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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Celebration of "tasteUS", Sept 7/11

The Time and Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011  6 PM to 8 PM

The Event: a celebration of the current "tasteUS" campaign, hosted by the Ambassador of the United States.

The Venue: Hockey Hall of Fame, Great Hall

The Target Audience: wine and food media

The Availability/Catalogue: US foods are available from time to time, as are the wines. Beers may be special ordered. Some items like cheeses face quotas.

The Quote/Background: the Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA works to improve foreign market access for US products. Various trade groups were repped tonight, including Almond Board of California, California Cherry Advisory Board, California Agricultural Export Council, National Sunflower Association, plus many more food, wine and beer groups.

The Wines: There were 11 beers, but I didn't really taste any. I enjoyed Smuttynose Start Island Single and Samuel Adams Tripel. Other beers came from Saranac, Morimoto, and Shipyard.


**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2007

-Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc Sonoma 2007


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Brut

-Buena Vista Carneros Pinot Noir 2007

-Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay

-Kenneth Volk Chardonnay Santa Maria 2008

-Fourteen Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend 2009

-Sonoma Junction Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

-Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2005


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling Finger Lakes 2008

-Fetzer Gewurztraminer Mendocino 2009

-Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma 2008

-Osprey's Dominion Vineyards Long Island Merlot Reserve 2007


The Food: the food was first rate, crafted by "Catering by Entertainment" using US products. There were seven courses, with recommended wine and beer pairings (usually four or more per course). It was a stand up affair, and we went to a variety of tables. Cold appetizers included an apple slaw tart, a watermelon and feta brochette, and wine poached pear. The hot apps featured a white beans tapenade, sweet potato fries, and polenta cake with Boursin. The hot savoury courses included boneless beef short ribs in smokey tomato jus, over wild and white rice; pistachio-crusted pork tenderloin with pomegranate sauce; honey glazed catfish on green onion pancakes; and a fennel and chevre terrine. Desserts involved strawberries, apricots, oranges, chocolate, caramel, peanuts and grapes.

The Downside: it had been six years since the last feature show, in 2005 – where have they been all this time?

The Upside: it was a good chance to look at a variety of wines and beers at the bar, and there was constant movement around the people, the bars, and the food tables. Plus I got my picture taken with the Stanley Cup.

The Contact Person:

The Marketing Effectiveness/Execution of the Event(numerical grade): 90



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