Monday, May 24, 2010

25th Anniversary of Biltmore Estate Winery

Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Wines grew from Mr. Cecil’s question, “What’s more appropriate for a French chateau than vineyards and a winery?” The idea took root and Mr. Cecil’s dream became a reality in 1985 as a natural extension of Biltmore’s agricultural legacy. Twenty-five years later, we celebrate the bounty of harvest and heritage and thank you for your support and appreciation of our fine wines.

This was the introduction included on the invitation sent out to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Asheville’s sole winery. In the introduction that night, Mr. Bill Cecil Jr. mentioned this same thought stating that with the Estate stepping away from the dairy business his father knew he wanted something to use the land for something and a winery would fit naturally. They didn’t know anything about growing vines or making wine but that would soon change.

Statue of Diana

Vines were originally planted in 1971, but in 1985 vineyards were designed in earnest and construction on the new winery was begun. The eventual task of creating the wines went to Bernard Delille who joined the company as assistant winemaster in 1986 and was elevated to winemaker in 1995. As Head Winemaker, Mr. Delille controls all aspects of wine production. Working with him as winemaker since 1999 is Sharon Fenchak who works with Bernard in wine production as well as research and development.

The celebration was held under a beautiful tent behind the statue of Diana on the Estate with the Biltmore House as the back drop. An inspiring view as the sun set behind the majesty of Mount Pisgah and the Appalachian Mountains. It was easy to see why George Vanderbilt chose the site for his home.

The featured wines for the evening are the three created in honor of the winery’s 25th Anniversary:

Biltmore Winery Blanc de Blancs, North Carolina, 2008
Winemaker’s notes: “Perfect for toasting our silver anniversary, this versatile wine offers good acidity and balance complemented by hints of lemon, apple, and pear, plus all those tiny, delicious bubbles.”

Biltmore Winery Chardonnay/Viognier, North Carolina, 2009
Winemaker’s notes: “In this distinctive blend, the unique characteristics of each varietal come together to create an interesting wine that pleases the senses. Layers of aromas including toasted coconut, pineapple, key lime, honeysuckle, and pear waft from the glass while the first sip unveils a refreshing, nicely balanced wine.”

Biltmore Winery Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon, North Carolina
Winemaker’s notes: “Our winemakers have developed a special blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon to craft a complex wine that offers rich blackberry and plum aromas with a touch of licorice and chocolate, the perfect complement to its deep cherry color. The smooth, velvety mouth feel is contrasted with a food-friendly acidity and lingering tannins.”

The menu for the festive evening follows:

Lump Crab Cake with Pepper Cream over
Shoepeg Corn Sauté

Estate Raised Salad Bundle with Fresh Pears, Local Goat Cheese,
Sunflower Seeds, Mandarin Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Petit Filet of Beef and Chicken with Fire Roasted Shallot Jus
Gratin of Red Bliss Potatoes with
Roasted Red Pepper and Havarti,
Glazed Baby Vegetables

Chambord Macerated Berries in Almond Tuile with
Fresh Chantilly Cream

The dinner was delivered in style by the professional wait staff of the Biltmore Estate. Many of the products used in each of the courses either came from the Estate itself or from various local farms. George Vanderbilt would have proud with the standard of keeping the Estate sustainable.

The evening was in one word: Biltmore. It was luxurious, stylish, delicious, beautiful, memorable and home grown! From Bill Cecil, Jr, to the Chefs who prepared the meal, to the vineyard and winery staff who created the wines, to the staff who served each of our tables: the dedication was evident and the pride was visible. Biltmore Estate Winery will continue to be the most visited winery in the world for many years to come because of the Biltmore Estate, but also because they care.

Thank you for what you bring to our community and I bring you a toast:

May the next 25 years bring you success and happiness as you exemplify the Asheville community spirit that is so evident in the people of Biltmore and may you continue to enrich the lives of Western North Carolina and the world for generations to come.


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