By: Katie Faul
Over the past few years my appreciation of wine has grown, but I still am very much an amateur. I know the wines I like at the store and rarely move away from them. So when I received the opportunity to attend the Simms Steakhouse Wine Fest on May 18 in Golden, CO, I immediately jumped at the chance. I saw it as a great opportunity to not only widen my knowledge, but to begin to understand the differences between wines.
The Wine Fest featured over 75 Family-owned wineries from around the world. It was organized by AppleJack Liquors in Wheat Ridge, CO along with Quintessential, the distributor of the family-owned wineries. A list of the wineries at the event are listed on their flyer http://www.simmssteakhouse.com/wine-fest.asp.
The wineries were divided by region then country. Our first stop was to Argentina and the Valentin Bianchi Winery. This winery began in 1926 and is now in it's third generation of family ownership. We tasted the 2010 Malbec. The owner states it is a wonderful 'take off your tie and relax wine,' and I'd have to agree. It gave great taste of plums and cherries with a tasteful, but soft mouthfeel. I immediately pictured myself on my back porch on a cool night with a glass in hand.
Another wonderful winery we loved was From Italy. Paulo Manzone is the 6th generation of his family to run his namesake winery in Piedmont Italy. He makes a variety of wines ranging from a relaxing everyday wine, to special occasion bottles. First we were introduced to the Dolcetto d'Alba Magna, which received 91pts "Best Buy' by Wine and Spirits in Dec 2011. This wine had a rich floral scent, and a lovely taste of floral and berries, perfect for an after work glass.
We also were fortunate enough to taste the Barlo Meriame 2007. This is made of 100% Nebbiolo grapes from 60 year old vines situated near the village of Serralunga. Each grape is hand picked and the wine is matured in large French oak barrels for years. it received 92 Pts in Wine Advocate, Feb. 2011 and 90pts in Wine Enthusiast, Sept. 2011. The bold aroma and deep, strong taste, made this the favorite of the day.
While neither one of us are big fans of white wine, we felt in order to gain the full experience, we had to try a few. We were so happy we did! Our favorite white was the Pinot Blanc Reserve 2010 from Gustave Lorentz in Alcase, France. The winery began in 1836 and is in its 6th generation of the family. It is made from 100% hand picked pinot blanc grapes from the vineyards. It has a nice balance of citrus flavor with a dry and elegant finish.
One of the best surprises of the day was when we came across Binderer from Germany/Hungry. In addition to his wonderful Count Karolyi Gruner Vltliner 2011, he also has a line of 2Go cans (Veneto, Upugata Italy). There are Moscato and a Secco sparkling wine cans. They are made from white grapes from the Veneto region in Germany. The grape must is fermented dry in pressure tanks and a secondary malolactic fermentation directly follows. The wine is racked to a different tank and bottled immediately for release. These not only tasted great, but immediately made the list of must buys for park days when we want wine, but can't bring glass.
We ended the day back in the US with Eponymous, owned by Robert Pepi Jr. He uses grapes from wineries both in Sonoma and Napa Valleys. He prides himself on only the best and finest vineyards and grapes. We fell in love with the Eponymous Cabernet Franc 2009 from the first smell. The grapes come from a single vineyard in Sonoma. The smell along with the pure medium bodied taste, made this one of the hits of the day.
For more information on the wines that were sampled at the tasting, go to http://www.quintessentialwines.com.