Monday, January 31, 2011

Upset Boyfriend Relieves Himself in Girlfriend's Wine Bottle: The Glass is Half Full, But What's In It?

a Bocksbeutel style BottleImage via Wikipedia
Bookmark and Share There has been talk about the lack of civility in today's society. There's a lot of rudeness, foul language and jerky behavior going on these days -- my wife would say that's usually when she's in the car while I'm driving. But now things have gone much too far and a perfectly good bottle of wine has been ruined in the process.

According to a news article in the Grand Rapids (MI) Press last Thursday, a Michigan home builder released his emotions, and then some, when he broke into his girlfriend’s apartment and urinated in various containers in her refrigerator.

The wine-hating culprit  is Richard Ted Bloem of Jenison, Mich. He was charged with second-degree home invasion and placing harmful objects in food.

Bloem urinated in a pitcher of Crystal Light, a carton of half-and-half creamer, and a bottle of wine in his girlfriend’s refrigerator.

The woman drank some of the Crystal Light and found it more "flavorful" than usual. She also experienced queasiness upon drinking a cup of coffee with the creamer in it. She noticed her wine bottle was fuller than it had previously been and suspected poisoning.

Bloem pleaded no contest to the break-in. According to the newspaper, his lawyer planned to have him testify that drinking urine is not harmful and even endorsed in some cultures. Bloem still faces a felony prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted.

There was no report on what type of wine was involved or if tasting notes termed it oaky or having too much tannins.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vox Populi 2007 Pinot Noir Dealu Mare, Romania

And now for something completely different... a Pinot Noir from Romania.

january wine 001 We picked up this bottle of Vox Populi 2007 Pinot Noir from Anderson's for a meager $7.99. It was highly recommended by staff. I was in a rush to take in all of the bargains in the closeout section, which was stationed in the former area for Christmas decorations. I grabbed the nicely decorated bottle thinking that it was French.

When I opened it for an after dinner glass with Green Dragon I did a doubletake and saw it was from Romania.

The Vox is very European with a light body and translucent color. It is light and interesting in the mouth with flavors of raisins mixed with berries. On its own, it was an OK wine.

We uncorked it again the following night to go with a scrumptious meal of lamb, grilled asparagus and some country style potatoes. Normally we would have had a heartier wine to pair with this meal, but the Romanian Pinot held its own. The food mellowed the wine allowing us to enjoy delicate spirals of raspberry flavor we had missed the night before.

I must admit I previously knew nada about winemaking in Romania. Dealu Mare is a developing wine region. Almost all the wines produced there are red and about a third of the vineyards grow Pinot Noir. For geography buffs, the Dealu Mare area extends about 65 kilometers around the sub-Carpathian arch, ranging from Ploiesti to Buzau on the opposite side.

january wine 003 Apparently Romania is one of the few places in the world that is well suited to Pinot Noir, which has always been a winemaker’s dream or nightmare. One of the Romanian websites I viewed quipped that Cabernet Sauvignon was made by God and Pinot Noir was made by the devil. But Pinot is also considered by some to be the most romantic wine and the height of the winemaker's art.

Pinot Noir vines are well-suited to the gentle slopes of the Carpathian hills which have a cool morning mist which gives this wine its unique flavors, aromas and color. The bottle is also marked Domenii Franco-Romane, which indicates that the winegrowers there have been influenced by French winemaking tradition and methods.

Certainly worth checking out. I'll be on the look-out for other Romanian wines. They have a different approach and (at least based on Vox) are a good value.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

J Trees Cellars Debuts In Ohio at TREO Restaurant Dinner February 8

Bookmark and Share  TREO restaurant, 5703 Main Street, Sylvania, (419) 882-2266, is introducing J. Trees Cellars wine to Ohio with a special wine dinner at 6 PM, Tuesday, February 8.

J. Trees Cellars wines will be
 featured at TREO.
 J. Trees is the newest winery in the area and its wines have won the praise of our tasting team. The winery is in Petersburg, Michigan, with a convenient tasting room in Blissfield. This is your opportunity to be among the first to sample these special wines.

For just $35 a person you can enjoy a three-course meal, with each course paired with one of J. Trees Cellars finest bottles of wine. Special guest will be owner and winemaker Jon Treloar, who will be present to talk about the wines including a 2008 Dry Riesling, a 2008 Chardonnay, and Fuji Ice Cider made with pressed apples from Beach House President Katrina Iott’s more than 90 acres of apple orchards and fields of tomatoes, cabbage and corn, known as Iott Orchards.

