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Jan 29, 2010 05:06 AM

Wine Fest

Has anyone been or planning on going to the Sun Wine Fest this weekend? I have tickets and not sure if it is worth it. Also any reviews on Bar American?


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  1. don't bother. nobody really enjoys themselves. the vendors are only there because if they don't show up mohegan throws their stuff off the wine list. so you have people serving you who don't want to be there combined with the fact that most people don't understand wine tastings, getting them monumentally confused with "wine drinkings" so they all wind up tanked then go gamble and lose their money.

    2 Replies
    1. re: poppy

      good tasting vs. wine drinking.

      1. re: poppy

        To me the wine fest is like going on a cruise. I don't regret going, I had a decent time and I won't be going again. The wine is all low end stuff, it reminds me of the old beerfests where the main reason for being there was to get tanked. Two hours in check out all the 20-somethings with a glow unsteady on their feet. Pretty funny.

        The cooking demonstrations are a big joke. When i went, Todd English (what a pantload) was doing paella. My girls friend went up for a sample a got a portion with a lobster tail in it. I thought we won the lottery. Too bad it was way undercooked and like the "dish", unedible. What's the point?

      2. 2nd don't bother. You can look at it 2 ways. If you want to relive your frat party years then by all means go. If you want to talk and learn about wines then don't. It's probably one of the biggest drink fests next to St. patty's Day Parade in New Haven. Most, not all, of the vendors who attend are banged around by glasses being thrown at them like grenades. Refill, refill, refill. Unless they have tightened up, I would pass on again.

        1. You'll get out of it what you put into it. Do yourself a favor and look at the list of what's being poured...make yourself a list of what you really want to try; otherwise, it's easy to get sidetracked by the mediocre. As for Bar Americain, I've only had appetizers at the bar thus far...the bleu cheese dip is amazing, but I wasn't a huge fan of the tuna tartare (too spicy for my taste, but that's their take on it).

          4 Replies
          1. re: theferlyone

            Even if you put together a list, there is no guarantee that you will come close to the tables.

            1. re: triggs73

              I've gone for the past two years, and not had a problem. I go on Sunday, though, so that might make a difference...

              1. re: theferlyone

                It is what it is. I went on Sundays for the most part and had a horrible experience navigating the tables. Depending on the time is crucial and makes all the difference. last week, I went to the Boston Wine Expo and stayed ahead of the crowds. I stayed clear of the "popular" tables with big names. When you are in a room with people drinking wines based on price best to find the no names that offer great value.

                1. re: triggs73

                  It was horrible. Crowded and the reps could care less. The tickets were free so the hour we spent there did not seem like a complete waste of money.

                  Bar American was fantastic. Bobby was in the kitchen. It was crowded but service did not suffer.

          2. We went to the Grand Cru Tasting on Saturday held in the Caberet Theater. $200 got you a ticket to this tasting event as well as the "Grand Tasting" The Grand Tasting was a waste of time unless you are in the bizz looking for "by the glass" or low end options to place on your list. But the Grand Cru tasting was definitely worth it. Very high end stuff. Most of the wines we tasted retailed for between $75 and $200, with a few (like Gaja, Ornellaia and Sassicaia) that go for even more. I would do the Grand Cru again in a heartbeat, but I think I am done with the massive Grand Tasting.

            1. Thanks to all for their take on the Winefest and for Jim on speaking specifically to this year's "Elite Cru"...seems this is the only way left to go. I've also previously heard of the hectic atmosphere, a past element of unruliness(especially back when they had the spirits!), and the difficulty in learning or speaking to engaged reps given the setting and large public turnout.

              Although I would have liked to take advantage of a most appreciated and kindly offered opportunity to attend, it's the feedback stating that the selections themselves at the Grand Tasting are not especially worthwhile that really leaves me wondering.

              I'm left to ask: Besides the wine dinners or game dinners with pairings at noteworthy restaurants and the distributor tastings for the trade, are there any other quality wine events that are worthwhile here in CT?

              Now that's a line up:

              5 Replies
              1. re: noreservations

                I usually go with There are a number of great events to find. I have been going to Anthony's Ocean View in New Haven with some hits on that website and the events were a home run. do you get people that are using it for an excuse to drink, sure. But the number out weighs the number of people that want to learn.

                1. re: triggs73

                  stores that cater to high end clientele wouldn't be listing there. too concerned about attracting just the sort of imbiber you described.

                  1. re: poppy

                    Not true at all. I've been to a lot of these tastings that were sponsored by some great wine shops that cater to said "high end" clientele. Hey all that I know is that 3 years agp I went to a tasting at Anthony's in New Haven and one guy was pouring Catena Argentino. The year after another guy was pouring Beringer Private reserve Cab. Last year a guy poured Perry Moore Dr, Crane Cab. All great wines @ $100 a pop. The website usually offers the name of the sponsoring wine shop which is a good indicator. I would invite you and all Ch'ers to join me next time you venture down to New Haven.

                    1. re: triggs73

                      I appreciate that link to a site I was not aware of...THANKS triggs! This will be the perfect supplement to the wine dinners at restaurants I have previously gone to and have a rapport with(which thus keeps me informed as to their own upcoming events). I already see a few of interest as well a sponsor that I could have a field day with in their shop based on their site's's you're fault if I go too crazy :) .

                      After they removed a post of mine attempting to share an event that could be of interest to my fellow board's members(it was within an existing thread of a particular restaurant), our moderators explained: While Chow doesn't allow
                      "promoting" of events or wine dinners, one can "share upcoming food/wine occasions of interest with your fellow Hounds"(as in wording posts "I received an E-mail/saw in the paper that XXXX is having a XXXX that might be Chow-worthy and of interest to you, etc.). I certainly hope this can continue on our new Southern New England board.

                      1. re: noreservations

                        as you long as you're having fun, then crazy is acceptable. thank you for the props!