Under the tent: The rhythm of the Classic | AspenTimes.com

Under the tent: The rhythm of the Classic

Kelly J. HayesSpecial to The Aspen TimesAspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN Holy God!!!That was the reaction yesterday of one esteemed taster following a sip of the Oronoco Rum inside the tasting tent at the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen. While his unbridled enthusiasm may have been slightly over the top the sentiment was no doubt felt by many other more restrained tasters. With the perfect weather, the great wines and, the smattering of suntanned skiers in the tent, the day was about as good as it could get.The Classic has a rhythm unto itself. It begins with the pre-event excitement on Wednesday and Thursday as people tell their tales of getting to town, bumpy airplane rides, flurries on the Pass etc. Next comes the opening morning when the first seminars begin and the tent opens for the first tasting. Sobriety gives way to euphoria as all attendees start to lose their inhibitions and become infinitely wittier.Friday night is the first big party night with Diagio holding court at Jimmys, the 212 house in full rocking mode and the romantic ride up the mountain to the Publishers gala.By the time midnight rolls around everyone, regardless where they are from, is a local, living the Aspen life. Saturday starts a little slow. The 9 a.m. seminars see coffee cups alongside the wine glasses and at Paepcke Park early risers catch cat naps under the early sun. But by the time the second seminar gets started, the energy begins to roil once again. The rest of the day is usually a blur as all pretense disappears and wines are consumed like water. As night falls The Best New Chef event commences at the Doerr-Hoiser Center and the final parties kick it until close to dawn.Now we are here on Sunday morning and its all over but one final seminar and the last tasting. People you may have missed become more important, wines you wanted to taste become critical. If you have yet to try the Holy God Oronoco Rum it is a nice place to stop on a Sunday afternoon. The wines of Washington State just get better and better and are also worth seeking out (north side of the west tent). And the Spanish tent has been hugely popular this year with Folio pouring the wines of Cims de Porrera that were featured in the Spain: Coming of Age film that played Friday evening at the Wheeler.And then, suddenly, its all over. Time for the flight home. Tomorrow, reality.Unless of course you live here in Aspen.