Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Amy Phelan, Tom Sachs and Sarah Hoover at the WineCrush event in support of the Aspen Museum of Art.

ASPEN - The official kick-off of Aspen ArtCrush is the WineCrush event, held at the beautiful home of Amy and John Phelan. They are the most gracious hosts, opening every corner of their home to guests who wander freely during cocktail hour to see the art installed within, including such notables as Nick Cave, Marilyn Minter, Ed Ruscha, Ellsworth Kelly, Jim Hodges, and many many more.

A Marilyn Minter artwork at the home of Amy and John Phelan (with a Nick Cave Soundsuit appearing in the reflection).

As sponsors of the event, Sotheby’s had a big presence – but many of us were at a severe disadvantage, combatting the effects of altitude, where every sip of wine is actually the equivalent of two. But we were at a wine tasting dinner after all, so you do what you have to do, and since the other sponsor of the event was Dom Pérignon, it was hard to say no to anything, especially their divine Oenothèque, from 1996, or my particular favorite, their Rosé, from 2000. This paired beautifully with a first course of four tastes from the sea – konbu salmon, tuna, crab and daikon, and a gazpacho and avocado prawn shot.

I would have been content to stop there, but there was a Dubreuil-Fontaine Corton Charlemagne from 2010 and a Domaine Roche de Bellene, Clos Vougeout, from 2009 waiting in the wings, which accompanied the best course of the night – a Duck egg ravioli garnished with morel mushrooms, English peas, and crispy duck bacon. When you cut into the ravioli, the surprise was the gorgeous duck yoke that melted into the beurre rouge sauce and veggies, making for a most sumptuous and decadent dish. The red wines, a Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint Estèphe 2006, and a Caymus Cabernet from 2009 accompanied the seared filet of beef with au gratin potatoes, crispy onions, and asparagus, but by that time the DJ had the room rocking, and the dance floor hopping.

Tom Sachs, Rob Pruitt, Nir Hod, Ken Solomon and Dustin Yellin helped turn my air cast into a work of art.

Sadly I was the only one not hopping – or hiking for that matter – because I had arrived in Aspen with a fractured foot. Not wanting to be a wallflower, I decided to make my air cast into an artwork. Tom Sachs, the honoree of this year’s Crush, made it “Chanel” with a signature logo; Rob Pruitt, who had a stunning painting in the live auction, drew his signature panda on it; artist Nir Hod, whose work was in the silent auction, made me a crown inscribed “forever love;” Ken Solomon Nike-ized it, and finally Dustin Yellin added a beautiful branch of a tree.


Tom also decorated the tent, and created centerpieces of grapes, made more decadent with cigarettes and mini bottles of tequila.

The Tom Sachs-created centerpieces featuring cigarettes and tequila.
At some point common sense prevailed and we went back to our hotel, The Little Nell, to rest up for the next events but I heard the party was in full swing until the wee hours of the morning. Aspen: play hard by day, party hard by night. Trust me, the Hamptons are much more relaxing.