Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting wine and food items that are upcoming. **********************************************************
1) Travessia, an "urban" winery in New Bedford, has recently announced a partnership with fine wine wholesaler M.S. Walker Inc. They are now distributing Travessia's latest wine releases, including Travessia's Riesling, Vidal Blanc and Pinot Noir Rose, all from the 2013 vintage.

"Earlier this year, M.S. Walker came into the winery and tasted all of our wines, and you could sense the excitement. Some of the wines were still unfinished, aging in barrels and tanks. I was impressed by their approach. They were very interested in finding a local winery they could get behind, and they wanted a high quality wine", says Marco Montez, owner and winemaker of Travessia, who is excited about the partnership and looking forward to seeing his wines reach a wider audience.

Travessia released its first wines in 2008 and currently makes just over 1,000 cases of wine per year. Grapes are mostly sourced from local vineyards and then brought to the winery in downtown New Bedford where Marco Montez handles all winemaking activities from fermentation to bottling.

"We have been researching the greater Northeast from Long Island to the Great Lakes, and Travessia's wines are a refreshing discovery," says Chip Coen, Vice-President of On Premise at M.S. Walker Inc. "M.S. Walker is thrilled to be involved with Travessia Winery!"

I am a fan of Travessia's wines, especially as most of their wines use Massachusetts grapes and their prices are reasonable. Marco is doing an excellent job in New Bedford and it is worth making a visit to his winery too. With a local distributor, it should soon be much easier to find his wines all across the state. So keep an eye out for them on your local wine store's shelves.

2) Join the Massachusetts Cheese Guild at Verrill Farm, in Concord, for al fresco evening of cheese tasting with Massachusetts cheesemakers. Get the chance to talk to your local cheesemakers, sample their delicious cheeses and learn about what makes their cheeses unique - the types of cows and goats and what they eat, the cheesemaking and aging processes, the terroir and much more.

This is a free Member Only event but everyone is welcome to join the Massachusetts Cheese Guild and it's just $25 for Enthusiast Members. If you're not already a Member, you can join when you sign up for this event.

Massachusetts Cheesemakers You Will Meet:
Appleton Farms
Berkshire Blue
Crystal Brooke Farm
Foxboro Cheese
Great Hill Blue
Mozzarella House
Robinson Farm
Ruggles Hill Creamery
Shy Brothers Farm
Sidehill Farm
Westfield Farm
Wolf Meadow Farm

3) Thirst Boston, a local drinks conference, returns on November 7th-10th. Hosted by industry professionals and founders Brandy Rand, Andrew Deitz, and Maureen Hautaniemi, Thirst Boston will serve up three major parties, 24 seminars, and tastings over the course of four days where guests can join some of the biggest names in mixology from across the country, experience a variety of educational and fun forums, and celebrate cocktails during one all-out weekend extravaganza.

I attended last year's Thirst Boston and you can check out my previous impressions, as well as my thoughts on some seminars such as Terroir & Merroir, Fortified Wines, and Whiskey. I also selected Thirst Boston as my Favorite Spirit & Cocktail Event of 2013. In addition, some of the drinks I sampled at the event also ended up on my 2013 Favorites lists.

Select stand-out events this year include but are not limited to:

The Thing: Kick off Thirst Boston at the now-legendary 3rd annual “The Thing” gala. Held opening night, Friday, November 7th, at The Fairmont Copley Plaza, this black tie optional party will celebrate all things grande old Boston and feature incredible craft cocktails from some of the city's best bartenders.

Portland-Providence Pop-Up: On Saturday, November 8th, bartenders from eight leading cocktail bars will be shaking up their best concoctions, showcasing what they’ve got up their sleeves back in their home cities of Providence, RI and Portland, ME. Held at The Fairmont Copley Plaza, guests will have the opportunity to meet and interact with great talent from nearby cities.

Roadhouse: This year, Thirst Boston introduces a brand new shindig for Saturday, November 8th. A raucous throwdown of Southern-style cocktails and cut-offs, BBQ and rockabilly, and more.

New England Craft Showcase: On Sunday, November 9th, join the region’s top distillers and brewers for a three-hour tasting event at The Fairmont Copley Plaza. With 12 confirmed brands and more to come, guests can experience what’s being made right around the corner from their own backyards.

Blender Bender: The grand finale to this year’s Thirst Boston, the 2nd annual 1980s tiki party will take place at Chau Chow City in Chinatown on Sunday, November 9th. Twelve of the city’s top bartenders will battle it out for best blended beverage as voted on by guests.

Bartender Brunch: Join friends and industry professionals for one last hurrah. On Monday, November 10th, The Hawthorne will host a sendoff brunch for Thirst Boston’s participants and attendees alike.

This year, The Fairmont Copley Plaza will host a majority of Thirst Boston events and offer accommodations at a special attendee rate. Additional information on seminars, special guests & appearances, and more will be available in the next month. For more information about Thirst Boston, please visit, follow @ThirstBoston on Twitter, and become a Facebook fan

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