Cheers to our Wine Education Classes on this #ThirstyThursday

One way to relax at the Fair is to participate in our wine education program. Top chefs and wine experts share their knowledge with Fairgoers, providing wine, crackers and cheese for all – as long as you are 21+.

Last week, Sharron McCarthy joined us at the Wine, Beer & Spirits Marketplace for a class in which she shared her best tips for successful hospitality, hosting parties and of course, the best Chilean wine.

Sharron’s “Charming Chile” class served six different wines (made in different parts of Chile), as well as four delicious cheeses.

The Wines
Natura Sauvignon Blanc
- Color: Transparent yellow
- Taste: Citrus and herb notes reappear on the palate. A fresh, bright and pleasing wine with nicely balanced acidity and good persistence
- 100% Sauvignon Blanc
- Pairs well with ceviche, sushi, smoked ham, goat cheese and salads

Signos De Origen La Vinilla
- Color: Golden yellow
- Taste: Lush and full on the palate with tropical fruit flavors and pleasing acidity
- 68% Chardonnay, 13% Roussanne, 12% Viognier, 7% Marsanne

Signos De Origen Syrah 2012
- Color: Deep purplish-red
- Taste: Beautiful fruit and voluptuous texture complememted by well-balanced acidity and overall tremendous structure.
- 97% Syrah, 3% Viognier

Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Ribera
- Color: Deep Red
- Taste: Well structured, with concentrated flavors of red fruit and sweet tannins.
- 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Carmenere
- Pairs well with beef and pork dishes, and ripe cheeses.

Concha y Toro Marqués de Casa Concha
- Color: Dark ruby red
- Taste: Concentrated flavors are revealed in firm tannins with a soft, silky texture and a lingering finish
- 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Syrah, 1% Petit Verdot
- Pairs well with red meats, cheeses, and hearty pasta dishes.

Coyam
- Color: Intense violet-red
- Taste: Beautifully balanced and full on the palate, good structure with osft, round tannins. Elegant expressions of fruit delicately interwoven with oak, mineral, and toffee.
- 41% Syrah, 29% Carmenere, 20% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Petit Verdot
- Pairs well with roasted red meats, strong cheeses, and pasta with spicy sauces. Also marries well with dried fruits.

All six wines had unique traits. Sharron had Fairguests see for themselves through scent, color and of course, taste. If you would like a chance to learn more about wine, cheese and olive oil, be sure to stop by!

You can get the full schedule and list of speakers here.

 

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Dare To Fair! Opening Weekend Recap Video

This weekend felt like perfection: the sunny light weather, the animals, the rides, the food, the crowds… Fair is here and we couldn’t be happier.

We really embraced the #DareToFair spirit with everything we experienced. Check it out!

We open again on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and we hope you’ll join us for another weekend of Fair! Visit lacountyfair.com for info on tickets, promotions and more.

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Cheers to our Wine, Beer & Spirits Education Classes!

Fair lovers, get ready because the schedule of our wine, beer & spirits education classes is now up on our LACF website for you to check out and get excited about!

LACF’s Wine, Beer & Spirits Education Program is very popular among Fair guests and worth the effort to get to one since they are really fun and also very informative!

Think of it this way…when you come to one of these classes, you’ll not only meet some of the top names in the wine, beer, spirits and olive oil industries (they lead the classes), but you’ll also get to hang out and meet other Fair guests at our beautiful Wine, Beer, Food & Spirits Marketplace, which happens to be a climate-controlled area! Oh and did we forget to mention the fact that you’ll probably feel a bit tipsy after the class? Don’t fight the inevitable, just go with the flow and relax!

To give you an idea of how diverse our marketplace really is, here are just a few of the classes we will be offering at LACF this year: Wines of the Central Coast with Adam LaZarre; Bonjour – Wines of France, with Chris Braun; Historical Wines of Northern Italy with Andrea Torelli-Lesky; Bubbles From All Over The World with Michael Jordan, Master Sommelier; and American Whiskey & Bourbon, with Ryan Steely.

Each Wine Class features six wines and four cheeses. Additionally, each participant will receive a tasting ticket for a taste of a Gold Medal winner from the International Tasting Bar.

Each Craft Beer Class features 5 beers and each Spirits Class features 4 samples of spirits.

The cost to participate is $20 for each wine class and $15 for each of the beer and spirits classes.

Our wine education classes are held every day of the Fair, so stop with the excuses and check out the website for a complete schedule.

Which classes are you planning on taking this year?

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Keep Cool at the Wine, Beer & Spirits Marketplace

Is the weather too hot for you? Well, stop what you’re doing and come over to LACF’s Wine, Beer & Spirits Marketplace and view more than 2,000 international wine, spirits, craft beers, and extra virgin olive oil winners. If that doesn’t cool you off, then I don’t know what will!

