Mohegan Sun WineFest: The Drinks

So glad you guys enjoyed my recap of the food I munched on at the Mohegan Sun WineFest this past Sunday! Some of my favorite bloggers also attended, but on Saturday, so I didn’t have a chance to meet up with them and say hi. Bummer, but I wanted to share their recaps too:

You can also see my recap of the Oyster Open event here!

I also wanted to take a moment to first direct you back to my food recap so that you can read about my experience at the Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs booth. Their Events and Promotion Manager, Ken, was kind enough to drop me an email thanking me for sharing my opinions on their booth and custard – he is trying to get the recipe from Mohegan’s pastry and dessert chef, so keep your fingers crossed! Ken also provided me with the same flyers I picked up at the booth, in PDF format, to share with you all!

Even better? He shared COUPONS as well! Click here to access the PDF file (it’s intended to be printed on one sheet of paper, double-sided). Let me know if you try their eggs!

Onto what the Sun WineFest is all about in the end…the beverages! All drinks were included in my Grand Tasting ticket. Like I said Monday, Elliott of Sonoma Wine & Spirits helped me out by starring drinks I should make a priority, and highlighting those I absolutely had to try. It was SO helpful to go in with a plan because no one could EVER try every single offering!

I spy a must-see!

The first product I sampled was located right by the entrance, so I was attracted to the booth immediately since when I first walked in, I was quite hungry and the Connecticut-based company Peel had some amazing-sounding (and tasting, it turns out) liqueur flavors: cremoncello, bananacello, and limoncello.

The bananacello tasted just like dessert, but I actually enjoyed the limoncello way more because it had a lemon flavor that wasn’t so strong that it overpowered the taste of the alcohol. Call me weird but I like a drink that tastes strong, and lets the quality of the alcohol stand out. I hate getting a drink that’s so sweet and muddled with so many other flavors that I can’t even determine what it’s made with or how good the liquor is. The limoncello was really perfect and though it was smooth, it had a bite to it.

My parents are big fans of J. Lohr, it’s served by the restaurant my sister works at, and Elliott had marked several on my list, so I made that my first wine stop. I also picked up a recipe booklet (complete with suggested wine pairings, of course) that has yummy recipes in it like seafood penne with jalapeno pesto – wow! I sampled Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir (2010) and October Night Chardonnay (2010), both of which were highlighted in pink! (Random comment: it is so cool how detailed winery websites are – I can find out anything I want to know about what I tasted! End comment.)

Thank you, James of J. Lohr, for taking my photo!

  • Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir: Described online a “food friendly” wine, I really enjoyed this red. I love Pinot Noir and this one was nice and a bit oak-y. I can definitely see myself pairing this with a nice steak!
  • October Nigh Chardonnay: I could definitely taste the orange and lime notes noted on the website, though did not get the vanilla. It’s hard for me to really enjoy a white and this one was just pretty good to me.

I have a thing for pear cocktails, so I immediately selected Grey Goose‘s new flavor, La Poire AKA pear! Another side comment, their website is gorgeous. The vodka was excellent (of course, it’s Grey Goose). So smooth! I would LOVE to just have a simple martini made with their pear vodka. Maybe I’ll indulge sometime, but I’m usually too cheap for that :-P

Jim Beam had their booth set up just like a bar, with Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark cocktails all ready to go! I selected the strongest one, the Makers Mark Manhattan, because like I said, I like to taste the good stuff. So glad that I did! The drink was amazing and would certainly be easy to mix up at home. My dad is a big fan of Maker’s Mark and I bet he would like it! Father and daughter, sharin’ a Manhattan, how cute.

I definitely had the most fun at the above table, courtesy of Sassy Bitch Wines! I’m the one who marked this one on the list of wines – with a name like that, how could I not?! These Chilean wines are super affordable and were actually pretty darn good. I completely adore the packaging as well – I have a little obsession with creative wine labels. I sampled all three of their reds: Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. Despite the lower price tag, these wines were all delicious and I can definitely see myself buying a bottle for a fun girl’s night – I’m thinking maybe when Rachel and I have our Grammy’s-watching party!

