Sunday, November 1, 2009

EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

If you're able to make this annual event on a visit to Disney World’s EPCOT Center between late September and early November, you’ll find a vast selection of wines, beers, spirits and culinary delights from across the globe. I usually make it to a half or full day and this time I took notes to share here. We started mid-morning by trying some aged cheddar with brown bread from Ireland…no beer or wine yet. After purchasing some tickets to seminars being held later that day, it was lunchtime and South American cuisine was on track for some samplings.

From Argentina, 2008 Cosecha Tardia (by Bodega Norton) was a nice white wine I’d not heard of. Aromas of apricot led to a semi-sweet taste of peaches and vanilla. This is a late harvest chardonnay and would be a perfect pair with seafood and light pasta dishes.

From Chille, 2008 Carmenere (by Natura) was a red, which had aromas of cocoa, black fruit and a woody hint. Tastes comprised of ripe blackberries and plum along with some oak on the finish. The blend is Carmenere (87%), Syrah (4%), Petite verdot (4%) and Malbec (1%). A very easy drinking red with silky soft tannins will be something you should try from this eco-conscious winery. Online costs show retail pricing around $9-$10.

After our lunch samplings, we attended a seminar hosted by Chopin Vodka. If you haven’t tried this potato vodka, you must! There definitely is a difference in vodka made from grains (Rye, Oats, etc.) vs. potato vodka. I do love my martinis shaken cold, up and with a few olives and I have had my share of grain vodkas, which I think are outstanding as well. I just need to give a nod to Chopin for introducing me to theirs.

It was on to a South African 2008 Pinotage (by Fairview). What a great red wine exhibiting plum and
mocha on the scents followed by tastes of a mellow blackberry and finishing with a subtle peppery spice. I had it with grilled tenderloin and sweet potato mash. A bit of barbecue sauce on the side brought it all together with great flavors I’d bring out for my next barbecue.

From the North Fork region of New York State we tried a 2007 Pinot Blanc Reserve (from Lieb). With a buttery and woody aroma I was fooled when asked if this was aged in French or American oak barrels. The answer…no wood! Wow, it tasted very much like a chardonnay with subtle hints of oak. With light citrus and subtle buttery flavors this would pair well with oysters and shellfish. I’d like to send a thank you to Gary Madden, GM Lieb Family Cellars for taking some extra time to discuss Lieb, the North Fork and his history in wine making. I hope to keep a connection with you in the near future. Great seminar Gary!

To add a little variety to the day I decided to try a traditional Oktoberfest beer called Spaten. It’s a medium dark, mellow drinking beer from the Bavaria region. It went down great with the Nuremberg Sausage on a soft pretzel roll. A blend of salty snacks to pair well with was perfect. To all my client friends in Germany, I look forward to more wonderful beers in your country on my next visit.

Rounding out the evening were 2 more wines I felt worthy of mentioning here. The first was a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend. The 2006 Villa Maria from New Zealand had hints of ripe cherry, blackberry and an earthy aroma. The taste brought out the dark cherries along with some oak. The finish was pleasing, silky and smooth showing off soft tannins.

Lastly before all the tasting kiosks closed I grabbed one last sample. A Zweigelt from Austria (by IBY) was the finale. Big aromas of ripe strawberries and plum along with a smoky scent made me feel good for not missing this wine on our daily adventure. Flavors exuded with ripe dark berries along with a nutty and smoky finish. Very easy drinking with subtle tannins.

It was a great day and I hope you’re able to find some of these selections locally. I know I will begin looking as well.

Full disclosure: Everything tasted and mentioned above was paid for. No endorsements, complimentary samplings or products were offered.

1 comment:

  1. I love Chopin vodka! It's gluten free too, so a couple of my friends with gluten issues can drink it as well. I wish more bars had it.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.