Sips and tips
Briefs and news of note.
By Times staff and wires
Published April 4, 2007
TICKETS ON SALE FOR TAMPA BAY WINE, FOOD FEST
PLANNERS OF THE TAMPA BAY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL HAVE SET SCHEDULES AND PRICES FOR THE AREA'S BIG-TICKET FEST, WHICH IS MAY 17 TO 19 AT THE DON CESAR BEACH RESORT ON ST. PETE BEACH.
The festival is sponsored by Abilities of Florida and Southern Wine and Spirits and will showcase local chefs along with 150 of the distributor's wines. Organizers hope it will become the sister festival of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, held in February and also sponsored by Southern Wine and joined this year by the Food Network.
For the local event, there will be an iron chef competition featuring Robert Irvine, who is host of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible, on May 17, with ringside seats at $257.50. Tickets range from about $35 for seminars and tastings to about $300 for a golf tournament.
For information and tickets, go to www.tampabaywine andfoodfestival.com.
A tart gin
Tanqueray, a name synonymous with gin, has come up with Tanqueray Rangpur, a very smooth newcomer with a distinctive style.
Rangpur limes aren't officially limes. They're closer to a mandarin, or a cross between mandarin and lemon, and look like tangerines. Rangpur is from India, but these days the fruit also grows in California and Florida.
Tanqueray Rangpur is distilled with the limes and delivers these qualities, but with considerably softer edges. It's a refreshing, balanced, easily enjoyed gin, as pleasing on the rocks or straight as it is in cocktails. A 750ml bottle is about $22.
Compiled from Times staff, wires
WINE OF THE WEEK
Pinot Noir, Benziger Family Winery, Sonoma County, 2003
You might remember the Benzigers from 20 years ago, the family that produced Glen Ellen wines by the boatload and invented the "fighting $5 varietals" of California cabernet, chardonnay and others. That war was eventually won by Australia, Chile and Italy.
By then the Benzigers had retreated happily to Sonoma Mountain in the middle of the county and concentrated on finer, more costly stuff, turning to biodynamic farming.
This pinot noir is a good example of their new, much smaller production. It blends grapes from two cool pinot areas, the whale-watching north coast and Carneros region on San Pablo Bay.
The wine is maroon, with an aroma of flowers and red fruits; in the mouth it is fat and lush but not heavy, the flavor jammy with plums and berries spiced with cinnamon. It's generously big for a pinot and makes a good dining companion for pork and lusty pasta.
Drink now or keep for five years. If you like it, hunt out Benziger's grander reserve and single-vineyard wines.
Availability: At select wine and liquor stores; about $20.
- Chris Sherman, Times staff writer