The BasicsFirst, let me explain the set-up. There were two options -- the general admission tickets and the VIP ticket. The general admission ticket offered a selection of about 40 wines that were all generally under $30. The VIP ticket included an additional 30 wines that ranged in price from the low $20s to Tanji Patton's choice champagne wine at just over $100. The VIP ticket also came with a special "coupon" that could be used towards a wine purchase. No matter the admission, all guests were able to purchase the wines after the event. There were additional discounts based off of case and ticket (there were better deals for those with a VIP pass, etc.). By the end, we kept our spending under control and bought our top six wines.
General AdmissionThe general admission wines offered the greatest selection and variety. Here, whites and reds went nearly hand-in-hand. The varietals were diverse but leaned toward the most popular ones, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The wineries were also diverse, but provided the largest amount of US wines. This also had the majority of the Texas wines -- three.
|One of the Texas choices: El Sueno: Tinto de Tejas from McPherson Cellars|
The general admission wines were solid options. Unfortunately, I didn't get to taste as many as I wanted, so Sean and I picked and chose carefully. For us, that means sticking with the reds. There were standouts and memorable wines in this bunch.
|John and the new Cab|
For us, one of the must have's to try was The Crusher. We didn't really care how it tasted, we just had to try it. Just before the event, Wil Wheaton had posted a picture on his blog with an added blurb on the label. We had to taste a wine that can both be a Star Trek Next Generation joke and a Big Bang Theory Joke. And a side note, Wil is a gracious and friendly guy. We meet him recently and shared our feelings about a role playing game we all play.
|Our tastings of The Crusher|
VIPThe VIP wines were heavy on the reds and provided a greater amount of less traditional wines and locales. The varieties included popular choices such as Cabernet and Pinot Noir, but lesser known options such as Tannat (the Silver Tannat from Bending Branch to be specific) and South African Shiraz. Here, the wines coated the palate and excited the taste buds; it was clear why this was the VIP selection.
There were a few wines we were VERY encouraged to drink. Well, they were right. At our first tasting, we started hearing about Chocolate Box. This was our favorite Shiraz of the day -- the Fairview Eenzamheld Shiraz being the other (which I will cover for a forthcoming Wine Wednesday). These two wines had such an earthiness to them. The earth sang in them, transporting the drinker to wide wind swept lands.
|Fairview Shiraz from South Africa|
Two other great reds included one of the most expensive (and well worth it) Urbina Gran Reserva and the Alessandro Pedro Ximeniz Sherry. The Urbina practically knocked me off my feet. This primarily Tempranillo blend from the Rioja area of Spain sparked notes of earth and spice, like many Texas Temps, but had the smooth balance that elevates many of the best Spanish Temps. I was so taken I had to buy a bottle. The Sherry, though, we almost missed tasting; we got in right at the wire. This Spanish Sherry was all caramel and nuts; the fruit provided a beautiful roundness and sweetness to the other flavors. I plan on opening my bottle at Christmas, but some days I just want to open it up and drink the whole thing.
I do have to mention the one white that caught my eye. Vicius Albarino was a great wine that was full of flavor. I have only had Texas Albarinos, and it was nice to have a Spanish one for once. And this was a treat. This wine is actually aged, in bottle, on the cool floor of the Atlantic Ocean. This is the passion that drives me to drink and write about wine.
Tanji Patton's SelectionOne of the best additions to the VIP ticket was having Tanji Patton from Good Taste with Tanji sharing three wines of her choosing. She provided a rose' champagne, the Ruinart Rose'. After my education during Rambling Rose at Becker vineyards, I was prepared for this treat. It was dry with soft berry fruits. I rarely drink champagne, but this wine was a whole different story.
The Overall Experience
|Sean and I enjoying the last of the event|
There are also nice additions. The music was upbeat and created a great mood, though it made talking and learning about the wines difficult -- I enjoyed learning about the wines and the wineries. The food, from great establishments from around San Antonio provided a nice break from all the wine. Be here again, time caused its share of problems; it was hard to actually enjoy any of the food and really get to enjoy a good selection of wine. Honestly, I am eager for next year and a whole new round of wines. Until then, I will enjoy my bottles and head to Max's for my fix.