Charity wine events are popular, but not all are created equal. The best have several things in common. They don't just pour wines under $15, and they make sure to list the vintages of the wines. They offer selections from around the globe. (We all know what California chardonnay and cabernet taste like, but have you tried Vin Santo or Crozes-Hermitage lately?) And the wine operation has a strong track record of consistency and quality. By those measures, one of the best opportunities to sample worldwide wines and help out a great cause (University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital) is happening next Wednesday at Old Arizona.
These are two of the standouts at the event:
2007 St. Innocent White Rose Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Oregon) A front-runner for Wineglas Wine of the Year 2010. Medium purple with an assortment of aromas featuring floral, pepper, spice, and cherry. Super concentrated wine on the palate and an amazing finish. 95 points
2008 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc One of the best sauvignon blancs in the U.S. year in and year out
You'll also be able to compare two high-end chardonnays:
2006 Tavillier Meursault Cromin (Burgundy) vs. 2007 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay (California)
Also try: 2006 Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage 2007 Gaillard Condrieu 2007 Alto Moncayo Campo de Borja Garnacha 2003 San Michele a Torri Vin Santo (dessert wine from Tuscany) 2006 Rocco Oregon Pinot Noir
Follow the tasting process and you'll be sure to find a few new favorites.
To sign up for the tasting go to: Artisan Vineyards.
Where: Old Arizona 2821 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis (You must order tickets through the above site, and the events usually sell out. A bit of advice at these events: be sure to eat before you go. I'll also be modeling how to use a spit bucket.)
John Glas Wineglas www.wineglas.com