Tasting notes and highlights from the Grand Tasting at Bern's Winefest (photos)

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Also not to be missed was the Chocolate Bar by Pastry Chefs Kim Yelvington and Ginger Gisi, which I had a hard time pulling myself away from --  the beautiful macaron display with adventurous flavors such as basil and green tea, and an array of custom made alcoholic freezer pops in varietals like Sidecar and Kir Royale.

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a Winefest without a little red and white. More than 200 wines were presented from all around the world, including some of my favorites from the Loire and in the Amarone style. There were also some interesting surprises, including a tempranillo from Australia and a New Zealand pinot noir. Though there were only a few blockbusters (most of [image-2]the bottles served were retail priced under $30), it was still a rich adventure for my palate and dominate nostril.

Congratulations and thank you to the Bern’s empire of fine dining who continuously work to raise the culinary IQ of Tampa Bay. Economy or Creative Loafing permitting, I’ll see you next year at WineFest No.15.

See more photos below. All photos by Mitzi Gordon.









My first Bern’s Winefest was a transformative experience. It was a few years ago – pre-recession, when I could still afford to buy tickets to fancy things. I remember distinctly an encounter with a very pricey Super Tuscan from Chianti. I had never had anything like it before. In one taste, the breadth and depth of flavor notes, all those levels clearly discernible from each other, I understood what good wine is, and why certain wines demand such a high price.

This year’s Sunday Grand Tasting at Sidebern’s (you know, that place next to Tiny Tap?) presented a ton a great thinks to sip and sample. Small plates prepared by talented chefs included some hip ingredient favorites like beef cheeks, squab, pork belly, and various crudos and carpaccios. Highlights included the 'Hot & Cold' with crispy oxtail fufu and preserved lemon, the wild boar Bolognese, and the suckling pig with smoked paprika chicharons.

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