Having attended last year's wine festival, I was already looking forward to this year's event for the wide variety of tastings and beautiful museum atrium venue. But when I saw the ads promoting the event with the signature "Eat Me" note from Alice in Wonderland--a personal favorite--I could hardly contain my excitement.
With smooth jazz and elegant white tablecloths, the 2016 International Wine Festival really set the mood before we even took our first sip. The wine tastings--starting with champagne, moving through the whites and the reds, and ending with dessert wines--were organized like a deck of cards, a la Wonderland. Unlike last year, all of the whites were grouped together, while all of the reds were arranged separately. I really appreciated this separation; and for people who prefer one over the other, there is less traffic to deal with while circulating the tables.
This year's event was also more interactive. There was a wine-bottle ring toss: if you ring a bottle, you win a bottle. And the silent auction boasted unique items like an Eric Fitzpatrick painting, a private wine and paint class at the museum, and a hand-crafted martini purse. And while guests were in between tastings, the museum sponsored a couple of seminars in the Taubman Theater: "Taste Like a Pro" and "Read It Before You Drink It! Decoding Labels." So it was both entertaining and educational.
I knew I would like the wines...even some of the reds, which aren't usually my preference (though I think I'm finally coming around to it). And I knew there would be food. But the moment I spotted bite-sized macarons by the dessert wine station, I was sold. My absolute favorite sweet treat (and one that I would love to master at home someday) completely made my day. There were also mini flourless chocolate cakes (delicious!) and mini creme puffs with lemon glaze (which my mom absolutely adored.
Oh, and the wine, of course! Here are my favorites from the festival, all of which are available at Kroger:
- Claude Lancelot Champagne, France
- Mille Prosecco, Italy
- Italo Cescon Pinot Grigio, Italy
- Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier, California
- Conte di Compiano Primitivo, Italy
- Frinca Hispana Red Blend, Spain
- Durigutti Malbec, Argentina
- Muga Rioja (Tempranillo), Spain
- Boeri Moscato d'Asti, Italy