Sniff and Sip on the Sands: South Beach Wine & Food Festival
This guest post was written exclusively for Social Vignerons by Lisa Morales with the contribution of Kasey Billitz (certified wine expert at Wine by the Bay, Miami).
If you are planning a winter escape that, apart from warmer temperatures, must include good food and wine, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is a “must do.”
For oenophiles, Miami is one destination that guarantees to satisfy your fine wine palate. If you are lucky enough to have a long term stay, start in early February with Simply Italian, then end in March with La Nuit en Rosé or Veritage Miami (Spring Edition.).
However, in between these events, the “pièce de résistance”, is the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) held at the end of February. Food and wine lovers unite on the white sands of South Beach (at the Goya Foods Grand Tasting tent and neighboring hotels) for four days of festivities.
Wine Spectator hosts seminars for people who are looking to be educated about specific wines, the grapes, techniques and other aspects of winemaking. A Wine Spectator editorial representative introduces each seminar that is led by a vintner or an expert from the winery featured.
The weekend begins with a trade event (Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida) in the afternoon and at night, the Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best held at the Fontainebleau Hotel (and sponsored by Bank of America.) It’s called the “Best of the Best” because over 60 of the top Chef’s in the nation offer guests gourmet samplings to pair with more than 100 wines rated 90 points or higher.
Photos of the Wine Spectator Joseph Phelps Insignia Retrospective Seminar with Elizabeth Neuman, granddaughter of Joseph Phelps. |© Kasey Billitz
From the seminar schedule, probably the most notable and quickly sold out tasting seminar, was the Joseph Phelps Insignia Retrospective Seminar held at the Royal Palm South Beach.
The legacy of the recently departed, Napa pioneer Joseph Phelps was passionately conveyed by his granddaughter Elizabeth Neuman. Enthusiastic to continue the family tradition of excellence, Neuman demonstrated her expertise, but also offered sentimental insight in a very personable and charming manner.
Guests were treated to a rare opportunity to experience six vintages of Insignia including Wine Spectator’s 2005 “Wine of the Year,” 2002 JOSEPH PHELPS INSIGNIA NAPA VALLEY. Also included in the tasting flight were vintages, ’05, ’07, ’08, ’11, and ’12. Side by side, guests were able to experience the evolution over the decade — stylistic and characteristic nuances in relation to the terroir. Notable was the 2007 JOSEPH PHELPS INSIGNIA NAPA VALLEY that appeals to the “old world” palate. True to Napa, the wine had structure and tannins, but with beginnings to give way to the years, and a more balanced and integrated finish.
Other seminars were:
- Opus One; Seminar A: Ferrari Trentodoc vertical tasting alongside Five Decades of Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve with Joe Harden, Winemaker, and Master of Wine, Peter Marks
- Heitz Wine Cellars Legacy Tasting: Celebrating 50 years of Martha’s Vineyard with Kathleen Heitz Myers, President of Heitz Wine Cellars
- Seminar B: The wines of Bodegas Torres with Miguel Torres Maczassek led by Maczassek as well as, An Exploration of the Antinori Family’s Guado al Tasso Estate with Allegra Antinori, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars ”The Art of Aging” featuring FAY and S.L.V. Estate Cabernet
- Seminar C: From Château Clerc Milon to Château Mouton Rothschild as well as, Marqués de Riscal, Over 150 Years of Tradition and Avant-Garde Winemaking, and Greg Norman Talks Wine (Greg Norman Estates.)
- Old World vs. New World Comparative Blind Tasting led by Eric Hemer, Senior Vice President, Director of Wine Education at Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Master of Wine and Master Sommelier.
This year, The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE celebrated its 15th anniversary. The SOBEWFF places the spotlight on the most recognized Chefs on The Food Network and Cooking Channel including: Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Robert Irvine, Rachael Ray, and Emeril Lagasse. The extensive roster also includes many Chefs from restaurants that have helped define South Florida as an international culinary destination: Miguel Aguilar of Wynwood Kitchen, Gastón Acurio of La Mar By Gastón Acurio, and José Andrés of The Bazaar by José Andrés South Beach, to name a few.
In 15 years, the SOBEWFF has grown significantly and, to date, has raised more than $22 million for the Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory and Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management located on Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus.
So, eat, drink, and be merry because your attendance and support will help bring to the stage, the next generation of culinary superstars and sommeliers!
Tickets sell out fast so at about the same time you are booking the flight to Miami, visit www.sobefest.com for a full schedule of events and locations.