Cincinnati’s Mondiale gathered at the Assembly of the Transept on a hot, muggy day in June for a port tasting event. The Transept, formerly Old St. John’s Church, was constructed over 150 years ago and was the first German-American Church in Cincinnati. Michael Forgus of Funky’s Catering purchased the church and transformed it into an elegant event center complete with 50 foot vaulted ceilings, original wood beams, giant chandeliers, exposed brick, and ornate stained glass. This is one of three event centers owned by Mr. Forgus all of which involve the restoration of landmark Cincinnati buildings. The event was planned and expertly orchestrated by Vice Echanson Provincial Mary Horn.
Members were greeted at the entrance to the breathtaking event center and ushered to a large reception area complete with an elegant bar. Refreshing cocktails of white port and tonic water were handed out and enjoyed with passed appetizers of bacon wrapped dates, scallops topped with aioli and a pickled beet, and a poached pear with Brie on a crostini with port wine reduction. Gazing out of the historic windows into the 96 degree stifling heat was a stark contrast to the cool, opulent surroundings of the stunning event center.
Mondiale participants and their guests were then escorted to the main event center and seated at tables of six for the port wine tasing part of the evening. Ms. Horn then introduced Mr. João Rebelo who is the Sales & Marketing Manager for the Fladgate port wines in North America. Mr Rebelo was born in Porto, Portugal, graduated from Universidade Católica in Business and received his Masters Degree in Barcelona, Spain. He has worked for the port powerhouse for 22 years.
He proceeded to wow his audience with the awesome history of the Fladgate Partnership and the nuances of the Douro Valley. The partnership was established over 3 centuries ago in 1692 and is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine in its finest styles. Members sampled glasses of 10, 20, 30, and 40 year old tawny ports with nuts and dried fruit while listening in fascination to Mr. Rebelo discuss the fine points of port production as well as tasting.
A great buffet dinner was then served by Mr. Forgus and his dedicated staff. The menu included Wagyu Prime rib, Salmon topped with a Cilantro Spring Mix, and Mushroom Risotto. Vice Echanson Provincial Horn selected two outstanding Portuguese wines which were shared with the dinner – Portico Alvarinho 2020 which is 100% Alvarinho and Pitapreta Vita Tinto 2020 which is a Tempranillo blend. These wines were perfect pairings with the thoughtfully prepared buffet items. A Chocolate Espresso Tartlet with Cherry Sorbet was the ceremoniously served and paired with a 2016 Fonseca Vintage Port.
The entire evening was a perfect blend of riveting information on the finer aspects of port and Portugese wine as well as impeccable cuisine served in an awesome setting. Heartfelt rounds of applause went out for Vice Echanson Provincial Horn, Mr. Rebelo, and the staff of Funky’s Catering for a sensational evening.
Graig Smith, Vice Chargé de Presse