When Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse and Charlie Trotter get together for their annual Wine Experience food-and-wine pairing seminar, you can count on them trading plenty of barbs with each other and executive editor Thomas Matthews, all in the spirit of friendly competition.
Yeah, sure, this event is all about the great wines. And we could do a whole blog post waxing rhapsodic about any number of wines, like the 2001 Yquem. (Confession: We didn't spit it. So what--neither does Pierre Lurton , who runs the estate.
What do the Wine Experience sommeliers do when they sneak away for an hour or so? They're certainly not relaxing with a glass of wine. We were taking a break ourselves, and spotted sommelier Richard Betts from Little Nell in Aspen drinking a nice, tall, cold pint of beer at Hog Island Oysters, at the back of the Ferry Terminal.
During the Grand Tastings, it takes a lot to distract Wine Experience attendees from their single-minded focus on sampling as many great wines as possible in a few short hours. But the unexpected appearance of the Terminator can certainly do it.
Every year at the Wine Experience, a devoted band of wine groupies awakens at an ungodly hour--no matter how much wine they had the night before, or how late they were out having dinner--just to be the first few in line to enter the tastings and claim the choice seats.
We knew this year's California Wine Experience was going to get off to a good start before we even got to San Francisco. While we were boarding our plane from Newark, amid a bunch of people carrying wine-country guides and maps, we saw a woman in line sporting body art of grape bunches down her right shoulder.
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