6/28/2006

Washington DC International Wine and Food Festival

On Sunday we attended the DC 7th annual International Wine and Food Festival. Where do I begin? A four hour window was provided to indulge oneself in over 1200 wines from all over the globe, a wide variety of foods and an array of wine related products. Hallelujah!

First stop of the day was New Zealand. Several months ago I purchased a Pinot Noir from the Canterbury region and after having a glass, found myself disappointed with a watery Pinot lacking ripeness. I was quite surprised when I sampled the Marlborough region 2004/2005 vintages of Pinot Noir. I ‘m already a fan of the Marlborough region for their Sauvignon Blanc, but the ripe black cherry, firm tannins and earthy characteristics of the Pinot really impressed me. The Pinot was quite consistent with all producers from Marlborough. The temperate maritime climate and ideal soil conditions must have something to do with this region's success.

New Zealand hostess awaiting eager patrons

Second Stop of the day was California. I could not resist sampling the high-octane jammy fruit bombs. The Californian big sexy and elegant Zinfandels did not disappoint one bit.

Third Stop of the day was VIRGINIA. Great seeing Tarara, Kluge, Oasis and Williamsburg wineries representing Virginia. The Cabernet Franc was on showcase for all to enjoy. There was also another booth pouring various Virginia wines. The Virginia booth received a great deal of attention and of course we enjoy Virginia wine ourselves.

Fourth Stop of the day was Uruguay. This little known South American country is doing something special with the tannat grape. These wines are lush, fruity, and spicy with firm tannins and a lingering finish. The berry fruit and the solid tannins stand out here; perfect red meat accompaniment.

Fifth stop of the day was South Africa. Red berry fruits, spice, sweet oak to full oak flavoring, slight notes of papaya: Got your attention yet? It is confirmed, you like Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. These wines are usually good values, nice on the palate and to the pocket.

Tasting and talking to the friendly staff

Final stop of the day was Argentina’s exceptional Mendoza region that has adopted the Malbec grape. Deep red colors, juicy dark red fruit and supple tannins would describe this a ‘good value’. For the record, Virginia also produces Malbec; you can find this varietal at Pearmund and Waterford, amongst others. The Mendoza region is worth giving some consideration however for this varietal.

We also stopped and conversed with the NY Finger Lake wineries; we will be there June 28 through July 3rd and assured them that we would be visiting their wineries in a matter of days to sample what the Finger Lakes is famous for, you guessed it Riesling.

In closing, the DC International Food and Wine Festival was a great experience, and readers who have not attended should strongly consider attending next year. Tasting ended for me 2 hours in; it’s just so much you can taste in a day. The remaining 2 hours were spent sampling delicious foods, engaging in good conversation and browsing the various wine related booths.

Tomorrow we are off to the Finger Lakes region, to try some of their terroir and make sure they are aware of the good things going on here in Virginia.

Happy Sipping!

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