When you stop by the marketplace, go on an adventure and give your palate something new. Tasting new flavors is always a lot more fun when you have someone to discuss things with, so bring your family, significant other, or friends and enroll in one of our many weekend one-hour tasting classes.

Finding the right wine, beer, or spirit for YOU may be a bit difficult, which is why we are hosting these classes. We want you to have a new favorite drink…something other than your Friday-night-drink!

As a general rule of thumb, when you taste a new beverage you should keep track of these 5 things: Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, Mouth Feel, and Overall Impression.

In addition to getting into the habit of smelling and swirling your drink before you take the first sip, you should also learn to combine your drinks with food.

Coincidentally enough, after walking in the sun for hours, I decided to cool down at the marketplace by observing Jason Torres’, from BierBuzz, class on Food and Beer AND Shelby Ledgerwood’s class on wines and cheeses. Saying these classes were amazingly informative is an understatement. Here are a few things I learned:

For beer, you should know how to cut, complement, and contrast a variety of flavors.

Cutting refers to pairing two extreme flavors and still getting a smooth taste. In other words, one flavor doesn’t outshine the other.

Complementing refers to looking for similar aromas and flavors in both the food and the beer. Consistency is the key here!

Contrasting refers to looking for opposing flavors and aromas. Their opposing flavors will balance out in your palate.

In regards to tasting wines, you should always begin with the driest wines and slowly transition to the sweetest. CAUTION: If you do this backwards, the second wine will taste very bitter.

Having this hot weather is your cue to enroll in one of our tasting classes and make the Wine, Beer & Spirits Marketplace one of your top priorities when you come to the Fair.

I hope you enjoy these refreshing and savory drinks as SoCal continues to warm up…Cheers!

 

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Discover #LACFCLASSYCOMBOS with Wine, Beer and Fair Food Pairings

Get creative with your food and beverage pairings at the Los Angeles County Fair. You can be your own beer expert and wine sommelier when you pair your favorite Fair food with the premium craft beers and award-winning wines available right here at LACF!

Popcorn, corndogs and churros are just the beginning. The unlimited array of food pairing options at the Fair opens your palate to a whole new explosion of tastes and textures that go beyond deep-fried Twinkies and lemonade.

Watch as our hosts take you on this unexpected culinary journey. Think you can do better than Arthur, Haley, Kara and Trent with your combos? Let your inner culinary intuition speak to you as you find the best food & beverage combinations. And when you do, share it with us using #LACFClassyCombos. Cheers!

 

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Wine & dine this weekend at Fairplex

There are many things to enjoy at the Fair, wine being one of them. And spirits. And beer. No, we’re not talking your typical 12 oz. cup of Budlight, nor are we referencing the margaritas you can pick up near the grandstand (although we do recommend those options for cooling off for the 21+ crowd.)

I am talking about the beverages you can enjoy and learn about at the Wine & Spirits Marketplace. Some of you may remember our Wine Wednesday posts from last year. The Fairey Blogster and I have learned quite a bit about the art of wine making and food pairing thanks to the classes offered by our wine experts!

All of our wines, spirits and beers at the Fair are from the Los Angeles International Competitions, which are held in the spring and early summer months at Fairplex. Each drink is analyzed and rated by a panel of esteemed judges. From mixologists to wine journalists to sake makers to restaurant owners, the list is vast and the expertise endless.

You can join in the fun early when you come to Fairplex this Saturday from 7-11 p.m. for Cheers – L.A.’s Wine, Spirits, Beer & Food Festival. The event features multiple tastings of all our award-winning beverages and an array of food trucks including the Grilled Cheese Truck, Downtown Dog, Me So Hungry and Suite 106 Cupcakes. Tickets are $50 pre-sale and include free tastings and $10 food truck bucks. Proceeds benefit The Learning Centers at Fairplex.

If you have some extra time and cash to spare, we highly doing your weekly wine & dine at Fairplex and fill up on all the wines, spirits & beers that will be featured at this year’s Fair. It will be a blast, we promise!

Cheers!

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Not Just Wine and Spirits

Did you know that the Wine & Spirits Marketplace has much more than wine and spirits? Of course you can get award-winning beers and wine there, but there’s also so much more. Not only do we host the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition, but we also host the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. So, it’s only fitting that you can also sample the “fruits” of this competition in the Marketplace, as well.

And what goes great with wine and olive oil? Some Italian food, of course. Eddie’s Cucina is our Cellar Café, serving up fantastic gourmet pizza, pasta and paninis. And if you remember our Wine Wednesday post a while back, it is also where you can some of the best meatballs around.

For dessert you can turnaround from Eddie’s and you will see the Dr. Bob’s Ice Cream stand in the Marketplace. We’ve already mentioned that this is one of the Fair’s must-do desserts… so, now’s as good of a time as any!

You will need to wash that food down with something. May we suggest coffee or tea from the Groundwork Coffee Tea Community? It’s organic, fair trade and kosher… oh, and also delicious!

