A few thoughts this year, first, I seem to have been excited about the right things. The ability to try different style of the same grape within seconds of each other is one of the key opportunities of the wine festival. For example, I was able to taste the Simi Sauvignon Blanc, a nice example of Californian style SB, and across the aisle was Thorny Rose, which had a very nice counter example of New Zealand styled SB. The grassiness was even more pronounced when directly compared with the more acidic California counterpart.
If you are looking for a really nice selection of Rieslings from different regions and sweetness, Schmitt Sohne and Estates (booth 107) had a very nice selection of 5 different wines.
The still Pedro (booth 2) was a really nice wine and helps to show another side to what is usually made into sherry. McNab (booth 28) was as solid as always and highly recommended for a stop. Valeta had a Vijiriega that was a nice native Spanish grape that I had never tried before. It had a distinct mineral flavor that helps to showcase something unique to the region.
The sparkling wines were worth their own pass, but were mostly in the lower numbered booths. Vinum (booth 7) had a very nice showing with both their sparkling and a nice rhone based white wine. Across the aisle, Terry Theise selections had two examples of grower Champagne that helped to show the difference between a wine with Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir as the lead varietal.
Cutting Edge (especially booth 32) showcased a rather wide selection of wines. The 2011 wines from the pacific northwest were all tasting extremely well. The Four Grace Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris were both examples of this well made wine from that year. Learning more about the overall growing season from 2011, makes me interested in what other wines I can find from that year to try.
Michael David (booth 38) also had a very strong showing of their selection. Petite Petite, Rage, and Incognito were all very good. Ferrari Carrano (booth 42) had a very nice “patio pounder” with BellaLuce. It was also a part of a large number of stainless steel fermented wines. Oak seemed to be less of a consideration from most places that focused on having the grape do most of the work. Trinchero (booth 76) also provided a nice range of red wines.
To end the tasting, I would recommend Wineworth Importers (at booth 6) to try through a really nice selection of ports. The ten year old, which can be found in half bottles for around $20 in Kentucky, had a great almond flavor. When you get to the vintage 1996 port, the nuttiness and sweetness become apparent. I also learned that they avoid loosing large amounts of the vintage by combining barrels and reducing the amount of exposure to the air. This means that one barrel was sacrificed every few years to top off the others. It was a new piece of information for me.
I tried to get to as many different places as possible, what did I miss? Was there another star of the show? Let me know in the comments,
I’m happy to see what everyone else enjoyed.
The Cincinnati International Wine Festival is upon us for the 23rd year! This Friday and Saturday, the grand tasting will be held at the convention center in downtown Cincinnati.
I will be posting as early as I can on Friday afternoon the highlights from the afternoon tasting, especially the surprises that I find. Every year my goal is to find something unexpected, unusual, or interesting. With 133 booths and a few hundred wines, I have never failed in this goal.
Tickets are still available for both Friday and Saturday nights and the list of wines seems both extensive and exciting. While it always nice to see a few favorite importers like Terry Theise(booth 11), Vintner Select(booth 14), Cutting Edge Selections(booth 32 thru 34) and many wineries from years past, for different reasons: Charles Smith/K Vinters (booth 4) from my wine bloggers conference in Walla Walla), Cline Cellars(booth 51) my first wine club, Henke Winery (booth 125) for teaching me that Norton can have a level of depth and quality, Veleta Wines (booth 56) for helping me learn that the story behind the wine helps to explain the taste, JAQK Cellars (booth 98) for beign able to highlight how different approaches to the a grape can have a very different taste in the bottle, and there is also a place for Bully Hill (booth 39) which was my first every winery experience in the Finger Lakes. I think that is some of the power of the taste of wine is that is can transport us back to a different time and place where we first got caught up in trying to learn as much as we could.
I’m also excited to try a few new things this year, a 2011 Chilean Pedro Ximenez (booth 2), Sivas Sonoma (booth 21) a new winery for me, the Italian selections from Dalla Terra (booth 48), hoping there might be a bottle of Pinot Meunier somewhere at a booth.
Beyond just my excitement, we always like to publish a few ways to get the most out of the overall experience. Here is our annual post of tips and tricks compiled from our and other blogger’s experiences on how to best survive this festival:
Please realize that these tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered. If insanely drunk is your goal, well … get a cab and/or a hotel.
So in no particular order, here are our tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:
Well, I finally did it! I hosted my very first wine exchange a couple of weeks ago. It was not orchestrated as “formally” as I would’ve liked (yes, I am pretty neurotic about things going according to plan), but because everyone had a great time, I consider it a big success! Here is how it worked…
Each person brought two bottles of the same wine. One bottle was put aside for the exchange and the other was opened for tasting. I even found these really cute wine glass tags to help distinguish our glasses.
We ate a few snacks before we got started. I kept it simple with cheese and crackers, a variety of nuts, olives, some veggies, dark chocolates and cocoa dusted truffles.We began with white wines (sweet then dry) and moved on to the reds, which included quite a few blends. No one brought any dessert wines or sparkling varieties. I provided index cards for people to take notes but that kind of fell to the wayside as we started down the line of about eight different wines.
After the tastings, we moved on to the exchange. We drew names to pick the order and we allowed one steal. I ended up with 3 Girls Cabernet Sauvignon, which I really enjoyed.
Some of my other favorites were: Clean Slate 2011 Riesling, Cary Chen Riesling from Elk Creek Vineyards and Pro-mis-Q-ous, a California red table wine.
I think it would be fun to try this again but perhaps create a theme around it (like Summer Wines). Or maybe dictate the variety of wine people bring. It’s not such a bad deal…I ended up with the leftover wine. Oh, and we had a massage therapist friend scheduled to give shoulder massages but she fell ill. So I would incoporate that next time.
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