Before beaver creek introduced its Thursday-night winemaker dinner series this winter, in order to reserve a table at Allie’s Cabin—an on-mountain retreat for members of the Beaver Creek Club that’s tucked in an aspen grove near the exit of Gold Dust—you had to buy a house. Given the median sales price for a Beaver Creek home these days ($1.02 million), the from-$155 per-plate investment would seem a bargain.
And it is.
The experience begins with a wool blanket on your lap, seated on a jostling bench in an open-air sled behind a rumbling snowcat, a sojourn rendered more cinematic on the January night Robert Mondavi hosted the event by the onset of a winter storm. Stepping off the sleigh in the dark, amid the blowing snow, it’s easy to imagine that you’ve arrived at the doorstep of the cabin that pioneers Allie and George Townsend kept at the foot of the mountain (now the home of Mirabelle Restaurant)—at the time, the only settlement for miles around, a roadhouse that warmed weary travelers with a hot meal and hospitality. Inside, you trade your boots for wool slippers and step into the dining room, lit by a great stone hearth, where manager Bob Battle welcomes you and a dozen others with a glass of fumé blanc, beckoning everyone to gather at a wall of windows overlooking the village.
Your meal has been choreographed to begin with the resort’s fireworks show, and for ten minutes the entire sky above and beyond the aspens outside is animated with starbursts, crossettes, and horsetails. After the show, you take your seat at one of the tables clustered around the room’s central fireplace, with strangers who soon will be counted as friends.
And here the fireworks continue, emanating plate after plate from the kitchen of Kirk Weems: a pair of Island Creek oysters in fleur de sel and citrus mignonette nested on a bed of crushed rock, a palate-cleansing dollop of goat cheese on a cracker of crushed hazelnut, sugared and spiced quail in a dried blueberry reduction, a silky slice of rare 7X beef tenderloin with creamed fennel, a lemon tart drizzled with honey. And with each of these courses, another glass of wine, a fusillade of flavors each more spectacular than the next, from the fumé to chardonnay, pinot noir, and the finale, a fifteen-year-old cab. Each selection is introduced and narrated by Mondavi “luxury wine specialist” Ashley Rowe.
“Taste your pinot noir, and recognize how sexy and delicate and beautiful it is, then taste the cab,” she says. “The pinot noir slides your socks down slowly, but the cab—the cab knocks them off.”
You might say the same about your million-dollar meal at Allie’s.
Allie’s Cabin Winemaker Series: 970-754-5544, beavercreek.com
- Feb. 6 & 13: Cakebread Cellars
- Feb. 20: Pine Ridge Vineyards
- Feb. 27: Merryvale Vineyards
- March 6: Paul Hobbs Winery
- March 13: Seghesio Family Vineyards
- March 20: Domaine Drouhin Oregon