I went to last night’s Rhythm and Vine, a music and wine festival in Escondido, California that benefits the Girls and Boys Club. Rhythm and Vine is put on by Fast Forward Events, the event company that I interned for last semester when I helped out with the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. It’s such a small world! Anyway, I was there last night helping out my mentor, Lindsay Pomeroy of Wine Smarties, who was brought on to host a segment for Taste of Wine TV.
We basically got to go around and handpick restaurants, wineries, breweries, and spirit purveyors we thought would have the most compelling stories and bring them back to our booth for Lindsay to interview on camera. Among the various exhibitors, we spoke with Fallbrook Winery, Orfila Vineyards & Winery, Cupcake Love, St. Petersburg Russian Vodka, La Jolla Pub & Brew House, and PaQui Tequila.
It was interesting to be on the other side of the fence as an exhibitor. I got to spread my wings a little and experience the event as an attendee would. I had so much fun that I didn’t get any pictures despite bringing my camera :(… but I still have my memories!
This event was much smaller than the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, but I think as a spectator some people may prefer it if they are looking to avoid big crowds and long lines. Despite the size, I feel like this event still had a lot to offer in terms of wine. Many of the wineries participating at this event were also a part of the SDBWFF so in terms of quality, you were getting a lot of the same great wines but on a much smaller and local scale.
I was really impressed with Fallbrook Winery‘s 2007 33 Degree North BDX. This is their first wine made entirely from grapes grown on their Estate. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet France and 100% delicious, it mimics the qualities of a red Bordeaux—smooth and enticing, it definitely leaves you wanting more.
Another favorite wine came from Ryan-Jake Cellars, a vineyard that grows and produces their wines up in Napa Valley. I really enjoyed their 2007 3.SUM. Strange name, but great taste! Also a blend, this time of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Syrah and Zin. They describe this wine as full-bodied and “packed with flavors of cherry, rhubarb, caramel and blackberry preserves, with undertones of cocoa and spice.” Their 2007 Viogner was also quite delicious, but it was definitely not a match when compared to Orfila‘s Estate Viognier.
The emphasis at this event was definitely not on food. SDBWFF is jam packed with amazing chefs from all over the San Diego fine dining restaurant scene, whereas the food at this event consisted of many more casual dining restaurants with a few big names like Harney Sushi and the Winesellar & Brasserie. I enjoyed the lasagna of Lady Lasagna (San Diego), they had both a tomato and pesto lasagna that were delish.
Also the ladies of Hotcha Salsa (Carlsbad) were so cool—they gave me TWO free containers of salsa. Their hot salsa is made with cucumbers, which I normally hate, but it was actually quite tasty.
And I can’t forget The Chocolate Traveler (Pasedena) for hooking me up with a free sample of their milk chocolate wedges… yum!
In addition to wine, I got to try a variety of delicious beers. Firestone Walker Brewing Company came down from Paso Robles to show off their beers which have won numerous accolades in world competitions. I was blown away by their Double Barrel Ale, which is actually aged in oak barrels like a wine, leaving hints of vanilla and toasted oak on your palette. I definitely recommend picking up a case of the DBA at your local Vons. Another favorite came from North Coast Brewing Company (Fort Bragg, CA). With 9% ABV, their Old Rasputin Imperial Stout punches you in the face with flavors of espresso and chocolate. It was quite possibly one of the BEST stouts I have ever tried. I’m going to have to keep my eye out for that one and see if it’s offered locally!
All and all this was a great event that I’d highly recommend to anyone with the money to attend. With tickets at $75 (advance) – $100 (at the door) it can be a little pricey, but if you have the funds it’s a wonderful way to spend an evening while giving back to the community.