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The California Wine Experience...in Las Vegas
Wine Afficionados Descend Upon Vegas

by R.H. Duke

Las Vegas...a world “CAPITAL” noted for Dining, Gaming, Shopping, Entertainment, Boxing, and Conventions, among others. And “Wine Capital” as well?

The California Wine Experience, usually held in California and New York, chose to hold its recent 3-day spectacular wine event for the first time in Vegas at The Venetian Resort. The sell-out crowd, limited to 1200 wine aficionados from all over the globe, consisted of serious oenophiles, wine connoisseurs, sommeliers, industry executives, and the average Joe and Jane with a desire to join in the quest for wine knowledge…and “the good life.”

No less than 200 of California premiere winemakers were on hand pouring their award-winning vintages during the 2- night Grand Tasting. A spectacular food table was set up with cheese, terrines, pates, breads, fruits, desserts, chocolates, and other foods to accompany the wines tasted. Each participating winery had been selected for excellence by Wine Spectator board of editors. Many wines were tasted for the first time, and some not readily found elsewhere. Proceeds benefited the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

The event included additional special tastings hosted by Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher, Wine Spectator, New York City, staff member, and winemakers. The usual wine ritual observed at a tasting is the “4- S’s” - see, swirl, sniff, sip, (we’re expected to taste) and I would add 2 more S’s -savor and summarizing the experience. Attendees were given a wine diary with information on each winery and space for note taking. Ink pens were running dry as corks popped and wine poured.

Congratulations to Piero Selvaggio Valentino at The Venetian, one of five recipients to receive the 2002 Grand Award. (In 1981 he earned this same award for his Santa Monica restaurant).

A wine tasting offers the opportunity to focus on numerous wine selections and determine compatibility to your palate and budget. Those who missed this spectacular tasting have the opportunity to enjoy California wines at many of Vegas world-class restaurants. If confused as to choice, rely on the restaurant’s sommelier and staff for suggestions in pairing wine with cuisine. I also suggest you attend the next scheduled tasting. You can purchase Wine Spectator publication at bookstores and newsstands, for more valuable wine information and
upcoming events. Salute’.

R.H. Duke is a former restaurateur and a Las Vegas restaurant critic who says “Fine Dining is one of Life’s Greatest Pleasures!”

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