Saturday night goldmedal winners of The Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition were the stars of a tasting event at the Fairplex’s Wine & Spirits Marketplace. Guests were treated to presentations such as the art of mixing cocktails and chocolate and cheese wine pairings. A silent auction offered fun prizes like naming a baby animal at the County Fair and serving as a Grand marshall of a parade, though we doubted that the Hall and Oates signed guitar was indeed “priceless”, as advertised.
There was also an intense Chef fight with the Sheraton’s David Teig smoking the competition. The MC kept asking the Chef questions like, “So wasabi is a form of horseradish, could you explain the difference?” Although Chef Teig kept his cool, in side I was screaming, “This man has half an hour to braise pork belly! Leave him alone!” The next day we were to discover the win wasn’t just home court advantage.
Favorite spirits of the evening included Milagro’s Silver Plata, a smooth sipping tequila, and Solerno, a blood orange liquer. Babe’s Honey Blonde Ale and a malty Irish Stout from Sprecher Brewing Co stood out amongst the brewed gold medalists. A best of Class was Rancho de Philo’s triple Cream Sherry, which is only made once a year and was decorated with more medals than a four-star General.
As a fan of primarily Sparkling Wines and Champagnes, I would have found it easier to navigate the tasting if wines had been organized by category. Still, I managed to stumble upon Perrier-Jouet Brut Champagne, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Gourmet food trucks were on hand ($10 in truck coupons per guest went further than we expected). The Tornado Potato, Pita Pusher, and perennial favorite The Grilled Cheese Truck provided favorite treats. As darkness fell, the 70s rollerboogie and 80s dancemix gave way to more modern mixes by Rhianna and the Black Eyed Peas. The dancefloor filled up and gaggles of 30 and 40-somethings stumbled past giggling.