The National Wine Experience kicked off its inaugural show here in Washington, DC on Saturday evening with over 1000 guests and wines from 25 states at the Newseum.
Yours truly presided over an exciting line up of 13 wines from 6 states, including Arizona Stronghold from Arizona, Sawtooth from Idaho and Brooklyn Oenology from New York.
I did manage to sneak away from my Vino50 tasting table while the Wine Diva held down the crowds so I could have a peek around at some of the more interesting wines being featured at the event. I decided to skip the California floor (who needs more Robert Mondavi in their life?) and found myself enjoying tasty treats from Nebraska, Texas and even South Dakota! Here are some highlights:
Prairie Berry Winery, South Dakota
I had never tried any wines from South Dakota and am always skeptical of "fruit" wines but these were really interesting and fun.
La Crescent, a fruity and aromatic off-dry white wine with notes of apricot, lychee and rose petal. Very reminiscent of Gewurztraminer.
Pheasant Reserve, an interesting red blend of Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon and South Dakota chokecherries. Soft and fruity with tart cherry and bright acidity.
Red Ass Rhubarb, an interesting semi-sweet wine from rhubarb with tangy rhubarb and raspberry notes. Would be fabulous with mulling spices on a cold winter's day.
Lawrence Elk, a semi-sweet wine made from black currants. Bright and juicy with loads of black currant flavors. I could totally see this paired with a blackberry tart.
Glacial Till Vineyard & Winery, Nebraska
2009 Chambourcin, a dry red wine full of terroir. Dark fruit and forest floor aromas followed by tart plum and cherry flavors with smoke and spice on the finish. Silky smooth. What a tasty wine!
Chapel Creek Winery, Oklahoma
2009 Norton, a dark and earthy red that would make Jenni McCloud of Virginia's Chrysalis Vineyards proud.
Plum Creek Winery, Colorado
Sauvignon Blanc, warm climate style with lemongrass notes.
Riesling, slightly off-dry with lime zest and apricot notes.
Grand Mesa, a big Bordeaux blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc with mouth filling texture and load of dark fruit, spice and earth.
St. Clair and DH Lescombes, New Mexico
St. Clair Zinfandel, a classic spicy and fruit-forward style with wild berry and spice notes.
DH Lescombes Cabernet Sauvignon, dark and rich with cassis, plum, graphite and smoky spice.
Thanksgiving Farm, Maryland
2007 Meritage, Merlot based blend that could perhaps fool you into believing it hails from France. Bright with dark fruit notes mixed with pepper, spice and smoke. This wine does need time to open up and from previous experience it tastes much better after a day of breathing.