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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Cincinnati Enquirer Wine Tasting Competition

Posted: February 22, 2008
by: Mark Stine

Gotta love business trips that take you in the vicinity of family and friends.  A recent stop in Cincinnati meant a great visit with my brother Jim, wife Karen and son Matt. But before I could even unpack, I was greeted with “We are going to a wine tasting”. Well…how could I refuse! When we arrived at the location of the tasting, I discovered that some great ski friends, Sharon and John Rieke would be joining the festivities as well. Now Sharon and John are worth several GourmetStation blog posts alone, what with Sharon’s keen eye for ferreting out wonderful places to dine everywhere we have gone and John being an oenophile. I knew we were in for a fun and entertaining night.


Our hosts, Mike Forcade and his wife Penny had a beautiful set up. Several staging areas in the dining room and kitchen with gourmet food to tide us over and the wine tasting set ups on the screen covered patio for whites and the reds on the giant food prep island in the middle of the spacious mid- western kitchen.

What made this particular wine tasting unique was the fact that it was based on a recent article by the Cincinnati Enquirer, where they asked five local wine experts to each list their favorite reds and favorite whites in the $10.00 price point. This selected panel came up with their choices and our goal for the evening was to see if we could come up with the same selections as that illustrious panel of wine experts.

Well there must have been more than 20 people in attendance that night and everyone took the whole proceeding very seriously…as the winners would be taking home full bottles of some very fine tasting wines.

Let me introduce you to them:

The Reds

Santa Ema Carmenere 03

Pelican by Laurence Feraud 03

Leasingham Magnus Shiraz-Cab 01

Equis Vinas Viejas 03

Calina Carmenere 02

The Whites

Blue Fish Riesling

Basa Blanco 04

Las Brisas Blanco 04

J&F Lurton pinot Gris 04

Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc 04

In addition to these wine finalists, there were additional selections in each category, but these were the top five, as selected by the Cincinnati Enquirer panel of experts. Unknown to us…us being the wine tasting participants trying to match the Cincinnati Enquirer panel of experts, was the ranking. That was our goal, to see how closely we could align with the experts and the winners in our group would be taking home some bottles for their “trouble.”

I lost track of my brother and his wife in the pouring, palate cleansing and tasting mayhem….but kept a stealthy eye on Sharon and John to see by the expressions on their faces, how the wines were doing from their perspective.

How did I fare….let’s just say I must have been in an exploratory mood that night as I did not end up winning! (Just for the record, I got three of the winning reds in my list and two of the whites, but not necessarily in the right order) After the conclusion, the official tally was taken and the winners that night revealed that indeed my instincts had been right…keep an eye on Sharon Rieke!

Mike Forcade passed along his comments, “ What was interesting about the winners was that the category winners both picked the Cincinnati Enquirer #1 as first on their cards.  We scored by giving two points for a direct hit in comparison to the paper and one point for selecting one of the top wines but not in the correct order.”


Winners:  White:  Olden Warren with 6 points (his list had four of five whites and he scored will overall too).

Red Winner:  Ros Staadeker with 6 points

Overall Winner:  Sharon Rieke 12 points

Mikes final comment “Final observation: The wine that was left over was not worth drinking after the fact!!!!!!!!!!”

And that would be because the sophisticated palate of the attendees honed very quickly in on the “good stuff” leaving the other wines to sit forlornly 3/4s full.

Everyone had a wonderful time with gourmet foods to sample, exceptionally tasty wines to drink and rate and the winners walked off with bottles for their keen wine acumen.

And the overall winning results...well it just adds to Sharon and John’s legend as gourmands.

So if you get bored this winter…you can try a sampling party at your house. It will definitely be worth the effort and your guest can help clean up too!  Mark Stine


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