Wine Festivals

Nov 162013
 

Dry Creek AVA

A Dry Creek AVA

Barring another wine country emergency (sarcasm), our visits this fall were our last California wine journeys for 2013. The sigh of relief from winemakers across both Napa and Sonoma was audible as the harvest came to an end.

A  textbook growing season created much excitement in all the wineries we visited as bin after bin of near perfect grapes arrived to be carefully converted into the elixir of the Gods. The excitement and anticipation for these wines once bottled, is the talk of most winemakers we met.

Fall in wine country is a surreally beautiful time with acre after acre of vineyards turning Technicolor shades of yellow, gold, red and maroon. Interestingly enough some of the older vines fighting various vineyard plant diseases create the most vibrantly colored fall leaves. Could this colorful display be the vine’s farewell gift to those of us who loved their annual gift of grapes? Continue reading »

Oct 032013
 

Denver International Wine Festival 2013

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2013 DENVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL- NOVEMBER 6 TO 10, 2013 Named One Of America’s Top Fall Wine Festivals By Fodor’s!

The 9th Annual Denver International Wine Festival is the premier wine and food festival in the Rocky Mountains, showcasing more than 400 international wines from 18 countries! This incredible event also features selected premium spirits, sake, craft beer, and a Belgium Beer Garden complete with gourmet food samplings expertly paired with famous Belgium beers, served in their custom glassware. Attendees enjoy a multitude of delectable food and wine tastings, fresh produce, gourmet food products, wine accessories, fine art, and exhibits by luxury travel destinations. Continue reading »

Jun 082013
 

Mark Oldman

“I am going to make it (wine seminars) worth their while. I have a short attention span. I don’t want to be bored. I am going to do whatever I can to make them walk away and say, that over-delivered.” Mark Oldman

During the Austin Food and Wine Festival we had the chance to meet wine style guru Mark Oldman, two time winner of Georges Duboeuf Best Wine Book of the Year Award for: Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine: 108 Ingenious Shortcuts to Navigate the World of Wine with Confidence and Style and Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine: Pleasure, Value, and Adventure Beyond Wine’s Usual Suspects.

Oldman has a distinct style described by Bon Appètit magazine as “winespeak without the geek” and by Publishers Weekly as “the ideal mix of wine connoisseur, showman, and everyday dude.”

I didn’t know what to expect from Oldman, of Drink Bravely fame. He was very fun, engaging and frankly a blast to chat with. While in Austin he professed his love for the Lone Star State repeatedly, interesting for a Jersey guy. He even pulled out his Longhorn money clip in testament.

One of the funniest moments however, was during his last seminar when he pulled out a 3X5 foot blowup of his outstanding arrest warrant from the 2012 AFW festival and his newly minted “Free Oldman” t-shirt. It seems Mark was caught by the tireless (obviously with too much time on their hands) Austin police for ….drumroll… Jaywalking, which in Austin is, believe it or not, a criminal offense. The crowd rolled out of their chairs laughing. Continue reading »

May 092013
 

Ray Isle

Ray Isle

“I still get excited when I find a $17 wine that blows me away.That is a continuous hunt for me at the magazine.” Ray Isle

During the 2013 Austin Food and Wine Festival, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Food & Wine Magazine Executive Wine Editor, Ray Isle. A self-described “Texan living in New York,” Ray was one of the festival’s preeminent wine presenters, offering three seminars. His gentile Texan style eschewed any sense of wine snobbery as he shared his knowledge and passion for wine. Continue reading »

Nov 202012
 

During the first weekend in November we had the opportunity to experience the 14th Annual – A Wine & Food Affair ~ “Tasting Along the Wine Road,” in the northern half of Sonoma County. A wonderful experience it was.

Orphaned Pinot Noir cluster at Inman Family wines

This is one of three annual events organized by Wine Road each year. The other two are the Annual Winter WINEland (Jan. 19-20, 2013) and the two weekend Annual Barrel Tasting (March 1-3 & 8-10, 2013). Wine Road is a winery association representing 190 wineries and 56 lodging members in northern Sonoma County, including the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. The Wine Road site is a great resource for winery discovery and trip planning as well as lodging reservations. Through Wine Road we were able to secure lodging in a wonderful restored vineyard farmhouse in the Russian River Valley at Inman Family Wines. Waking each morning in the vineyard really adds to the whole wine country experience. Sipping Kathleen Inman’s delicious single-vineyard Pinot Noir during a sunset vineyard stroll is as good as it gets. Continue reading »

Oct 012012
 

On Sunday, September 16th I was, for the first time, officially a wine competition judge; judging wines for the Denver International Wine Festival which takes place on November 8 & 9, 2012 at The Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver, CO. Most of the other 17 judges (all wine professionals) participated on both Saturday and Sunday in the double-blind tasting of domestic and international wines. A previous engagement, however, (leading a winery tour in Napa Valley), limited me to Sunday only.

I arrived a bit nervous, not knowing exactly what to expect. Beginning at 10:30 am and ending at 3pm, we tasted through about 50 wines. Each table of 4 judges tasted different categories of wines. Our table was assigned Pinot Blanc, European Dry Whites, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Red Blends, and Apple/Pear, Berry, and Flower/Vegetable dessert wines. Each was scored for nose, color, flavor, finish and overall appeal. We had a knowledgeable group of judges at our table, including one who came all the way from Sonoma. Soon I was in the groove and found my scores were quite similar to the others. Continue reading »