On September 8, 2013, the premier Cranwell Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts was the setting for a gustatory celebration of the end of summer. Forty-nine members and guests arrived at what was at one time or another a home to wealthy industrialists, clergy, writers and students to partake in the end-of-season bounty sourced from local farms in the Berkshires, Eastern New York and Vermont. The grand setting of restored historic buildings with stunning views of the nearby mountains was a perfect foil for the sumptuous meal ahead.
A crispy, elegant Mumm Napa Brut Prestige accompanied an array of tasty hors d’oeuvres at the opening reception where we all shared our summer experiences while lamenting the inevitable onset of winter. Tuna ceviche, lobster salad nestled in endive, cider glazed cubes of salmon and petit filet mignon on toast elevated our spirits giving us a preview of what was to come. Happily, the weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy the reception on the patio overlooking the golf course.
Following the reception, we adjourned to the beautifully appointed dining room where our honored guest, James E. Pozzi, Argentier des Etats-Unis, elevated Dr. Keith Edwards to Officier.
The first course of light and frothy chilled heirloom tomato soup with caramelized fennel and micro greens had that fresh-from-the-garden taste. Heartland Viognier & Pinot Gris 2007, a mature and toasty wine, complemented the acidity of the tomato with its soft, floral notes. Next came a watermelon, arugula and feta cheese salad, a study in bright colors and flavors, married with the creamy, and delightfully fruity Red Oak Vineyard Riesling, Lamoreaux Landing 2012 from the Finger Lakes region of New York State.
Between courses, guests took part in a silent auction of wines that had graced previous Chaine events. Bidding was spirited, yet friendly. A perfectly done pan seared striped bass with roasted baby vegetables and celery root puree was the third offering. A fat, buttery, Chateau Vitallis Pouilly Fuisse 2011 held up well to this complex dish.
The standout of the fourth course of grilled veal tenderloin au jus was the accompanying ragout of wild mushrooms. Exclamations of high praise were heard from table to table as this entree was savored with La Closerie de Fourtet, St. Emilion, Grand Cru, 2002. This mature and very drinkable Bordeaux tasting of coffee, black cherry and tobacco paired beautifully with the dish.
The dessert course featured a selection of local cheeses and assorted mini pastries partnered with Domaine Coste-Caumartin Saint-Romain Sous Le Chateau 2003. But, no, we were not done yet! After applauding the accomplishments of Executive Chef and Maitre Rotisseur Carl DeLuce and his staff, we returned to the gracious lobby to linger over Dow’s 1977 Vintage Port generously donated by our newest Officier, Dr. Edwards. Many thanks to the Cranwell for hosting us in such a spectacular way!