The reason I had so much fun with Sassy Bitch Wines is featured in the photo above – my fun temporary tattoo that I received from Master Mixologist Dave A. Brogan. We had a great time chatting and bonded over the fact that he has a blog too – take a second to check out his site because the Twitter icon at the bottom of his page is ADORABLE. And appropriate – you’ll see!

Around this time I ran into a co-worker and his friend, and the three of us decided to hang out for the rest of the WineFest and explore the wine and beer Elliott had marked on my list. I was glad to have some WineFest companions!

And some more yummy wines for your viewing…

Beringer Knights Vally Meritage Red not only had a really mysterious, dark, appealing package design that impressed me, but also an impressive flavor. At $35/bottle this was definitely a nice wine that I’m glad I got to try, because I am not usually buying bottles of wine at that price, or glasses of wine like that at restaurants.

Block Nine Pinot Noir was another bottle with an impressive label design and also impressive taste. I love Pinot Noir and Elliott was correct in recommending it to me. Block Nine only makes this variety but I’d be curious to see what other wines they will make in the future.

Longboard Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc was only OK – I’m not a white lover, but this wine was not good enough to make me enjoy whites either. I’d be curious as to how their reds taste, but Elliott did not mark them, and my tolerance can only handle so much – I couldn’t be trying wines that weren’t worth it!

The man working the Rombauer Vineyards table was so nice – we started chatting about balancing working out and eating right, and he said he wanted to give some of my workouts a try! If you are reading…go for it and tell me how it goes! ;-) He also had some yummy wines for us to sip on. the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Select were really fun to try back-to-back because I could taste the higher quality in the Diamond Select vs. the regular. Lately I have been finding most Cabs to be too sweet compared to other reds, but the Diamond Select was nice and oak-y and I would love to sip on it some other time. I’m not sure how likely that is to happen seeing as it is $60/bottle (guess that’s why they call it Diamond) but it was exciting to be able to try a wine like that. The Zinfandel (a red zin!) was interesting, but I didn’t like it much. I’ve never had much luck with red Zinfandels – and I don’t even touch whites. I noticed on Rombauer’s website that they have a port – I LOVE port (I’m an old man) and would be dying to try that sometime.

I honestly saw Ferrari-Carano Vineyards on the list and assumed it was the car-maker trying to market wines. Jeff Gordon and Ed Hardy were giving out samples at this event – why wouldn’t Ferrari maybe be there too?! I thought twice about it after I saw that Elliott had starred a couple of their offerings for me. Suspicion confirmed – the vineyard is NOT associated with the car maker! Another confirmed fact – Ferrari-Carano wines are tasty! The Tresor (2007, a library wine!) and Siena (2009) were both delicious, and again, I could taste the price difference between the $58 Tresor bottle and the $25 Siena bottle.

Duckhorn Wines, my absolute favorite wine table of the day, had four of the best wines I tried – and one was even a white! I can’t believe I don’t have photos of the bottles – I’m kicking myself – but they honestly weren’t that pretty/unique so I guess that’s why. Doesn’t matter though, these tasted excellent. The Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir was highlighted in pink on my list, so I knew it was going to be good. Even with my high expectations, I loved it. Its $55 price point doesn’t even bias that opinion, because I literally just looked it up. Decoy, described on Twitter as “the everyday wine for the well-informed, accomplished an amazing feat – they created a Chardonnay that I liked more than their Pinot Noir. I’m telling you folks, pigs are flying. My co-worker and I were blown away by this white, and its price point is pretty good at $54 for a three-bottle pack! Finally, the Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Blend was really good, but it was also the last wine I tried at Duckhorn and by that point I was going less impressed because I just expected every one of their wines to be amazing. OK, have I said enough about Duckhorn yet?

Though not as good as Ed’s mojitos at Zafra, 10 Cane Rum can make a pretty good mojito. Needed more rum though, less lime! I really enjoyed their display though. I want a glass container filled with mint leaves in my house!

Though it certainly didn’t taste like wine at all, Cocoa di Vine’s Chocolate and Espresso Wines were FANTASTIC. I don’t think I could drink a whole glass without feeling very full, but damn, the Espresso flavor was so good.

