Wine & Dine: Cygnus Wine Cellars’

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Nearly a decade ago, to celebrate Cygnus Wine Cellars’ 10th birthday, owner and winemaker Ray Brasfield invited a few chefs to put together tasting dinners. The gatherings, in the lower level of the circa-1930s slaughterhouse that Cygnus calls home, were so well received, says Brasfield, he decided to keep them going. Each Sunday in July, diners gather in the late afternoon to sip a sparkling Royele and nibble on snacks before moving into the rustic banquet room for a sit-down meal. Since 2005, guest chefs have included Jerry Pellegrino (now of Waterfront Kitchen), Michael Gettier (formerly of Antrim 1844) among others, who prepare multi-course feasts to pair with current Cygnus wines and special bottles from the library. “I’m into it,” says Antonio Baines, executive chef at Tapas Teatro, who has made the trek to Manchester nearly every year—and will return on July 27 for a yet-to-be-determined menu. Because the winery’s kitchen facilities are minimal, Baines sets up a grill to prepare most of the meal. “I just wait and see what’s available a few days before the event,” says the chef, whose favorite Cygnus wine is the Port of Manchester, a Port-style wine that is sweet without any fortification. “It’s kind of a play on words,” he says. “There’s no port in Manchester.” Cost, $80 per person. 410-374-6395, cygnuswinecellars.com
—M.T.

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