Saturday, June 12, 2010
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the LA Wine Festival with a media pass. Unfortunately it was a hot day and the festival was all outside. There were limited shaded areas and those areas were the most crowded. Luckily I had sunblock in my car as back up. Always bring a tube just in case the weather changes. The festival was held at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood and parking was free because you could find street parking nearby, which was a plus.
Despite the strong sun and heat, it was still a nice day to be out and enjoying good wine. The heat probably increased inebriation speed as we become more dehydrated. Don't worry, Icelandic Glacial was there to help hydrate and cleanse our palates as we move our way through the crowds. I have always liked Icelandic Glacial and their bottle. They actually give away miniature bottles that are even cuter.
What would go great with wine? Needless to say that they had a few booths serving chocolate and cheeses to go with the fine wine. As we were walking into the festival, City Club on Bunker Hill was giving out these beautifully crafted Chocolate Truffle Lollipops covered in golden swirls. The Chocolate Traveler also had a station with many different samples. I really enjoyed the Tabasco chocolate with a spicy kick that takes a few seconds to settle in. They offered an interesting variety of chocolates.
There were a few cheeses there and I really enjoyed the Somerdale Classic English. They have a wonderful aged cheddar that had a sharp flavor with bits of salt crystals to bring out the natural flavor of the cheese. We also loved the Cotswold Cheese that was savory and flavorful. It's much softer but the seasonings used really stand out. Goes great with all the fine wines there.
The best thing to come out of this festival is that I was able to find a few wines that I really enjoy and would love to purchase for home. I am not a big fan of alcohol, so what am I doing at a wine festival you might ask? I am learning to like it! lol O=9 Or trying to. It's a long arduous journey but I want to open myself up to the possibilities and enjoy the finer things in life. To my surprise there were a few wines that I found delightful and didn't mind drinking. When I saw a winery called Vampire Wines, I had to go try it. Of course I didn't have high hopes because it was such a gimmick, but I like a gimmick and wanted to give them a shot. They were surprisingly good. I don't think I have had Zinfandel more than once or even at all and I really really enjoyed the sweetness and smoothness of the Zinfandel. The names of their wines were really cute and played the part. They even offer an ale called "Witches Brew", which was creatively cute. With all the hype from Twilight and vampires, this label fits right in. They even had bottles of water that were colored to give a special appeal. I asked about them and they plan to launch a line of water, but I was able to get one. O=9
My favorite station was the San Antonio Winery. The people there were super friendly and happy to fill our glass. I tried their Red and White Sangria, but my favorite new wine is the Stella Rossa. The wines they have are nice and light. For a non-alcohol drinker it is perfect. It has just the right amount of alcohol. Enough that you don't feel the alcohol, which can be super dangerous because you can drink a whole bottle without feeling it. I can just imagine myself buying a few bottles for home and keep in the fridge for a rainy day. Or even as an everyday drink to sip on in front of a TV. Oh no do I send like a future AA member? lol The Stella Rossa was effervescent and sweet. It was reminiscent to Moscato d'Asti, which is one of my favorite. The richness of the fruit bubbles over your tongue as you drink it. The best part is they are easily found at BevMo so I don't have to search far and wide to get it. I also pray that they might be on the buy one get one 5 cent deal, but who knows. Dare to dream! lol If anyone knows about deals on the Stella Rossa from San Antonio Winery, please let me know!
Another booth that caught our eye was the Ventura Limoncello stand. They gave us tiny little cups with a sample of their award-winning Limoncello. Don't judge the drink by its size. That little sip can pack a punch. As Tofu has mentioned before, you can keep a bottle in the freezer and it will never freeze. Now that is full of alcohol! lol The traditional way to drink Limoncello that I learned in Venice, Italy is to pair it with water. You will notice the after taste and natural flavors that emanate through your mouth. Their Limoncello was very sweet and rich.
With a drink in hand and great friends to have fun with. What can go wrong? I actually tried a few more wines, mainly because there wasn't that much food around. Also, it is a wine festival so I had to drink up! There were a lot of surprising finds and good memories. The only thing I wish there was more of was food. They had a few food stands that you have to pay for. I wish that the ticket was all inclusive, even if it raises the price a little. For $65 I would like more food because pairing food and wine would just make the experience perfect. Each with their own richness and sweetness to compliment one another. Still, it was a nice afternoon out in Hollywood. Thanks again to Pleasure Palate and Desiree G. Cheers!