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It’s Classic time in Aspen

By Dave Buchanan
ASPEN — This week marks the 26th anniversary of the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen and as always there will be plenty of things to do and see. And taste, of course. From the 90-plus food seminars and cooking demonstrations to the 50,000 or so bottles of wine being uncorked by the more than 300 producers, you’d be hard-pressed to say “Sono anoiato” (I’m bored) and get even a hint of sympathy from anyone here. Everything kicks off Thursday (some pre-Classic get-togethers start today) with the wrap-up on Sunday with the popular Classic Cook-off where star chefs are given a bag of surprise ingredients and compete against each other and the clock. I’ll be blogging from Aspen later this week but a quick trip Sunday to this chi-chi island of haute couture showed gas at $4.21 a gallon, every parking place taken and the expected plethora of foreign accents. Aspen, long popular with the international set, should have no trouble continuing that attraction this summer due to the weak dollar. Dinner last night was at Restaurant Six89 in Carbondale where some friends and I enjoyed a lovely 2006 pinot noir from Belle Pente Winery in the Yamhill-Carlton District of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. According to the Belle Pente Web site, owners Jill and Brian O’Donnell are inspired by the wines of Burgundy and Alsace and include organic and biodynamic practices in their viticulture. The wine was fresh and full of bright red fruits, perfect with the herb-roasted halibut and the accompanying carrot potato pancake. The wine is true Burgundian in style, and if you’ve been leery of trying an organic or biodynamic wine, this one will ease your mind and your palate. And speaking of Burgundy and its wines, Eric Asimov of the New York Times recently wrote a terrific article about his weeklong trip through Burgundy.

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