If you’re a wine drinker, you’ve probably gone through an evolution of tastes if you’re anything like me. Back in the early 90s, you could find me drinking (and loving) a good Rhine wine straight from the jug. Well, I didn’t actually drink it from the jug but it came from a jug.
Fast forward to today. I’ve sampled wines from all over and I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t like. But I’ve also learned that my tastes are always changing. I used to drink red and white with equal delight. Now, I prefer whites. But even that has changed. I used to like a heavy, oaky California chardonnay and now I prefer a softer chardonnay, the likes of which can be found in Burgundy.
One of the ways I’ve been able to tell what I like and what I don’t is to sample a lot of wines. It helps to have friends that like wine but my husband and I have also spent our share of time going to wineries and wine festivals, like The Maryland Wine Festival. The only problem with a festival like that is that the wines are from, well, Maryland.
Let’s face it. The best wines in the world are generally not from the eastern seaboard of the United States. And thankfully, The Hotel Hershey Food & Wine Festival knows this.
The vendors invited to be part of the event literally came from all over the world with representation from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, among others. But before I get to the Grand Tasting (which was truly grand), let me give you a brief photographic tour of the events I attended this past weekend.
Trinchero Bordeaux Blending Class
New this year was a Bordeaux Blending Class to show guests the process and art of blending Bordeaux red wine. We were given four samples of the classic varietal components of Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. After tasting each one and tasting a Meritage blend from Trinchero’s winemaker, we were invited to literally mix and match and create our own blend. When finished, we submitted our samples for tasting and judging.
My secret combination: 45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Verdot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The result? I didn’t win or place but I sure enjoyed my own wine!
Pio Cesare Wine Dinner
Hosted by Italian winemaker Cesare Benvenuto from Pio Cesare Wines, this evening event started with a lovely outdoor reception followed by a five-course dinner paired with five wines.
Good food? Good wine? I’ll be the judge of that.
In a word, this meal was AMAZING. I was adventurous with this meal. I tried duck and beef cheek! Be sure to check out my Instagram stream for a full description of each course.
Scattered throughout The Hotel Hershey’s Formal Gardens and HarvestPlaza, the Grand Tasting featured more than 50 international and domestic wineries, a selection of local breweries, food samplings from Hershey Entertainment & Resorts’ award-winning chefs and restaurants and live jazz entertainment.
If you can only pick one event to attend (the festival has events for three days), this is the one. But you definitely want to book an overnight stay or be sure to have a designated driver. Even if you’re selective about what you sample, it catches up to you pretty quickly. (My Periscope audience might have noticed since I did an hourly broadcast during the four hour event).
Those necklaces? Brilliant. And definitely needed after several hours of tasting. Apparently, it was a great event and I can tell because I took very few pictures of it!
To round out the weekend, we left the Grand Tasting and headed to the nearby Hershey Outlets (it is Fashion Week, after all). But we couldn’t leave Hershey without one last stop – Hershey’s Chocolate World – always free and always the best souvenirs!
Thanks to Hershey Entertainment and Resorts for providing me media passes to the events listed above as well as providing one night’s stay for me and my husband at The Hotel Hershey. With this being our first night away together since my son was born EIGHT years ago, we’re definitely planning to come back next year if not sooner!