April 16, 2012
High Museum Wine Auction Dinner at The Johnson’s House
Fine Wines + Bocado Chef + Haute Home = A Divine Time
By Nancy Staab
- Photos by BenRosePhotography.com
With Blackbird Vineyards and Whetstone Wine Cellars as the pours, chef Todd Ginsberg of Bocado in the kitchen, and the handsome Johnson estate as the setting, the ingredients were carefully assembled for a memorable spring night. Sprinkle in a chic guest list and High Museum as the sponsor, and this wine auction was taste personified.
Hosts Neil and Mary Johnson, Michael Polenske the founder of Blackbird Vineyards, Winemaker Jamey Whetstone of Whetstone Wine Cellars, and Chef Todd Ginsberg of Bocado
The handsome, hillside home and pool terrace of Neil and Mary Johnson
Among the epicurean and art afficionado crowd: Robin and Hilton Howell, Ginny and Charles Brewer, Dennis Dean, Michelle and David Crosland, Danielle Rollins, Liz and Mark Lazarus, Caroline and Jeff Tucker, Robin Delmer, Nancy Rollins
Spring-attired guests, many bearing hostess gifts, enjoyed sipping Blackbird Vineyard’s Arriviste 2011 and Whetstone’s Viognier poolside for the cocktail hour. Guests also sampled Ginsberg’s passed appetizers on silver trays, including mussels with aioli on toasts and oysters with mignonette and black caviar. As the sun set, guest retired into the Johnson’s home, where the elegant, De Gournay wallpapered dining room held a table full of wine glasses by candlelight. In a window-filled sunroom, several lavish dining tables, swathed in black-and-white toile tablecloths, were set up for the feast. Tall candle pillars with florals made gorgeous centerpieces, while a collection of antique silver hunting trophies and goblets from the Johnson’s family collection added extra embellishment to the table. As wine glasses flowed and the meal progressed, festive guests made toasts to the vineyard owners, chef and hosts.
Vermont burrata with La Quercia prosciutto, strawberries, dressed kale, salsa verde, and almonds
Blackbird Vineyards 2009 arise
Whetstone 2010 Chardonnay, Canereos el Pajaro
Black trumpet purée with whipped ricotta, brown butter, sunchokes, kohlrabi, English peas, and arugula
Whetstone 2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Pleasant Hill
Whetstone 2009 Pinot Noir, Sonoma coast, Bella Vigna Vineyard
Braised beef cheeks, polenta, Japanese turnips and their greens, marinated baby beets, jus
Blackbird Vineyards 2009 Illustration
Blackbird Vineyards 2009 Paramour
Sour cherry bread pudding and a spoon of époisses
Whetstone 2007 Syrah, Napa Valley, Phoenix Ranch Vineyard
Blackbird Vineyards 2009 Contrarian
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. Proceeds from the High Wine Auction benefit High Museum programs, education and acquisitions.