If you are wondering what to do on the last day of the Fair, make sure to check out all the Marketplace has to offer. It will all also be here next year, just in case you miss it.

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Wine Wednesday: Demystifying Dessert Wines

For some reason, when you look at a wine list at most restaurants you only get the choice of one dessert wine. This is a shame because there so many amazing and different dessert wines. From the bubbly Moscato to a rich Port, L.A. International Wine & Spirits Competition judge Mark Newman took us on a tour of some of the best.

Mark first educated us in his “no frills” method of wine tasting. While it seems standard to hold up your wine to the light and inspect for color and clarity, he says this is not necessary. This used to be standard when long ago filtration systems were not as good and you didn’t want dirty wine. The real keys to the tasting are smell and taste. Smell is such a key part of tasting that sticking your nose right in the glass is going to give you a much better taste of the wine. Mark also encouraged the class to go after wines they find delicious, not what you are told is good by experts.

In tasting you go from driest to sweetest and lightest to fullest. We started with a Moscato d’Asti by La Badia (my personal favorit!), then to a G. Marquis Riesling Icewine, after that a Brachetto di Acqui by Rosa Regale, then a California Raspberry Wine by Raspberry Regale, next a Rancho de Philo’s Triple Cream Sherry (made locally in the Cucamonga Valley!), and last a Petite Sirah Port by Bogle. It also happened to be from least alcohol content to most, generally. The Moscato was about 5.5%, really nice for a low-alcohol brunch. The Port was at 20%, so handle with care!

All were lovely wines and the tasting also used Dr. Bob’s ice cream, in vanilla and chocolate and a bar of dark chocolate, along with cheeses. One of everyone’s favorite duo was the Raspberry Wine (a pure fruit wine that is syrupy and intense) with the chocolate items. The man next to me suggested pouring the wine over the chocolate ice cream and I’m sure over pancakes or anything else that needs a sweet kick would be great!

This week is your last chance to take one of our fabulous wine education classes! Each class features a minimum of six wines and three cheeses, plus tasting ticket for a Gold Medal Winner at the International Tasting Bar.

Classes you might want to check out this week include:
-Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by Beguiling Italian Wines (Thurs., 9/29)
-Sexy, Seductive, Sensuous Sangiovese (Fri, 9/30)
-Wine, Cheese & Chocolate (Sat., 10/1)
-Guess Which Wine? (Sun., 10/2)

A full list of classes and times can be found our website. Cheers!

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Wine Wednesday: What Do You Pair With a Corn Dog?

Who says wine has to be snobby? Our wine education keeps it real with a class on pairing fair food with wine. According to sommelier and class teacher Traci Dutton, the L.A. County Fair has some of the best fair food in the country. According to her, if it was a restaurant it would have five stars. So no need to feel like you are limited to cornd ogs and funnel cake, by any means.

Traci selected Tasti Chips (homemade potato chips), empanadas from Piaggo, and meatballs from Eddie’s Italian Cucina, along with a double Gloucester, Jarlsberg Swiss and Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Whiskey. I have to say, it was all pretty gourmet.

Before we even began we were instructed to use to Piper Sonoma Brut (a sparkling wine that is a good value and easy to find) to cleanse our palette. Refreshing! We then paired it with the Tasti Chips, first with cheese sauce and then without. The saltiness of the chips had a good balance with the bubbles and the creamy texture of the wine. Next we tried a Frisk Prickly Riesling, which comes from a region in Australia known for good Riesling. The sweetness of the Riesling tasted delightful with the chips and Traci told us that if our cheese sauce had a jalapeño kick, it would match even better. Spicy and acidic always pairs well with a Riesling.

We moved on to the chicken empanada, filled with lots of grilled vegetables with a nice flaky crust. An Argentinean dish deserved to be paired with two great Argentinean wines. The Medrano Estate Torrontes, a white, and the Alamos—Wines of Cantina Malbec, a red, showed how the grape can really change the taste.

Our last Fair delight was the meatball. Traci commented that her husband is a chef and makes delicious meatballs, but this one rivals his. I agree (I haven’t tasted Traci’s husband’s meatballs, but these were very delicious)! You could tell they had used a mixture of meats to give a complex flavor. We tried the meatball with a Vecchia Cantina Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano DOCG and a PureCru Sangio Vetta. The Sangio Vetta, a California expression of Sangiovese, was quite a treat as it was made by one of the judges for the L.A. International Wine & Spirits Competition. The intense flavor stood up well to the red sauce and meatball.

Traci said that next time she does a class like this, she might just do “What pairs well with a giant smoked turkey leg?” I can’t wait to try it! You don’t have to wait for a class though. Just bring your fair meal over to the Wine and Spirits Marketplace, grab some wine and enjoy!

What do you think? Have you tried pairing wine with any fair foods?

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