The night breeze was almost tropical. And that’s saying something for the Cleve. Every year, I look forward to going to the Cleveland Wine Festival at Voinovich Park, and this year it was spectacular. My friends, HubbyDoug and I arrived early enough to sample responsibly and get a good look at this year’s offerings. The pick of the night for my friends Terri and Shelly: the 2012 Estancia Moscato. Light and refreshing, it delivered a nice complexity with the sweetness, which made it a good sipping wine ~ requiring seconds (and thirds) to get the ‘full view’ of flavors. At least, that’s what they told me.
What I found most interesting this year was seeing a real change in label art. Many of the brands represented moved towards (especially for their entry-level wines) more eye-catching, funky artwork; spectrum of pastel to neon to color-blocked lettering, backgrounds, and lots of movement on the label. Be.Wines had a little test you could take to discover what type of wine suited you. I thought it’d be really interesting to see how the test scores changed as the night went on; someone who started the evening as a steadfast golden retriever (one of the choices) might end up as a jungle cat by closing time. Rowrrr! They seemed to be reaching their target market; I saw a lot of Millennial ladies taking the test as the night went on.
Many Ohio wines were well-represented and my choice for the evening was Laurello Vineyards Rodavi, a 50 | 50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.I’m not always a fan of Merlot but blended with their Cab Franc, it brought an extra dimension of fruit and tannin that I don’t find with Merlot on its own. I was also fortunate to sample a little of their 2012 Cabernet Franc, which I found to be a delicate combination of red cherry and a hint of vanilla.
When all the elements come together to make a great evening: good weather, great friends, food and wine, you can’t ask for anything more.