Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting Out of the Kitchen for a Day: Denver International Wine Competition 2013

I don't really like admitting that I don't know much about things that pertain to food and drink, but sometimes I need to swallow my pride and be honest.  Wine is just one of those things that I have a very limited knowledge of. Basically all I know about wine is that I like what I like and don't like what I don't.

I must admit that I don't really know what people are looking for when they talk about the sight, nose or flavors "in the mouth" or "the finish". Usually I smile and nod when someone talks about their favorite type of wine in technical terms.  I'll even go so far as to admit (and this hurts) that when I order a bottle of wine at a restaurant and the waiter wants me to taste it before it is poured, I would put my stamp of approval on anything, even bottled kerosene just to get out of the situation. I just don't feel like I know enough to even turn down a bad wine. That is pitiful.

Deciding to face my fear of wine and its devotees, I trekked out to the Denver International Wine Competition last Saturday. This competition which was hosted by festival founders Christopher and Darcy Davies and held at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield, is a precursor to the 9th Denver International Wine Festival that will take place November 6th - 10th. During this two day wine competition, a room full of volunteer wine enthusiasts and professionals tasted and judged approximately 800 wines from all over the world in an effort to pick the best of the best.

Photo courtesy of Christoper Davies

In late October, the gold medal winning wines from this competition will then be passed on to ten talented chefs including nine of Denver's best, and former White House chef, John Moeller, so they can pair them with their own innovative culinary creations. This event, The Pairsine Chef's Food and Wine Pairing Competition, is the signature culinary event of the International Wine Festival which takes place Thursday, November 7th at 6 pm.

Even though The Pairsine is the signature culinary event, it is only one of many to take place at the festival. The festival's first event, The Grand Vinters Dinner which is scheduled for Wednesday, November 6th at 6 pm, is a multi course dinner featuring wines from a particular region or wine maker.

The Grand Tasting of International Wines and Food will take place Friday, November 8th at 6 pm. This is the region's largest wine tasting event for consumers, media and trade with more than 60 wineries, breweries and distilleries pouring, including premium spirits, sake and craft beer.  Tastings of food and wine, and food products, as well as wine accessories and fine art will also be available.

On Saturday, November 9th, Christopher Davies will lead a full day VIP Tour of the Front Range Wineries.  This tour will take wine lovers behind the scenes of three of his favorite Colorado wineries and a local micro-distillery.

On Sunday, November 10th from 12 to 2 pm, is the event I would love to attend if I weren't going to be at the Pillsbury Bake-Off, the Julia Child Tribute Luncheon.  Former Chateau Mumm brand ambassador and personal friend of Julia Child, Madeleine de Jean will be leading an intimate champagne luncheon and sabering demonstration.

Whether you are a seasoned wine enthusiast or a novice like me, there is probably an event for you at this festival. For more information about the wine competition and the results, a full schedule of events, ticket prices and more information about festival organizers Chris and Darcy Davies, and their Wine Country International Magazine, please click on the links.

So, even though I didn't leave the competition a pro, I did learn that liking what you like is OK and nothing to be ashamed of, because taste is a personal thing.  I also discovered that not all Rieslings are sickly sweet as demonstrated in my new favorite wine that I discovered there.  Thanks so much Chris and Darcy for your hospitality and including me in this event.

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