News from Around Banderas Bay | November 2005
|To Know Wine is to Understand Life
Denise Derameé - PVNN
Puerto Vallarta - It has been said that "to know wine is to understand life," and thanks to the wine tasting events taking place at the Sheraton Buganvilias during this year's Festival Gourmet Expo Forum, you don't have to be a wine connoisseur to explore the wonderful world of wine.
|You don't have to be a wine connoisseur to explore the wonderful world of wine at this year's Festival Gourmet Expo Forum at the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort in Puerto Vallarta.
So why go to a wine tasting? The benefits are not only both educational and social, but also give you the chance to load up on all the juicy factoids about wine so you can impress all of your friends and acquaintances. While I can't claim to be a wine expert, I have been known to enjoy a glass from time to time...
My mother always told me that you can learn the most about wine simply by drinking it, so last Tuesday, I went to the Quesos Caprina Cheeses of the World and Domecq Wine Tasting event at the Sheraton Resort and Convention Center. The wine tasting, held in the Expo Forum's VIP area, gave me the opportunity to increase my understanding of wine - not to mention giving my aspirations of becoming a true wine connoisseur a kick-start.
A demonstration by Debbie Beard accompanied each of the four wines presented, covering the way wine should be enjoyed to get the most out of the experience. The color, bouquet and taste of each wine were explored, as well as how the difference in the size and quality of the glass in which the wine is served can effect the wine's flavor.
The glasses used at Tuesday's wine tasting event were made by Riedel, a Germany company that specializes in lead-free crystal glassware that is used by luxury resorts and fine dining establishments throughout Europe, the US and Mexico. As the wine was poured into glasses of various sizes, I was amazed to discover that the size and quality of the glass truly does change the unique subtleties of each wine.
Four distinctive wines produced by the Carlos Pedro Domecq winery in Baja California's Calafia Valley were presented. We started out with the winery's signature Blanc de Blanc XA, a crisp blend of Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay grapes with undertones of citrus and spice.
The next wine we sampled was the Chardonnay XA, characterized by its full and energetic flavor. The Chardonnay was followed by a Cabernet Sauvignon, which pleased the palate with a fruity aroma complemented by subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla. One of my fellow wine tasters remarked, "The Cabernet is extraordinary - especially when you consider its affordable price."
Last, but certainly not least, Ms. Beard presented the wine tasting's coup de grâce, Pedro Domecq's Chateau Domecq, an exceptional blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo grapes. In my humble opinion, this wine, with its deep red color and complex bouquet of dried fruits and strawberries, attains a level of excellence never seen in Mexican wines before.
Wine is for drinking. It's only as you open a bottle in a social context and drink it at leisure, noticing how it evolves in the glass and complements the food it is served with, that you'll fully understand what it's about. After the wine tasting presentation, our glasses were filled again [and again] as everyone sampled the "Cheeses of the World" provided by Quesos Caprina accompanied by a variety of fruits, crackers and breads made by a local Italian bakery.
Quesos Caprina of Atotonilco, Jalisco produces fine cheeses from the milk of goats and cows that were brought over from Europe. The first place winner in the Cheese category at the first National Expo of Goat, Cheeses and Caramels held in Celaya, Guanajuato in October of 2004, owner Salvador González Rubio continues to produce some of the finest cheeses of the world.
My exploration into the world of wine will certainly be a continuing journey. At this year's Festival Gourmet Expo Forum, not only did I have the opportunity to sample a variety of wines and some wonderful cheeses, but I also developed a keener appreciation for the rich tradition that wine enjoys in terms of our culture today.
Read all the event stories and view the photo galleries of the Festival Gourmet International 2005, from the Jungle themed kick off at the Mayan Palace to the Tropical Odyssey Closing Gala at the Sheraton. Just follow the links below.
Tropical Odyssey - An Exotic End to Festival 2005
For an evening to be truly memorable, it takes a combination of ambiance, music, wine, food, and often, company. The Tropical Odyssey Gala that was the closing event of the Eleventh Annual International Festival Gourmet Vallarta had all of these elements.more »»»
The ABC's of Gourmet
What many consider to be the "heart and soul" of the Festival Gourmet takes place in the days between the opening and closing parties, and during the daylight hours before the coveted Chef's Tables. The cooking classes offered by the Festival Gourmet are a great way to learn new skills and rub shoulders with like-minded gourmands.more »»»
The Chef's Table Masterpiece of Cocina de Autor
Imagine this... you've invited two of the world's finest chefs into your home, as well as a sommelier, a maitre d' and staff, and a jazz duo. The linens are crisp, the glasses gleam in the candlelight, and soothing water cascades down the rock wall in your outside atrium as you watch Chefs Blouet and Tapia create a masterpiece.more »»»
Bianco - The Best of Both Worlds
Just a month after their gala opening, Bianco's Chef's Table event, as part of the Festival Gourmet, was a huge success. Guest Chef Bernard Guillas from La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, and the Bianco staff created a one-of-a-kind 6 course meal in their unique fusion style, bringing together European cuisine and traditional Mexican ingredients.more »»»
Festival Gourmet Brunch Highlights
One of the most anticipated events of the Gourmet Festival is the Brunch at the Sheraton Buganvilias in Puerto Vallarta. Chef Francis Drillien of the Sheraton Cabo San Lucas, guest chef for this event, celebrated the sea with a minimalist brunch for 400 guests on Sunday. more »»»
The Flavours of Contemporary Chile
In the leafy aerie that is the top terrace of Chef Thierry Blouet's Cocina de Autor, his guest chef Oscar Tapia gave us a little gift yesterday, an amuse-bouche, which not only pleased but teased in anticipation for the chef's table dinner they will offer this Tuesday.more »»»
Hot Opener for the Gourmet Festival International
Fire. It is fitting that this most primitive and basic of cooking methods was the theme of the opening festivities of the Festival Gourmet International at the magnificent Mayan Palace in Nuevo Vallarta.more »»»