New Orleans Wine and Food Experience: The Seminars

We had the fortune of being able to catch the whole five day extravaganza this time around for NOWFE. I was excited because the meant that I would get to go to as many seminars as I could handle. And we did.

In true New Orleans fashion, our first seminar, sparkling rose's started at 9.30 in the morning. And what a lovely way to start off the day. Six different sparkling rose's presented by Ziggy the Wine Gal, some farm fresh Vitner's cheese and rose petal jelly from Sheana Davis at the Epicurean Connection that is to die for. (I've got the recipe somewhere). My favorite was the Taittinger Prestige Cuvee'. I think Collin liked the Moet Chandon Rose' Imperial.

After swooning over the cheese at the Rose' seminar, I had to learn more about the Epicurean Connection so we headed over the the seminar on Sonoma Wines and Food. My favorite cheese lady, Sheana Davis was back with cheese and compotes to match with some killer wines from Sonoma county. I love these seminars because I love to hear the wine makers talk about their wines, and I like hearing people talk about things that they are really passionate about, especially if it is something I enjoy too.

The last seminar we hit up on Friday before the Grand Tasting was the Malbec seminar. Eight different Argentinian malbecs for us to try. I thoroughly enjoyed this seminar. The wine makers brought some fantastic (and pricey) wines to show off. But the reason I love malbec so is that you can buy a 8 dollar bottle and be in wine heaven. Frankly, for the price, I was a little put off by some of the wines showcased.

Saturday we were not so aggressive in our seminar-ing escapades. We attended the rabbit seminar first thing. This was hands down, my favorite seminar. Chef's from local restaurants prepared signature rabbit dishes from their menus and then talked about their favorite ways to prepare rabbit. I don't even remember where the wines came from. If you haven't had the chance to try rabbit, DO IT. It was lovely, white meat that is lower in fat than chicken, turkey, pork and duck. We had it stewed (in a chicken and dumplings type dish that was amazing), rabbit terrine, rabbit salad and gumbo. Tablas Creek wines were poured & the whole line up they brought all complimented the dishes in their own way. Ah, rabbit and wine for breakfast, can't beat it.

The final seminar we attended was the Blind Tasting Tactics seminar. I was crazy about this seminar too. I love tasting wine but don't have the vocabulary to describe what I am tasting. (This is why most of my tasting notes read something along the lines of "tastes like rubber, you know that rubber taste that you get from sucking out of the garden hose, that taste. Kicks you in the back of the throat, it's that big. That is one sassy wine", and on and on). This seminar was helpful because it really helped me identify some of the things I was tasting in a wine and the origin of those tastes (ie. what acidity really is and where the tannins come into play.) There was also useful information about characteristics in wine in regards to the geography of the vineyard. At the end of the seminar, our host tasted a wine blind for us to see if she could use her skill to tell what the wine was, and where it was from. After years of training her palate, she couldn't guess the type of wine or the origin. It made me feel a little better about my rookie wine tasting abilities.

And there you have it. Seminars in a nutshell. There were many more to choose from but we couldn't possibly attended all the seminars and the grand tastings. I think If we go next year, we will try for more seminars and then take it easy during the grand tastings. the seminars are full of fabulous information, great wines (the don't generally show up at the grand tastings, and fantastic people who are really passionate about food and wine.


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