Hundreds of people descended on Back Bay Bistro at Newport Dunes this past Friday evening for Hi-Time Wine Cellar's sold-out "Italian Extravaganza," which brought together over 30 wineries from—where else?—Italy to showcase over 150 vintages. Spotted in attendance was Mr. Hi-Time himself, who excitedly told us history was being made. Hi-Time, of course, hosts formal and informal wine tastings all the time at the Costa Mesa motherships—but it hadn't done an off-site one of this magnitude in years.
After this winner, I—as Hi-Time's unofficial booze scout—demand MORE, MORE MORE!!!
It was a fabulous event, with attendees able to taste as much as they wanted and snack on Back Bay Bistro's underrated menu. People put in orders by the hundreds of dollars, so vunderful the vino—and affordable, as the majority of bottles were under $30, and most were $20 and below—was. Part of the charm was the ambassadors to the wines themselves—all of them Italian and dressed impeccably (shout-out to the guy from outside of Milan who pulled off not just a pink seersucker suit but also a scarf!). They answered everyone's questions with patience, knowledge, and the dreamiest Italian accents outside of Sophia Loren.
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Some of the highlights? Marenco's moscatos were spectacular, and Weekly calendar queen Aimee Murillo got a bottle of the Moscato d Asti Strev, which tasted like an apricot orchard macerated into a bottle. Also impressive: Maso Poli's bold pinot noir, Montonale's light, beautiful rosa, and Spanish winery group Vinergia's bright selection of cavas and tempranillo. But my favorite table, unsurprisingly, was Sibona, which displayed a collection of grappas and amaros which you'll hear about in our Drink of the Weekly column VERY soon...
Congrats, Hi-Time, on a job well done. Hey, Mr. Hi-Time: Let's take this show across OC!