Galveston Wine Festival and Don’t be the dumbass redux

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Today Amy and I are going to head down to the 2010 Galveston Food and Wine Festival.  Regular readers will know that we have a soft spot (Amy’s heart, my head) for Galveston, so we don’t really need an excuse to visit the island, but this gives us a great one. Here is how this event is being billed on their website:

Saturday, April 17th, 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Saengerfest Park, 23rd and Strand

Sample wine, visit with winemakers and fellow enthusiasts, and enjoy the sounds of Latin Music in Saengerfest Park, located in Historic Downtown Galveston.

Tasting in the Park is featuring South American wines from the slopes of Apalta in Colchagua, Chile and the high altitude wine country of Mendoza, Argentina. Select U.S. wines from Napa Valley are also included. Wineries participating include Alamos, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Bonterra Vineyards, Bodega Catena Zapata, Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, Dry Creek Vineyard, Flora Springs Winery, Geyser Peak Winery, and Montes Alpha.

Local restaurateurs will be offering cheese and food bites at an additional fee. Participating restaurants include 901 Postoffice, Luigi’s Ristorante Italiano, M&M Restaurant and Bar, Olympia, The Grill at Pier 21, Rudy & Paco, Saltwater Grill, The Tremont House, Willie G’s, and Yaga’s Café.

Tickets include a commemorative souvenir glasses, wine tastings, and event program. Participants will also receive discounts at area Strand merchants.

Stella Artois beer will also be available for an additional fee.

Win an Instant Wine Locker! Fifty bottles of wine will be given away as a door prize! A portion of the proceeds from the event benefit the Resource Crisis Center and Galveston College Culinary Arts Program.

Anyway, we were almost three quarters of the way through the wine stroll and I was afraid that perhaps I was going to end being the dumbass because no one else had yet accepted the responsibility. Then I heard it.
Other than having to listen to people singing in Latin, it sounds like my kind of shindig. I am sure that we will come back with plenty of stories from the day’s outing, but until then here is one of my favorite stories from a previous food and wine outing in Galveston. The full story, Don’t be the dumbass, was published here in May of 2008. Enjoy!

Don’t be the dumbass (redux)

The stroll was a great time, even if most of the wines were, at best, unremarkable. The location and the free flow of wine make for excellent sightseeing, people watching, conversation with strangers and, perhaps best of all, eavesdropping. People who are drinking say some funny stuff!

Then there are the people who announce proudly to the world that they have taken it upon themselves to be the designated dumbass for the entire room. These individuals are my personal favorites. We all owe these brave souls a debt of gratitude for happily cloaking themselves in the mantle of dumbassitude so that the rest of us don’t have to. I wish I could say that I have never been that guy, but I have taken my turn in the box many, many times. However, when the shoe is on the other foot I plan to enjoy it as much as humanly possible.

Now, before you ask, yes my mother did tell me not to make fun of people, she also told me a lot of other stuff that would probably make me a better person if I were to follow it, but hey, I’m a guy. Sometimes I just need to surrender to my baser instincts just to keep them in good working order.

Anyway, we were almost three quarters of the way through the wine stroll and I was afraid that perhaps I was going to end being the dumbass because no one else had yet accepted the responsibility. Then I heard it. The pourer was explaining that her wine was an Australian blend of various grapes when she was interrupted by a guy saying, “Ah, a Meritage!” He mispronounced the word, making it sound French (It is actually a combination of two English words, merit and heritage). A very common mistake, one I still make on occasion because I said it incorrectly for so long, but still, it provided a glimmer of hope that someone from our group was about to step up to the dumbass podium.

My new favorite person did not disappoint. After the pourer politely explained that no, it was blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache (Meritage is an American tribute to wines from Bordeaux and is always made with certain grapes, principally Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. A red Meritage must be made from at least two of these grapes, or the less well known St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, and Carmenere, and no single varietal can comprise more than 90% of the blend) my new best buddy turned and shouted, “Hey honey, come on over here! They have MERITAGE!”

There were snickers, maybe even a laugh or two. The ever so polite woman pouring the wine even allowed herself a smirk and a slight eye roll. We had our dumbass! He then proceeded, in full hearing range of the assembled masses, to explain to his wife that all blended wines are called Meritages, while shooting the server condescending looks. The price of the wine stroll was now a mere pittance when weighed against the amusement this guy provided. I just hope I remember him someday down the road when I get the urge to show off and spout some bit of pretentious nonsense.

Wine shouldn’t be pretentious, it should just taste good and be a lot of fun. Don’t be the dumbass, and please smack me in the head if you catch me being one. Thanks!