I'm not a wine person, as any of you who have read the approximately 7,000 articles I've written about beer might expect. But when a couple of tickets to the 2013 American Heart Association Festival of Wines fell into my lap, I figured I could let my love of malted barley and hops rest for one night to enjoy the art of the fermented grape. The weather at Dickey-Stephens park was fantastic, and a jolly crowd of folks from both sides of the river were all making merry with their vino and plates of food from various local restaurants. And I have to admit, the event didn't change me into a total wine lover, but there were some definite winners being poured all around the concourse. Here are a few of my favorites, as well as a shout-out to some of the tasty food.
*Cavicchioli Lambrusco (Italy): This style of wine is one that I've always loved, and this was a slightly sweet, lightly carbonated wine that we paired (quite non-traditionally) with a very respectable bangers and mash from Cregeen's Irish Pub.
*Gnarly Head Malbec (Argentina): My favorite red of the night, this was a huge, robust wine that was strong as beef and smooth as silk. Oftentimes, red wine tastes thin and uninteresting to me, but this was a boldly flavored wine that made a nice, assertive pairing to the Spanish meatballs with saffron tomato sauce being served by the Ya-Ya's Euro Bistro table.
*Moet Chandon Imperial (France): Who doesn't like champagne? This crisp, light sparkling wine had some nice notes of pear and honey, and unlike the cheap, sour swill I'm used to drinking at dinner parties and New Year's Eve celebrations, was a glass to be savored and enjoyed. And because I'm a contrary Southerner, I paired this delicious champagne with an equally delicious pimento cheese sandwich from Bray Gourmet.
*Urban Uco Sauvignon Blanc (Argentina): Slightly astringent with a flavor somewhere between grapefruit and green apple, this was one of the most refreshing whites I tried all evening. And while I'm pretty sure that pairing white wine with red meat is a sin, it went quite well with the Chinese-style grilled lamb chop from Cheers in the Heights.
After all that, I'm afraid that the night just turns into a blur of one small pour of cabernet sauvignon (my wife's favorite wine) after another. I do have to mention the excellent pumpkin ice cream being served up by Two Sisters Catering, and congratulations are certainly in order to the organizers of this event. We barely scratched the surface of what was available, something that our heads are surely going to thank us for in the morning. I'm still a beer man at heart, but between the Malbec and the Moet, I'll be sure to make a little room in for wine.
Hugh, Dan -- FFF will be back this week. I have been on vacation for…
And they've been known to share food with friends on occasion, which I always respect.
In other news, Arkansas Business turned my previous post into an entire article. LOL http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article/98……