Imbibery: What A Riot

By: Sarah Burns

When it comes to wine, being a lover of all things red has its perks (antioxidants and a healthy heart) and setbacks (two glasses in, my pearly whites turn to pirate teeth). Alas, I found a home where the grape grin is accepted and you can check your Oral B brush ups at the door: Second Glass’s fifth annual Wine Riot.

Close to 850 hip, well-groomed urbanites gathered at the Park Plaza Castle for night two of Wine Riot armed with wine glasses and happy buzzes. We’d all long-since given up fighting the purple stain, and with 250 plus wines to sample from the best grape growing regions across the globe, can you blame us?

Among the standard full-bodied Spanish reds and Burgundy chardonnays were bold new world blends from California, South America, and Australia. We loved the spicy 2009 Chilean Oveja Negra cabernet franc-carménère that boasted a mild coffee bean flavor and a blackberry finish (imagine that with a slice of molten chocolate cake).

But the number one wine of the evening took sweet to another level. The 2010 Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz, a fresh, fruity, and lighter-style shiraz grown in South Africa’s continental climate, got 198 thumbs ups from mobile-app users. One fan raved, “It is exactly what it professes to be… sweet. It can be dangerous when consumed in a festive atmosphere.”

What’s more dangerous, though, was the jalapeño mac n’ cheese from Big Moe’s M&M Ribs, a food truck favorite in Roxbury. I asked for a sample, and instead was handed an entrée-sized mound of the warm cheesy noodles packed with spicy kick from Big Moe himself. Douse it in Moe’s tangy homemade barbecue sauce and you’ve got a solid hangover buffer.

There were plenty of attractions on top of the wine and food, too. At the fake tattoo booth, I witnessed one petite blonde roll up her sleeve and apply a tattoo of a revealing vixen with devil horns sipping wine to her bicep. (I’m still scrubbing the flaming guitar off my wrist.) The good time spilled over at the costume photo booth, where gals and guys posed wearing feather boas, Viking hats, and bawdy signs that read “I like ‘em big and juicy,” and “I swallow.”

A stranger passing through all the mayhem might have thought he’d crashed a rowdy pirate convention. With purple teeth and pictures to prove it, it’s not far fetched.