2018 Special Guests
Despite having a successful career with Citicorp Investment Services, André Hueston Mack decided to leave his “desk job” to pursue his passion for wine. While working as a sommelier in San Antonio, Mack discovered the joys of introducing guests to the little known vineyards that first attracted him to the business and “the instant gratification of a guest’s reaction.” While still in Texas, Mack was awarded the prestigious title of Best Young Sommelier in America by the highly regarded Chaine des Rotisseurs. This recognition propelled him into the opportunity to work as a sommelier at Thomas Keller’s world-renowned The French Laundry in Yountville, California. Mack went on to accept the position of Head Sommelier at Keller’s equally famed Per Se in New York City, where he managed a 1800 selection award-winning wine list and consulted with Chef Keller on menu and pairing development regularly. Winemaking has always been a dream of his and came to fruition when he set up shop under the moniker of Mouton Noir Wines. Throughout his career Mack has forged unique relationships with luminary growers and winemakers from around the planet. It is with this prestigious group that Mack currently creates his wines.
Mack has been featured in major publications, such as Food and Wine, Wine & Spirits Magazine, The New York Times, Women’s Health, Ebony, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Mack was honored in 2007 with The Network Journal’s 40-Under-Forty Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to business. Mack is a zealous wine educator who has been invited to host seminars as well as conduct panel discussions at numerous esteemed food and wine events. He enjoys sharing his fondness of wine with others.
Photo by Michael Muller
Grand Weekend: Grand Artisans' Dinner & Grand Auction
Charlie Hanavich attended The University of Alabama where he studied Advertising and Art History. While his creativity and artistic talent were evident from childhood, it was not until his later years that he truly discovered his love for painting.
The summer of 2006 was a defining period. Searching for direction in life, Charlie moved to New York for what proved to be a short-lived visit to his own future. While he did not find the business direction he was seeking, his time in New York reignited his creativity and was the catalyst for his future as an artist.
In 2012 he moved to Miami to hone his skill. Host to international art fairs such as Art Basel, Miami’s art scene was exploding with opportunity at the highest levels. Immersing himself in Miami’s artistic landscape, Charlie was able to find himself as an artist and develop his distinctive style of painting.
Fueled by his interactions and experiences, Charlie is constantly refining and evolving his unique process and technique. The CH Grid Series, his most recent body of work, is strongly influenced by Chuck Close.
Charlie’s paintings are displayed in numerous private homes and commercial spaces both domestically and internationally. He now works and resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Wine Director Carlton McCoy discovered his love for the food and beverage world when he took a culinary arts course in high school. A scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America called Carlton to his true passion—wine and service. Before arriving at The Little Nell in 2011, he passed through several legendary institutions, including Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit, Tom Colicchio’s Craft Steak in New York and Eric Zeibold’s CityZen at The Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC.
Carlton was drawn to The Little Nell by the hotel's Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning program and the property's exciting reputation. In May of 2013, Carlton became the 10th Master Sommelier to come through The Little Nell's deservedly famed wine team.
Born and bred Memphians, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman opened Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in 2008 to feature innovative Italian cooking rooted in Southern tradition. The chefs trained at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina and the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy.
Their restaurant, Hog & Hominy, is a wood burning, neighborhood eatery and has been named one of the top new restaurants by GQ Magazine, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit as well as a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation, which also named the chefs semi-finalists for the Best Chef: Southeast award for three consecutive years in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In 2013, they were awarded Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs Award and named in Starchefs.com’s 2014 Kentucky-Tennessee Rising Star Chefs. In his review of the restaurants in 2013, Pete Wells of the New York Times called the restaurants “A sibling rivalry worth diving into.”
Early 2015 saw the opening of the chefs’ third space, a craft butcher shop and café, complete with classic pastries, coffee, espresso and cicchetti served in the dim sum style. Porcellino’s Craft Butcher received four stars from The Commercial Appeal and made the Bon Appetit list of Top 50 new restaurants for 2015. The chefs debuted two new restaurants in 2016: Catherine & Mary’s in Downtown Memphis and Josephine Estelle in New Orleans in partnership with the Ace Hotel.
The duo's next venture was announced in June 2017. The Gray Canary, set to open in January 2018, will be a new restaurant concept inside Old Dominick Distillery.
