Mexican Everyday" with wine pairings from Perrier Jouet on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 9:30 to 11 am.

Stephan Pyles of Flora Street Cafe in Dallas, —considered the father of modern Texas cuisine—also returns this year to team up with The Compound Restaurant's Mark Kiffin to prepare a four-course “Elevated Texas Cuisine” luncheon paired with Wilson Daniels wine.

Local stars include Rocky Durham of Blue Heron Restaurant at Sunrise Springs, who leads a tour of El Rancho de los Golondrinas on Wednesday, Sept. 27 followed by a four-course luncheon at Blue Heron, featuring LIOCO wines. Joseph Wrede of Joseph's Culinary Pub will prepare an al fresco, four-course luncheon featuring LUX Italian wines on Thursday, Sept. 28 (10 am to 3 pm), served at acclaimed artist Star York's ranch studio near Abiquiú, where you can view her work. La Boca's James Campbell Caruso will demo techniques and recipes from his cookbook, “Espana: Exploring the Flavors of Spain,” along with his expertise in pairing tapas with sherry on Friday, Sept. 29 at 11 am at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.

Other food fun includes a Guest Chef Luncheon and Master Sommelier Throwdown with Loyal Hound's Renée Fox, Coyote Cafe's Eduardo Rodriguez, Arroyo Vino's Colin Shane and Anasazi Restaurant's Edgar Beas, who will test their wine-and-food pairing skills against a team of sommeliers, and the guests will choose the winners.

Last year's Santa Fe Wine & Chile Film Festival returns, with wine and food receptions from 5 to 6 pm followed by screenings of “Bottle Shock” and “The Secret of Santa Victoria” on Sunday Sept. 24 and of “Heavenly Vintage” and “Som II (Into the Bottle) on Monday, Sept. 25 at Violet Crown.

The highlight of this annual moveable feast has long been the Grand Tasting and this year's event features 75 restaurants and 100 world-class wineries serving creative cuisine and stellar pours on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 1 to 4 pm on the grounds of the Santa Fe Opera.

You'll find a few new additions, too. “One of the things that's special this year is we're returning to the Santa Fe Opera with a new layout, ” says Greg O'Byrne, Wine & Chile's executive director. “We've got a new configuration of tents—a series of smaller tents with more shade and walking paths. We've also added the Oysters & Champagne Walk-Around. Wine & Chile is a constant evolution of relationships with restaurants and wineries. As the Santa Fe restaurant community's evolved, so have we.”

The Hog Island Oysters & Champagne Walk-Around on the Patio takes place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center on Friday, Sept. 29 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm, showcasing oysters four ways—grilled, fried, cold-marinated or simply shucked—from one of the country's premiere producers of certified sustainable shellfish. These beauties will be prepared by four chefs—315 Restaurant & Wine Bar's Louis Moskow, Arroyo Vino's Colin Shane, Hog Island Oysters' John Burkhard and the James Beard 2017 Best Chef of the Midwest Kevin Nashan, owner of The Sidney Street Cafe. (Nashan grew up in Santa Fe, where his family ran La Tertulia, opened by his grandfather in 1972.) The champagne stations will feature Perrier Jouet, Laurent Perrier, Louis Roederer and Terry Theise selections from Skurnik Wines.

The fiesta wraps up on Sunday, October 1with the 4th annual Gran Fondo Bike Ride, which leaves the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado in Tesuque at 8:30 am for a loop ride through Nambe, Cundiyo, Truchas and Chimayo. Riders can choose a 75-, 45- or 25-mile loop, fueling up at food stops along the way with fare prepared by guest chef riders Tony Blankenship of Rio Chama, The Compound Restaurant's Mark Kiffin and Kevin Nashan. There's also the 24th annual Gruet Golf Classic at 10 am, a golf scramble in which sparkling wines from Albuquerque's Gruet Winery are paired with food from 10 Santa Fe restaurants at every third hole at the Towa Golf Course at Buffalo Thunder Resort.

At noon, guests will gather at Terra at Rancho Encantado to bid farewell at the Champagne & Dirty Boots Brunch...until Wine & Chile return next September.

Images copyright of Gabriella Marks 

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