“Bordeaux Fête le Vin”, is one of the largest wine festivals in the world, a biannual event that has taken place in Bordeaux since 1998. Every two years, the banks of the Garonne are inviting wine lovers to five unforgettable days of events all dedicated to discovering the wines of Bordeaux and its region.
This year, born out of a passion for wine, Cru Cellars launched the first Fete du Vin here, consisting of a week-long series of premier events around Tampa November 8th -- 13th. These premier events consisted of a Sunset Cocktail Class at the Marina Pointe dock, a Quintessa Blending Class at Armature Works, a Cocktail Class with Michter's Whiskey, and a Beaujolais Wine Dinner with Kermit Lynch.
While these events were earlier in the week, I decided to sign up for the two events for Thursday and Friday nights; the Grower Champagne Class and the Bouzy Bubbles Party at Hyde House, in Hyde Park Village.
The Champagne class was taught by Luke Bullard of Skurnik Wines. She took us on a journey through the sub-regions of Champagne and shared the differences in micro-climates, varieties and production methods that contribute to the bubbles, as we tasted each glass of wine
We were able to taste nine Champagnes, divided into three flights. I learned the differences between Cru, Premier Cru and Grand Cru, and the types of grapes that went into each Champagne.
I went by myself to experience the tasting, and discovered after I arrived, that five women friends had decided to come together and they included me in their group.
We had fun nibbling on our charcuterie board, tasting our way through the nine varietals, learning about the Champagne regions, the villages the vines came from, the estate that produced the particular Champagne and how long the grapes were aged.
At the end of the event there were a few bottles of our favorites that could be purchased there. I was very interested in the Aubry Brut Premier Cru, but when I went to ask for a bottle, I learned that all the bottles had already been snatched up by one of the women at our table. I guess I wasn't the only one who liked it!
Julian from Cru Cellars told me that I could go by their Palma Ceia location to pick up a bottle if I wanted.
The next evening was the Bouzy Bubbles Party at Hyde House.
This event featured over 12 Champagnes and sparkling wines, paired with a sneak peek of the Bouzy menu, scheduled to open alongside Hyde House, with passed hors d'oeuvres, grazing cheese and charcuterie.
There were three tables offering tastings of Champagne, divided into European Cellars and Aspect Wines. I found myself preferring the Aspect wines, like Voirin Jumel Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc, Piper Heidsieck "Cuvee" 1785, Delamotte Brut Champagne and Lamandiere Bernier Extra Brut Latitude.
It was a festive environment with the DJ playing lively music, partiers flowing from one champagne station to another, the doors were open wide to flow in and out to the outdoor patio, while enjoying the bubbles and hors d'oeuvres, and relishing in the lovely breeze on a November evening and taking in the view overlooking Hyde Park Village.
After making your way through the various tastings, this event also provided two drink tickets for full pours of their signature cocktails or a choice of bubbly, from the bar.
There was one last event held on Saturday night that I would have liked to have attended, but the tickets were sold out when I learned about this week long wine festival. It was the Grand Tasting, featured at a Penthouse on Water Street.
This Grand Tasting, with over 120 wines from the best importers and producers around the world, provided penthouse views of the downtown skyline as the sun sets. Live music with a violin & electric harp duo set the tone with passed hors d’oeuvres and a grazing table of cheese & charcuterie. VIP’s got access an hour early, plus special pours & magnums to start the night off in style.
Next year I will have to buy tickets sooner, so I can attend the Grand Tasting.
To learn about upcoming events through Cru Cellars you can go to their website: www.crucellars.com