1 & 2 Sunset and sunrise over South Beach, Miami
Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
Miami Beach—Mourvedre, Vermentino, Vendelho. Those are all the names of grape varieties from the countries of France, Italy and Australia, respectively. They are not names familiar to most American wine drinkers. But, if the organizers of the recent Miami International Wine Fair have their way, they will be a part of the everyday wine vernacular of American consumers.
The 9th Miami International Wine fair brought wine producers from 20 countries who poured nearly 2-thousand types of wine to members of the wine buying public, the media, wine distributors, restaurant owners, sommeliers, hotel food and beverage managers and just about anyone else who could get a badge of admission and hold a glass at what turned out to be the largest wine tasting event of its type ever held in America.
“We’ve made an effort to bring the newest and the best that the world has to offer to excite the American palate and interest in wine,” President & Founder David Bernad told The Wine Doctor. “What we’re hoping this does is put the U.S. on an equal footing with some of the other great wine exhibitions of the world like the London Wine Fair and Vinitaly in Verona. What we have here is the greatest selection of wines ever seen by the American public. With this country now the world’s number one consumer of wine, we’re hoping to take the industry to the next level and make wine a part of everyday life in America.”
Perhaps Wines of Castilla-La Mancha, which hosted a major celebration of the Wines of Don Quixote, Discover the wines of D.O. La Mancha at the world famous Fontainebleau, made the biggest impression Miami Beach. Featuring a dazzling array of Tapas (Spanish small plates) from some Spain’s and Miami’s top chefs of, including Jose Rodriguez Rey of El Bohio Restaurant, Illescas Toledo and Victor Sanchez-Beato of Locum Restaurant, Toledo and Jonathan Eismann, Pizza Volante Restaurant, Miami and Chef Jamie DeRosa, Atlantic Ocean Club of Delray Beach, Florida. Their tapas blended perfectly with a dazzling array of wines, including those from Bodega Palarca, Bodegas Fernando Castro S.L. and Mont Reaga S.L. from Castilla-La Mancha. Many of the wines are still seeking distribution in the U.S. They were represented at MIWF by IBERWINE.
According to Javier Vega of IPEX, the Foreign Trade Institute of Castilla-La Mancha, “we see these wines as a valuable component to the U.S. wine market. These are wines that are value-priced and absolutely right for today’s climate. They are also extremely food friendly and are the perfect accompaniment to a broad range of cuisine. There is no single ‘American food’ anymore. It is more like ‘foods of the world’ and wines of Castilla-La Mancha are perfect in their company.”
Food is an integral part of any wine fair, and the Miami International Wine Fair is without exception. Chef John McCann, Executive Chef of The Conrad, Miami, prepared a succulent variation on a ‘comfort food’ favorite, Foie Gras “meatloaf.”
“We tried to take a well-known down-home, comfort food favorite and kick it up a notch. We elevated the normal meat loaf and mashed potatoes by preparing it with foie gras and truffles.
We’re simmering it down right here in a reduction of beef stock and Madeira wine, then adding in the meatballs made with prime angus beef with the foie gras mixed in, then adding the truffles for added flavor. The mashed potatoes are the golden Yukon potatoes made with extra creamy homemade butter to create an absolutely creamy texture in your mouth. The kind of thing you’d expect with great comfort food with the extra flavor quotient of the foie gras and truffles thrown in for added richness. We sell a lot of it at The Conrad. It’s a real popular dish with our customers. I’d recommend a good, fruity Pinot Noir to go along with it!”