Benjamin Franklin once said "the discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars."
While the Spring Fabulous Food show was about the chefs, in the Gardens it was all about the wine. And Sunday, connoisseurs got a chance to not only discover new tastes from around the world, but also listen to an expert.
Jim Clendenen, who owns Au Bon Climat wines, uses only the best vineyards in the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard – in Santa Maria Valley California.
While Clendenen looks like Jerry Garcia, he is actually an honors graduate from the University of California, and at one point in 2004, earned the title of "winemaker of the world."
Clendenen, who has been producing wines for over 30 years, not only had a tasting of some of his, where individuals got to sample four of his wines, but also discussed different aspects of them and the process that goes into it.
The setup itself, was sponsored by the American Wine School, a unique and little known gem from the Cleveland area.
Located on Huron avenue, in downtown Cleveland, it is the brainchild of Marianne Frantz. A former chemistry teacher, she has put that knowledge to use and created a fun, yet educational venue for the amateur wanting to learn about wine making to a prestigious internationally recognized program of study with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
“It’s something fun for everyone,” Frantz said. “We have found that Wine creates a special bond with people.”
Franz, along with one of her captains, an expert in the field of wine got our interest piqued in the many different wine stations and samples they offered. It enabled my companion and me to get a different perspective of wines from around the world.
One of the first wines we tasted, was a Sauvignon Blanc called Money Bay, from Marlborough New Zealand. It tasted too much like candy for our liking, but was interesting how it became sweeter after it was poured and the air hit it.
We then moseyed over to the Reislings and sampled a few varieties before hitting the stand called sweeties.
My companion, who is fonder of sweeter wines, found the Red Guitar Sangria, from Spain to be rather appealing. It was the last bottle in the whole show on Sunday, and unlike most Sangria’s it had a very light refreshing taste of fruits.
Red Sangria, which despite hailing from Spain surprisingly can be found in Supermarkets around the area at a reasonable price according to the pourer.
Both of us were told to try the ice wine, and were poured Carmes De Rieussec. We both have the ice wine from John Christ winery, but this was different. It was very refreshing and interestingly, it had a hint of honey to it.
We were both upset though that the Ill Mionetto Moscoto champagne was sold out when we arrived at the Bubbles stand.
For the guys not interested in tasting wines, there was also a beer garden to preview the upcoming International Beer Fest, which is right around the corner on May 11-12 at the IX Center.
Here one could become the most important man in the world, as not only was Stella Artois on hand, but there was also a plethora of other hand crafted beers.
From Pale Ales, to craft beers such as Goose Island summertime, there were close to 100 different beers from around the world.
Local breweries such as Fat Heads and Great Lake’s were not present at the event, nor were Dogfish Head, a favorite of mine out of Delaware.
But there were a number of individuals who seemed happy to find old school Schlitz lager on hand to sample.