I’m taking a bit of a break from Burgundy in my next few blogs; I will continue with my remaining Burgundy visits shortly. However, a few other recent events and tastings merit some interest.
The 9th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SBWFF) was held in Miami this past weekend. We arrived Thursday, luckily escaping the blizzard that blanketed New York with over a foot of snow later that day.
Founded and organized by Lee Brian Schrager of Southern Wines & Spirits, SBWFF is an event that draws more than 50,000 people for wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and late-night parties with celebrity chefs, winemakers and beautiful people. This year, the festival raised $2.2 million to benefit the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center, both located at Florida International University in Miami.
Wine Spectator has been involved with the SBWFF now for eight years. Our sponsorship includes Friday’s Wine Spectator Trade Day on the beach and the classy Best of the Best evening, which features highly rated wines from more than 70 wineries accompanied by tasty dishes by 40 chefs from around the country.
Some of the highlights from the Best of the Best include: a complex Krug Brut 1998; the creamy Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs 1999; Hanzell Vineyards’ Chardonnay Sonoma Valley 2007; Alex Gambal’s honey and mineral Meursualt Clos du Cromin 2005; Jean Grivot’s elegant Clos de Vougeot 2007; Joseph Phelps new project Freestone, whose Pinot Noir 2006 was fragrant and complex; Pio Cesare’s structured, classic Barolo Ornato 2004; and Beaulieu Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1996 that channeled Bordeaux with its cedar and black currant flavors.
There were plenty of delicious bites to pair with all the wines, like Terrance Brennan’s Wagyu beef and stone crab "Shabu Shabu", sweet and sour broth from Picholine and creamy polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms by Scott Conant and Michael Pirolo of Scarpetta in New York. Douglas Keane of Cyrus in Healdsburg, Calif., presented a refreshing Thai-marinated lobster with avocado and mango, and Carol Wallack of Sola in Chicago served Wagyu New York with fingerling and oxtail hash, a slow-cooked quail egg, shallots, swiss chard, five-spice jus, and truffle pesto.
We also sponsor a seminar series with winemakers, proprietors, sommeliers and educators discuss dozens of wines during the Saturday and Sunday sessions. Presentation highlights included a tasting of Jean Grivot red Burgundies led by vintner and owner Etienne Grivot, a vertical tasting of Louis Roederer Cristal, vertical tastings of Opus One and Beaulieu Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Georges de Latour Private Reserve, and an interpretation of Sangiovese from several of Antinori’s Tuscan estates.
The Cigar Aficionado Lounge at Guy Fieri’s Moon Over Miami closing party was a popular stop.
On Sunday evening, Cigar Aficionado hosted a cigar lounge at Guy Fieri’s Moon Over Miami closing party. About 1,200 cigars, from Padron Anniversary, Te-Amo World Selection Series, Camacho Room 101, Oliva Series V, Don Pepin Tabacos Baez and La Flor Dominicana, were handed out as attendees rocked to some great ’80s hits.
Though temperatures have been cooler in Miami this winter, the skies were blue, and it was great to soak up that unique South Beach vibe. As I sat on the plane awaiting my return takeoff, I was sorry to leave Miami so soon.
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — March 4, 2010 5:25pm ET
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