The 9th Annual Washington D.C. International Wine and Food Festival is the largest indoor wine tasting event in the Mid-Atlantic region, providing wine-lovers with the opportunity to sample over 800 wines from more than 200 wineries. The Festival offers wine tasting seminars, cooking demonstrations from some of the City’s top chefs, food samples, winemaker “meet and greets,” and access to manufacturers of related lifestyle products and services.
Entering the Grand Tasting, you are welcomed with a souvenir glass for tastings and a glossy magazine outlining the exhibitors and where to locate them, plus schedules for the “meet and greet” presentations, chef demonstrations and guided tastings/seminars. Each winery has a booth, welcoming guests to sample a flight of their wine selection.
Held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the Grand Tasting is divided among three large rooms. The main room features solely North American wines, while the north room features Old World wines in addition to North American wines and the south room features New World wines in addition to North American wines.
From vineyards as close as Virginia to wineries as far as Australia, the Festival has a wine for every consumer. With tastings ranging from a traditional Pinot Noir to an exotic guava fruit wine, the day was filled with fantastic wine, chocolate, and cheese tastings as well as educational and informative lectures and demonstrations.
Among the highlights were the Wine That Loves series, Robert Mondavi’s Solaire series, and Miami Winery’s fruit wine. In order to simplify wine and food pairings, the team at Wine That Loves created a series of wine that is developed to enhance the flavors of food. The wines are designed to pair with the foods Americans enjoy most often and to reflect American tastes. Three varietals of wine were offered for tasting and the names are simple: Wine That Loves Pasta With Tomato Sauce, Wine That Loves Roasted Chicken, and Wine That Loves Grilled Salmon. The team provided tastings of grilled chicken, grilled salmon, and baked ravioli with tomato sauce to demonstrate how well their wines paired with these foods. The design of the bottles and the names are fun and quirky, and the wine did indeed enhance the flavors of the designated food.
In a large room near the entrance to the Festival, Solaire by Robert Mondavi offered guests the opportunity to taste two new wines by the famed winemaker. Available in Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Solaire is produced from grapes grown in California’s Santa Lucia Highlands and Paso Robles. The Solaire series, which will be available in fine wine stores and restaurants, is Robert Mondavi’s first new release in 13 years and allows consumers an exquisite wine at a reasonable price. The Chardonnay is aged for 13 months in French Oak, yet remains affordable at less than $20 a bottle.
One of the more unique tastings offered was from Miami Winery. Rather than grapes, Miami Winery produces wines made from the fermentation of exotic fruits. Three varietals were offered: Guava, Mango, and Lychee. Made from fruit grown in Miami’s sub-tropical climate, Miami Winery’s fruit wines are a novel substitute for the traditional dessert wine.
The Grand Tasting at the Washington D.C. International Wine and Food Festival provides the opportunity to sample wines from new up-and-coming winemakers as well as some of the traditional favorites.
With wines ranging from an Oregon Pinot Noir, to an Australian Shiraz, to a Viognier from Lodi, California, the Festival offers something for every palette. Wine paired with innovative chocolate offerings, such as
Chilies and Cherry in Dark Chocolate and
Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate, and creamy cheese samples allowed for a delicious and decadent way to spend a Saturday afternoon.