Saturday, February 27, 2010
Today we will be spending a lot of time with the students of the Florida International University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and then, plan on discussing bio-dynamic wines with Paul Dolan. In the evening, we will be attending the Seven Daughters SOBE Soundcheck.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The Selection Öküzgözü-Boğazkere is obviously a blend of these domestic grapes and is one of the premier offerings from the winery. The wine was first produced in 1987 to honor the 60th anniversary of the winery. The grapes are selected from the finest vineyards in Eastern Anatolia and after fermenting, aged 12 months in French Oak. The result is a full bodied wine - much fuller than the Yakut Kavaklidere Oküzgözü - but extremely smooth at the tail. There is really no need to age this wine to loosen the tannins. We served this wine to house guests who were not only surprised to try a Turkish wine, but also on the quality. These wines will not doubt become staples in our cellar.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Turkish Yakut wine is a blend of Öküzgözü, Boğazkere, Carignan, and Alicante and the version I purchased is primarily Öküzgözü. According to their site, "The Oküzgözü grape is part of the native Turkish red grape prolific around the mountainous Elazig region in eastern Turkey. The area is perfect for growing this type of grape thanks to its proximity to the Euphrates River, which helps to moderate the usually severe climate typical of this area. Öküzgözü, which literally translates as ‘ox eye’ are perfectly round, dark red grapes, which produce excellent dry red wine with a propensity to age well up to 10 years."
The Yakut Kavaklidere Oküzgözü wine was a nice discovery. It is a very drinkable everyday table wine: medium bodied, with light tannins. It is produced to consume now - and thus we did. An added bonus is that it retails just over $10. We will be back to Cenan's Bakery to try their other Turkish brands.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
- Perrier-Jouët BubbleQ presented by Allen Brothers hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Friends
- Wines from Spain with Doug Frost M.S., M.W. - Far from Ordinary!
- The Pulse of the Wine World with Gary Vaynerchuk Bank of America Lifestyle Wine Seminars
- One-hour Italian Wine Expert hosted by Kevin Zraly Bank of America Lifestyle Wine Seminars
- South Beach Diet presents Fun & Fit as a Family featuring Kellogg's Kidz Kitchen.
- Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator's Best of Best sponsored by Bank of America
- Guy’s Luna En Fuego Party co-presented by Gnarly Head Wines and Miami New Times
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The main attraction were wines from the Kingdom of Navarre and while decent, they weren't anything to knock your socks off. Their best quality was their affordability - most brands were under $15. In contrast there was one Spanish collection that peaked our interest - the wines from Galicia. Both the red and white wines from this region had character - probably because winegrowers there were still using mostly indigenous grapes in which history has suggested flourish in that geography. In particular the Coto de Gomariz have been in the forefront using these indigenous grapes, most which we had never heard of. Yes, of course, Albarino; but not, Treixadura, Loureira, Godello and Sousón, Ferrol, Mencía, Brancellao and Caiño Longo. We were most intriqued with Treixadura - both in blends and as a 100% varietal. For reds, the Cuvée Primo - a blend of Sousón and Caiño Longo - was very nice. Wines from Galicia will be on our horizon for quite sometime.
As in years past, the festival included wines from Maryland, Virginia, and New York through the Monticello Wine Trail, DC Wine Country, Maryland Wine, and Finger Lakes Wine Country.We didn't spend to much time sampling their products since we regularly have chances. However, what is notable is that this year saw a larger contingent of Maryland wineries and the promotion of several new wine trails: Chesapeake Wine Trail , Patuxent Wine Trail, and Piedmont Wine Trail. The proprietors of Thanksgiving Farm were on hand pouring their excellent Meritage as well as wines from Bordeleau Winery. Bordeaux wine styles were also available through Black Ankle Vineyards and a couple from Elk Run Vineyards. The former is one of our favorite Maryland wineries - they provide great wine and music.
