Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:33 AM
Fabulous Wine Tasting to Benefit Ak Lu'um
Saturday evening, friends and supporters of Ak Lu'um International School gathered at Ajua Maya Restaurant on Calle 4 for an intimate wine tasting presented by Ricardo Garcia, owner of one of Playa del Carmen's best wine purveyors, Off the Vine. Judy Long, mother of Avery, organized and hosted this fun and informative evening, one which is sure to become a regularly scheduled event. For $250 pesos per person we were treated to 7 different wines, 2 whites, 4 reds and a fortified wine, all of which were produced in Mexico. In a past life, I sold wine for a prominent importer/distributor in New York, so I was particularly excited for a taste of what Mexico might have to offer.
I was pleasantly surprized and impressed by not ony the featured wines but also the professional manner and depth of knowledge of our presenter, Ricardo. Switching back and forth with ease between Spanish and English, he gave us a history of winemaking in Mexico leading up to a discussion of today's more modern production processes and some of the more reputable wine houses in this country. He invited a lot of participation from the audience and even allowed me to get up and lead the commentary on one of the evening's offerings, a bright crisp Chardonnay from Santo Tomas.
The talented chefs at Ajua Maya delighted us with several tasty amuse bouche and the efficient service staff kept everything running like clockwork. On their own, the dark chocolate brownies enjoyed with the port style wine were worth the price of admission!
This is the line up, in order, of the wines we tasted throughout the evening.
* SANTO TOMAS CHARDONNAY
* CAVAS VALMAR CHENIN BLANC
* SANTO TOMAS CABERNET SAUVIGNON
* CAVAS VALMAR TEMPRANILLO
* CASA MADERO SHIRAZ
* SANTO TOMAS VINO GENEROSO (Port style fortified wine)
Ricardo is partial to the Temperanillo, but the crowd favorites were the Chardonnay and the Shiraz. One lucky guest walked away with a bottle of the latter, the raffle prize for this event. We purchased a bottle of the "Port" for ourselves!
This was such a well organized and well run event, I certainly hope we can manage to do this more often, not only to raise money for our childrens' beloved school but also to bring a much needed touch of civility into our daily lives. Please keep your eyes open for announcements of the next tasting event. If you are in town for a limited amount of time, Ricardo also hosts wine tastings and food pairings every Thursday evening at the shop on Ave. 1 between Calles 26 and 28 (just near PG's Sandbox Sport Bar). $350 pesos buys you a similar selection of wines and a fine meal designed to accompany them. For a unique opportunity to try some of the better Mexican wines as well as labels from around the world, stop in and see Ricardo at Off the Vine, and tell him you are a friend of Ak Lu'um. You may even get a small discount!
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