By Jacqueline Monahan
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Regency Wines, Inc. Showcase 2008 at the Orleans Hotel

On September 8 and 9, Regency Wines Nevada, Inc. presented Showcase 2008 in the Mardi Gras Ballroom at the Orleans Hotel. Your humble correspondent ascended the escalator to the second floor, and with wineglass in hand, made her way through what she supposed would be a red and white adventure starring varietal grapes from around the world.

What she found was so much more. For the first time, Regency Wines has teamed up with gourmet food specialists Praml International in an effort “to pair boutique wines and spirits with the foods they should be appreciated with.” With an emphasis on European delicacies, Praml International hosted dozens of companies dedicated to exquisite, bite-sized treats that beg to be enjoyed in tuxedos and gowns.


Hors d’oeuvres have never held center stage so decadently. Aisle after aisle of baked, smoked, pickled, roasted, and sautéed food had me casing the booths like an angler fish, mouth constantly open for the nest memorable morsel. There were $1000/lb. French truffles, black and brazen in a pile that would have paid my mortgage for the year (Tartufare, Thyme & Truffles).

Warm and welcoming vendors were eager for attendees to try their delicacies (no matter how many times they’d seen you in the past hour). French flavor seemed to dominate by theme, okay by me as I reached for yet another croissant or tart, full-sized too and perched in an irresistible display (Lenotre Paris). Think there’s only one kind of pate’? Here you’ll find duck, chicken, veal, and turkey varieties in addition to the classic goose (Marcel et Henri).

A sea of olive tapinade, artichoke hearts (Roland), smoked salmon, quiche, scones (Dere Street), swordfish (Garden & Valley Isle Seafood), fruit tarts (Hannah Max Baking), and fois gras was just around the corner from gourmet dark chocolate (Schokinag Belgium, Germany), pasta (Florentyna’s) garlic shrimp, hash browns (Nonpareil), lava cake, a rainbow of fruit puree (White Toque), spinach and pizza puff pastry bites, cheese in all of its incarnations - chunks, slices, spreadable mounds (Norseland, Inc.), crème fraîche (Kendall Farms), smoked salmon mousse, lamb sausage, ham slices rolled to look like a series of diplomas (Olymel), Israeli couscous (Osem) 19 kinds of caviar (Plaza de Caviar), 11 types of truffle products (the mushroom, not the candy) and a wonderland of gelato (Fabbri).

Oh yeah, I suppose there was wine, too. Regency Wines, Inc. distributes in California and Nevada, but imports internationally in addition to offering products from domestic cellars and wineries. The 21 wine booths at the Showcase featured wines from Chile, Italy, Argentina, and of course, France (Bordeaux, Champagne and Burgundy regions).

California’s wine powerhouse Sonoma County was admirably represented by the likes ofTrinitas Wines, Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery, and Audelssa Winery featuring Zinfandel, Cuvee, Gewurtztraminer (lychee, mango, spices) and Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005; the equally formidable Napa Valley produced the single vineyard wines of Blue Cellars, specializing in Syrah (spicy mulberry and blackberry fruit infused wine variety) and Eagles Trace vineyard’s Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. William James Cellars provided Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Red wine seemed to dominate the event, and if there were any Sauvignon Blanc aficionados around, they stayed out of sight.

Proving that California doesn’t hold the monopoly on fine wine production was LaVelle Vineyards, the oldest winery in Oregon’s Southern Willamette Valley; offerings included Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for the sophisticated palate.

Also featured were Green River Sake from Japan (smooth!), Top of the World Tequila 1519 and Aguirre Tequila from Jalisco, Mexico, (dangerously seductive) and Marani Vodka from Armenia, with a kiss of honey (more like a kick, so watch yourself).

This was Regency Wines, Inc. and Praml International’s first date as a hospitality entity I’m hoping the two get married and produce offspring so that a bigger audience can be captured by their flavorful, elegant charm.

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