Veritage Miami was founded 20 years ago, back when it was known as the United Way Wine and Food Festival. Since then, it has been dedicated to exposing South Floridians to the best in wine and eats while raising money for charity. Changing its name to "Veritage" last year has not diminished its influence on the Miami food scene.
The 2014 Veritage lineup includes a craft beer tasting Wednesday, April 9, at Wynwood Walls. The celebration continues Thursday, April 10, at Village of Merrick Park, with more than 65 wine producers and importers lining San Lorenzo Avenue. On Friday, April 11, the fest's popular interactive dinner will take place at the newly renovated InterContinental Miami. Veritage will culminate Saturday, April 12, with an auction and wine dinner at the unique outdoor venue of Marlins Park.
Last week, Veritage invited 15 sommeliers from some of South Florida's top restaurants to blind-taste more than 200 wines, which were entered into the competition from top winemakers from around the world. Some of the restaurants that participated include Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, the Cypress Room, J&G Grill, Il Mercato, Lippi, Pubbelly, Timo, and Market 17.
"It's nice to show support to the community working with Veritage on such a unique event to South Florida," the Cypress Room sommelier Nicole Cianni said. "No ego attached."
Wineries from California, Washington, Oregon, New York, Spain, Brazil, Australia, France, Italy, and Germany participated in the event, which took place at Johnson & Wales University. To participate, the a bottle could not cost more than $20 wholesale.
The sommeliers' restaurants will serve a selection of medal-winning wines for a month leading up to Veritage. The gold and silver medal winners will be showcased at the Veritage events in April. ("Blind tastings are always fun for everyone involved," said Michael's Genuine Food & Drink sommelier Brian Grandison. "It gives you more opportunity for a lot of surprises."
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Some of the things the sommeliers looked for was crispness of taste, richness of aroma, and smoothness of flavor. Gold wines were the pinnacle of these attributes, while silver wines fell just a tad short in one of those three standards.
Having sampled wines from all over the world for most of their careers, the sommeliers could easily distinguish between a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet. Some could even name the vintage, origin, and winery in question.
In the past, Veritage has raised more than $12 million to support United Way's work in education, financial stability, and health. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Veritage Miami website.