Ryan Prewitt began his culinary career in the farmer’s markets of San Francisco, where a burgeoning interest in food developed into a full-blown career. After spending time working for chefs Robert Cubberly and Alicia Jenish at Le Petite Robert Bistro, he moved to New Orleans to work with Chef Donald Link at Herbsaint. Ryan proved to be a quick study under Link’s tutelage and became Chef de Cuisine in 2009. He subsequently moved on to oversee culinary operations at Link Restaurant Group as Executive Chef for the company.
With a new job came an increased ability to learn and travel. As a member of the Fatback Collective, a group of Southern chefs who have compiled numerous accolades and awards in restaurants across the South, Ryan has learned new traditions and techniques from many talented BBQ pitmasters and has traveled to Uruguay to study traditional open-fire cooking. These experiences, along with a trip to observe grilling techniques in Spain, culminated in the opening of Pêche Seafood Grill.
In 2014, Chef Ryan Prewitt was honored with a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South. That same year Pêche won a James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in America. Pêche was also named one of the Top 10 Best Restaurants in New Orleans both in 2015 and 2016 by Brett Anderson, Times Picayune.
Doug started his food and wine explorations at a young age while traveling with his parents in France. His passion for food and wine was enhanced as he worked in restaurants as a cook and server throughout his high school and college years.
Coinciding with his graduation from UCSB in 1981, his family purchased WINE CASK – which quickly expanded to include a simple bistro adjacent to wine store. In 1994 the WINE CASK became one of 74 restaurants in the world to earn the Wine Spectator Grand Award. He sold the WINE CASK in 2007 after deciding to devote all of his energies to wine making. Margerum Wine Company began in 2001. His philosophy is to return to wine making in its previous form of production – handcrafted and personal.
Doug is also the wine maker for Happy Canyon Vineyards, La Encantada Vineyards and Paradise Springs of Santa Barbara. He is also the partner and wine maker for CENT’ANNI, a winery and vineyard planted with a variety of clones of Sangiovese and located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley.
As a friend and colleague of Julia Child’s during her time in Santa Barbara County, Doug was asked to be on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Kitchen Cabinet, an advisory board made up of leaders in food scholarship, culinary history and food-related businesses in America to help the museum shape and expand its research, collections, programs and exhibitions related to food and beverage history.
He now devotes all of his energies to the production & promotion of Margerum wines and to the raising of his two children – Remy & Evan.
Instead of joining the rest of the family at church on Sundays, Larry Grassini's grandfather Articondo Grassini was more religious about keeping a garden. Articondo came to the United States from Pisa, Italy in the early 1900s with his wife Afiora Tinucci. He would stay home on Sundays to make that evening’s ravioli from the green bounty of his garden, while enjoying a glass of wine (or two)... He also kept several chickens as part of his garden. As a nod to Grandpa Articondo, industrious fowl roam the Grassini Family Vineyard while sustainably fertilizing the vines. The Grassini Family winery is as singular as the wines crafted inside. Borrowed and adapted from 17th century southern European approaches, the winery itself is embedded in a prominent hillside with the rear opening into spectacular wine caves. The caves ensure humidity and temperature control, while using a fraction of hydrocarbon or electrical energy sources. This practice dates back to Roman times, when wine was stored in catacombs to take advantage of the naturally cool temperature underground.
The vineyard management team works tirelessly and closely with winemaker, Bradley Long, to ensure that every vine in the vineyard gets the kind of personal attention that will allow each precious berry to ripen to perfection. High-density planting, vine crop reduction, hand-training and careful timing of the pick come together to produce the soft tannins and overall balance of the structure, vineyard acid levels, beautiful aromatics, and elegant mouthfeel in the resulting wine.
Each lot from the different vineyard blocks is then fermented separately in small batches to ensure proper fermentation temperatures. As in the vineyard, patience in the wine caves pays off. Both red and white wines are allowed to spend leisurely and generous amounts of time in barrel in order to mature and reach the sought-after balance.
When all goes well, Grassini Family wines accurately express the unique character of this special estate and those who work there. In the Cabernet-based wines, this approach results in the inherent power and richness of the Cabernet grape being balanced with the finesse and elegance that defines its character. In the whites, all of this work is intended to capture the typical freshness and liveliness of the Sauvignon Blanc grape and balance it with concentration and depth.