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Foodie Fêtes:

July 31, 2011

Harrison House Wine Dinner

Fine Wines + Rathbun + Italianate Villa = Divine Time

  • Photos by Colby Blount

With Kosta Browne and D.R. Stephens wines as the pours, Kevin Rathbun in the kitchen and the gorgeous Harrison estate as the setting, the ingredients were all carefully assembled for a memorable spring night. Sprinkle in a chic guest list and High Museum as the sponsor and this wine auction dinner was taste personified.

Deborah Harrison Deborah Harrison

The Party:

An “Earth, Wind and Fire”- themed wine dinner at architect Bill Harrison’s hill-top Italianate villa as part of the High Wine Auction’s Winemaker Dinners.

The VIPs:

Hosts Bill and Deborah Harrison, chef Kevin Rathbun, Justin Hunnicutt Stephens of D. R. Stephens Estate and Michael Browne of Kosta Browne Winery (famous for their pinots), High Wine Auction co-chair Michelle Sullivan

The Scene-Makers:

Food, wine, architecture and art connoisseurs gathered on a beautiful spring evening to enjoy fine wines and a gourmet dinner, including Sandra and Dan Baldwin, Sally and Penn Wells, Freddy and Evenlyn Achecar, Chris and Amanda Clare, Katie and West Johnson, Cee Cee and Jim Dunn, Brian and Melinda Corbett.


Guest arrived via dramatic hill ascent to the Harrison’s house, a modernist take on an Italianate villa, with romantic balconies, terraces, courtyards and gardens galore. Guest sipped wines and sampled decadent appetizers (crab and brie fritters with Valencia orange; pheasant sweet potato sliders with thyme aioli; blue pointe oyster leek stew with basil oil; smoked salmon cones with oestra caviar)  while admiring the views and fine collections of the Harrison home (art, antiques, Palissy-ware, and an impressive rock crystal chandelier from the 15th century). After pre-dinner wines, everybody descended to a massive, vaulted dining space with a huge fireplace, communal table and adjoining terrace for Rathbun’s earthy menu paired with the guest winemaker’s sublime pours.  A Spanish guitarist provided background music to the Old World banquet.

Dan and Sandra Baldwin Dan and Sandra Baldwin

The Menu:

Cioppini Mushroom Agnolotti, Perigord truffle consommé, garlic chive

Kosta Browne 2008 Pinot Noir “Cary’s Vineyard”


Bacon-wrapped swordfish, pinot-braised lentils, pearl onions

Kosta Browne 2008 Pinot Noir “Gap’s Crown”


Herb seared duck breast, duck confit pot pie, local carrots

D.R. Stephens Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon “Walther River Block”


Braised beef short ribs, celery root fritters, spring peas

D.R. Stephens 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon “Moose Valley Vineyard”


Valrhona chocolate linzer tart with manjari ganache, spicy caramel cream


The Cause:

The High Wine Auction is the largest fundraiser of the year for the High Museum of Art and the fifth-largest charity wine auction in the U.S. according to the Wine Spectator. Kevin Rathbun and Kosta Browne Winery also paired with local rock band Collective Soul for a High Wine Auction dinner lot valued at over $10,000. This year's High Wine Auction netted $1.7 million.

An appetizer by Kevin Rathbun An appetizer by Kevin Rathbun