Two summers ago, FnB co-owner and resident wine guru Pavle Milic set local wine wonks swirling when he created Arizona Judgment, a blind tasting of wines, judged by a panel of local and national wine experts, to determine whether Arizona's juice could stand up to wines from the world's great wine regions.
The results favored Arizona, although naysayers contested the outcome on various grounds. Now Milic is stirring the barrel again.
This time, the blind tasting -- to be held at FnB at 6:30 pm on Friday, August 24 -- will pit four Arizona rosés against four pinks from California and other rosé-centric wine regions around the world.
The shindig will be called War of the Roses and a Hog, cleverly referencing England's War of the Roses as well as the pig Chef Charleen Badman plans to roast for the occasion.
As before, Milic will bring together a panel of wine experts who will sit at FnB's counter to sniff, swirl and sip their way to an outcome. And just as Arizona Judgment was, this blind tasting is inspired by the famous Judgment of Paris, a 1976 blind tasting that proved California wines could be as delicious as the top wines of France.
The seven panelists will be:
Milic Robert Lindeman: store manager and wine buyer for AZ Wine Co. Robert Morris: GM, wine sommelier and co-owner of Cork and BLD in Chandler Katie Stephens: wine sommelier and co-owner of Beckett's Table Brent Karlicek: wine merchant for Postino Winecafe Ryan McLaughlin: brand manager at Quench Fine Wines, a fine wine distributor in Arizona and Nevada Dominic Armato: Phoenix blogger whose handle is SkilletDoux (recognized by Saveur Magazine) and founder of PHXfoodnerds.com, a community food board
Unlike Milic's Arizona Judgment, which was a by-invitation-only event, War of the Roses and a Hog will be open to local lovers of wine and swine, who may or may not be experts on anything.
Attendees will be invited to partake of the pig, as well as to taste and vote on the same wines the panelists will be judging.
Making reservations early is advised. There will only be 35 seats available to the public.
The price for the event, $65 per person, includes wine, pork and whatever nibbles and side dishes Badman dreams up.
Milic says he was prompted to create War of the Roses when owner/winemaker Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks told him that the Dos Cabezas 2011 Rosé (called Pink) earned a measly 84 points from Wine Spectator.
When he heard the score, Milic says he thought to himself, "Gee, it's better than that. It's a perception issue [meaning, no one thinks of Arizona as a great wine-making state] instead of a balance and quality issue."
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Milic admits that doing a blind tasting can be risky. What if Arizona rosés come off poorly? But it's a chance he's willing to take. If the wines score well, the event casts Arizona as a viable wine-making state in a very rosy light.