After a labour intense harvest of fourteen plus hour days, little sleep and physical fatigue the best way to celebrate is with a party! Glenn Symons, the proprietor of Lighthall Vineyards in Prince Edward County, did just that this past weekend. I was invinted to attend having helped out with the Pinot Noir and Vidal crush. The pre party began in the late afternoon with a small gathering to enjoy an assortment of cheeses and home made chacuterie paired with two very special bottles of wine. A one ton bin with the lid on was used as the communal table as we shared the terrine de canard, rillet of lapin and chicken liver pâté with truffle salt and a selection of Quebec and French cheeses. The wines Glen shared were a 1999 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or and a 1989 Château Guiraud. The Vintage Champagne and Premier Cru Sauternes are certainly not everyday wines. I was fortunate to participate in such a grand celebration. Everyone indulging in the experience appreciated the unique experience. Many sighs of enjoyment and comments or pairing suggestions could be heard as plates and bottles were passed around the table. It couldn’t have been a more perfect moment of celebration in the warm November sun.
Once the first course was over the big celebration began. More bottles were opened. The giant spit bbq was fired up to warm up the 100lb wild boar that had been slaughtered at the farm the a couple days before and left to marinate in a stainless steel tank of pinot noir bouquet garni. Chef Sebastien served up cups of local organic squash soup. As the sun went down and a chill set in the air, a giant bonfire pit of pruned canes was lit. More guests arrived; families, friends, local grape growers, vineyard workers and vitners, all happy to share in the celebration with food, drink and plenty of 2011 harvest stories. Eventually the boar was carved and everyone gathered around the stand up “harvest table”, multiple one ton bins lined up in a row. Once everyone’s bellies were full, lots of drink was enjoyed around the fire to stay warm long into the night. What a party.