The very first time Roanoke Vineyards announced a Winemaker‘s Smackdown I was intreguied. To taste wines blind with winemakers to see where their palate is compared to your palate is a treat in and of it self.
To taste wine blind is yet another treat, but it is also a humbling experience. I did well at the first Smackdown, but tanked at each and everyone since. In fact, I have gotten worse.
Sure, I can spot a Chardonnay blind and a Sauvignon Blanc too. I can nail a Cabernet Franc and I can spot a Riesling too, but after that, it is all down hill from there. And that is how it has been going for me. I am hoping that things change tomorrow night.
Roanoke Vineyards will be holding it’s 4th Winemakers’ Smackdown tomorrow night, Saturday, August 13th at 6 PM, sponsored by Luce and Hawkins restaurant. Noted wine writer, and the only journalist to cover the 1976 Judgment of Paris, George Taber, will be serving as moderator for the event.
For those of you not in the know; the Winemakers’ Smackdowns are blind tastings featuring seven wines from around the world. A panel of wine industry professionals will attempt to determine what the wines are, where they came from, and the vintages.
What makes the Smackdown a treat to attend is what we taste. At previous Smackdowns, the wines include have been rated at 90 points or higher by the Wine Spectator or The Wine Advocate (except for a few ringers at early Smackdowns). This is a great opportunity to taste rare wines that some of, including myself may never have tasted or never will. For tomorrow’s Smackdown, according to Scott Sandell, Roanoke Vineyards Creative Director, “The wine list for this Smackdown will illustrate important contrasts in philosophy, style, and climate, proving to be the most controversial selection to date.” The lineup of winemakers who will be there participating tomorrow night is impressive; they include Roman Roth (Wölffer Estate, Grapes of Roth, and Roanoke Vineyards), Miguel Martin (Palmer Vineyards), Christopher Tracy (Channing Daughters), Louisa Hargrave (writer, and co-founder of Hargrave Vineyards, the first vineyard on Long Island), and Michael Cinque (owner of Amagansett Wines and Spirits, and partner in Brooklyn’s Red Hook Winery). Tracy Ellen Kamens from Grand Cru Classes will be officiating the event and acting as referee. All of the tasters will enjoy a selection of Keith Luce designed tapas items specially paired with each of the wines, and everyone in attendance will receive a copy of a George Taber book. Taber will be signing books before and after the Smackdown.
This event is almost sold out, in fact it might be by the time this is on my blog. Call Roanoke Vineyards at 631.727.4161 and see if there is a seat left for you. See you tomorrow night.
- The People of Wine Country: Getting to Know….Scott Sandell (undertakingwine.com)