The Fuji Ice Cider is made with a process similar to icewine with the fruit being picked and pressed when it is frozen. This is a very special sweet treat. The wine is in high demand and with good reason.

The wine is available for purchase after the tasting and the pricing is very reasonable. When we visited the tasting room last summer we bought two bottles of the Dry Riesling.

TREO is a super restaurant with nice decor and a great menu. It has a comfortable yet upscale feel and a good location on Main Street in Sylvania. We enjoy dining there for there for special occasions or just an evening out. If you haven't eaten there before, you're in for a treat.

We're planning on being there and suggest you call now to book your reservation.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bevan Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Showket Vineyard, Oakville, David’s Cuvée

Bookmark and Share   A couple days ago I posted about my experience in Orlando with two spectacular Sine Qua Non wines. The setting was the glistening high-end restaurant Blue Zoo, operated by celebrity chef Todd English. The SQN 2007 Labels Syrah and 2007 Pictures Grenache were superlative -- but they were not on stage alone.

Our friend on the board of directors had decided to share three "treasure" wines. The final piece of the triumvirate was the Bevan Cellars 2008 David's Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine had a special meaning for him because he is a friend of the winery owner and it shares his first name (mine too!).

This is a micro-release with only 175 cases produced, and is priced accordingly (at $150). This is a lovely wine that has copped a 95 rating from Robert Parker. The winery does offer lower priced wines, including a $28 Sauvignon Blanc which is currently sold out. But Bevan's specialty is clearly the premium reds sourced from the Showket Vineyard.

Forget about buying a case of your favorite wine -- there are bottle limits and you can purchase no more than four bottles of any wine. For their proprietary red blend and Syrah there is a limit of one bottle.

This is rare stuff, so rare in fact that the bottles have radio frequency ID tags so that you can scan it with your smart phone to verify it is an authentic Bevan Cellars release.

The Showket Vineyard is a special one. The Showket Vineyard is situated on the Oakville Hillside overlooking the Silverado Trail and Oakville Crossroad. The ground is a mix of red volcanic rock and clay loam. Out of the extreme conditions of the Showket comes fruit of great character.

The wine is vibrant and rich. It has waves of flavor including blueberry, cherry with hints of mocha and spice. The wine has a dramatic finish, making it a memorable Cabernet.

Highly rated and highly recommended.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wine Tastings & Events:January 26-29, 2011

Château Fortia

Image of Château Fortia via Snooth

Wednesday, January 26 
The Andersons, Sylvania, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM.
 
Beer and Wine Cave, 4400 Heatherdowns, (419) 382-6221. 6-9 PM. Bargain Wines. $15.

Thursday, January 27 059216-yellow-road-sign-icon-food-beverage-food-grapes
The Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Closeouts, continued: 1. 2009 Simi – Pinot Noir, 2. 2006 Canoe Ridge – Merlot, 3. 2006 Gerard Bertrand – Syrah / Mourvedre, 4. 2004 Greg Norman – Reserve Shiraz. $5.00  per flight or nominal fee per sample.    

The Andersons, Talmadge Road. Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Grand Grenache; It is one of the world’s most versatile grapes.1. Nora Albarino, Spain; 2. Borsao Garnacha, Spain; 3. Plan Pegau Cote Du Rhone
France; 4. Schild GMS, Australia; 5. Saint Andeol Cairanne Cote du Rhone, France; 6. Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache, Australia; 7. Tres Picos Granacha, Spain; 8. Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf du Pape, France. Nominal fee per sample.

Beer and Wine Cave, 4400 Heatherdowns, (419) 382-6221. 6-9 PM. Bargain Wines. $15.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. 'Don't Break The Bank' Value Wine Bonanza. Still hurting from the holidays but have an insatiable appetite for delicious wine? Worry not, we've got you covered. We have hundreds of wines that sell for under $10, but drink like bottles that cost twice as much. Come check 'em out!  Nominal fee per sample.

