It's finally Saturday and even though the weather isn't ideal, I don't think it can put much of a damper on the Grand Tasting Event at Embarcadero Park. Over 700 wines will be poured today, along with numerous spirits and beers. Plus, there will be 70 chefs cooking up their specialties as they compete for the 'Chef of the Fest' title. The event opens to the public from 12-4 PM, but I'm definitely going to head down early so that I can partake in the extra hour of VIP and trade only; there is so much to see in such a short period of time! (photograph from last year's event, provided by Fast Forward Event Productions).
Wine Rave at Eden was a fun event that had a really positive vibe. The venue's indoor/outdoor flow was great on such a fair-weathered night. Of course, there was plenty of good wine and spirits on hand. There was something for everyone, but I thought that Paso Robles was best represented (several familiar wineries and some not). Here's a few of my favorites from the night.
Sextant Wines had a limited selection of their wines. I particularly enjoyed their 2007 'Holystone' Zinfandel (heavy-bodied but not overly phenolic, dark berry flavors and pomegranate) and their 10Knots 2008 Beachcomber (Rhone-style white with nice floral aromatics, good acid and apricot flavors).
Chronic Cellars was being poured as part of the Soiree (bottle-top glass wine aerator) demonstration. I'd had one of their wines during one of the Cal Poly homecoming events, cool label idea. Their 2009 Sofa King Bueno was easy drinking with blackberry and allspice flavors.
Venteux Vineyards is from Paso Robles as well, but I had never seen them before. All their wines had nice earthy undertones that I loved, particularly the 2007 Starr Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (nicely structured with a good mix of bright strawberry flavors, cedar, and chocolate) and their 2007 'PMS' (Petit Sirah, Mourvedre, and Syrah; lighter-bodied, upfront raspberries and cranberries).
Joseph Carr represented Napa well, particularly with his 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (balanced with good structure, brooding dark cherry and smoke flavors with a hint of vanilla).
Palm Breweries was one of the handful of beer purveyors on hand, offering their Palm Belgian Amber (light-bodied, slightly creamy, with lovely honey and citrus flavors) and their Rodenbach (2-year oak-aged, red-brown beer with slight sweetness and dominant caramel flavors). Check out their website, it's pretty awesome.