One of the events of my recent birthday bash was an invitation by John and Steve Thornton to attend one of their Champagne Jazz concerts, held at Thornton Winery. This was the 27th year for these concerts which have become a premier jazz venue.
Headlining the concert we attended were George Benson and Vincent Ingala.
Our exciting afternoon started with a gourmet supper prepared by Executive Chef Jeffr Massey of the five star Cafe Champagne Restaurant at the Winery.
Traditionally each of these suppers open with Thornton Brut champagne and this day was no different.
First course was a spinach salad with almonds, dried cranberries and a raspberry vinaigrette. Our wine a Thornton 2013 Vermentino. Next a pan roasted Alaskan halibut with corn puree, asparagus, and a cilantro-lime beurre blanc sauce which we thought memorable. Our wine a Thornton 2012 Estate Syrah which showed its age with a delicate nose, full flavors and a soft finish.
Dessert was peanut butter cheesecake filled with peanut butter cup on a cookie.
Then it was time for the show before a full house in attendance.
Vincent and his side men showed intense vitality and soon had the audience participating with every number.
George Benson in his long career has redefined jazz and is a ten time Grammy winner.
This day was no different and with a most talented group in accompaniment had the audience demanding three additional encores before the concert was over.
Thornton's 27th Champagne Jazz season will conclude with three performances ending on October 18.