Friday, January 28
Aficionado Wine and Cigars, The Shoppes at RiverPlace, 26567 N. Dixie Highway, Suite 135, Perrysburg, (419-873-4444). 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting: 1. WTR Dark Side Cabernet. 2. Winsome, 3. Century Oak, 4. J. Bookwalter. $10 tasting.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. 'Don't Break The Bank' Value Wine Bonanza. Still hurting from the holidays but have an insatiable appetite for delicious wine? Worry not, we've got you covered. We have hundreds of wines that sell for under $10, but drink like bottles that cost twice as much. Come check 'em out!  Nominal fee per sample.

* Special Event * Wine by the Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art. 7:00 – 9:30 PM. Drop-in wine tasting: Pinot, Pinot, Pinot. Enjoy four wines, light snacks and a view of the Glass Pavilion Hot Shop. $15 members, $20 non-members.

Saturday, January 29  
Aficionado Wine and Cigars, Shoppes at RiverPlace, 26567 N. Dixie Highway, Suite 135, Perrysburg, (419-873-4444). 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting: 1. WTR Dark Side Cabernet. 2. Winsome, 3. Century Oak, 4. J. Bookwalter. $10 tasting.

The Andersons, Woodville Mall. 1-3 PM. Closeout wines. 1. Elsa Bianchi Torrantes Argentina, 2. Columbia Crest Gewurztraminer, 3.Smoking Loon Petite Sirah, 4. Debonne Holiday Rouge. $1.00 per flight or nominal fee per sample.

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[Information on tastings can be sent to TWAV@ATT.NET.]

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Uptown Vineyard Tasting Set January 25 At Manhattan's Restaurant

Bookmark and Share  A wine tasting with Uptown Vineyard is scheduled at Manhattan’s Restaurant, 1516 Adams
Silver Oak 2004 Alexander Valley. Cabernet Sau...Image via Wikipedia
Street, Toledo, on Tuesday, January 25 at 6:30 PM. The cost is $15 and includes five wines and appetizers. The event will be in the Union Square room. Reservations are required. E-mail info@uptownvineyard.com or call (866) 276-1984.

The wine lineup includes a Central Coast Pinot Grigio, Superstiton Riesling, Reb Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Syrah, an Italian Merlot and a crowd pleasing 2004 Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon.




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Monday, January 24, 2011

Niagara-On-The-Lake Winery Visit: Riverview Cellars Estate Winery


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The Falls - before my camera was swamped!

Our winery report from Niagara continues with a look at wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

After spending the night and having breakfast at Niagara Falls (Canadian side), we took a brief diversion to enjoy the spectacle of the Falls. Glorious T and Ace of Bass, our traveling companions, hadn’t been to the Falls, so  Maid of the Mist was was on their “bucket list.”

The weather cleared and we had a glorious ride. The fury of the Horseshoe Falls, unfortunately, took its toll on my camera. After the boat docked, I checked my camera and the display showed a crazy series of diagonal lines with a color palette from another planet.

Luckily Glorious T is a top photographer and I told her that she had the crucial role of snapping photos for at least the rest of the day while my camera dried out.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a charming wine community bounded on the east by the Niagara River and on the north by Lake Ontario. We travelled north on the Niagara Parkway enjoying spectacular views along the way.


Riverview -- Our first NOTL winery stop.
 Our first stop was Riverview Cellars Estate Winery. This winery opened in 2000 and is a family operation run by Sam and Lina Pillitteri. The vineyards were converted from orchards in the 1990s.Their portfolio of wines includes Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay on the white side and Cabernet Franc and Bordeaux blends on the red.

The tasting room was unassuming and encompassed a gift shop. I started with a 2009 Vidal. This was semi-sweet and seems like a good Riesling alternative. This is their best seller. The 2008 Dry Gewürztraminer was pleasantly aromatic and rated a top pick by me. This sells for $16.95.

Shifting to the reds, I sampled the 2008 Baco Noir. This has the fruit flavor of wild berries and a light body. The 2007 Cabernet Franc was light in body with forest and earthy flavor notes.

We closed with a sample of the 2007 Merlot. This was invitingly smooth.with flavors of cherries and cinnamon. This would be a nice pairing with a variety of food including chicken and turkey.

The wines were pleasant, but didn’t trigger exploding fireworks. Our trip was quick but enjoyable. We had many other wineries to visit.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chandon Brings You 365 Reasons to Celebrate: Sparkling Winery Pops the Cork on “Life Needs Bubbles”

Bookmark and Share   Everyone knows that February 14th is St. Valentine’s Day. But did you know that February 17th is “Random Acts of Kindness Day”? Or that May 12th is “Limerick Day”?

