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Flavor! Napa Valley Food & Wine Experience: November 20-24, Napa

Do you dream of rubbing shoulders with celebrity chefs while eating phenomenal food and drinking unattainable wines? Then Napa is just the place for you. Certainly the motivated wine lover could accomplish this trifecta of gourmet aspirations any day of the year in Napa, but coming up at the end of November anyone with a ticket to Flavor! Napa Valley will simply wallow in such pleasures for four days.

Flavor! Napa Valley was conceived of as a world-class food and wine experience that would both showcase the flavor_logo.jpgphenomenal talents in the Napa Valley, while giving back to one of the institutions that has made Napa such a destination for food and wine lovers: the Culinary Institute of America. The profits from this star-studded, four-day event go to fund scholarships at the CIA.

Anyone who has been to, or dreamed of going to, events such as the Aspen Food & Wine Classic or Masters of Food and Wine at Pebble Beach will understand the type of event that we're talking about here. Think lectures, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, multi-course dinners, and excursions into the heart of Napa Valley, all done in the highest of style.

This year, I'm leading a tasting at the event that is rightly being billed as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the true Napa wine lover. Long-time readers will be familiar with my coverage of the Premiere Napa Valley event each spring. At this event I taste through roughly 200 barrels of specially-crafted, unique wines that are sold only to the trade and only rarely fall into the hands of the general public, and then only at eye-popping tariffs. Yet these are some of the most exceptional wines produced in Napa Valley each year.

For the first time ever, I have put together a list of my favorite wines from the past couple years of Premiere Napa Valley, and will be guiding a group of attendees through these wines, with guest appearances from the owners and winemakers of the estates I have chosen. These wines will knock your socks off.

I'll also be participating in the Top Taster blind wine tasting competition orchestrated by my friend, Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, which should be good for more than a few laughs.

In addition to wine events such as these, the event offers experiences such as culinary demonstrations by chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Christopher Kostow, Michael Chiarello and more. Farm-to-table meals featuring wineries, local restaurants, and local food artisans abound throughout the weekend, as do winery dinners and special retrospective tastings of some of Napa's iconic wines.

This is a classy event with something for every food and wine lover. You can purchase tickets to individual events (tickets to my event, for instance, run $125), as well as for the entire weekend of festivities. I hope to see you there.

Flavor! Napa Valley 2013
November 20-24, 2013
Locations throughout Napa Valley
& The Culinary Institute of America
St. Helena, CA

Ticket packages for multiple events range from $265 to $950, while individual tickets range from $100 to $150. There is also an intensive wine education version of the event that sells for $1200, and includes classes given by the team that runs the wine school at the CIA's Rudd Center for Wine Education. Learn about the various ticket options on the event web site.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.