Miami International Wine Fair 2008
By: Kim Michele
The 7th annual Miami International Wine Fair was a great hit as wine aficionados and wine lovers from around the world gathered to taste over 1,500 wines from 15 different countries. Rated as Florida’s largest wine fair and amongst the top 5 wine shows in the country, it was an amazing opportunity to discover new wines from countries as far away as South Africa, Thailand, Russia, Romania and even Japan (that would be the Sake). If you have ever wanted to expand your wine knowledge in record time, this would be the way to do it.
journeyPod had the opportunity to experience all the wines first hand and what a day it was. The exhibition covered over 60,000 square feet of the Miami Beach Convention Center, and was filled with all sorts of treats, wine tastings, cooking demos, celebrity chefs, seminars and more. We started out the day with the ‘Italian Rock Stars’, tasting a collection of classic Italian wines and moving on to some amazing Super Tuscans. Besides the education in Italian wines, we learned which wines to look out for, which were collectors items and of course after tasting all 7 flights, we decided which ones were our favorite. Particularly impressive was the 2001 San Filippo Brunello di Montalcino. A little inside information: the 2004 Brunello, which is soon to hit the stores, is a much anticipated vintage and a great investment for wine collectors.
With our VIP access we moved on to the Collectors Club, an exclusive pavilion where the Fair’s most prestigious wines are showcased, and believe me, they were amazing. Situated in the middle of the Grand Tasting Hall, the Collectors Club welcomed us with open arms, or should we say open bottles, as we made our way around with glass in hand, sampling wines from the best wine producing regions and most talented winemakers. It was here that we discovered Pago De Larrea’s Caecus Reserva Tempranillo, a 2004 Spanish Rioja which turned out to be one of our favorite wines of the show. We certainly enjoyed the opportunity to taste wines with a retail price point that keeps most of us from purchasing them on a daily basis.
With all the wine tasting going on, we went in search of something to eat and to our delight we were introduced to Chef Nathan Lyon, celebrity chef and host of Discovery Health’s hit show ‘A Lyon in the Kitchen’. Believing that the freshest ingredients make for the best tasting food, Nathan uses only organic and locally grown foods, thus doing his part in reducing his carbon footprint. As we watched his cooking demo we replenished our wine in anticipation of tasting Nathan famous spicy tomato soup and fresh squash salad. It was well worth the wait.
From there we went in search of new wines and more treats, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. From margaritas on a stick and glacier ice vodka, to wine and more wine, we felt like seasoned connoisseurs. However we had one more stop before pouring ourselves out of the convention center and so off we went to the sushi and sake pairing seminar. Compliments of SushiSamba Dromo in Miami Beach we got a sake education paired with some incredible sushi and Kobe beef dishes.
What a journey! In addition to indulging in the pleasures of world class wines, we learned that America is the leading consumer of wine with over 300 million cases sold last year. However, it didn’t surprise us to find out that Florida is the second largest wine market in the country after California. Apparently wine consumption in our sunny state increased 79% since 1994, making us the largest growth recorded by any state. I guess we really enjoy the good things in life and have certainly done our part in reaching those record numbers!