Nantucket Wine Festival 1999

Ferry The Nantucket Wine Festival turned 3 in 1999, taking place from May 20 - 23. In '98 we were on the island during it, but were mountain biking the island and therefore not quite dressed for the occasion. This year, we took the motorcycle to Hyannis and planned for the day of drinking.

We took the Hyline Fast Ferry over from Hyannis bright and early, heading straight for the first lecture on the history of wine. The lecture included a tasting of a series of Mondavi Coastals there, including a light La Famiglia Moscato Bianco wine and some Coastal Reds. All were quite interesting, although we went sparingly on these in preparation for the full festival. Then we sat down for the lecture.

Nina Williams went through a slide show explaining how wine pots have been found that were 5,000 years old, and how the Macedonians grew wine. Even the Egyptians had walled vineyards. The lecture was very interesting, and at 12:45 we were done. Unfortunately, the wine tasting itself was at 1pm and was at the "other end of the island".

The shuttle situation was very confusing, but eventually we got to the tasting room and the four of us promptly got into the long line for some food. The trick at any wine festival is to choose your selections beforehand. If you try everything at the festival, you'll end up so soused you can barely remember the color of wine you tasted, never mind its particular flavors.

Tasters Beth, Donna, and Bob
With that in mind, I sent Bob off to find some Estancia Meritage while we waited. This was high on my list to try. He came back with a great story - he'd arrived at the booth and dutifully asked for the Estancia Meritage. The rep looked at him in surprise, asking how Bob knew they had the Meritage there.

Bob shrugged and replied he had been sent for it. The rep covertly took Bob's glass and poured him some literally 'under the table'. Bob promptly brought this back for us. It was very smooth, plummy, spicy - with a dry tobacco taste to it.

A second "primary wine to taste" for this festival was Banyuls - a red, port-like wine. As it so happens, one Banyuls vendor was against this food line and we tried some - smooth, light, not quite porty but definitely on that road.

One of my aims at the festival was to find some good Amarone - a wine from Italy, near Venice. I did find a Sergio Zenato Amarone, very full and rich. This was a 1991 Classico from Allegrini.

Nantucket Winery The wines I tried next were quite numerous - check out the Wine Forum for reviews of each. St Supery was quite good, as was Carneros Creek and Pommery, one of my favorite Champagne houses. We tried Nantucket Vineyards, the resident winery, and Westport Rivers, my favorite from Massachusetts. There were also quite a few ports on my list, which I worked through with careful abandon.

In addition to the wine, there were great cooking demonstrations put on about every hour or so. The food created was stupendous, and we gathered quite a few recipes to try out at home. We found, without fail, every rep to be well informed and willing to discuss at length the particulars of each wine being served.

By the time we were finished with the tasting, we were ready to return home. One of the riders on our shuttle back into town broke into "Mack the Knife" over the intercom system, with an amazingly good rendition that had the whole bus singing along. All too quickly, the ferry brought us back onto the mainland and to the rest of the weekend. If you're near Nantucket for their Year 2000 Festival, be sure to come by and see what you've missed!

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All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.