By Jacqueline Monahan
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The 24th Annual Splendor in the Glass Wine and Beer tasting fundraiser took place on Saturday, February 9 in the North Ballroom of the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly known as The Hilton).


The Program

38 tasting tables held a multitude of bottles from which generous wine and beer samples flowed, but other beverages found their way into long-stemmed glasses.  Crown Royal Maple, Wild Turkey American Honey, Skinny Girl Cucumber Vodka, Evian Water (both still and sparkling versions) Patron XO Café Cocoa liqueur and Ty Ku Sake (three varieties, two mixed with pineapple and ginger ale) gave grape lovers a change of pace – not that they necessarily wanted one. Of them it could be said that varietals are the spice of life.

Spirits in the material World

The Scene at Table 14 - Il Borro

As usual, the Moet Hennessy table was a popular one, offering a Brut Imperial that inspired a line for most of the evening.  Freixenet’s Prosecco was in demand, and the Grand Marnier Cherry ran out early in the evening, leaving attendees to get their “red fix” at dozens of other obliging tables, particularly the Red Diamond Temperamental (a red blend).  Savvy locals Josie, Jerry, Karla, and Sue proclaimed the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates product the best wine of the evening.

Flavored champagne was a favorite with the crowd, making Wilson Creek Winery a double and triple stop for their Almond, Peach Bellini and Orange Mimosa varieties.

Lager, ale, and hops aficionados sampled Newcastle Brown Ale, and sudsy fermentations courtesy of the Firestone, Sierra Nevada and North Coast Brewing Companies, not minding the unusual sight of white foam in a wine glass.

Master of Ceremonies Nathan Tannenbaum, a Las Vegas and PBS favorite, introduced celebrity chef Hubert Keller whose cooking show Secrets of a Chef airs weekly on Vegas PBS Channel 10.  His internationally acclaimed restaurants Burger Bar (Mandalay Place) and Fleur (Mandalay Bay) are preferred destinations for tourists and locals alike.

Emcee Nathan Tannenbaum

Master of Ceremonies Nathan Tannenbaum

Chef Keller presented a 30-minute cooking demonstration that led to the creation of Tuna Tacos (sushi grade ahi, avocado cream), Onion Soup Shooter Veloute (stock-based white cream sauce, white onions, truffle oil, topped with a slice of black truffle for added flavor and visual contrast), and Oyster Shooters (raw on the half shell, topped with Margarita sorbet and orange puree, served on dry ice).

Chef Hubert Keller

Chef Hubert Keller Talks Veloute

The gracious chef stayed around for about an hour after his presentation to sign cookbooks and greet a crowd of foodie admirers.

Cooking Demo

A large silent auction tempted would-be bidders with restaurant visits, trips, spa packages and art objects donated by businesses and individuals like Southwest Airlines, the Los Angeles Lakers, English Garden Florist, Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, Margaritaville, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Congresswoman Dina Titus, District Judge Nancy L. Allf, and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, to name just a few.

Silent Auction Items

The Silent Auction

A live auction led by Tony Goitia of Southern Nevada Wines and Spirits (an event sponsor) and Richard Gore, Executive Producer, Food University at Caesars Palace
featured bottles of premium wine that participants bid for using numbered paddles.  A raffle and door prize drawings were also held during the course of the evening.

Seen out and about during the festivities was KSNV Channel 3’s political talk show host Jon Ralston and musical entertainment was provided by the Las Vegas Academy Jazz Band, five young men who know there way around brass and strings, but all of them too young to visit any tasting table but the one hosted by Evian.

The festive event presented the offerings of more than 60 wineries and breweries in a giant party-like atmosphere that seemed like one continuous evening-long toast.

Splendor in the Glass, like PBS, is all in good taste.  Call it brewing for viewing, or fermentation for a television station. 

And then call a cab, because you’re going to need one.

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