Featuring nearly 400 wines from around the globe, the Grand Tastings are a world-class educational opportunity. Sure, more than a few revelers seem intent on simply drinking themselves silly. But for those who actually want to learn something, it helps to have a game plan. Here are some tips:
· Take a few minutes to study the tasting program when you arrive. Along with space for your notes, it includes the names of the wineries represented, their floor location, and the wines they're pouring.
· Decide on a strategy. You simply can't taste everything, so it's good to have a plan. Do you want to learn more about Chilean wines? Discover a favorite Pinot Noir? Compare Australian and Californian Cabs? Using the Tasting Program as a guide, head for the tables that further your studies.
· Limit your intake. Don't plan on finishing every sample you try. Take a sip or two, then empty the remainder into the dump bucket. Even then, realize that after six or eight samples, your ability to distinguish flavors is going to head south. Anything you drink after that point is recreation, not education.
· Talk to the winery reps, who are hugely informative.
· Take notes. No matter how impressive a wine seems at the time, the details will be foggy by the end of the night. This we know from experience.
For tickets and additional info, visit www.wviz.org or call 888-281-WINE.
Late-night fiesta . . . Momocho, the "Modern-Mexican" restaurant in Ohio City (1835 Fulton Road, 216-694-2122), now stays open late on Fridays, with a tasty-sounding menu of brunch and dinner fare. Items like huevos rancheros, masa and buttermilk pancakes, and housemade churros (doughnuts), fresh from the fryer with Mexican chocolate sauce, join standards like guacamole and adobe-braised pork, from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. every Friday. Besides feeding night owls, the menu, says chef-owner Eric Williams, is a warm-up for spring, when he hopes to launch Sunday brunch.