Wine and cheese lovers showed up en masse at the Hacienda del Mar on Saturday evening, when the upscale Los Cabos based resort hosted its 4th annual Wine & Cheese Festival, with proceeds benefitting the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation.
The scene was one of rustic elegance. Wine barrels and straw covered tile floors framed the entrance to the enormous Salon Hacienda ballroom, where long wooden tables with picnic style benches were arranged around a central food station that resembled a country market. Musicians strummed Spanish style guitar ballads as the large crowd slowly circuited the room, sampling the many gourmet pleasures.
The cheeses options were enormous, plates of Époisses arrayed next to Roule, Boursin, Bel Paese, Port Salut, D’Affinois…a veritable cornucopia of queso followed by sliced meats like salami and chorizo, and a homemade pasta station. As expected, San José del Cabo cheese maker and restaurant Casa Don Rodrigo stood up nicely to its French competition. Their station was a magnet all night, as guests jostled for toothpicks with which to spear cheese samples of various ages.
Guests at the gustatory soirée were also treated to an excellent selection of wines, with premier domestic and international producers showcased at stations around the periphery of the ballroom. Bottles from Henri Abelé, a notable Champagne house since 1757, were poured, as was Tignanello from Marchese Antinori, a notable blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from an Italian wine company whose history dates back to 1385.
Napa Valley wines were also well represented. Grgich Hills, which this year is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its victory at the Judgement of Paris – a legendary event in which American wines topped their French counterparts in blind taste tests – offered samplings of recent vintages, as did Clos du Val. And Chalk Hill, one of Sonoma’s leading Chardonnay makers, was a popular pairing option for creamy Brie and Camembert.
The event also provided a major platform for Mexican wines, from Casa Madero–the oldest winery in North America (it was founded in 1597)–to Baja California based producers like Monte Xanic, Barón Balché, and Chateau Camou.
This was the 4th annual Wine and Cheese event at Hacienda del Mar, but the resort offers first-class food and beverage on a daily basis. Pitahayas is the standout, thanks to chef Volker Romeike’s eclectic and masterfully prepared Pacific Rim fusion dishes, and a gorgeous tropical setting overlooking the Sea of Cortés; the De Cortez Grill too features seaside atmosphere, as well as excellent steaks and seafood; and Girasoles de la Hacienda serves up traditional regional Mexican specialties in a scenic terrace dining area.
The are actually five restaurants in total at the 270-room hacienda style all-inclusive resort, as well as five swimming pools, three bars, a spa, fitness and business centers, and convenient access to the neighboring Cabo del Sol golf courses. The Ocean Course from Jack Nicklaus is considered one of the finest courses in the world–it’s currently ranked among the top 100 by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest–and Tom Weiskopf’s Desert Course is also highly regarded, thanks to a challenging layout and its postcard pretty views of desert, mountain and sea.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, an organization committed to supporting world-class pediatric oncology, cardiology and intensive care programs for area children with cancer and congenital heart defects. To make a donation, or to find out more about the foundation, go to www.loscaboschildren.org.