We’re delighted to see that what used to be the World Series of Wine has been expanded to feature a full week of activities and special tastings in downtown Cleveland. So we caught up with Dan Greathouse who is on the board of Cleveland Week of Wine to learn more about what he loves most about wine. As the wine importer for Heidelberg Distributing, he had a lot to share.
Give us the some of the highlights we can expect at Cleveland Week of Wine.
Cleveland Week of Wine, March 20-27th, will offer experiences that are fun and interesting for beginners and wine geeks alike! From the grand tastings, a social experience where you can responsibly sample hundreds of varietals in one place, to small group seminars offering more in-depth study, people with all levels of wine knowledge will feel satisfied.
Two things jump out in my mind though as being truly unique experiences! Champagne Under the Chandelier, an homage to … and a barrel tasting where you can sample limited-edition and unreleased wines, drawn from the barrel and bottled exclusively for this event.
Describe your favorite food and wine pairing.
Can it be a “wine & wife” pairing? I’d choose a bottle of Bordeaux to enjoy with my wife, Mary.
Seriously, I could answer this in so many ways. There’s the “ultra cool” answer and the “kick off the shoes at home and relax” answer. For maximum chilling out I’d suggest lingering over a nice red wine with simple cheeses and great fresh bread. Equally wonderful is a nicely-aged vintage Champagne with an equally well-developed Époisses, which is a rare cheese from Burgundy in France, but I contend that it’s actually sent directly from Heaven! The literal translation is “worth the effort.”
Which variety or style of wine do you think is most misunderstood?
Dessert wines. Many folks are afraid they are going to be sticky-sweet, but their brilliance is the balance between crisp acidity and fresh, natural sweetness. Dedicated foodies have a chilled taste before the first glass of Champagne to refresh their palates and then let it warm up a bit and enjoy it with soup or a paté during the meal. It is then brought back out of the fridge to enjoy at end of the meal as a low-alcohol/low-calorie treat. (Excuse me, I have to get a bottle, I’ll be right back!)
The ABC’s of Wine Seminar at the Grand Tasting will be helpful for the novice. But here are two secrets to keep in mind. Spit the wine into the buckets after enjoying a sniff and a swirl. That’s what they’re there for. In a professional tasting, there is very little actual drinking until the end. The other secret is that you need to push and shove your way to “the good stuff.” I am just kidding, but really it helps to have a general idea of what you like. The real value of the grand tasting will be the wine professionals pouring their favorites and being able to ask them questions.
What might be the most exclusive sip available at Cleveland Week of Wine?
Well, you can go for the twenty-five year old Chateau Margaux, which you can actually get at Edwin’s, but that sip will cost you $500! There will be a dream collection of awesome Champagnes at the Champagne Under the Chandelier event as well as some very special barrel samples at the Wednesday night event at Heinen’s. It will not be too hard to find some once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Of course we’re Edible Cleveland, so we’ve got to ask, who will be pouring local wines to sample?
It would be difficult to keep Claudio Salvador away. He’s a gifted winemaker who exemplifies the American dream. He moved here from Italy and is now running Firelands Wine. As it happens he is also the funniest wine expert on the planet. I love to hear him talk!
And, just for fun, if you were a type of wine, what would you be and why?
Oh, that’s easy! Bordeaux wines are sexy and powerful; it would be a nice change from my real shy and reclusive nature.