The 14th Annual International Food and Wine Festival took over the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and oh what a beautiful take-over. As an attendee of the Regional Wine and Food Celebration, I was overwhelmed at the number of wineries represented as well as the wonderful menu prepared by local chefs, Xavier Deshayes from the International Trade Center and Todd Gray from Equinox. The food was arranged banquet style with each table representing an area of the world so that guests could easily pair the wine offerings with the food presented.
Guest favorites were the following:
|Mediterranean Foods Table|
|Alianca Dao, Quinta Da Garrida|
Reserva 2010 - 100% Encruzado Grape
Made with 100% Encruzado grapes, this Quinta Da Garrida (Alianca Dao) wine has a light-bodied creamy brightness that hints of pineapple, spices and vanilla. It is perfect for a creamy pasta or pan seared scallops.
|Sea Asparagus Risotto|
|Steele Wines, |
Shooting Star, Chardonnay
Though there were many Chardonnays presented, Steele's Shooting Star was probably the best value having a nice round finish. It hits all the basic Chardonnay notes for a retail value of approximately $15. There are hints of apple, peach and its light oakiness lends to its slightly dry acidity.
|Brazilian Fish with Chimichurri Sauce|
|Trimbach, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc|
Trimbach provided two fun and flirty pinots. The Pinot Gris has a slight sparkle with an acidic fruity finish while the Pinot Blanc offers a more complex oaky flavor. Either would be paired well with a citrus or ginger marinated fish dish.
Argentinian Roast Beef
|Gerard Bertrand, |
Minervois and Corbieres
|Chateau Coudray |
Chateau Coudray sampled their Chinon, made of 100% Cabernet franc grapes. This was by far the favorite cabernet of the night. It has smoky hints of tobacco, but still retains an earthy fruit flavor.
Both of the Syrah blends offered by Gerard Bertrand would be excellent with a flavorful red meat or lamb dish.
|Chateau Tanunda, Grand Barossa, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling|
|Cousino-Macul, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay|
Chateau Tanunda provided both their cabernet sauvignon and riesling. Both of which were well-balanced, though their 2010 Riesling was the best riesling of the evening. It was very aromatic and perfect acidity.
Another winery that offered solid affordable wines was Cousino-Macul from Chile. Their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of cherry and anise with a wonderfully smooth spicy finish.
|Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - 80 Proof Spirits|
|Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - Cocktails|
Philadelphia based, Art in the Age of Reproduction, provided four mixed cocktails. Elegantly displayed in punch bowls were the Apple Snap (featuring Art in the Age's SNAP, a neutral spirit made of blackstrap molasses, ginger and spices) and Rhuby Smash (featuring RHUBY, made of rhubarb and botanicals).
The Apple Snap, which can also be served hot, is made of 1 part SNAP, 3 parts apple cider, and fresh sliced ginger over ice.
The Rhuby Smash was made of RHUBY, lemonade, club soda, strawberries and mint. I can't imagine anything more brunch worthy!
Finally, the best fruity dessert wines and sparkling wines were the following:
|Hazlitt Vineyards, Red Cat and White|
|Lamberti, Rose Sparkling Wine|
Lamberti has a wonderfully light and fruity character. With it's lovely rose color and sparkling bubbles, this wine sets out to be the perfect celebratory wedding or romantic dinner wine. Hazlitt's Red Cat blends with lime for the simple, yet flavorful sangria. If you're looking for a more fruity and concord-like wine, try their White Cat; a familiar taste with a nice twist.
|The Dessert Table|
|Fig Bar, Tropical Flan and Meringue |
Blueberry Lemon Tart
The best pairings for the amazing desserts were Lamberti's Prosecco and Toso's Brut. Both were equally bubbly with a nice dry smooth finish and had an acidity that enhanced the the citrus notes of each of the dessert offerings. The tropical flan was outstanding and beautifully garnished with mango, papaya and kiwi fruits and topped with a toasted almond biscuit drizzled with caramel sauce.