The Omaha Wine & Food Gazette June 2024

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The Omaha

Event Report:

Spring Fling Cabernet vs. Bordeaux

Upcoming Events.

What’s New

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and fellow IWFS Omaha member, Les Zanotti. Les passed away on May 15th in Kansas City surrounded by family. Les was a steadfast and passionate member of our group. Specifically, Les was a constant presence on the Board, where he served in every capacity, most recently as Wine Cellar Master and Treasurer. He was our 11th President and served from 1981 to 1982. He established our Branch bank account. He was awarded the André Simon Bronze medal in 2015. We will all miss Les dearly.

IWFS New Orleans Great Weekend: Mississippi River Cruise aboard the Natchez ------------------------Photos and story by Tom Murnan

One of our activities on the New Orleans Great Weekend which extended from March 14 to 16, 2024 was about a two hour ride on the Mississippi River. When we were approaching the steamboat, sounds of a calliope were reverberating and echoing off the first row of buildings near the river so that you could not determine the origin of the sound. But as we got closer, you could see a woman on a keyboard playing the steam whistles. It’s not every day that you hear a calliope.


As boarding commenced, we first took a group photo. Once underway, we first went upstream. An onboard guide on a microphone provided commentary about the river and the passing shore scene. The site for New Orleans (NO) was selected in 1718 because it was 3 feet higher than sea level. The area we now call the French Quarter was laid out with the Cathedral of St. Louis as the center, flanked by two buildings, the Cablido (old city hall) and the Presbytère. The first cathedral was build in 1727, but was replaced in 1794 with the current edifice. On either side of the square are the 4 story Pontalba buildings, with apartments above businesses built in the 1850s. The rest is Jackson Square park. The river is 300 feet deep by the city, and drains 59% of the United States rivers out to the Gulf of Mexico. We were on the 8th generation of Natchez NO steamers. In the largest room on the steamer, back by the paddle wheel, Duke Heitger and the Steamboat Stompers played with a tuba, horn and guitar. All in all, it was a pleasant journey. Seeing a city from its riverfront is definitely a different kind of view than what you see on land.

JUNE 2024


Best of the Cockle Bur compiled & edited by Harry B. Otis, 3rd President 1973-1974

We are told that the weaker sex is really the stronger sex. This is due solely to the weakness of the “stronger sex” for the weaker sex.

Event Report: Spring Fling Cabernet vs. Bordeaux

Our Spring Fling event was at a venue new to me, and most of the attendees: Circo.

Owned by Dennis Paul Circo of Circo Enterprises, he made his fortune at Precision Industries, which he sold in 2007. Circo advertises itself as chef-driven, with an Italian inspired menu which specializes in hand-crafted cocktails and a curated wine selection. Our chef was Dave Smyrk.

We started with appetizers of Italian meats, cured salmon and assorted cheeses with Branch quaffing wines. Our quaffers used to be featured wines until their number got too small due to being drunk up, so they are always superior starters. Once seated, we began with a tasting of three Cabernet based red wines: Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Château Gruaud Larose 2010 from Bordeaux, and Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet 2015. All wines had been opened 5 hours prior to the tasting, but the Gruaud was given an extra double decanting as it was opening up very slowly. We were asked our opinion of the three at tasting’s end. I thought the Beringer was the most youthful, intense and hedonistic. The Mayacamas had more austere fruit but hand nice structure, while the Bordeaux was built for aging, needed food, and required another 10 years to fully come out of its tannic shell.

Dinner found us with a Grilled Romaine Wedge, topped with breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and herbs. The two white wines which came from Circo: Stags’ Leap Sauvignon Blanc 2022 and Le Mistral Chardonnay 2020. To me, the Chardonnay worked a touch better. Our entrée was Dry Aged Beef Filet but with gourmet touches. Ravioli stuffed with egg yolk and mascarpone adorned the top of the steak. Unfortunately the yolk had been cooked just enough so it was not runny, which would have afforded a most umami flavor. Another savory touch was a square of foie gras on the side. Our two reds, the Château Brane Cantenac 2010 and the Hall Jack’s Masterpiece Cabernet 2015 did a fine job pairing with the steak. Dessert of Pistachio Cake was delicious, as was the Château Guiraud Satuernes. Many thanks to Mark Stokes, and the Circo staff, for producing this couples event. 30 people attended, all member couples.

Tom Murnan Chef Dave Smyrk & host Mark Stokes





Au Courant

Joint couples event with the Omaha Metro Branch Producer: Tom Murnan.




Wine theme TBD

Producers: Mile Wilke and Mark Stokes.

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