We did eventually head up to the beer rooms, but even after sampling some of the kinds Elliott recommended, I still could not find a single beer I enjoyed. I’ll keep trying though! Carbonation hatred is just a very strong thing.

The Heavy Seas Beer Loose Cannon pictured above left was pretty good, but my nose was a-burning after a sip or two.

I was definitely more impressed with this cool duck tap than the Goose Island Honkers Ale and IPA.

After giving up on the beer rooms, we went back downstairs. I parted ways with my co-worker to cover the 8th Annual Oyster Open…that post is coming soon! To be continued…

Which of the beverages I sampled would you most like to try? Which do you know you’d HATE?

What do you think of Pete & Gerry’s? Any plan to use their coupons?

31 Responses to "Mohegan Sun WineFest: The Drinks"

Add Comment
  1. Olivia

    February 1, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    That all looked so awesome. I really want to go to the next Food & Wine show in my city now!!

    Reply
    • Caitlin

      February 1, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Look into it, they are SO worth the price most of the time. I adore them!

      Reply
  2. Anne P

    February 1, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I’m so sorry we missed you! Bummer. Glad to see it looks like you had a blast, too. :) Thanks for the link love!

    Reply
  3. Theodora

    February 1, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Awesome recap!

    Reply
  4. Kathryn @ Flopoodle

    February 1, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    So fun!! I’d love to try that pear vodka, personally. Wine makes me sooo sleepy.

    Reply
    • Caitlin

      February 1, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      Since I was working on it slowly I was OK but last Fri at my friend’s house I had a couple glasses of red and PASSED out after – well first I ate ice cream, then I went to sleep :)

      Reply
  5. Ken Zuckerman

    February 1, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Ken from Pete & Gerry’s here (and former Dir. of Marketing for DRAFT Magazine – as in beer). Caitlin is right, Goose Island, partly owned by Budweiser (who is owned by InBev in Belgium) is average at best. But there were some killer beers there, including many of my faves from Clipper City/Heavy Seas and their Mutiny Fleet (I love their Loose Cannon IPA and their Black Cannon Black IPA). But be careful ladies and gents, as these are Big Boy beers in the 7-8% alcohol range. Prost!

    Reply
    • Caitlin

      February 1, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      Thanks Ken! A beer-averse girl like me is definitely not someone who can provide an accurate review of beers so glad you are helping out the readers!

      Reply
  6. Lauren

    February 1, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Chardonnay over Pinot Noir? Dang, it MUST have been good. The entire festival looks amazing – I’m so excited about Pear Grey Goose – absolut pear is my favorite flavored vodka.

    Reply
    • Caitlin

      February 1, 2012 at 8:51 PM

      I knew that you’d see the magnitude over that statement, girl! I had two Absolut Pear drinks a couple weeks ago at Mohegan but now I’ve been spoiled by this Grey Goose Pear…how will I go back?!

      Reply
  7. Heather @ For the Love of Kale

    February 1, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    I would have been so drunk by the end of this. Haha. Love you, lady!

    Reply
    • Caitlin

      February 1, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      Hahhaa I literally took only one sip of each thing and sometimes it was so hard but I wanted to be able to try a lot! Plus I spanned it out for 4 hours and made sure to eat enough! And HYDRATE.

      Reply
  8. Jess

    February 1, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    That. Logo. Is freaking adorable. That is all…for now! :)

    Reply
  9. pure2rawtwins

    February 1, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    oh man that looked like fun! I love J Lohr wine too!

    Reply
  10. emiliemarie

    February 1, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Pear vodka sounds delicious! I am also not a huge fan of beer. I have to be in a really specific, rare mood to ever want it. It’s not so much taste – more the carbonation thing for me too.

    Reply
    • Caitlin

      February 2, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      Sounds like we will both be passing on beer when we meet up at Esca then! ;-)

      Reply
  11. Liz @ Southern Charm

    February 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Um see, we ARE friends. I truly enjoy drinks that taste strong and am a HUGE lemonchello fan!!

    I’m super jelly of your drinking experience :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin

      February 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Glad you know where it’s at, Liz!

      Reply
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