Mind the Gap: Arabian Tales from the 2010 Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit Kick-Off Reception and Dinner
The drive from Fredericksburg to Buffalo Gap (just south of Abilene, Texas) was shorter than expected made so by ribbons of wildflowers that lined the road. Blues, reds, yellows and pinks of all kinds, all under wispy white clouds and a yellow sun draped over a high blue sky.
As I entered the Perini Ranch, site of the 2010 Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit (BGFWS – http://www.periniranch.com/summit), it was like a step back in time. Stands of oaks and fresh lime green of newly leafed mesquites surrounded the Perini Steakhouse and the large white tents that would serve as the venue for the festivities.
The BGWFS was the creation of three innovators in food and wine with deep Texas roots: Fess Parker (TV icon for his role as Davy Crocket and more recently California Pinot Noir grower and winery owner), Dr. Richard Becker (Owner of Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas and maker of Texas wines of renown), and Tom Perini (Owner of Perini Ranch and Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, and celebrity of gourmet chuck wagon cuisine). BGWFS was conceived to cultivate the appreciation of fine wine and food through education and industry discussion and achieving this mission by hosting educational sessions, regional wine industry discussions, and special events.
However, this year’s festivities were sadly the first since the passing of Fess Parker. This year’s event poster, dedicated in memoriam to Parker, was a graphic of a bottle of wine sporting the now famous Texas coonskin cap of Parker’s Davy Crocket (I wish I still had mine – I do still have the Davy Crocket cereal bowl that I used as a kid).
The evening started with a Champagne reception hosted by Veuve Clicquot where winemakers and event patrons mingled under the oaks of Buffalo Gap. Dinner followed as prepared by Texas star chef, Stephen Pyles who brought the dinner’s Arabic theme from his new Mediterranean restaurant, Sumar: Five courses, paired with an assortment of Texas and Californian wines, fourteen in all. From the comments at our table and those I gathered walking around the event, two wines, one from Texas and one from California, stole the show. They were the ever aromatic Brennan Vineyards Viognier (pronounced VEE-ON-YEAH) from Comanche, Texas and the Ladera Vineyards (Lone Canyon) Cabernet Sauvignon, a classic-style Napa Valley Cabernet.
The 2010 Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit was initialized with a flare of international gourmet cuisine, the best of Texas and California wines, loud conversation and clouds of red dirt melded with traditional Middle Eastern dance, Raqs Sharqi, or the “belly dance” as it is known by its Western-coined name.