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What To Drink Now: Savor Dallas Reserve Tasting and International Grand Tasting

Gallo Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (left); Grand Tasting (right) photos by Louie Solomon
Gallo Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (left); Grand Tasting (right) photos by Louie Solomon

Each year Savor Dallas continues to grow, bringing residents from all over North Texas together for a weekend of wine and food celebration. This year, in its ninth, Savor added evening events at Trinity Groves, the Perot Museum, and a special evening at the Dallas Arboretum, bringing Dallas Blooms and wines from all over the globe together.  However, the original tasting opportunities still remain the best, pairing some of the best chefs in the city together with wines and a plethora of spirits from all over the world at the big International Grand Tasting. This applies to the the special Reserve Wines tasting just before. I had a chance to attend both Saturday night as a guest of Savor Dallas.

Neyen Espiritu de Apalta - Colchagua Valley Red Blend (being poured from decanter)
Neyen Espiritu de Apalta – Colchagua Valley Red
Blend (being poured from decanter)

Held for the second year at the spacious Irving Convention Center, the Reserve Tasting started at 5 p.m. with representatives from Moet-Hennessy, NumanthiaCheval des Andes, and The Puzzle from Newton. Diageo poured incredible Rutherford dust filled BV Georges de Latour Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Duckhorn offered its incredible Howell Mountain Cabernet;, and Wrath Wines poured a crisp and luscious, wax-capped San Saba Chardonnay. Some special spirits included a four-year aged Casa Sauza XA Limited Edition Gran Anejo Tequila. Comfortably spread out guests easily meandered from table-to-table, sipping and enjoying, while having the opportunity to talk about the wines with the representatives with ease.

The Mint Asian Fusion Cafe's spicy tuna crisps with tar tar, seaweed salad, and sesame seeds
The Mint Asian Fusion Cafe’s spicy tuna crisps with tar tar, seaweed salad, and sesame seeds

Afterwards, the International Grand Tasting event, spread out over the 4th floor of the convention center (as well as outdoor areas on floors below) was a chefs display of seasonal favorites, as well as bites to pair perfectly with everything from a refreshing ruby red grapefruit fizz from Freixenet to aged rum cocktails from Pyrat. Texas’ own blue corn whiskey from Balcones was served straight up, guests sipped on beer from Stella Artois and Hoeggarden and, of course, there was plenty of wine from all over the world, including selections from 2012 Wine Enthusiast Wine Region of the World, Ribera del Duero, and a few from Texas (i.e. Becker Vineyards in the Hill Country and Brennan Vineyards).
It was nice to see so many fun spirits represented this year. Though Savor is a wine and food event, our Dallas palates continue to seek fun cocktail options made with high quality spirits mixed with fresh ingredients.

 Bistro 31's warm duck confit and goat cheese with poached figs, arugula, and walnut - white truffle emulsion.
Bistro 31′s warm duck confit and goat
cheese with poached figs, arugula, and walnut – white truffle emulsion.
 Sambuca Uptown's Mexican cocktail with shrimp, tomato sauce, fresh lime, cilantro & jalapeños (left); Numanthia 2008
Sambuca Uptown’s Mexican cocktail with
shrimp, tomato sauce, fresh lime, cilantro & jalapeños (left); Numanthia 2008
The Landmark at Warwick Melrose's Herb Palenta with 3 day cured pork belly, truffle honey, and micro greens
The Landmark at Warwick Melrose’s Herb Palenta with 3 day cured pork belly, truffle honey, and micro greens

And, of course, there was food. Janice Provost of Parigi prepared a chilled avocado soup with pico and a chorizo-black bean cake,  Jeffrey Hobbs/The Porch made a creamy, spicy tortilla soup. The gorgeous scallop bite with passion fruit from Dan Landsberg/Dragonfly paired lusciously with Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc, and the hearty braised lamb shoulder with root vegetables from  Jerry de la Riva/Terrace Bistro NYLO South Side worked harmoniously with Trinchero Haystack Cabernet. Then the creamy cheese plates from Paula Lambert/Mozzarella Company and one that included stop-me-in-my-tracks delicious, earthy truffle cheese and robust blue cheese from Rich Rogers/Scardello paired well with MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir.

Domaine Chandon - étoile Brut (mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a splash of Pinot Meunier) from Reserve Tasting
Domaine Chandon – étoile Brut (mainly Chardonnay
and Pinot Noir, with a splash of Pinot Meunier) from Reserve Tasting

2014 will mark the 10th anniversary for Savor Dallas (always held around this time of year in early spring). Considering the success of 2013′s showcase, it’s sure to be a grand event celebrating food, wine, and spirits next year.