These are a few of the fun, surprising and little known holidays that Chandon has discovered, giving people reasons to celebrate life every day of the year. It’s all part of Chandon’s “Life Needs Bubbles” philosophy that embraces finding a reason to celebrate every day rather than waiting for the traditional holidays to hoist a glass.

To help spread the word, Chandon has created the “365 Reasons to Celebrate” calendar that features a whimsical mix of traditional holidays (February 14th Valentine’s Day), little-known holidays (July 5th Introduction of the Bikini in France Day, June 22nd National Chocolate Éclair Day) and “this-day-in-history” milestones (July 20th First Man on the Moon, August 25th Mickey Mantle’s Birthday, November 23rd The Day The First Jukebox was Invented). If you'd like to download all 365 reasons to celebrate to your desktop calendar, please visit http://www.chandon.com/365/chandon-365.ics to plan your social calendar with panache.

Life Needs Bubbles and an open bottle of Chandon has the power to transform an everyday moment into a special occasion. And whether it’s in honor of The Birthday of Happy Hour on November 12th or National Sangria Day on December 20th, you’ll find every day of the year offers a reason to celebrate.

Founded in 1973, Domaine Chandon was the first American sparkling wine venture established by a French Champagne house (Moët & Chandon). Chandon crafts a range of sparkling wines that reflect California’s vibrant regional character yet remain true to the practices of méthode traditionnelle. A leader in viticulture as well as winemaking, Domaine Chandon is at the forefront of sustainable farming practices and continues to replenish, control, and in many cases restore the natural habitat. Domaine Chandon’s acclaimed fine dining restaurant étoile received a star rating in the 2010 Michelin Guide.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Sine Qua Non 2007 Labels Syrah and 2007 Pictures Grenache

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SQN 2007 Labels Syrah
Bookmark and Share Having dinner at Todd English's Blue Zoo restaurant in Orlando is a special event in itself. The architecture is dazzling with sculpted glasswork and shimmering chandeliers to capture the light and your imagination. Add three elusive never to be forgotten wines and you truly have an evening to etch into your memory.

The occasion was a dinner for our organization's executive board and I had selected a couple of nice wines to accompany the four-course meal. The white, to go with the ahi tuna or mahi mahi entrees, was Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, a nice Marlborough with some zip. The red was the 2007 Blue Rock Baby Blue from the Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma. This red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec is made in an approachable style that is simply delicious.

On any other night, the Baby Blue would have been the star of the evening. Not this time.

One of our board members asked if he could bring some special bottles of wine. "Of course,'" I replied. At $25 corkage per bottle, this is much less expensive than even mundane wine on the wine list. These wines were certainly not mundane -- actually in a universe apart from mundane wine.

Swirling in decanters in all their glory were the Sine Qua Non 2007 Labels Syrah, 2007 Pictures Grenache and Bevan Cellars 2008 David's Cuvee.

Sine Qua Non is Latin for, “without which, it could not be.” In 1994, Elaine and Manfred Krank established Sine Qua Non in Ventura. The winery sources many of its grapes from Santa Barbara County, including the famous Bien Nacido Vineyard. The focus is on Rhone varietals.

SQN is a "cult wine." Not much is produced. Our friend on the board is on a mailing list and is given an opportunity to buy this scarce wine.  SQN wines, each which have unique label art, a name and unusual bottle, are snapped up quickly and the values skyrocket each year. To get a bottle, you may have to do so through an auction and be prepared to pay more than $200 each for the '07 Grenache and Syrah.

Our friend was leaving a consulting company and preparing for a new position at Google. He wanted a chance to savor the wine with friends who could appreciate it and in so doing, "make a memory."
 
There's much to be said about the SQN Syrah, but I can sum it up by saying I've never tasted a finer wine and it made all other Syrahs seem clumsy by comparison. It's a blend of blend of 89% Syrah, 7% Grenache, and 4% Viognier from four separate vineyards. This is no California fruit bomb. It is lithe and agile with silky tannins and fabulous blueberry and blackberry flavor notes. It was a spectacular accompanyment to the beef tenderloin entree. 
 
