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Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Celebrity Press Judging" for the 4th Annual American Fine Wine Competition!

Fabulous Flight of Syrah
In anticipation of the 4th Annual American Fine Wine Competition, a Press Judging was recently held that offered a sneak peek at some of this years vinous contenders! As the name implies, this South Florida-based competition celebrates only American produced wines while raising money for some fabulous local charities in the process. The wines for the event are selected by Co-founders Shari Gherman and Monty and Sara Preiser, all wine industry insiders who held the first AFWC event in 2007.

2007 Mithra Cabernet Sauvignon

The press judging was held at Jet Runway Café in Ft. Lauderdale and involved a presentation of four flights of wine including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The setting was impressive, featuring a lineup of private jets lined up on the tarmac directly outside the expansive windows that surrounded our tables - appropriate ambiance for the presentation of the "flights!" We swirled and sipped our way though the four wines in each flight, assigning them rankings and an ultimate "medal" designation during the interactive judging process. Of the sixteen wines, standouts included those from Phelps Creek VineyardsRussian Hill Estate, Mithra Winery, Brochelle Vineyards and Papapietro Perry Winery.

Pan Seared Salmon = Perfect for Pinot!
Following the judging portion of the evening, we were treated to a five course dinner prepared by Silver Lining Catering that paired beautifully with the selection of wines. The fabulous menu I just have to share with you consisted of Lobster, Crab and Coconut Ceviche which harmonized beautifully with the selection of Chardonnays from Phelps Creek, Castillo de Amorosa, Deerfield, and Mattabella; Crisped Pan Seared Salmon with Braised Red Cabbage, Parsnip Puree and Balsamic Reduction that was perfect with Pinot Noirs from Russian Hill, Z’IVO, Gunthier, and Papapietro; Hand Rolled Three Mushroom Ravioli with Pesto Cream Sauce, Cabernet Reduction and Fresh Herbs that paired beautifully with both the Cabernet Sauvignon from Pope Valley, Mithra, Seven Hills, Barnett AND the Pinot Noir (yes, I cheated!) and lastly, one of my all time faves, Syrah Braised Short Rib with Sage Infused Winter Root Vegetable Hash that was positively delicious paired with the Syrah selections from David Earthquake, Bianchi, Brochelle and Hyde Vineyard. Ahhh, all in a days tasting!

The 4th Annual American Fine Wine Competition takes place on January 16 & 17, 2011 at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The competition, featuring more than 600 wines and judged by some of South Florida's most respected wine professionals, is closed to the public, but don't fret! All of the wines can be tasted, accompanied by a wine-inspired four course dinner, at the American Fine Wine Competition Gala on February 12, 2011. In addition to the food and wine, highlights include Guest emcee, Alan Kalter (announcer for the Late Show with David Letterman), performing artist Michael Israel and internationally acclaimed Saxophonist Dayve Stewart & The Vibe. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Diabetes Research Institute and the Sun Sentinel Children’s Fund. Hope to see you there for an evening of food, wine and fun all for a very good cause!



  1. wow what fun and I adore that hotel :-) stayed there last year

  2. Always love reading about your wine events, Stephanie. (And I take notes!)
    The Runway Cafe is new to me...if memory serves, there used to be a restaurant right at the Pompano Airport many years ago. Forgotten the name now.

  3. This sounds like a fantastic event! I go to every food and wine festival I can!

  4. What an awesome wine and food spread!!! Love it.



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