Cruising through South Beach wine events abundant, this one took over the Glimmer Room at the Fontainebleau.

This was a great wine tasting tradeshow held by Southern Wine & Spirits where I could “guestimate” over 20 different wine/ liquor houses came together to tease the palates of about 200 south Floridians. In order to paint a good picture mentally prepare yourself to walk an entire room corner-to-corner overflowing with striking reds, whites and blushes; where your only concern for once isn’t geared towards commitment- au contraire you are encouraged to get to know all of the different personalities you cross path with. As if that wasn’t enough to lure you in, you also have the ridiculous choice of better acquainting yourself with multiple cognacs, rums, vodkas (just to name a few spirits) all inclusive with as many visits as you best see fit!

You are probably thinking the same thing my stomach was… fabulous and what’s for dinner? This leads the way to the unfortunate conclusion for the night inspired by the lack of thought process behind the matter. There should’ve been a better balance of liquids to solids in my hungry opinion. Yes there was a little cheesy nibble, and crudités but fingers grabbing here and then dipping there seemed almost awkward to look at much less to attempt. In the two back corners guests had the choice of either line A for a bacony Orecchiette and Veggie pasta dish with your choice of Goat cheese topping or line B which lead you to four bites of a yummy Churrasco grilled steak with Chimichurri sauce.

Nothing I went too crazy for; they were good and got the job done but were a touch one-noted and perhaps a little… lonely. A petite sushi bar could’ve joined the party and accompanied the 3 or 4 Sake companies I remember flirting with. In addition, a better cheese and cracker spread could’ve provided a WOW factor being such a focal point smack-dab in the middle of the room. And last but not least a dessert table! After about 2 hours of being there I couldn’t help hearing peoples’ inner children longing for their sugar fix and not a gram of sugar in sight!

I understand this wasn’t a food festival but, wine “tasting” can take its toll at an event running from 5-9 pm, plus it would have been nice if the event ended things on a sweet note. Now, for the highlights of the night I must memorialize the following as my  Top 6, in no particular order. Two risky and deelish Cali wines with French names Folie a Deux and Menage a Trois, Zyr Russian Vodka for their almost freaky ultra smoothness, Conjure Cognac for the warmth and non-overpowering sweetness, Torresella for the hint of floral taste that I didn’t expect in a white wine, Castronovo for the red wine richness and velvety tannins, and the outstanding “Pure Dawn” and ”Pure Dusk” by Pure Sake. Dawn Sake left you with the creamy aftertaste of pear and Dusk with a slight tartness at the finish. All great finds that I hope to revisit next time SWS hosts another event.

Be sure to dress it up and perhaps rethink arriving on an empty stomach, other than that clear you schedule for the next 4-5 hours for corner-to-corner fluid immoderation!

By Contributor Writer Gigi Laverde