Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No Conundrums About It: 2013 Cleveland Wine Festival Was A Perfect Vintage

Conundrum: noun \kə-ˈnən-drəm\  a confusing or difficult question or problem
I am happy to report that my visit to the 2013 Cleveland Wine Festival did not pose any conundrums at all. Logistical problems, such as how do we visit all these booths in one night, sure. But not one hard to solve, nerve wracking problem.
Well, actually, I guess there was one Conundrum, but this one came in a bottle (2011, 13.5%, CA)!
Conundrum Red Wine bottle shotA little back story to this evening. The Winey Hubby and I visited Winefest with one of our very favorite Winey Couples. The husband in this couple is a red wine lover, like myself. The wife tends toward the lighter sweeter wines, just like the Winey Hubby does. So the four of us spent a good part of the evening explaining that no, we weren't married and our spouses were at another tent sipping away, one ounce at a time, the wines they really loved. We did stay in near proximity to each other though...until Winey Friend and I hit the Wagner Family of Wines tent and ran straight into said conundrum.
This is only the second vintage of Conundrum Red released, and it goes fast and furious, as it will be the only one this year. (insert your frowny face here) My Winey pal knew of the wine, since it seems that at a party we were all that, someone had brought a bottle of Conundrum and he got to taste some of it. After sipping this one, I immediately accused him of holding out at the party and threatened his life if he ever did so to me again. This was seriously one of the best wines I have tasted  - red, white, USA, France - no contest - it was amazing. The nose started out with a teeny whiff of bacon laced with chocolate. (DO NOT make that face, it's a wonderful combo.) The taste was about mocha and cherry. It felt like silk in my mouth. The finish lasted quite a while, but you really couldn't taste anything tannic in it - just the mocha cherry flavors. I will tell you that this wine is a bit pricier than most I write about - in the $20-$30 range, depending on where and when you buy it (it is on special at times for the $20) but I loved it so much I just had to share it with you!
label shot of Meiomi Pinot Noir
Needless to say, we stayed at this booth for a bit, leaving our respective spouses to wander off in search of a strawberry wine cocktail that had been recommended to them. We got to talking with the folks from Wagner Family Wines, and they made us try (yeah, made we argued) a Pinot Noir that they had there as well.
This particular Pinot is called Meiomi (2012, 13.8%, CA). It runs about $20 as well, and penny for penny, it is another amazing wine to spend the money on! It's a pretty garnet color and gives off aromas of berry and cherry and oak. The taste is WOW! (Seriously, I wrote that in my wine notes from the night.) All jammy and cherry and that touch of light oakiness. Pinot Noir can be a bit of a diva wine, and I have a hard time finding good ones, so this was quite a find for my taste buds. The next time I sip this, it will be on my patio with a plate of blue and goat cheeses in front of me. Or when I sit down to a lamb chop dinner. My oh my!
The Winey Foursome with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
in the background
photo credit: some very nice person that stopped sipping long
enough to take our picture
Now, these were obviously not the only two wines we sipped all evening long. But they were without a doubt the standouts. Others that we liked were Bogle's Essential Red and the Old Vine Zinfandel. Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon (aptly named Opulent) and our spouses were all about St. James Winery and their fruit wines, which were served as some yummy wine cocktails.
A note about the Festival: The perfect night to be on Cleveland's lakefront. The temperature was just right (light sweaters) and the sky was clear and blue ending in starlight. There was a very tempting array of food on hand as well (we went for the gyros from Parma's Original Greek Gyro - messy, but worth it). The exhibitors were friendly and generous with their pours and the live music was very danceable (just ask me and my Winey Girlfriend). All in all, a wonderful night was had and sipped by all. Not a Clevelander? I'm sure your city has a wine festival or at least a nearby one, and  I would highly suggest an evening out there. They are great places to try new wines and learn about wine in general.
See you at next year's Festival!!

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