If you are into wine, the place to be this Friday is the Boise Centre on the Grove. That's where the 2006 Beaux Arts Wine Festival Tasting and Silent Auction is being held. With hundreds upon hundreds of wines being poured, it's a great way to expand your wine horizons. This year the tariff goes up to $50, which is a significant increase but a good one to my way of thinking. This is a fundraiser, after allone that is quite expensive to put on. In recent years the event has become too much of a party, an overcrowded one at that. Hopefully the new price will thin things out a bit, allowing those truly into wine a better chance to taste.
Considering what will be available, the admission fee is still a bargain, but at first glance it can all be a bit overwhelming. Some words of advice from someone who has survived many past festivals. First and foremost, remember to drink plenty of water and eat the food that's provided. It seems like a simple thing, but there are so many wines to try, you can forget to keep hydrated.
Don't forget to spit. If you are trying to expand your knowledge of wine, this is essential. Those tastes add up quickly, and after consuming a glass or two, all judgment and perspective fly out the window. I use an empty cup to spit into. That way I can get my taste of wine, step away from the table, and allow someone else a chance to move forward. You can spit a little less self-consciously that way, as well.
Have a strategy. It's impossible to taste every wine at this event, so concentrate on one or two categories. It's tempting to try all the expensive wines, but if you really can't afford to buy them, then there is really no point spending the entire evening that way. Pick what you like. If it's under $20 reds, stick mostly with those. If you are into Pinot Noirs, seek them out. They'll be scattered throughout the room, so don't get bogged down at any one table sucked into trying everything they offer. That said, don't be shy about tasting something new and different, just don't lose track of your goal.
Take a notebook and record a few simple details. If you find a wine you love, write it down with a word or two about why you liked it. The real value of this tasting comes in the days and weeks that follow. And on that next visit to your favorite wine shop, you will be very glad you took the time to take those notes.
Most of all, enjoy yourself. Don't over indulge, but do treat yourself to a taste of your favorite discovery with a bite of food. That's what the true wine experience is all about.
2006 Beaux Arts Wine Festival Tasting and Silent Auction, Friday, April 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m., $50 per person ($55 at the door), tickets available through Select-a-Seat by calling 426-1494 or visiting www.idahotickets.com. Beaux Arts Wine Festival, April 23-29, information at www.boiseartmuseum.org/events/winefestival.htm or 345-8330 ext. 26.