Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Re-cap: 5th Annual National Harbor Food and Wine Festival

By Ashley Eames
Capital Cooking Contributor 

Spring is in the air, which means wine festival season is officially getting started in the DMV. The National Harbor Food and Wine Festival certainly didn’t disappoint. Now in its fifth year, the National Harbor Food and Wine Festival offered two full days of great food and wine from local, regional and even international purveyors.

A Wine Aroma Center was set up near the entrance of the festival, allowing patrons to familiarize themselves with some of the aromas and flavors they may find in wines. Containers filled with items such as citrus fruit, mushrooms, grass, chocolate, and berries were available to help you identify scents that are often prevalent. It was a great learning experience and definitely opened our senses as we prepared to try the wines at the event.  

With more than 150 wines available at the event there was truly something for everyone. Whether you prefer luscious California Cabs or sweet Moscatos, you could taste it all.

Of my favorites, Eroica Riesling, definitely stood out to me as a front runner. This Washington State Riesling wasn’t overly sweet and had great citrus and mineral notes. It was light and crisp and would pair perfectly with spicy dishes.

For something a little closer to home, Governor’s Cup Gold Medal Winner Knob Hall Winery in Clear Spring, Maryland served a number of wines. Jealous Mistress was one that immediately caught my attention. Once you get past the fun label, there is still a great wine inside. This semi-dry red, a blend of Merlot and chambourcin, was well-balanced with a lovely fruit taste.

One of my final wines for the day was likely the best of the group – a 2005 Amarone della Valpolicella. I was shocked that they would even offer an Amarone at a wine festival. This Italian red absolutely did not disappoint with notes of rich, dried fruit in the full-bodied wine.

The festival also offered a Belgian bier garten experience with full pours of Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe beers in addition to a whiskey and bourbon tasting area if you preferred spirits.

There was also great food to be had on the VIP pier. The Red Hook Lobster truck table was constantly swarmed each time they brought out a fresh tray of shrimp rolls, but it was well worth the wait. Eleven Courses Private Chefs, had multiple tables set up serving dishes such as caprese salads, black Angus sliders, Brooklyn hotdogs and gourmet popcorn.

It was a great way to spend a beautiful day on the water, soaking up the sun and enjoying all the wonderful treats from the National Harbor Food and Wine Festival. 

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