For every good wine, there is a food that brings out the hidden flavors and qualities of the beverage, and vice versa. To a wine aficionado, finding that special pairing can be part of the enjoyment that comes from a good glass of wine.
Organizers with downtown Sherman’s Stroll on the Square — a downtown event offering tastings of Texas wines — held a wine tasting Monday to finalize the list of wines that will be served on Oct. 4 as part of the VIP Grand Tasting. The VIP event will serve as the lead-up to the larger stroll on Oct. 6.
“For the VIP wine tasting, we actually have to taste a lot of wines to see what matches best with the food being served,” Downtown Sherman NOW Executive Director Karen Tooley said. “If you taste a wine and try food and then taste the wine again, the characteristics can change.”
For the VIP event, Tooley said organizers are focusing on highlighting wines from across the globe, while the stroll will feature only Texas wines. Heather LaRosa, owner of Fulbelli’s restaurant, said the wines being considered range from vintages from South Africa and Lebanon to Spain and Portugal in the Iberian Peninsula.
“I like to try things that aren’t super well known,” LaRosa said. “Things that will get people out of their comfort zone and trying new things.”
LaRosa said many people she speaks to about wine may not have a familiarity with things outside of what they directly drink. By expanding their horizons, LaRosa said she hopes to open up their experience so they can better define exactly the qualities that they like.
For the VIP event, LaRosa said she plans to offer 10 wines and a sparkling wine as a starter wine. In the lead up, she said she held three tastings, with about 20 wines each time, to decide what would be offered during the event. For Monday’s tasting, Tooley said about seven wines and two sparkling wines were tasted.
LaRosa said she gained experience with wines and the wide variety of qualities that they bring while working with a restaurant in Dallas. During her tenure there, she said the variety of wines on its list grew from 1,100 to nearly 2,000.
Often, the owner of the restaurant would quiz the employees on the qualities of the wine at the end of the night. During these late-night tastings, LaRosa said she was able to sample $40 bottles of wine and $400 bottles of wine.
“I am always thinking of what would amplify the qualities of that wine or bring out a flavor,” she said.
For the stroll itself, Tooley said organizers will offer tastings of wines from 12 wineries, including Texoma vintages, at different stores throughout downtown. Specifically, Tooley said the stroll will include wine from Denison’s Homestead Winery, Lenoir-Sage from Bells and Cooley Bay from Van Alstyne.
Not only will this expose crowds to what Texas and Texoma have to offer, but it will also bring visitors into the doors of local businesses, Tooley said.
“The crazy thing is that we keep selling out every year,” Tooley said, noting the 600-person capacity. “There are some people out there who truly enjoy their wine.”
In addition to the wine, Tooley said the event will also feature food from 11 restaurants and six stages of music during the event.