Tag Archives: florida wine

1,000 wines came to the fair. What wines go with fried bubble gum?

Actually, 1,067 entries showed up for the annual wine judging at the Florida State Fair this year and 62 took home double golds. As usual, the Florida contest draws in a wide net from Minnesota to Florida as well as the major wine regions of the West Coast and abroad, unoaked chardonnay to chambourcin.
So the best of show awards were spread out: Top white was an Edelweiss from Miletta Vista in Nebraska; best red a syrah from Klinker Brick in Lodi; best bubbles went to a brut fron Laetitia in San Luis Obispo.

In Florida wines, the central part of the state did well, Lakeridge Winery in Clermont got a double gold for the 2010 Blanc du Bois. Its sister winery, San Sebastian, got single golds for a Blanc du Bois, a Stover and a port. And Florida Orange Groves in St. Pete, the perennial champ of fruit wines, claimed best of show in fruit for its Mango Mama.

For me, my best of the fair was outside the wine judging. Pork chop on a stick, fried mashed potatoes and the burgers of your dreams/nightmares: peanut butter and bacon burgers, doughnut burgers on a split Krispy Kreme, and the Wild Hog, a bacon cheese burger topped with pork barbecue, fries and slaw. All at one stand. I could have stayed all day.

Give Thanks for Good Tomatoes, Blueberries, and Guavas

blueberriesIn Florida’s upside down seasons, May is Thanksgiving, when the last and best of harvest come in, the tangerines and strawberries; but there’s a cornucopia in the roadside stands if you look carefully. Blueberries.

Our local heroes at Keel & Curley winery just had their big harvest for the little blueberries that make their best wine. And Florida blueberries are in many stores ready for ice cream, salad, pancakes, or Sherman’s blueberry-mushroom sauce for duck breast.

(Quick RX: sauté a mix of shiitakes and large mushrooms with the duck. When you remove the duck, add finely chopped
onion, a little garlic, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme. Add a cup or more red wine to deglaze the pan. Add blueberries and reduce the sauce. Very woodsy and earthy. Great on lamb, too.)

Eating blueberries will also tell you why you find this key black fruit in Merlot, Pinot, and Cabernet Franc.

Guava too. If you’ve only tasted guava jelly with cream cheese, you’re lost in descriptions of tropical bouquets that sound like Carmen Miranda’s hat. Now’s the time for the real thing. At my local stand, fresh guavas the size of golf balls perfumed two aisles for ten feet. Imagine a truly ripe pineapple, dial in a little peach.

Tomatoes? The much maligned Florida tomatoes are at their best now from Ruskin and beyond. Ripe, firm and juicy, perfect for any pasta (I add them raw with  basil garlic and olive oil) and opening day of of BLT and rosé season.