The Cincinnati International Wine Festival is one of the largest wine events in the United States. While there are specialty events such as winery dinners, a charity auction and luncheon, and a golf tournament, most wine enthusiasts will be attending one of the three “grand tasting” sessions to choose from over 700 wines from over 250 wineries from all over the world.
While it’s difficult to pick favorites from such a long list, organizers recommended these wines for their critical acclaim and uniqueness.
1. 2015 Domaine Faury Saint Joseph Rouge
This red hails from a small, family-owned winery in France’s northern Rhone Valley. Multiple Faury family members foot-stomp the grapes themselves. The grape in question is the famous Syrah grape, which produces a combination of black olive, black fruit and spices.
2. 2014 Yao Ming Cabernet Sauvignon
After retiring from professional basketball in 2011, the 7-foot-6 NBA superstar, Yao Ming, almost immediately opened his own winery in the Napa Valley. His very first brand was this cabernet sauvignon. The flavor for this 2014 vintage is a combination of black cherry, cherry, cassis and plums, with a spicy vanilla aroma. Like many cabs, it goes great with a grilled steak. It can be aged for 15 years.
3. 2013 Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling
While many Rieslings are sweet, this Riesling hailing from western Germany is dry. All the sugar is fermented to alcohol, so there’s fruitiness but no sweetness. It’s a medium-bodied wine that blends wild strawberries, peaches and spices.
4. 2014 Tinto Pesquera Crianza
This red from the prestigious Ribera del Duero region of Spain is made from the black Tempranillo grape. Tempranillo is considered a “noble grape” because it’s associated with the highest-quality wines and because it can flourish no matter where it’s planted. Conventional wisdom dictates that you can only drink red wine with red meat, but the Tinto Pesquera Crianza pairs just as well with seafood, carrying hints of dry red cherries, cinnamon spice and plums.
5. 2014 Signorello Estate Fuse Cabernet Sauvignon
This hand-crafted cab from the Napa Valley has a softer tannin structure with hints of rose petal, plums, mint, lavender, red cherry and tobacco. Signorello will also have two other cabs at the festival. All three come from a different geographic location in California.
WANT TO GO?
What: Cincinnati International Wine Festival
When: March 8-10; grand tasting hours are 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, 2:30-4:30 p.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Cincinnati
Cost: $65-$75 (advance), and $70-$80 (door)
More Info: www.winefestival.com