Culinary decadence, celebrity sightings and legendary wines. Our first SOBE Food and Wine Festival experience was a feast for the senses and a roller coaster of delights.
We left the icy city of DC Friday morning and were greeted by the warm Miami sun. Our first stop - Azul. We walked into the modern luxury of the Mandarin Oriental hotel where Azul is housed. Paul and Andrea were seated outside at one of the four tables balcony tables overlooking the bay. After ordering a Rudd Chardonnay, we noticed boxing legend Oscar Del la Hoya was taking the seat to our left. He was impecably dressed in a light gray Italian suit. We later found out he was in Miami for a press conference about his latest fight.
From Azul we headed to our hotel the Standard in Miami Beach. A bright sun yellow vehicle was parked out front, and we noticed Hulk Hogan with his entourage of yes men climbing inside. After a brief time to rest, we dressed and headed to the Best of the Best located inside the American Airlines arena. Tasting tables from top chefs like Nobu, Todd English and Marcus Sameulson and top wine makers such as Caymus, Dom Perignon and Haut Brion were all located in the executive suites that circled the arena. Here are just a few snap shots from Friday's event:
Pictures in order: Luke and Marcus, Char and Michael, Paul and Michael
Saturday we hit the spa for massages and then headed to lunch at the Tide's Inn. From there, we headed back to our hotel where wer saw Martha Stewart checking into our hotel. She needed to hit the spa. We had a short chat with her as she asked us if it was a nice hotel or not. Of course we answered yes, and she was on her way.
Saturday afternoon's wine seminar started with a flight tasting of seven Far Niente in a classroom style setting. Larry McGuire of Far Niente and Thomas Matthews of the Wine Spectator walked us through the entire tasting. From there, we headed to the next class where we next Andrea's favorite - Chuck Wagner of Caymus.
Andrea and Chuck
After tasting the beautiful wines of Chuck Wagner, we headed to another flight of seven, this time from Italy, and then to the one we were all waiting for...the flights of Cheval Blanc and Chateau d Yquem. ah! We had been worried about the timing, that we may missed the final tasting in order to make it to the Tribute Dinner. Luckily, with a bit of sweet talking, Paul got is in to our final tasting. The four of us sat in the giant classroom, among the hundreds of glasses ready for the students. We sat down and swirled, sniffed and tasted the best sauterne of our time just the four of us. It was perfect!
From there, we had enough time for the Tribute Dinner to Le Bernadin. Where I will pick up or story tomorrow with more photos of our trip. Util then, enjoy fine wine!