The Pictures Grenache was also a revelation to me. I enjoy Grenache, especially the Spanish wines (Garnacha). It's fruity and light bodied. The SQN Grenache, in the hands of a master winemaker, is another creature entirely. This is a fuller bodied wine, but pure and precise with flavor notes of raspberry. Its freshness and richness make it remarkable.

The wine is 89% Grenache with 9.5% Syrah and a dash of Viognier.

Sine Qua Non? Sine Qua Cool!



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sequoia Grove 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

christmas wine 024

This Napa Valley gem was enjoyed while on a recent trip to the Dolphin resort in Orlando, Florida. Sequoia Grove is one of the top rated Napa wineries and their Cab is their flagship wine.

This is a full bodied wine rich with black cherry and currant flavor notes. It also has a touch of toastiness with smooth tannins. This Cab is blended with 12% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The wine spends 20 months aging in oak.

Sequoia Grove Winery sits on 22 acres right in the heart of the valley floor in an important region referred to as the Rutherford Bench. Their tasting room is housed in a 150-year-old barn, nestled among the majestic Sequoia trees.

Like its namesake, this is a majestic wine with loads of character. It retails for $38.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wine Tastings & Events: January 19-22, 2011

Marquis Philips
Image of Marquis Philips via Snooth
Wednesday, January 19 
The Andersons, Sylvania, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Blind Tasting: We will be sampling four outstanding wines, and asking your opinions.
Don’t miss the fun. Flight $6.00.
 
Beer and Wine Cave, 4400 Heatherdowns, (419) 382-6221. 6-9 PM. Zinfandel Wines. $15.

Thursday, January 20 059216-yellow-road-sign-icon-food-beverage-food-grapes
The Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Closeouts, continued: 1. Marquis Philips Grenache, 2. Cameron Hughes Tannat, 3. Lot 205 Zinfandel, 4. Sterling Diamond Mountain Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. $4.00  per flight or nominal fee per sample.    

The Andersons, Talmadge Road. Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. The Heart of Darkness: Big, full, dark reds wines. 1. Pietra Santa Cabernet, California, 2. Girard Petite Sirah, California, 3. Erales Malbec, Argentina, 4. Buoncristiani Napa Red, 5. Elderton Command Shiraz 2002, Australia, 6. Noval Black Port Dessert Wine, 7. Les Terrasses Priorat Red, Spain, 8. Zenato Vlapolcella, Italy. Nominal fee per sample.

Beer and Wine Cave, 4400 Heatherdowns, (419) 382-6221. 6-9 PM. Zinfandel Wines. $15.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. What About Merlot? This edition of our Greatest Grapes series features that red-headed stepchild of the wine world: Merlot. Often overlooked and consistently underrated, Merlot is most certainly a world class varietal that merits further examination. Join us as we conduct shady experiments on merlots from all around the world.  Nominal fee per sample.

Friday, January 21
Aficionado Wine and Cigars, The Shoppes at RiverPlace, 26567 N. Dixie Highway, Suite 135, Perrysburg, (419-873-4444). 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. Burgundy Wines from Albert Bichot: 1. Chablis Domaine Long-Depaquit, 2. Macon-Villages, 3. Gevrey-Chambertin, 4. Pommard. $20 tasting.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. What About Merlot? This edition of our Greatest Grapes series features that red-headed stepchild of the wine world: Merlot. Often overlooked and consistently underrated, Merlot is most certainly a world class varietal that merits further examination. Join us as we conduct shady experiments on merlots from all around the world.  Nominal fee per sample.

* Special Event * Wine by the Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art. 7:00 – 9:30 PM. Drop-in wine tasting: Deepest Purple. Enjoy four wines, light snacks and a view of the Glass Pavilion Hot Shop. $15 members, $20 non-members.

Saturday, January 22  
Aficionado Wine and Cigars, The Shoppes at RiverPlace, 26567 N. Dixie Highway, Suite 135, Perrysburg, (419-873-4444). 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. Burgundy Wines from Albert Bichot: 1. Chablis Domaine Long-Depaquit, 2. Macon-Villages, 3. Gevrey-Chambertin, 4. Pommard. $20 tasting.

The Andersons, Woodville Mall. 1-3 PM. Closeout wines. 1. Astica Torrantes Argentina, 2. Sonoma Vineyards Syrah Ca, 3. Henkell Rose Brut Germany, 4. Waterbrook Reserve Merlot. $1.25 per flight or nominal fee per sample.

