Saturday 05 April, 2014

UNLVino Hits 40: What To Expect

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Las Vegas has no shortage of wine and food fundraiser events, but next week sees the return of the oldest continuous one, UNLVino, now celebrating its incredible 40th year (Imagine how much it’s improved since 1974. They probably even have more than one Chardonnay!) With four nights of varied events, UNLVino is clearly “bigger and […]




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Las Vegas has no shortage of wine and food fundraiser events, but next week sees the return of the oldest continuous one, UNLVino, now celebrating its incredible 40th year (Imagine how much it's improved since 1974. They probably even have more than one Chardonnay!)

With four nights of varied events, UNLVino is clearly "bigger and better" than ever--forgive the cliche--and considering that this scholarship funder for UNLV's William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration is co-chaired by Southern Wine & Spirits' Senior Managing Director Larry Ruvo, you can expect all stops to be pulled out in terms of wine quality and quantity.

Just a few of the wineries confirmed to be pouring include Au Bon Climat, Daou, Kistler, Patz & Hall, Talbott and many more names you may not know but will likely impress. This is not the time to be nursing a familiar Cab...

Here's a preview by my colleague Mitchell Wilburn, a man who knows when an event is worth getting excited about:
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“Sip & Savor” at Spago, April 9th ($275 VIP $225 GA)

Definitely the fanciest and most exclusive of the four nights, this award gala is celebrating the impact of Chef Wolfgang Puck, while featuring signature items from his six – yes, SIX – Vegas restaurants. You probably know CUT, Spago, and the Bar and Grill, but there will also be bites from the Pizzeria at Crystals, Trattoria del Lupo, and Postrio's new chef Mark Andelbradt--as well as some sweet stuff from Corporate Patissier Kamel Guechida. This will definitely be where the wine sponsors will be putting their rare stuff, and they are definitely looking to make sure you get your money’s worth.

The chef will be honored with the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence [Not entirely sure what that is, but DP definitely knows about excellence!]

 

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Viva Francesco!

“BAR-b-q” at the Caesars Palace “Garden of the Gods” Pool, April 10th ($100)

One of the newer events in the UNLVino lineup, this mixology-forward evening--spearheaded by Southern Wine & Spirits Director of Mixology Francesco Lafranconi--gathers fifteen of the best off-strip local mixologists (Confirmed names: Kevin Gorham from Downtown Cocktail Room, Trey Picou of Wayfarer, and Jason Hughes of the new Blind Pig, although you can pretty much expect Francesco to get anyone involved that he'd want to...) churning out their original BBQ-themed cocktails.  This is a very exiting event, and also a tremendous deal for anyone looking to get down with some all-you-can-eat BBQ and all-you-should-drink-responsibly cocktails. Bring a designated porker...um, driver.
“Bubble-licious” at the Venetian's Doge Palace, April 11th ($125)

For those of you out there who love champagne, cava, prosecco, or anything that undergoes a second fermentation, this is the event for you.  As a city, Las Vegas goes through the fizzy stuff like no other place on earth, we bet, and here you will get a chance to sample a lot of it at one time (by sipping, please, no crowd spraying unless you're a famous rapper or Saudi prince).

Honestly, bubbly is probably the category that inhibits exploration the most because of a certain segment of it that prices out of reach--just two of the confirmed Chateaus--Henriot and Ruinart--let you know the level of quality to expect.  For the price of a bottle of Barons de Rothschild brut, you can try dozens from around the world and pick the ear of whomever is repping their brand.

Pop-artist Romero Britto (his piece of Jerry Vallen and Larry Ruvo – founders of the feast – is the banner and ever-present image with this year’s UNLVino) will get the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence this evening.

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“Founder’s Grand Tasting” at Keep Memory Alive center, April 12th ($125)

The wine event of wine events, the big kahuna, the thing that started it all, now in the famous Frank Gehry-designed building downtown,.  As it is a big anniversary, they will be pulling out all the stops, making it perhaps the most dense single course of wine of the year, and possibly years to come.

This is something every bibulous Vegas resident needs to experience at least once, and this is the year to do it (no longer having to sweep the housewives and liberal arts professors into a pile after closing).  Laymen and experts, coming together for a common love of getting a smidge “turnt” (as the kids say) on wine. It's really a thing to behold.

This night, Mr. Vallen and Mr. Ruvo will receive the DP awards. Certainly well earned.

UNLVino Event Information


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