Words like divine, scrumptious and heavenly flowed freely from the lips of the 70 people who attended the sold-out Tanner Vineyard’s Release Party in Arnold last week.
Guests spent a leisurely evening enjoying newly released Tanner Wines paired with gourmet food selections prepared by Le Cordon Bleu chef Bruce Davison, who owns the rustically elegant Black Bear Inn with his wife Wendi.
The smooth melodies of Amador-based band Over the Edge set the perfect mood.
It was a family affair, as Dick and Nanette Tanner’s family, Ron and Annie Tanner’s family and Judy (Tanner) Twissleman welcomed guests, served cuisine and showcased the new releases.
“We brought our family there to serve,” Nanette Tanner said, emphasizing how important she feels the interaction is between family and guests. “We feel it makes it more intimate.”
Wendi Davison said the evening went “flawlessly,” and she wanted to put all the Tanner girls on the payroll.
“Every single one of the Tanner family members is a hard worker,” Bruce Davison said. “They are such great people, and we couldn’t be happier to be aligned with them. We have good relationships with most of the wineries, but our relationship with the Tanners is special.”
Tantalizing guests’ palates were a 2011 Vermentino, 2009 Angelos Red, 2009 Mélange de Mère and a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.
In a welcoming speech, Dick Tanner said he was “tickled” with how well the wines turned out, using terms like elegant, deep and complex to describe the new vintages.
This year’s flagship wine, Angelos Red, a blend of Barbera and Carignane, is named after the Tanner siblings’ great grandfather Angelo Sciaccaluga who was the first official wine producer in Calaveras County, operating in the 1870s era.
Paired with the releases Saturday evening was an organic baby kale salad, grilled wild mushroom-stuffed pork tenderloin, oven roasted fingerling potatoes, vegetable skewers and a chocolate morsel banana bread pudding with crème anglaise.
“It’s probably the most exquisite bread pudding I’ve ever had,” said Denise Burns of Murphys.
Ernie and Lupe Medrano of Oakdale stumbled into the Tanner tasting room three years ago and have been enamored with the entire Tanner experience since that day.
“We joined the wine club the day we first tasted their wine,” Lupe said. “We fell in love with it. We’ve had a lot of return visits to Calaveras County because of the Tanners.”
The Medranos planned to stay at the Black Bear Inn after the festivities were complete, and liked the accommodations so much, they’re already planning a return visit in the fall.
As the couple shared a private table under strings of twinkling golden lights surrounded by ancient black oaks and towering conifers, they both enthused about how impressive the venue was.
“I really fell in love with the atmosphere,” Lupe said.
“The grounds are beautiful, the band is great, the food is excellent,” Ernie added. “The Tanner family is just excellent. They are very, very good people. Their wine is great. It’s our favorite.”
Wayne and Ardys Dance, Salt Lake City Utah, extended their stay at the Black Bear Inn after hearing about the upcoming Tanner event.
“We have just fallen in love with this inn, the local area, the incredible natural beauty, the weather, the climate is perfect,” Wayne said, adding the people at the event were very warm, even though he and Ardys didn’t know anyone.
“The Tanner’s made us feel very welcome,” Wayne said. “Dick Tanner came over, saw us sitting alone, and introduced himself.
“We’re talking about coming back and bringing friends with us,” he continued. “We’re so excited about sharing this with them and coming out and being here together with them and enjoying everything about this fabulous Inn and the surrounding area.”
Carrie and Gerry Nelson of Murphys are long-time volunteers for the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, and despite attending their fair share of events, were duly impressed.
“The wine and food pairings were marvelous,” Carrie said. “I particularly liked the Vermentino Viognier with the salad and the Angelos with the main course was just divine.”
“Tonight has been absolutely wonderful, it’s a beautiful place,” Gerry said. “The Tanner family has really shown who they really are, and I’m just having a ball.”
“It went very well,” Nanette Tanner said “The guests enjoyed themselves, staff enjoyed themselves. The music was just right. The weather cooperated. We all had a really great time.”
To taste Tanner wines, drop by their tasting room at 202 Main Street in Murphys. For information on upcoming Tanner events, call 728-8229, visit www.tannervineyards.com or facebook.com/TannerVineyards.