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. Noon to 5:00 PM. Regional Differences in Australian Wines. Nominal fee per sample or by the flight. Normal tastings $10 to $20.
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[Information on tastings can be sent to TWAV@ATT.NET.]

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Estate Winery: What Does The Term Mean?

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The Bergström Winery in Oregon's Willamette Va...Image via Wikipedia
 Bookmark and Share   As you scan the labels of bottles in your favorite wine shop, you probably see a lot of  
information you've seen but never thought about before. Some of the label is just marketing hype, but if you are looking at a bottle of American wine, the words "Estate Wine" or "Estate Bottled" do have an important meaning controlled by law.

While terms like "Reserve" or "Old Vines" have no rules behind them, the use of "Estate" on wine is regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

There are three requirements to fit the definition of an estate wine.

1. Wines with an "estate bottled" designation must also designate an appellation of origin or an AVA (American Viticultural Area) and both the winery and vineyards must be located there. Appellation and AVA are terms for an established wine growing region. You can't be a Napa winery and source grapes from Lodi and call it an estate wine.

2. The grapes must come from vineyards owned or controlled by the winery. If you own a winery and purchase fruit from another vineyard owner, you must have control over the vineyard. This would include decisions on what grapes to plant, irrigation, cultivation and other important decisions. If you don't control the vineyard, you can't put "estate" on the bottle.

3. The wine must have been produced, from the initial crush to bottling, in a continuous process without leaving the winery's premises.

Usually estate wines cost more because of the extra care and effort that goes into production of the wine. This doesn't mean that non-estate wines are bad. Some wines are labelled "California" for example, with grapes from several different wine growing areas -- but they can still produce exceptional wines.

By the way, although the term "Reserve" isn't regulated if you are buying from a respected winery, you should feel pretty confident that there is something special about the wine. "Reserve wines" are typically considered the winery's best or upper echelon wines and good wineries try to live up to that standard. With struggling or unknown wine producers: buyer beware.
 
 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bodega Tikalo 2007 Alba Liza Tempranillo Garnacha

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This Spanish red is an amazing value at about $11.This palate pleaser is a blend of 65% Tempranillo and 35% Garnacha (Grenache). The wine is aged in stainless steel which lends it a nice round taste. The vines average 30 years old. The Alba region is located 40 miles south of Madrid.

The Alba Liza accompanied a meal of potato soup, bread and salad. This medium bodied red hit just the right note. We aerated it with our Vinturi and the light fruits flavors of black cherry and a touch of tartness shone through

This wine is recommended. It is a great value and the flavor compares very favorably with much more expensive wines.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quartet Of Argentinean Malbecs Tasted: One Stands Tall

colome-estate-malbec-blend-2007 Four Malbecs from Argentina were spotlighted at a recent tasting at Aficionado Wine and Cigars. Since Malbec is perhaps our favorite grape, Green Dragon and I joined the lively group intent on determining which of the deep, delicious wines reigns supreme.
Three of the four selections were value-oriented Malbecs with the fourth being a tasty, more expensive bottle.

We opened with the 2009 Alamos Malbec. This is the wine that helped Malbec emerge on the American wine scene. At $9.99 this bottle delivers lush deep flavors at a great price. This was the most fruit driven of the quartet with dark berry flavors and a touch of spice.

The 2009 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec is another $9.99 buy. We learned from a new friend at the tasting that Altos Las Hormigas translates to “the tall ants.” I’m sure there’s a good story there. The wine is much lighter in mouth-feel than the Alamos and several of our samplers thought it was an improvement from the Alamos. This was a balanced wine and not as dark in flavor as the opener.

The 2009 Urban UCO Malbec was a new wine for me. This is slightly more expensive than the first two, but certainly won’t break the bank at $11.99. I liked this wine. The nose isn’t fruity, like the Alamos. The flavor is of dark red fruit, a dash of blueberry and a touch of spice. This was delightfully smooth and was the favorite of Green Dragon.

The Aficionado staff had stacked the deck with this last wine. The 2007 Colome Malbec is clearly of a higher caliber than the other three competitors. The Colume was also decanted to let the wine breathe and open up before tasting. We had a bottle of this before and really enjoyed it. Again, it struck a warming chord on a very cold night. The flavor is complex and has a swirl of fig and blueberry. The approach is smooth and the finish lingers. The flavors dance on the tongue. The price for the Colume is $27.99, which is a reasonable price for a nice wine like this.

