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Music & Wine Gala funds enriching experiences for kids

SANTA FE, N.M. — “Use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”

The Holy Bible, 1 Timothy 5:23

So … I like to follow that heavenly advice, and what better opportunity than the 3rd Annual Music & Wine Gala given by the Chamber Music Festival. The festivities began with a splendid concert by the Chamber Music orchestra at the Lensic at 4 p.m. – Dvorák, Ravel, Kreisler, DeFalla.

What a dreamy way to spend a late summer afternoon! Then, the crowd of 225 proceeded to cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres under the old trees on the lawn of La Posada and dinner under an open-sided tent … well, you have to be prepared in case it rains! It didn’t!

But the main event of the evening was The Major Wine Auction! If you are an aficionado of the grape, of superb and very special wines, wish you had been at this auction! Maybe you were!

The auction was curated by some seriously connected rare wine experts, John Hart and Ben Ferdinand of the Hart Davis Wine Company in Chicago, whose credentials and wine activities over the years are amazing. Imagine having put on a vertical wine-tasting of 80 vintages of Chateau Mouton Rothschild dating back to 1868. (Imagine having that inventory readily available!) These fellows are The Real Deal in Wine.

Fabulous beverages could be had at this gala. Not your vin ordinaire, most of these wines actually had rating points in the various wine polls like the Wine Spectator, Robert Parker and Vivino. Most of them cost more than your shoes, so you’d better love what you’re drinking.

Otherwise, it’s sort of like wasting youth on the young … and, back when we were young, Boone’s Farm was okay. Opened the door. But now, as I’ve often, often thought while silently opting for the Pelligrino over the Charles Shaw, I’m just too old for crummy wine. I’d rather have two sips of something exquisite than a full glass of plonk.

And something exquisite, such as the 1982 Penfolds Grange Hermitage Shiraz, sold for $675 the bottle. Pouring four glasses to the bottle, figure it out … . I’d like that with my foie entier, please. Oh bliss!

I can’t name all the vineyards that filled the catalogue. But there was some very special Beaucastel Chateuneuf du Pape (99 points) and Walla Walla Valley Merlot (95 points) – you just can’t find these bottles at Albertson’s! There was a 1997 bottle of Schramsberg Reserve, America’s reply to Dom Perignon.

I don’t know what champagne they’re serving at the White House these days but, traditionally, for a long time, it has been Schramsberg. (A tip: If you’re ever in Napa, you should make an appointment and go on their fabulous, fun tour to see their process of champagne production down in their gorgeous caves – a truly special treat!)

The $213,000 raised this evening will fund the esteemed music education programs offered to Santa Fe and pueblo children by the Chamber Music Festival. The “Music in Our Schools” program introduces pre-kindergarten though elementary schoolchildren to “good music” – classical, jazz and world music – maybe for the first time in their lives. Probably accustomed to rap and hip hop, their ears get a taste of some Mozart, Chopin and Gershwin!

Also, through “Strings in Our Schools,” 65 elementary school students who would otherwise not have the opportunity for music lessons are provided with violins and lessons for the school year, and the opportunity to perform onstage in a concert, in front of an audience – an exciting confidence-building experience for a child.

In addition, there are four youth concerts designed to engage and delight children, and their accompanying adults, with buses provided for more than 1,000 children in summer day camps. Enriching and perhaps life-changing … paid for by wine!

So, here I sit with my brie and very delicious, buttery, crispy cold glass of Schug, sort of our house white, that I’ve always appreciated. Thinking back to the party, I fantasize that it’s Penfolds in my glass … .

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

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