Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wine and Food Festival Update

The past two evenings at the Grand Rapids International Wine and Food Festival have been great fun. All under one roof are over 1200 wines, beers, spirits, sake, and champagne – along with food from local producers and restaurants.

On Thursday night we went to the local food presentation by Sue Chef. She presented on brining a turkey, making perfect mashed potatoes, and parsnip bisque. I picked up a copy of the bisque recipe, and today I picked up parsnips from the Fulton St. Farmers Market – I was inspired.

Friday night we attended Larry Mawby’s presentation: Celebrate the Season with Michigan Sparkling Wines. Larry is well known in Michigan as the premier sparkling wine maker. He was named one of the top 15 sparkling wine makers in the U.S. Champagne-style wines are called sparkling wines unless they were actually produced in Champagne, France.

In this informative class we also learned the proper (as in safe) way to open a bottle of champagne and the categories of sparkling wine. From dry to sweet: brut, extra dry, sec, demi-sec, doux. Sec means dry in French.

Below are the Michigan sparkling wines that we tasted under Larry’s knowledgeable guidance. Consider these for your holiday gatherings.

L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc: Classic Champagne style method with Chardonnay grapes. This is aged three years in the bottle.

L. Mawby Talismon: Four grapes grown and picked together, then reserve wine is added prior to fermentation. They save some of the current year wine as the reserve for the following year.

Bel Lago 2009 Brut Rose: A fruit forward blend of many grapes, but predominantly Pinot Noir.

Chateau Chantal Celebrate: About half Reisling and half Chardonnay grapes with a little bit of their Argentinean Malbec which contributes to the aroma and color.

M. Lawrence Detroit: Tank fermented sparkling wine that goes well with fruit, marscapone cheese, and nuts.

The weekend highlight is tasting the awesome Michigan food and beverage products! We’ve tasted beers and wines that we had not tasted before. And, we discovered Great Lakes Potato Chip Company and local cheese makers that we had not met. Stonehouse Bread is also in the Riverfront Market of the event.

Visit our facebook page for more photographs.

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