However, after walking the plank onto the Queen Mary, only to drown in a sea of middle-aged couples, most already bottles deep and still keeping their wine terms straight, I realized I better shape up or ship out.
In a central ballroom aboard the ship, the LA WineFest presented free wine, crackers and cheese, microbrew beers and even some party-going tequila shooters in the back next to the showgirls. With neatly organized rows of tables showcasing wines fermented from here to Chile, I headed straight to the beer.
Firestone Brewing Company’s Double Barrel Ale and Pale Ale were both on tap, and a sight for sore eyes amidst the clanking wine glasses. Double Barrel was unlike anything I had tasted before, potent with a bitter kick that remained resilient until the bottom of the plastic cup.
Kick starting myself into the spirit of the evening, I was instantly attracted to the wines from other countries. For some reason, I wholeheartedly believe every other country can do things better than us.
So I start with Chile; the 2005 Carmen Merlot is full-bodied, and the difference between Napa and Chile’s dirt is apparent. The earthy flavor is entirely outside America’s conception.
Next, I was onto the harder stuff. Despite its slogan of a name, Rio Joe’s Wines of Brazil makes Cachaca – Cachaca Silver to be exact – a diluted form of Brazilian rum that goes down smooth with a lesser alcohol content than standard rums.
All over the map, Kosher wine made repeated appearances at the festival. Growing up in a Jewish family, I know how important wine is for our holidays and felt a duty to offer options to my family other than Manischewitz.
The Golan Heights Winery had a label titled Yarden, with four varieties of wines. The Chardonnay Organic Vineyard Odem, light with a hint of fruit comes straight from Israel, kosher and without pesticides. L’chaim!
For more information, visit www.lawinefest.com.