It’s one of my favorite events of the year: the Festival of Wines benefiting the American Heart Association.
This year’s event, Festival of Wines: Cocktails & Cuisines, will take place Thursday at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/festwine2017.
I always look at large tasting events as an opportunity to sample and explore many wines in a short amount of time. But the key words to keep in mind are “countless wines” and a “short amount of time.” So, how do you make the most of it without over imbibing? Spit and spit often. Spitting is part of the tasting experience. If you drink the full amount of each tasting, you’ll be intoxicated long before you’ve even made a dent in all the wines there are to explore. If your intention is to try as many new wines as possible, and assess them, use this rule.
A large tasting event such as the Festival of Wines can be a bit overwhelming. When you arrive take a quick look at the event handout. Are there any regions, grape varietals or producers you’re especially interested in? Find these tables first to make the best use of your time.
Take simple tasting notes and don’t worry with long narrative comments. I will use my event brochure and scribble in smiley faces on my favorites, question marks on wines I want to consider tasting later and then of course a quick photo with my phone for those I want to remember and buy in the future.
This year I got a sneak peek of the wine offerings and this is just a sampling of the many worth searching out for a quick taste.
- 2016 Voga Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio, Italy (about $10 retail)
- 2016 Gassier Sables D’Azur Rose, France (about $15 retail)
- 2016 Turtle Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $15 retail)
- 2015 Don Rodolfo Tannat, Argentina (about $11 retail)
- 2015 Llama Malbec, Argentina (about $15 retail)
- 2015 Rabble Red Blend, California (about $15 retail)
- NV Zonin Prosecco, Italy (about $15 retail)
- 2014 Alexander Valley Vineyards Temptation Zin, California (about $12 retail)
- 2015 Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel, California (about $21 retail)
- 2015 Seven Hills Walla Walla Red, Washington (about $36 retail)
- 2015 Rutherford Ranch Merlot, California (about $18 retail)
- 2015 Predator Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $16 retail)
- 2016 Niner Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $21 retail)
- NV Chandon Blanc De Noir, California (about $17 retail)
- 2014 Tooth and Nail The Possessor, California (about $30 retail)
- 2015 Stasis Chardonnay, California (about $36 retail)
- 2015 Chateau Du Caillau Cahors, France (about $16 retail)
- 2014 Round Pond Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $59 retail)