The Omaha Wine & Food Gazette April 2024

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APRIL 2024

Event Report: Upcoming Events.

What’s New

April is the month for the changing of the Presidential guard. We thank Dave Thrasher for his two years of service, and welcome Mike Wilke, our incoming president. Our Vice President and Secretary is Joe Goldstein. Duke Matz is our Treasurer & Cellar Master, and Mark Stokes has Membership. Tom Murnan will remain as Gazette editor.




THE CELLAR. The Board thought it would be a good idea to share with our members the value of joining this Branch. We have 68 members after renewal in December. The Branch has a 2,500-bottle cellar which is valued at $225,000. This is just the price paid for the bottles, not the appreciated value of the wine after it has aged. Our wine committee scours the internet to find the highest rated wines for the lowest cost. Our average rating by professional wine writers has increased in our current cellar. The committee spent $47,000 in 2023 on replacing bottles used for events. Keep in mind that the price of wine has increased significantly during this period of inflation, hence the increase in dues. When the number of bottles has dwindled to the point that it cannot be used as an event wine, we turn these into the best quaffing wines in the area and reduce the bottle price to make an event more affordable. The actual, original cost of the wine is always used to determine the price of an event, not the appreciated value of the wine which has aged for several years before use. Our aged wine has increased in value between 30% to 50% precisely because it has been aged to its drinking window. The goal is not to make a profit on each event, but to make the event affordable. You couldn’t go to a restaurant yourself, buy numerous aged bottles of high scoring restaurant wine for your dinner, and leave paying less than one of our events, especially considering that many events have tasting wines to enhance the learning experience.


who are busy rowing seldom rock the boat.
of the Cockle Bur compiled &
The Omaha People
edited by Harry

Event Report: New Orleans Mardi Gras

Our Mardi Gras event, a combined effort of the Omaha and Omaha Metro Branches, was 11 days after Fat Tuesday, but that didn’t dampen the party atmosphere. I think attendees were just itching for a party, what with mild weather like New Orleans would have had. Block 16 had done a previous Mardi Gras for IWFS, so I knew they would do an excellent job. Appetizers began with Beau Soleil Oysters from New Brunswick, CA, topped with snow cone migonette.

The Petit Jambalaya hand pies were delicious and addictive. The famous Muffaletta Italian sandwich, invented in New Orleans with cured meats and provolone cheese, and olive salad ingredients, was cut into small triangles and skewered for easy finger food use.

Sitting down, our Louisiana Turtle Soup was outstanding. When was the last time you had turtle soup? A long time ago, I’ll wager. This version was complex, with a broth of thick, deeply glycerol roundness. Turtle meat and vegetables abounded in the bowl. Madeira and Sherry would be the best wine picks, and we had Lustau Oloroso Don Nuno Sherry. Lustau is one of the stellar Sherry producers, and Oloroso is a dry style aged without the cover of flor (a thin layer of yeast cells) due to high alcohol that kills the flor. It was a superior match.

Fried Gator and Ochre pieces with Corn Maque Choux was next. Not just any alligator meat was used, but the loin, which was a bit sweeter and tender. I liked the Three Sticks Gap’s Crown Chardonay Sonoma Coast 2021 better than the Trefethen Dry Riesling, Napa 2022 because the Chardonnay had a touch of sweetness that matched the sweet gator meat. Blackened Red Fish with Debris Grits and fresh veges was interesting. Lots of butter and cream in the grits, but it wasn’t gritty, but rather had small tapioca-like balls of flavor that dissolved easily in the mouth. I liked the Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vyd. Merlot 2019 better than the Familia Zuccardi Malbec Argentia 2016 since it had more tannic structure to cut through the richness of the enhanced grits.

I was getting full! But we still had the Café du Monde Coffee-Rubbed Duck Breast, with Sweet Potato Beignets to go. It was Bordeaux vs. Burgundy on this course. The Château La Fleur-Petrus 2014 was too strong for the delicate duck, so I preferred the Domaine du Cellier Aux Moines Clos du Cellier Givrey Chambertin 1er Cru 2019 the best. Dessert was the Traditional King Cake. Whomever gets the slice with the baby in it gets good luck, and is then in charge of bringing the king cake to next year’s celebration. David Hayes found the baby. Some guys get all the luck!

Many thanks to Jess & Paul Urban, owners of Block 16, and their staff for an outstanding culinary evening. Thanks also to our hosts, Michelle and Hasan Hyder, and Rhonda and Mike Wilke.



APR 18


USA Wines vs. French Circo

19102 Q St, Omaha, NE

Producer: Mark Stokes

MAY 13



Producer: Dan Thrasher

JUN 12


Au Courant

Producer: Tom Murnan

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