There were a few California wineries in attendance, but the main focus was on international producers. the Côtes-du-Rhône graced us with their presence once again and we sampled several affordable Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvedre blends. Love these grapes. France was also represented by Alsace Wines; although known for their Reisling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, our favorites were their Pinot Blanc - the Dopff & Irion and Jean Baptiste Adam. In years past, there would be several eastern Europe wineries, but this year the sole brand was Alana-Tokaj from Hungary. They of course were pouring some Tokaji Aszú and similar late harvest wine made from Furmint, but I've always liked the dry Furmint by itself. They also were pouring a dry Hárslevelü which was nice. We tried several New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir which were quite nice. Tarras Vineyard poured two Pinot Noirs which were completely different even though the vineyard was the same. They showed the difference that just one year can have on the grape's character. Oyster Bay also poured an excellent Pinot Noir as well as Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. The Sauvignon Blanc was not your standard version - it had a mid palette not just the typical grapefruit acidic explosion at the first sip. Finally, we learned about the International Society of Africans in Wine which sells South African wine owned and operated by black South Africans. The organization will return to Washington D.C. on May 14th and 15th for their "Drink Well, Do Good" tour. Dates for other cities are available on their website. Looking forward to tasting wine made from the Bukettraube grape.
Usually this festival provides a few beers or spirits, but this year saw just one entry - Philadelphia Distilling. I'm glad they came - their appearance made our visit. Master Distiller Robert John Cassell crafts three spirits: Penn 1681 Rye Vodka, Bluecoat American Dry Gin, and Vieux Carre Absinthe. Now, we have never been fans of absinthe - although we love the paraphernalia associated with dispensing the beverage. However, their vodka and gin are outstanding. Funny how we can drink practically anything, but like absinthe, gin is usually not in that list. There are always a few that force us to adjust our preferences and the Bluecoat American Dry Gin is one of these. It's probably the citrus peels that are added to the juniper berries and the other organic botanicals. Or maybe that it is distilled five times in a custom-built, hand-hammered copper pot still. Whatever, this gin is excellent neat or with the grapefruit juice - as they were providing this day. Their vodka is even better. It may be the first we tasted using rye and distilled four times using a column still. But what makes it so smooth - absolutely zero burn must be the charcoal filtering. Penn 1681 Rye Vodka may have supplanted Maine's Cold River Vodka as our favorite American vodka.
Discovering the wines from Galicia and tasting the spirits from Philadelphia Distilling made it worth attending this event - even with the reduced number of wineries pouring. Let's hope next year is back to normal.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
the The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. It looks like the tasting theme revolves around Spanish wines. You can also always count on local wines from Maryland, Virginia, and the Finger Lakes.
KINGDOM OF NAVARRA REGION
BODEGA 1877 www.swd.es
BODEGA OTAZU (GABARBIDE) www.otazu.com
BODEGAS ARTAJONA www.bodegasartajona.com
BODEGAS CAMILO CASTILLA www.bodegascamilocastilla.com
BODEGAS CAMPOS DE ENANZO www.enanzo.com
BODEGAS CASTILLO DE MONJARDIN www.monjardin.es
BODEGAS CHIVITE www.bodegaschivite.com
BODEGAS OCHOA www.bodegasochoa.com
BODEGAS PRINCIPE DE VIANA www.principedeviana.com
BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS ALZANIA www.alzania.es
HACIENDA QUEILES www.haciendaqueiles.com
LICORES BAINES www.licoresbaines.com
ROMERO & MILLER www.romeromiller.com
BODEGAS PAGO DE LARRAINZAR www.pagodelarrainzar.com
A Cellar Full of Noise
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Alsace Wines www.justaddfood.com
Bodegas del Palacio de los Frontaura y Victoria
Bodegas Ramirez SL
Cape Wine Ventures,LLC
DC’s Wine Country
Côtes du Rhône Wines www.rhone-wines.com
Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism
First Vine Wine Imports & Sales
Four Vines Winery
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards
Interprofesion Del Consejo Regulador D.O. La Mancha
Joseph Carr, Napa Valley
Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyard
La Face Cachee de la Pomme Inc.
