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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Food & Wine Show 2012: Secret to Finding the Good Cheap Wines

It’s that time of year—the time for the most delicious weekend of the year, the big MPR benefit we call the Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Experience. It’s the second year we’ve had it at Target Field, and I’m here to report that it’s actually a really spectacular venue to have it in. You get to see all the high-roller spaces, the Champion’s Club and whatnot, and it feels really splashy and spectacular.

There are three ways to get in, either with Saturday or Sunday show tickets ($75 in advance, $80 at the door) or at the big high-end wine tasting event, the Grand Red event, which is Saturday night for $90 a person, and includes food by Target Field’s chef, Pastor Jimenez, served in various stations around the big fancy clubhouse dining room. I went last year and it was so much fun. You find a great wine, grab a glass, spot a table serving something yummy, like spot prawns or beef tenderloin, get a plate of that, chat with the people in one line, get tips on where to go next—it’s a thoroughly fun time. And for a good cause! Proceeds benefit MPR, just like they do every year.

But wait! You say you are having a hard time justifying the $75 price tag? Just think of all the knowledge you’ll gain about wine, why, it could save you millions over your lifetime. Well, if you drink a lot. Thousands, certainly. For instance, Washington State has sent a delegation to our Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Experience for the past few years, perhaps on the logic that us Canada-adjacent states have to stick together. I have been blown away, repeatedly and every year, by the sheer magnificence of the quality coming out of Washington State. It’s always been the reds that dazzled me—it’s a fantastic place to grow Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. But this year I decided to do a little personal research in advance, to find out whether Washington State Whites were of equivalent quality—and boy howdy are they. I had so many solid, good Viogniers, Rieslings, and Chardonnays that picking out only four to recommend was nearly impossible. But I did it.

This year, Washington State will once again have quite a presence inside the show. You’ll definitely find me there, looking for the next great wine stories—or at least using that as my cover for having a great time.

Join us! One of you even gets to come free. Just share your favorite wine tasting experience (whether at last year's show, a friend's, wherever) in the comments section below and our marketing team will pick a winner at random to get a pair of tickets to the Grand Red Tasting! Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.

Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone. Congrats to mjlodie, our winner!
Please check your email for redemption info.

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 in Permalink

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

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Feb 22, 2012 03:32 pm
 Posted by  tmaddentweet

Best wine tasting experince? Kuleto Estate, Napa Valley, on our honeymoon. Wine is fantastic and views from the vineyard are phenomenal.

Feb 23, 2012 09:05 am
 Posted by  manda

I lived up the street from The Wine Thief in St. Paul a few summers ago and LOVED a walk over to the shop to taste wine. The best part was that anything they were tasting was on sale, and the already specialize in wines at $15 and under. Tasting just a few wines at a time, over several days in the summer, I really learned what I liked, what I didn't like, and I did it within my budget! (I was paying off loads of credit card debt at the time, staying within budget was essential.)

Feb 23, 2012 11:00 am
 Posted by  Rowerdink

This past fall I vacationed in Provence, we had the opportunity to tour Chateauneuf du Pape, we toured the little village on the hill, great weather and views, some of the tastings were very stuffy or not available, but we found this older lady, she spoke zero English, but was very happy to have us taste, it was great and we walked out with a few bottles.

Feb 23, 2012 11:48 am
 Posted by  MNFoodie

My husband and I were visiting Budapest last November when we stumbled upon their annual Wine and Cheese event at Vajdahunyad Castle. While we couldn't speak the language and converse about the wines, we had a fantastic time and a wonderful memory of that evening!

Feb 23, 2012 12:46 pm
 Posted by  Jennifer W.

My best wine tasting experience was on my first trip to Europe when I was 19. I went to this wonderful winery that was enormous! They had barrels and barrels of wine. On this trip I fell in love with wine. Although, one of the Americans had a little too much wine in the tour and made the trip back to Chinon not very enjoyable.

Feb 23, 2012 02:05 pm
 Posted by  Sara77

Since my son was born, he's been a regular at the Friday Solo Vino tastings, as well as as the Rose Tent tastings. Since we live in the neighborhood, it was so fun as a new parent to pop him in a sling or carrier, walk over, and feel like a grown up for a bit. I think the best moment was when he was almost 3 and wanted his own wine glass (of water) at Solo Vino. I very carefully gave him one and he proceeded to swirl and take a big sniff of his water's aroma...just like mom :)

Feb 23, 2012 02:53 pm
 Posted by  SMmpls

At the risk of playing to the judge, this past summer when a group of about a dozen friends and I drank our way through “Drink This”, it was the most fun and drunkenly educational wine experience ever. Our “Wine Wednesdays” provided an escape from the mid-week blahs, a considerable base of knowledge on what can be an intimidating subject, and best of all helped us each understand just what it is we love in a wine.

Feb 23, 2012 03:12 pm
 Posted by  Eatlocal

I recently got to go to a local beer and wine tasting event that was complimented by a trampled by turtles concert. I think it was the best way to really enjoy the fruits of Minnesota, homegrown from the drinks to the entertainment!

Feb 23, 2012 06:16 pm
 Posted by  bethanyg

Since when is a wine tasting bad? But the best I can remember is when my friend Jason, who worked for a distributor, held a "Pinot Party" one summer evening. Everyone brought a bottle of pinot, we wrapped them in foil and numbered them, and everyone tasted and shared notes. Especially amusing was when one was ranked lower than another, and then when unwrapped, were the same kind! With big trays of pulled pork and pulled chicken, and champagne to clear the palate, it was a magical evening.

Feb 23, 2012 07:33 pm
 Posted by  gregn

The Iron Chef event was my favorite tasting event ever. It was so great to get to taste different wines and beers, not to mention the elaborate mixed drinks from the bartending competition. Great assortment of foods from Minnesota restaurants too.

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TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally bring the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Minnesota Monthly Senior Editor Rachel Hutton, Sustainable Food Correspondent Marie Flanagan, Chef Jason Ross, Food Writer Joy Summers, and Drinks & Real Food Senior Editor Mary Subialka. Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

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