Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wine Fest Photo Finish

  Ok, so I got spanked for downplaying the quality of my pics. I really do wish they were better and more varied, but at least I got a few.  My pal Johnny told me how to put up a slide show the other day and of course I promptly forgot and so am having to figure it out my ownself. There wasn't a whole lot of time away from our booth all weekend so most of the shots are taken from there when I had a spare minute to pick up the camera and take a quick snap. It'll give you some sense of the place and the crowd.

  I learned more than I expected this past weekend. The Verde Valley wine industry is the real deal. What most impressed me is the way all these winemakers appear to be helping each other out and encouraging each others' successes and commiserating on each others' flops. A rising tide floats all boats I guess, at least for the present. I saw lots of personal trades going on among the various owners. "I love your XXXX, I'll give you a case of my YYYY for one of yours". Deals like that all the time. I wish I'd been able to taste more wine, but we were under essentially bartender's rules as servers. I did get to sample some Caduceus selections, which I found uniformly good. Often in-your-face, ballsy wines that were begging for a salty rare steak, a smoky pork roast or rack of lamb. Wines for carnivores I'd call them. Not for the faint of heart, plenty big enough to wash down tasty hunks of flesh, but with true depth and interest for anyone wanting to drink slowly and explore the levels of flavor and nuance too. Mr. Keenan isn't just copying what he learned at Page Springs, he's really coming into his own and knows what he's after.
  As for the show itself, the organizers, at least from my sort of peripheral perspective did a great job and made sure the vendors had what they needed. At the end of the show they settled up with everyone quickly. The show ended Sunday at 5 and we were packed and out of there by 5:15.
  As for the food.....I'll admit to somewhat of a prejudice against Dahl and Deluca, one of the show sponsors and one of two food providers. I didn't try their food. I've been to their restaurant, fancy and pretentious Italian fare. I once had the worst plate of linguine and clams anyone has ever eaten there and swore off their food forever. I've had dirty socks that tasted better than the eight clams that came on top of that plate of soggy pasta and insipid, bland cheese. I've mopped my kitchen floor with less ammonia than those nasty bivalves contained. Thank goodness my wife had a gift certificate the last time. So I didn't try her offerings. The Grill At Shadow Rock, where I HAVE had a couple of good meals had the other food booth. Too bad their chef and sous chef spent most of their time, along with a lot of other Hilton Sedona employees all wearing name tags identifying them as Hilton employees, wandering around the wine tables trying to schmooze free wine samples instead of looking after their tired looking and refrigerator flavored offerings. Considering all the outstanding wine at this show, it's too bad the food wasn't a better match. I hope they'll do better next year. Let's cut out the foo-foo and get some good substantial food in there.
  The next show I'm going to get to work will be October 16th in Cottonwood. Forgive me if I mentioned that already. What I'm most excited about now is coming up this weekend, a visit to Freitas Vineyard to get a personal glimpse of the place where Ray works her magic.
  That's all for now....GH