I recently returned from the Wine and Jazz Festival at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, as the guests of the fabulous management team. It was a blast! Three days of events centered around the wines of the U.S. (well, mostly California & Oregon).
When I think about the California and Oregon wine industries, I can’t help but think in terms of large, corporate entities, like Gallo or Mondavi. It is so great to get the opportunity to see some of the smaller production wineries up close and personal. Of course, it is Vegas, so during the consumer tasting, you have to talk to the winery reps through a “model”, which can be both frustrating and entertaining at the same time.
On the first night, we enjoyed some excellent live jazz and tasted the sparkling wine lineup from Domaine Carneros by Tattinger, among others. ¬†The 2007 Domaine Carneros was crisp and dry with fine bubbles and refreshing flavours of green apples and citrus and a comforting yeasty note on the finish. ¬†Their rose bubbly (a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes) was a tad lush, with berry notes and fine tannins on the finish.
On the second night, I felt like a kid in a candy store. ¬†It was consumer tasting time in the Grand Ballroom. ¬†Wines from Caymus and Seghesio Family Vineyards tickled my palate, to name a few. ¬†The Caymus Conundrum will always be a favorite of mine, with it’s juicy, rich, round palate and it’s silky, honeyed finish. ¬†The Select Cabernet Sauvignon from Caymus was delightful as well with it’s ripe berries, spice and hints of tobacco.
On Sunday morning, I got up early (11am is early for Vegas!) to enjoy the Champagne and Jazz Brunch. ¬†The food was an amazing cross cultural array, but the music was even better. ¬†Everything ground to an absolute halt though when the vocalist on stage began his rendition of What a Wonderful World. ¬†He sounded precisely like Louis Armstrong and it was mind blowing! ¬†It was worthy of the standing ovation that it garnered.
The highlight of the weekend was the poolside wine tasting known as the “Winedown with the Winemakers”. ¬†The sun was shining, and the water was warm, which made the wine taste even better. ¬†I have never spent a wine tasting supine, but it turned out to be the way that things ought to be. ¬†Five hours and a slight sunburn later, I had tasted my way through several lovely California Sauvignon Blancs and was much the better for the experience.
If you’re interested in trying something new next year, check out the link below:
I highly recommend it. ¬†In order to appreciate what we have to offer the world here in our little corner of it, it’s important to step outside our boundaries once in a while. ¬†Now if I can just find a way to head farther south and taste a bunch of really great tequilas!