I did an informal poll of our tasting table and the table next to us. The ratings were: 1. Colome, 2. Urban UCO, 3. Alamos and 4. Altos. The Alamos was seen as too fruity by some and the Altos had almost no fans at all.

There’s a galaxy of great Malbec out there, including wines from France (where it all started) and Washington State. This was a fun and relaxing tasting. It would have been nice to see another higher end Malbec or two. Alamos and Altos both have reserve Malbecs that are a step above their entry wines.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Chocolate Is For Lovers Wine Trail Set For February 4-5 and 11-12

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pinkfish13Celebrate Valentine's Day with wineries of the Vines and Wines Trail (Northeast Ohio) during the special Chocolate is for Lovers wine trail event. This is a self driving tour. You have two weekends (Friday and  Saturday, noon to 6:00 p.m.) to visit each of the participating wineries on the trail. Dates are February 4, 4 and 11 and 12.

At a designated winery, you will pick up a candy dish and a Schott Zwiesel crystal wine glass. As you travel the trail, you will receive one or two samples of wine and an appetizer along with a Sedar-D’s Chocolate candy to fill your candy dish.

The cost is $45 per couple and $35 per single. For additional details, go to the Ohio Wines Web site or call (800) 227-6972.

Tickets are limited and going fast, so hurry. So to be sure you aren't left out, get your tickets as soon as possible.

Participating wineries include:
Bene Vine Urban Winery, Perry, (440) 259-5077; Biscotti's Family Winery, Conneaut, (440) 599-5555; Buccia Vineyards, Conneaut, (440) 593-5976; Debonne Vineyards, Madison, (440) 466-3485; Emerine Estates, Jefferson, 4(440) 293-8199; Ferrante Winery, Geneva, (440) 466-8466; Grand River Cellars, Madison, (440) 298-9838; Laurello Vineyards, Geneva, (440) 415-0661; Maple Ridge Vineyards, Madison, (440) 298-3290; Old Firehouse Winery, Geneva-on-the-Lake, (440) 466-9300; Old Mill Winery, Geneva, (440) 466-5560; The Barrel Room Winery, Wickliffe, (440) 943-2660; The Winery at Spring Hill, Geneva, (440) 466-7480; Virant Family Winery, Geneva, (440) 466-6279.

Flickr photo by pinkfish13
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Toledo Museum of Art Announces Wine by the Glass Pavilion Schedule

Typical shape and design of a white wine tasti...Image via Wikipedia
Bookmark and Share  The Toledo Museum of Art has announced its schedule for the upcoming Wine by the Glass Pavilion tastings. These popular drop-in tasting event are scheduled Fridays from 7:00 to 9:30 PM at the Glass Pavilion.

During these drop-in wine tastings you can enjoy four wines, light snacks, and a view of glassmakers working in the  Hot Shop. Prices are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

  • January 14 - From Our Cellar
  • January 21 - Deepest Purple
  • January 28 - Pinot, Pinot, Pinot
  • February 4 - Women Winemakers
  • February 11 - Bubbles Tasting
  • February 18 - Blind Tasting


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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wine Tastings & Events: January 12-15, 2011

Glass of California, Napa Valley red wine. Opu...
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Wednesday, January 12 
The Andersons, Sylvania, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Cameron Hughes, and a random Chardonnay, for no particular reason…1. Cameron Hughes “Lot 214″ Chardonnay, 2. Rombauer Chardonnay, 3. Cameron Hughes “Lot 190″ Cabernet Sauvignon, 4. Cameron Hughes “Lot 90″ Tannat. Flight $8.50 or nominal fee.
 
Beer and Wine Cave, 4400 Heatherdowns, (419) 382-6221. 6-9 PM. Wines from Around the World. $15.

Thursday, January 13 059216-yellow-road-sign-icon-food-beverage-food-grapes
The Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Closeouts, Closeouts, Closeouts: 1. Ca’ Momi – 2008 Bianco di California – Napa, California; 2. Rascal – Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon;3. Acre – 2007 Merlot – Santa Rosa, California; 4. Bouchon – 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – Healdsburg, California. $4.00  per flight or nominal fee per sample.    

