Nationally known wine expert to conduct Meridian tasting

By Staff
Aug. 8, 2001
You'd expect some of the big names in the world of wine to attend tastings in New Orleans or Memphis or even Jackson but certainly not in a city the size of Meridian, Mississippi.
But word has gotten out. Meridian is a haven for a large number of people who love wine and purchase it. The leading distributors have recognized the interest in our city because they come to our tastings and see the interest for themselves.
As a result we were able to get the Riedel glass tasting here with their manager for all of Eastern United States conducting it. In June, Patrick O'Byrne, the ambassador for the highest quality Australian wines, came to Meridian to describe and demonstrate wines from his country. And this month another giant in the world of wine will honor us by conducting a major tasting in our city.
Wines of Spain
I am pleased to announce that Reid Rapport will be our guest host for our August 22 tasting of the Wines Of Spain. That date is an exception to our usual last Thursday in the month policy, but Rapport will be in the area only on that date. The state's leading distributor of Spanish wines, Norm Rush, invited him to hold a tasting in Meridian and Rapport graciously accepted.
Rapport has been in the wine industry for more than 30 years. His knowledge and expertise have awarded him accomplishments such as past president of the Sommelier's Guild of Florida, as well as wine buyer for the Walt Disney World Corp. for seven years. He helped conceptualize and develop Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. On his own, he developed and taught the highly acclaimed Wine Wonders &Song for the Disney Institute. He assisted in building the California wine list for Disneyland Paris. Over the years he has consulted for the leading restaurants in the state of Florida.
Our guest speaks French, Italian and German and has led wine tours through France, Italy and Germany. You may have read about him in USA Today, Southern Living and the New York Times. He has also been viewed on the BBC News Hour.
He currently resides in Orlando, Fla., consults for several worldwide corporations including Walt Disney, and is proprietor of Old Vines Wine Merchants in Orlando.
His choices
Rapport personally selected nine wines for the coming tasting. Included is one sparkling wine, two whites and six reds. Granted the Wines of Spain are not well known in this area. But last week in anticipation of the Rapport wine tasting, we tried three bottles of Spanish wines and they were outstanding. One of them tasted very much like a French red burgundy. One was competitive with a nice California cabernet. But the third wine from Spain was a giant, one of the better wines we have tasted this year.
From what I have been told about the wines that will be offered for the tasting of the 22nd, they will combine high quality with reasonable prices, always a winning combination.
You will need to make reservations. As usual the tasting will be held at Northwood Country Club. Starting time is 6:30. You do not need to be a club member to attend but you do need to make a reservation.
To do so, call 482-0930 or mail your request, along with a check for $25 per place requested, to Wines Unlimited, Post Office Box 5223 Meridian MS 39302. You may also reserve by e-mail at
Next week we'll list the wines selected for this unique event. I do know one of them is a 1996 Artadi Rioja Vinas de Gain Crianza. A leading wine publication said this about this particular wine: "This deeply colored, round textured red offers ripe flavors of plum and black cherry with accents of coffee and licorice. The tannins are soft but there's enough grip to stand up to food. At a price of $20, or a bit more at your favorite wine store this appears to me to be a winner." Judge for yourself in two weeks.