On August 26th I attended the 7th International WineFest held at the Golden Nugget casino located at 600 Huron Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Golden Nugget is one of a handful that are located in the marina district which is a few minutes from the famous boardwalk. The event is the brainchild of Scott Tarwater, the corporate director of wine and special events for Landry’s Inc (the owner of the Nugget) who has passion for fine wines and as it was, a colleague of mine when we worked at Disneyworld back in the day.
The Fest began with a jazz on the lawn reception on Friday evening and culminated with the Grand Tasting on Saturday evening which I attended. The event was a walk-around tasting and while there were no trophy wines being poured there was with a good representation of wines from the major wine-producing regions of the world. A live jazz band played and food was served as well.
Unlike some consumer wine events, the event was never overcrowded which made for a comfortable evening of wine sampling. Wine reps were on hand to answer questions and they were ably assisted by several lovely young ladies. People were having fun.
Some of what I sampled:
2015 Chateau Suau Cotes de Bordeaux Blanc (Bordeaux) Light yellow with a greenish tint, tangerines on the nose with crisp medium fruit.
2014 Beringer Chardonnay “Private Reserve” (Napa Valley) Medium to dark gold, toasty tropical fruit on the nose, big, fruity with oak notes on the finish.
2015 Clos Pegase Chardonnay (Mitsuko’s Vineyard) Medium yellow, ripe peaches on the nose with stone fruit and tropical fruit on the tight finish.
2015 DeLoach Vineyards Chardonnay (Russian River Valley) Light yellow with tropical fruit notes on the nose and finish, moderate acidity.
2016 B.R. Cohn Chardonnay “Silver Label” (Russian River) Medium yellow, tropical fruit with some earth on the nose, juicy tropical fruit with a firm finish.
2015 Coppola Vineyards Chardonnay “Jaws” (Sonoma/Monterey) Medium yellow, earth and melon on the nose, juicy fruit with slate notes, crisp finish.
2016 Shannon Ridge Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc “High Elevation” (Lake County) Light yellow with a grassy, herbaceous nose, sweet fruit with lime notes on the finish.
2015 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc “Reserve” (Alsace) Light yellow with a greenish tint, tree bark on the nose with good acidity on the fruit.
2016 Wolf Blass Chardonnay “Reserve Release” (Australia) Yellow with greenish tints, pineapple on the nose with oak and tropical fruit on the finish.
2014 Vail Llach “Embruix” (Priorat) Medium red with tar notes on the nose, bitter cherry and almonds on the finish.
2014 Chateau Suau Cotes de Bordeaux Rouge (Bordeaux) Medium red, petrol on the nose, very concentrated with dark plum on the fruit, good balance.
2013 Rocca di Montemassi “Sassabruna” (Tuscany) Medium red, closed nose of dark fruit with a hint of tar, concentrated and tight with bitter cherry on the finish.
2015 Gaja “Magari” (Tuscany) Medium to dark red, smoky nose with a hint of anise with chocolate notes on the moderate fruit.
2015 Bodegas Garzón (Uruguay) Medium red with stewed fruit notes on the nose, juicy black fruit with green fruit on the finish.
2013 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon (Knights Valley) Dark red to black with crushed dark fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, concentrated black fruit, coffee and chocolate on the moderate balanced fruit.
2013 Swanson Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley) Dark red with smoke notes on the nose, dark cherry fruit with good acidity.
2015 Shannon Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Lake County) Medium red, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, juicy with dried herb notes and moderate acidity.