The Andersons, Talmadge Road. Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Closeout Tasting #2: 1. Kim Crawford Dry Riesling, 2. Stemmler Chardonnay, 3. Dubeouf Morgon Cru Beaujolais, 4. Axis Pinot Noir, 5.Souverain Merlot, 6. Axis Cabernet, 7. Vita Luca Super Tuscan. Nominal fee per sample.

Beer and Wine Cave, 4400 Heatherdowns, (419) 382-6221. 6-9 PM. Wines from Around the World. $15.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Big Bad Bordeaux: What happens when the most famous and highly esteemed wine region in the world meets Corks? Prepare to experience oenological magic... Nominal fee per sample.

Friday, January 14
Aficionado Wine and Cigars, The Shoppes at RiverPlace, 26567 N. Dixie Highway, Suite 135, Perrysburg, (419-873-4444). 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. Port Wines: 1. Feist 2001 LBV, 2. Graham's Six Grapes, 3. Penfolds Club Tawny, 4. Terra d'Oro Zinfandel. $10 tasting.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Big Bad Bordeaux: What happens when the most famous and highly esteemed wine region in the world meets Corks? Prepare to experience oenological magic... Nominal fee per sample.

* Special Event * Wine by the Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art. 7:00 – 9:30 PM. Drop-in wine tasting: From Our Cellar. Enjoy four wines, light snacks and a view of the Glass Pavilion Hot Shop. $15 members, $20 non-members.

Saturday, January 15  
Aficionado Wine and Cigars, The Shoppes at RiverPlace, 26567 N. Dixie Highway, Suite 135, Perrysburg, (419-873-4444). 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. Port Wines: 1. Feist 2001 LBV, 2. Graham's Six Grapes, 3. Penfolds Club Tawny, 4. Terra d'Oro Zinfandel. $10 tasting.

The Andersons, Woodville Mall. No wine tasting due to inventory.
 
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. Noon to 5:00 PM. Wines from the Wine Spectator Top 100 List . Nominal fee per sample or by the flight. Normal tastings $10 to $20.
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[Information on tastings can be sent to TWAV@ATT.NET.]

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wine And Cheese Event February 5 To Benefit Perrysburg Historic Museum

jenny downing
Perrysburg Area Historic Museum’s second Wine and Cheese Gala is scheduled 5:00 to 7:00 PM Saturday, February 5, at the Carranor Hunt and Polo Club in Perrysburg. The cost is $20.

All proceeds from the tickets and silent auction will go toward the renovation of the Spafford House, the future site of the PAHM.

Reservations must be made by Tuesday, February 1. To make reservations or for more information, call Phyllis Morton at (419) 872-0846.

Photo by Jenny Downing

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Aubrey 2003 Le Nombre d’Or Champagne

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This bottle of bubbly was opened with friends on New Year’s Day. It was a recommendation by Austin Beeman of Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee. He had been spotlighting grower Champagne, traditional French sparkling wine made in small batches by family owned vineyards.

The Aubrey 2003 Nombre d’Or is very dry – quite a contrast to the sweet sparking wine we had on New Year’s Eve as part of a murder mystery dinner event in Sylvania. At the murder mystery the top magician in the world – the Great Scott – had been bumped off. The Aubrey Champagne was a bit of a mystery too.

The Aubrey wine is from northern Champagne, in the village of Jouy-lès-Reims. Aubrey is of the more adventurous producers. It uses the classic grapes of Champagne — Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier — as well as more obscure varieties like Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Pinot Gris. When I was picking up the wine, which was about $65, I mentioned to Austin that I hadn’t had Pinot Meunier before. He pointed out my error. Pinot Meunier is used in most Champagne, so I’ve had it before and you probably have too. The Arbanne and Petit Meslier were new for me.

The wine is bone dry and has an earthy quality. I was hoping for some creaminess, but didn’t find any. It did have nice, fine bubbles and a light, atmospheric body.

The Aubrey is a grower Champagne, made by winemakers from family vineyards. Producers of grower Champagne might make several thousand bottles whereas the big Champagne houses will be producing millions.

This was a tasty and different bottle. I’d recommend exploring the world of grower Champagnes when you are next popping the cork on bubbly. Do use caution. Even though I was holding onto the cork when opening, I almost blew a hole in my neighbor’s ceiling!

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