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Posted by perle0 on 2005-03-29 00:12:10 (6172 views)

[New Orleans]
The Foundry provided a spacious venue for the tasting.
On Monday, March 14, attended the Napa Valley Vintner’s Association Tasting, a fund-raiser for the Save Our Cemeteries organization. It was held in The Foundry, a large space in a former warehouse in the Warehouse District downtown.

There was plenty of room, and plenty of wine.This event begged comparison with the Paso Robles Wine Tasting held at Morton’s Steakhouse the week before. This event featured roughly twice as many wineries, and luckily, The Foundry offered a far more spacious setting for them. Wine tables extended around the perimeter of the large room, broken up by the occasional delicious food offering from places like Bella Luna and Martin Wine Cellar. There were far too many wines to sample each one, or even one from each winery; I have to admit I skipped at least a quarter of the tables, just from sheer inablility to try them all.

I found the Dominari name and label appealing.Of the ones that I sampled, a few stood out as making an impression on me. These in no way suggest that any other wines featured were less good, since I missed many altogether. These were just wines that I sampled that were a profile I enjoyed. The Cabernet sauvignons that stood out included Beringer Vineyards 2000 Private Reserve, the Conn Creek 2001 Limited Release (their Cabernet franc limited release from the same year was also noteworthy), 2002 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley, Clos du Val 1999 Reserve, Milat 2001 Estate, and the Reynolds Family Winery 2002 Estate Select Napa Valley. Spring Mountain Vineyards also had a special bottle of 1987 Cabernet on hand which was outstanding.

Among the other reds, I enjoyed the St. Supery 2000 Elu Meritage and the Trinchero 2001 Meritage. Among standout Pinots were Ceja Vineyards 2001 Pinot Noir Carneros, which had good flavor but was lighter than the usual Pinot, and ZD 2003 Pinot Noir.

The Reynolds Family Winery offered a nice Cabernet.Hightlight Merlots included Dominari 2002 (loved the label), Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley, and Stonehedge 2001 Reserve Napa Valley. Rocca Family Vineyards had a 2001 Yountville Syrah that was very tasty.

Among white wines, which I tried only a few of because my knowledge of white is very limited, I tried the Saintsbury 2003 Carneros Chardonnay, the ZD 2002 Reserve Chardonnay, and Schramsberg 2000 Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. Ones that impressed me (but keep in mind, I'm not an expert on whites) were the Benessare 2004 Pinot Grigio Carneros, and 2004 Trefethen Vineyards Estate Dry Riesling. The latter had a very nice bouquet, but tasting it I found myself wanting something sweeter. This is a perfect example of why I try not to offer too many opinions on the whites--it was clearly a good wine, but simply not to my tastes.

On a similar note, Gustavo Thrace had a 2002 Muscat that made a nice break from all the non-stop Cabs. It had a lovely bouquet, but wasn't as sweet as I prefer from a dessert wine. That means that it would be perfect for someone with less of a sweet tooth than I have. (Dessert wines are the one area of whites where I do have some familiarity, but also a marked preference for extreme sweetness.)
Here's another view of the layout at the tasting.

All in all, it was a very successful tasting. The wines offered were of high quality, and the food offerings were both delicious and in the right proportion to balance the wine without distracting from it. The venue was spacious, yet pleasant. We were unable to participate in the silent auction, but it looked like an appealing pastime for anyone who needed to take a short break from the tasting, and make a bid on some fine wine for later. The pourers were knowledgeable and friendly, and willing to answer questions from the most tipsy tasters. Last but not least, the Napa Valley Vintners undoubtedly raised a good bit of money for the worthy cause of Save Our Cemeteries, allowing further preservation of some of New Orleans' most distinctive and visible landmarks.


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