Rob Moshein - Austin Wine Guy
Le Tour de Vin, a good Austin idea gets much better...
September 09, 2011Yr. Mst. Hmbl & Obdt Svt was fortunate to have been invited as a guest to attend the 2011 "Tour de Vin" event by the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas, last night. My kind thanks for the free ticket!
Moved from the previous years' venue of Whole Foods Patio over to the swanky W Hotel. The only downside is the parking option. Either a very pricy $14 valet at the hotel or $5 down the block at the City Hall Garage or feeding the meter now that our benevolent City Council has extended the meter hours downtown. This small niggle is far overshadowed by the air conditioning, elegant rooms, and good flow of the Second Floor ballrooms for the event. Not to mention the attentive staff clearing plates and emptying trash bins.
First smart move.
Second change: Smaller rooms off each other makes for less of a crowd in any one place. Nice. Each room was paired by region of cuisine and wine. US, well let's be honest, California, wine, paired with US based cuisine, French with French, etc. Sake and Sushi, nice touch. Second smart move.
Crowd control. Much better than previous years. Just enough people to make it interesting, but without the huge crush of a line to get anything. The few times a line formed somewhere I wanted to try, I just went off for ten minutes and returned to fine the line gone.
Third smart move.
One change missing: The large part of the wines poured were the same ones from previous years, just new vintages. It would have been nice to see more "new faces" among the wines poured, that part seemed a bit tired.
Best idea: the outdoor patio space, which wasn't readily known to be there! Always a quieter, relaxing spot, lovely evening weather, and to put the bubbles out there was genius! Whenever the crowd got annoying, I'd just head outside, grab a glass of Nicholas Feuillate Champagne or some good Prossecco, chill for a while, and head back in. Cigars available a nice touch.
Worst idea; Those bloody loud drums. What were you guys thinking? Loud huge drums in such a small confined space with 300 people crammed in? Thankfully the best idea above was the escape hatch to wait out the head-splitting din. Lose the drums next year, please.
All in all, a job well done. Kudos and my thanks. I'm already looking forward to next year.