Wine lovers from near and far descended on the city of Miami Beach for the 12th staging of The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE. With over 50 events featuring more than 150 celebrated chefs and over 250 wineries, spirits producers, and non-alcoholic beverage suppliers, there was something for everyone.
Wine lovers come in many flavours; some are casual drinkers while some are serious connoisseur collectors. While the causal wine lovers will enjoy the grand tasting tents pouring hundreds of wines each year, Wine Spectator Magazine hosts some very special tasting sessions where the winemaker from the featured winery is usually on hand to take attendees through an informed and detailed tasting of their best wines and Champagnes. This year I attended some of these special events and discovered new Champagnes and wines that were simply breathtaking. Here are a few of my new discoveries:
Krug's US brand ambassador master sommelier took us through a very memorable tasting of Krug Vintage 2000, Krug Vintage 1998, Krug Grande Cuvée, 2011 Disgorgement, Krug Grande Cuvée, 2007 Disgorgement and the rare Krug Rosé. In between sips he weaved the story of the founder Joseph Krug, a visionary and non-conformist with an uncompromising philosophy and obsession with detail on which the house was founded and is defined by today, six generations on. Krug is imported into Jamaica by Wray and Nephew.
I heard of Numanthia, but never tasted it until that weekend. Bodega Numanthia was founded in 1998 by the Eguren family to produce the best wine from Toro. The estate is located in Valdefinjas, a small village of Toro in Northwest Spain.These big powerful wines are made of grapes from very old vines, 100-200 years old. Winemaker Manuel Louzada tasted us through Numanthia 2006, Numanthia 2007, Numanthia 2008, Numanthia 2009 and the highly prized Termanthia 2006 and Termanthia 2009. These wines have great aging potential.
House of Mandela
South Africa produces great wines, so when I saw wine associated with another great name from South Africa, I had to stop and pay attention. Taking us through the wines were Dr Makaziwe Mandela, chairwoman, House of Mandela (Nelson Mandela's daughter), Tukwini Mandela, marketing director (Nelson Mandela's grand-daughter) along with their US importer Heritage Link Brands president & CEO Selena Cuffe. We tasted and enjoyed the three wines currently in the portfolio - House of Mandela Methode Cap Classique Sparkling wine, House of Mandela Royal Reserve Chardonnay 2009 and House of Mandela Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.
Fred and Carol Schrader were on hand to offer two of their amazing wines: the 2012 Aston Estate Pinot Noir and the 2008 GIII Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Fred, Carol and winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown started the winery in 1998 and in 2007 two of their wines scored 100 points in a blind tasting conducted by Wine Spectator Magazine. It was the first time in history that a 100- point score was awarded to an American wine and Schrader Cabernets did it twice. Robert Parker has also scored Schrader wines 100 points a number of times. When you taste a truly world- class wine, it sticks in your mind. I can still remember the very rich, deep elegance of this wine with ripe plum notes delicately balanced with cherry and hints of spices.
Christopher Reckord - Businessman, Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on twitter: @DeVineWines @Reckord