On Sunday while some people were getting ready to head to church or maybe hit up an early morning workout class, I was on my way down to Connecticut to visit Mohegan Sun and the 2013 Sun WineFest. Cheers to Sunday drinking!
The Sun Winefest was celebrating its 10th anniversary with over 1000 wines, liquors, and beers to sample along with dishes from some locally loved restaurants. Let the games begin.
We arrived at Mohegan just in time to get in a little bit before the crowds and check out the layout. Most of the wine tasting events that I have attended have a single table for each vendor, but these all had 4 sides. Folks, that is a lot of wine. Come to discover, it is also an easy way to try the same wine 3x and not realize it until after you have tried it each time.
In addition to the drinks and food, there were also some demos and cookbook signings happening during the event. I missed my boy, Todd English on Saturday but I was excited to see Govind Armstrong was on the schedule for Sunday. He has been on Top Chef so that automatically makes him a fave in my book.
Finally it was time to grab a glass and get to tasting.
We had a strategy to start with the bubblies, try the whites, and then move on to the reds pretty quickly. Winter time=Red Wine.
Apparently wine by celebrities and musicians is a hot trend right now. I have caught glimpses of Dave Matthews wine at other events (ugh.) and on Sunday I found out that both Ed Hardy and Train have their own wine. Yep, you read that right.
I’d like to tell you that everyone surrounding the Ed Hardy table didn’t look like they stepped out of the Jersey Shore tv show, but I would be lying and I can’t lie to you. I gave them a try, but eh. Not a fan. I’ll leave it to the true Ed Hardy fans out there.
Train, on the other hand, had a decent wine. However, I don’t know if I could seriously serve Drops of Jupiter wine at my dinner party. Maybe the Calling All Angels Chardonnay though? I’m not saying I won’t crank up my collection of Train songs on my ipod and drink this all alone though. Because I will. Train, if you are reading…I love you.
The wine section of our day had some pretty great hits and unfortunately, a few misses. Rather than focus on the negatives, here are the standouts of the day for me.
Chocolate Shop– Chocolate Red Wine
Everywhere you turn there is another chocolate wine on the shelf but it is usually that spiked Yoo-Hoo kind. I don’t have any problems with that wine (big ol’ fan right here!), but I was really pleasantly surprised to try this red wine with chocolate flavors. The combo of oak and dark cherry from the red wine with the sweetness of the chocolate was the perfect sip. This would make a great dessert wine that isn’t too sweet. I could also stick a straw in this bad boy and go to town.
Montebruno– Pinot Noir
This winemaker from Oregon has one wine to offer and it was a standout. This Pinot Noir was light bodied with just the slightest traces of tannins and a touch of sweetness. This is a wine that is almost meant to be had all by itself rather than paired with food.
Montes Twins– Red Wine 2010
I was actually attracted to this bottle because of its creative label. I’m a sucker for advertising gimics. This blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect wine for those who enjoy a more hearty wine with hints of oak, blackberries and vanilla. I especially enjoyed the smooth finish that had a slight spicy taste to it with a touch of vanilla.
There was one brand that won me over totally. All of the wines that we tasted from Bogle were just fantastic. Lots of complex flavors, different finishes, and no weird aftertastes.
The first was one that I complete spaced on taking a picture of was Bogle Phantom. This wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre. It was one of those ink colored wines that was heavy on the palette with flavors of blackberries, leather, black pepper and hints of cocoa. I loved this wine so much that I ordered a glass later on in the day with my dinner. I will be on the hunt for this wine in my area and this will be a staple in my wine cabinet.
The second Bogle that blew me away was their Petite Sirah Port. This is like blueberry pie in a bottle. Some ports are too alcoholy for me, but this was on the money. It was strong without being overpowered and just was the perfect way to end any meal.
The final wine that made the winners list was Pacific Rim Late Harvest Riesling. Sweet. Syrupy. Delicious.
Food break! Decadent clams from 84 Tavern on Canal.
Right around the time I was starting to get all wined out I realized that I hadn’t really seen that many beer vendors. We did a little exploring only to realize that there was an entire 2nd floor to explore. Holy crap.
I also discovered the greatness that is Samuel Smith. Framboise Lambic and Chocolate Stout FTW.
I also really enjoyed Heavy Seas beer. I’d love to take a visit there. It seems like such a fun beer company.
Right around the time we finished rounding through the beer rooms it was coming up on 3p. It was starting to get a bit ugly. Lots of random kissing, a few people falling down and I’m pretty sure I saw some girl napping in the bathroom. All standard sightings for the end of any type of wine/beer fest.
As we headed down to check into our room I caught a glimpse of this stand. Hendrick’s Gin. Just what everyone needs after a day of wine tasting, right? That might explain the bathroom napper. FYI…Gin & Tonics should all be made with cucumber. Don’t worry I just sipped it. I wasn’t secretly the bathroom napper.
After a little cat nap in the hotel room, it was time to head down to the final event of the Sun WineFest weekend. Bubbles & Bon Bons!
This event was held in more intimate spot, the Cabaret. There was plenty of seating and you could talk directly with the pasty chefs. I loved the atmosphere! There wasn’t a wine glass laynard to be seen.
Three pastry chefs teamed up with Moet Champagne to host an evening of decadent desserts paired with fantastic bubbly.
So many truffles and bruelees to choose from! The Grand Marnier shot was like a creamsicle in a cup. There was also an unpictured Apple Ice Wine frozen popsicle that I wanted to eat a whole case of.
Savory cocktail cookies are my new favorite dessert. The Sesame-Sea Salt are crave worthy!
Just in case you didn’t have enough…
Chocolate covered strawberries!
Chocolate fountain and all its dipping friends.
Mini donuts with caramel corn and chocolate dipping sauce.
And then we were DONE…I came. I tasted. I loved it. I might have diabetes now.
Over the years I have attended my fair share of wine and beer festivals. None of them have had the sheer numbers of wine available to sample! I thought the event was well organized, in a GREAT location, and appealing to every level of wine/beer enjoyer. Next time I might study the layout of the event a bit better so I know exactly where I am going and make more of an effort to be early for the demos. I also might enjoy another plate of those clams.
Thanks a bunch to Mohegan Sun for having me down! Lets do this again, shall we?!
My time at Mohegan didn’t end when the Sun WineFest did. We explored the casino, hotel and ate at a few restaurants. I’ll update more on that later in the week! Until then…DETOX.
Just a note: I was provided tickets to the WineFest and Bubbles & Bon Bons event free of charge. I was also provided accomodations. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.