Design New England

Newport Food & Wine: An affair full of delicious inspiration


Saturday’s Grand Tasting was held in a giant tent on the grounds of Marble House, one of the Newport Mansions.

Fall is always a hectic time here at DNE, and I find it very easy to get bogged down in all that needs to get done. To keep inspired, I decided to take myself out of my element — so on Friday, I ventured down to Newport for the annual Food & Wine Festival. A whirlwind 24 hours later, I was back in Boston with a notepad full of specific wines & tips (that, of course, I am about to share) and a mind swimming with ideas (that may just grace our pages in issues to come).

The Wine & Rosecliff Gala on Friday and Grand Tasting on Saturday, both held in Newport Mansions, were pretty spectacular. I spent most of Friday night walking around Rosecliff, taking in the beauty and craftsmanship. The Marble House (below) was the perfect backdrop for the tasting, its grandeur setting the stage for the tent out back. It was food and wine as far as the eye can see.


But by far the most interesting part of my trip was the seminar I attended before the tasting — “Everything You Need To Know About Wine” with Ray Isle, executive wine editor of Food & Wine. One hour, 8 wines. This blind tasting was just fascinating.

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Above is what we started with. Slowly, we went through, sometimes comparing color and aroma, sometimes covering the most simple of basics (like how to swirl without covering your date). Below is what was left (wine 7 was clearly not my favorite).

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Ray Isle was phenomenal — unassuming and funny, he had a wonderful, straightforward way of teaching wine, snobbery and complication aside. He made a clever comparison between wine and baseball (only need a bit of knowledge to enjoy it, but the more you know, the more your experience changes) and joked about the use of archaic words and uncommon food references in wine descriptions. Needless to say, if you have a chance to hear him speak, don’t miss it!
And if you’re looking for a wine for dinner tonight, try these ones we tasted and loved: 2009 Louis Jadot Chablis, 2010 Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blac, and 2010 Quattro Mani Barbera.

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