The Grand Tasting is one of the signature events at the Key West Food and Wine Festival. This year it was held at the Sculpture Garden in front of the Waterfront Playhouse. The weather was typical for south Florida in January, meaning clear skies, cooler temps and the perfect weather to hang outdoors.
Distributors, winemakers and winery owners set up tables to pour for this terrific evening. The wines are, to an unapologetic wine geek, fine. One of my favorites is T-Vine, a small production boutique winery with a number of great varietals. One of the most surprising wines of the bunch was a Gallo Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, from Olsen Ranch. Yes, that Gallo. It was outstanding (and even more surprising is that it retails around $25/bottle). Tasty and a good deal. You can’t beat that.
There was some good food at the event as well. A large cheese presentation included standards like brie, as well as the interesting espresso rubbed cheese (I could not get enough of that one). During a seminar earlier in the day, a whole pig was prepped to be roasted, and it was sliced up and served at the event with a mango sauce.
The crowd had a great time, and it seemed that most of the vendors did as well. I don’t trust a person that can’t enjoy them selves at an event with loads of wine, food and perfect weather. I’ll see you there next year.