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Research Hurts

September 11, 2011

I don’t want your sympathy. Understanding maybe, but not sympathy. Because I know that I am a very lucky man.

Yesterday I spent the day at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for the 2011 Saratoga Wine and Food Festival. The event was sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission, and they invited me as their guest to partake in the festivities.

There were plenty of local food bloggers and non-food bloggers in attendance. Several prominent local chefs could be seen walking the aisles of the two main tents. Apparently Marcus Samuelsson was there, but I didn’t get the chance to meet him. Anyway, the idea was to try and get a better understanding of Italian wines. And I regret to say that didn’t quite happen.

For the record I was very close to achieving this goal. I was led to believe that I held a ticket for an Italian wine seminar, which was limited to 100 participants. But apparently what I had was the reminder to get a ticket. And even my press pass didn’t help get me into this very special event.

Regardless, it was a great day, and I’m full of inspiration as a result of the time I spent there. But I’m also really, really tired. So I’ll make you a deal.

I’ll give you the 10,000 foot view and a few highlights. Albany John took some amazing pictures, but in all likelihood you’ll need to wait at least a couple of days to see them on Albany Eats. The after after party seemed to take an even greater toll on Albany Jane.

However, I’ll follow up in the days and weeks to come with some of the nuggets that I walked away from as a result of my participation in the festival.

The day started out focused and on task sampling sparkling wines, mostly Prosecco. We tried versions from large and small producer. We also compared and contrasted Prosecco to sparkling Moscato. It was an eye opening experience. The wine tasting plan started and ended there.

With so many wines represented at the festival spread out across two tents, further structured tastings proved too difficult to manage.

Since I hoped my Italian wine training would be covered by the ill-fated seminar, I thought it would be wise to check out a few other producers I was interested in learning more about. The two at the top of my list were Standing Stone and Chloe Creek. Standing Stone makes a very good Gewurztraminer in the Finger Lakes and I wanted to try their other wines. Chloe Creek is based in Latham but makes Pinot Noir in California with Californian grapes, and I’ve been very curious to taste what they produce.

This was time well spent.

There was also food. Some was underwhelming. Other things were a lot better than expected. I even met a fabulous food importer who had some amazing things to eat. Perhaps some of my favorite edibles from the day. And in one of many small world moments, this food importer knows my cousin Scott.

I had hoped to get some wine guidance from a trusted expert, Doc Sconz. The good doctor was there with his Slow Food Saratoga Consortium. He didn’t have any wine recommendations but encouraged me to try the maple whiskey.


Honestly, it sounded awful. I don’t tend to like adulterated products, but I have to say the Cabin Fever whiskey was one of the great stars of the show. But I’ll tell you more about it later. Right now, I’m beat. And in no small amount of pain.

It’s nothing that some water and Advil won’t help. Despite some hiccups this was a great day. I can’t wait to tell you the story about the porchetta from Chianti Restaurant. But all of this will just have to wait until later. That way, I can give each topic the respect it deserves with a clear head and a clean conscience.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. AddiesDad permalink
    September 11, 2011 1:20 pm

    It was great to meet you, Daniel! Sorry about the wine tasting, we’ll get you in next year, for sure.

  2. September 11, 2011 7:52 pm

    No sympathy, but I’ll definitely give you my jealousy. Sounds AWESOME.

    Ever make it to Festa Vino at Siena?


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