Wine Guy Dan Davis and the Commander's Palace Crew could not let this week go un-fested. It was supposed the be the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since 2019, but a rise in COVID cases put the kibosh on it. The Shoulda Been Jazz Fest Wine & Cheese show stood in its place and had most of the revelry that you would find in actual Jazz Fest.
Attendees to the virtual bash were treated to a spread of three wines, two cheeses, a very special bean dip made by Commander's Chef Meg Bickford, and other goodies like pita chips and pimento cheese. Over the course of almost two hours, we listened to the winemakers themselves, beamed in from around the world way past their bedtimes, discuss the intricacies of their creations.
We all started off with bubbly, of course! This was such a special bottle, too. The familiar green awning of Commander's Palace hung over this traditional method brut sparkling wine. Not sweet, but not so dry that you would smack your lips. It was quite a contrast from the Kara Tara 2020 Chardonnay that was so buttery and lovely that I almost didn't want to pair it with a cheese. But I did. The slight sharpness of the Hook's 2-year aged cheddar cheese, provided by St. James Cheese Co., complemented the heavy butter taste of the wine.
The last wine was the most decadent. The 2019 le Clos du Caillou Red Rhone Wine was not as deep as I thought that it would be. A little dry, a little berry, but not too far in any direction. It's a red that can truly be enjoyed by all. The rich, meaty flavor of Chef Meg's dip went so deliciously with it.
My personal favorite pairing was the Commander's Palace bubbly with the Hook's Cheddar Cheese on a Zapp's chip. It made me feel like a million bucks!
Of course Jazz Fest isn't just about the amazing food and beverage vendors: music is essential. For this fest, there were several performances by Ivan Neville, Anders Osborne, and more. They provided great tunes for dancing in your living room. And I know what people were doing in their living rooms because, on occasion, some of the festers would be put up on the big screen. We got such a kick out of the attendees with the flags on display donning their official Fest shirts and dresses.
This wasn't just a fest for fun. Proceeds from the event went to benefit The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, NOCHI, and the Crescent City Farmers Market Crescent Fund.
If you missed out on this one-of-a-kind, truly New Orleanian experience, check out Friendsgiving on Wednesday, November 17. You can learn more about that Wine and Cheese Show and more here.