I didn’t exactly know what to expect from a “Pinot 4 Way Smackdown.” What is that? I was asked only half a dozen times leading up to the event. Even people who had tickets were confused. Well, to be fair it took about 20 seconds to explain, and once you understood the kind of fun going on on the roof at the Bohemian Hotel this week, it was
clear the Savannah Food and Wine Festival is gaining momentum…..quite obviously for the better.
You may recall the first “Smackdown” was a chef event at Leoci’s Trattoria. You can read more about that here. This 2nd smackdown was a competition of sorts between wine distributors in the area. They set up inside the lounge at Rocks on the Roof. Empire Distributors, National, Quality Wines and Spirits and United Distributors each put 4 wines out. They had to be Pinot. Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir Rose’, Sparkling Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier and still Pinot Noir. 16 wines to sample, all within a certain price range. Each guest had a ballot. Each guest got to pick their favorite.
Your first reaction, of course, is “16 wines? I can’t handle that.” But I watched the guests mingle, taste, ask questions and learn a little more about these great wines they don’t always get to taste. Maybe because they aren’t as educated about Pinot or frankly are afraid to ask. The list to share is obviously rather long, but there was a good bit of wine consumed and information exchanged. Sure, some were there for the social event, but I saw a great number of people asking questions, which is good. If there is anything wine distributors like, it’s a well informed customer.
For two and a half hours they tossed back Acrobat Rose, Chehalem 3 Pinot Noirs and a variety of others and scribbled on their cards. Until the winner was chosen. United Distributors. I didn’t take an official count, but I’d easily say over a hundred people were
absolutely guilty of drinking and liking all of the evenings offerings. Rocks on the Roof provided excellent munchies as well, including skewered shrimp, crab cakes, tuna bites and BBQ Sliders. $29 to sample 16 wines and all the food you can eat? Yeah, it was pretty perfect.
So the march to November continues. Official pre-wine festival events are being added all the time. I’m told there is a bartender challenge coming in October. For more information you can go to their website. savannahfoodandwinefest.com