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franklin county times

Reserved spots for March 29 Riedel wine tasting sold out

By By Stan Torgerson
March 14, 2001
We anticipated the Riedel wine tasting scheduled for March 29 would be something special. We virtually doubled the number of seats available and warned readers of this column it still might not be enough.
It is with mixed feelings that I must tell you all reservations have been taken. To the best of my knowledge this will be the biggest wine tasting ever held in Meridian. I'm pleased the concept of drinking fine wine from the world's greatest crystal wine glasses has been so quickly accepted. On the other hand, I feel badly that many of our regular attendees did not make their reservations in time to be included.
We have started a waiting list. Those who have reserved one or more spaces but have not yet paid for them should know that they must send payment within a week or by next Monday March 19 or we will be forced to cancel the reservation and accept someone off the waiting list. The demand is that strong.
In the past, we have been sometimes lax in enforcing our pre-payment policy. A few people coming on the night of the tasting, mostly regulars from previous tastings, were allowed to pay at the door. We can't do that this time. The Riedel representatives must have an accurate count of how many will be present at this event. After all, they are bringing a very large inventory of their glasses for both white and red wines, as well as setting them up that evening. They don't want to bring too many, any more than they want to bring too few; thus the need for an accurate count. The only accurate count possible is through paid reservations. Therefore checks for this event must be received very soon in order to hold the space.
For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it is generally conceded in the world of wine that Riedel makes the finest wine glasses in the world. They are crystal, made in Austria and designed to enhance both the bouquet and the aroma of wines   and believe me, they do. Robert Parker Jr, this country's leading wine writer, wrote in his publication "The Wine Advocate, "the effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make."
I've had people challenge that remark until the first time they try a wine out of an ordinary wine glass and then a Riedel. "Amazing" is their commonest reaction.
Several months ago David Koening, the Riedel representative for Mississippi was in town to attend a private tasting at the home of a mutual friend. During the evening we discussed the possibility of his firm conducting a future tasting in Meridian, using their glasses. He agreed to bring his own inventory and on that basis we were able to keep the price at our usual $20 per place setting. The glasses go back with him of course, but I understand he has arranged with Edna's, their retail outlet in Meridian, to offer Riedel glasses at a discounted price for those in attendance. Normally they sell for around $20 per stem, give or take. What he and Edna have worked out I do not know.
He will bring Riedel's champagne flutes, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay glasses (two different kinds) and two different types for red wines as well, the bordeaux and probably the burgundy. Each place will also be set with an ordinary glass normally used at Northwood, in order to compare the taste from one glass to another. We anticipate 60 or more bottles of wine will be served that evening.
The tasting starts at 6:30 p.m.at Northwood. To emphasize the enormity of the event, Koening tells me Riedel's manager for the entire Eastern United States will fly in from Atlanta to be present. Frankly, I was impressed.
If you would like your name put on the waiting list, call 482-0930. For those of you with reservations, make your check payable to Wines Unlimited and mail it to: P.O. Box 5223, Meridian, MS 39302.
On the other hand, for those with confirmed reservations, be patient. March 29 is only two weeks away. I, of course, can hardly wait.
Stan Torgerson, a longtime Meridian resident, has written a wine column for several years.