Maryland Wineries Association
New Zealand Winegrowers
Oyster Bay Wines USA Limited
Piera Martellozzo S.P.A.
Red Ink Imports
Rias Baiexas Albarifio
Seven Hills Trading Company
Underdog Wine Merchants
Value Trading Network
Washington Wine Academy
Weingut Fritz Windisch Gmbh & Co. KG
Wines of Hungary
Monday, February 8, 2010
Well, if that is the case, how am I able to order wine online while living in neighboring Virginia and have the delivery company check my ID upon delivery. Her statement is quite laughable.
On a saner note, Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat and proponent of "Free the Grapes", states that he has not heard "any convincing argument against the wine bill. It's working in other states. It can work here, too."
Of course it can. Here's a suggestion if you still can't conceive of wineries shipping directly to individuals. Have consumers order the wine and have it delivered to a local wine shop. The wine shop can collect taxes and ID the purchaser. Problem solved.
Friday, February 5, 2010
We are passing along news from our friends at Heron Hill Winery for their sponsorship of Benches on Parade:
Benches on Parade is a summer-long community arts project that showcases local creativity and civic pride while helping raise funds for local not-for-profits presented by Nazareth College and produced by Dixon Schwabl. Heron Hill Winery is proud to sponsor the largest bench that will be painted by internationally renowned artist Philip Burke who will be painting local musician Chuck Mangione onto a bench! Burke’s vivid caricatures have adorned the pages of Rolling Stone magazine for more than a decade. His style is unmatched; explosive use of color, sparing brush strokes and distorted renditions of his subjects.
The benches will be displayed all across the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes area starting in May and at the end of the summer, the benches will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit Nazareth College Arts Center, Rochester City Ballet, the New York Wine & Culinary Center and an additional non-profit of the high-bidder’s choice.
Owner and grape grower, John Ingle, is thrilled to have Rolling Stone’s past artist designing Heron Hill’s bench. “Everyone that participates in this community project benefits,” he said. “It’s a win, win, win.”
Heron Hill Winery has generously donated to over 50 great causes and organizations including: Ducks Unlimited, Palate Press Wine Auction for Haiti, Camp Good Days, Golisano Children’s Hospital, PBS, Tanglewood Nature Center, Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, Relay for Life, Historical Society, Red Cross, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, United Way, SPCA, March of Dimes and Museum of Natural History.
For more information about Heron Hill Winery, one of Travel & Leisure’s ten most spectacular tasting rooms, visit www.heronhill.com.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I am the casting producer for 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Food Network’s new restaurant competition series from the producers of The Next Food Network Star.
We're currently casting the very first season and would like to inform you and your readers that we're holding an open casting call in Washington, DC on Monday, February 22, 2010.
The details of our events are as follows:
WASHINGTON DC OPEN CALL
Date: Monday, February 22, 2010
Time: 10am – 3pm
Location: Zentan Restaurant/Donovan House Hotel
1155 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
We are looking for:
* Two to five person teams with pre-existing relationships (brother and sister, mother and son, husband and wife, etc.) who would love the chance to prove that they can run a restaurant.
* A dynamic front of house and back of house duo. One person on the team will run the front of the house and the other person on the team will be the chef and run the kitchen. All levels of experience (culinary school trained to home cook, little or no restaurant experience to a lifelong career in restaurants) will be considered.
* Lots of energy and charisma! We're seeking personalities that pop.
If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact me or visit our website at www.24hourrestaurantbattle.com.
Thank you for your time!
24 Hour Restaurant Battle
Food Network/CBS News Productions
Monday, February 1, 2010
While planning their opening, Paradise Springs benefited from the camaraderie among Virginia winemakers. Its interesting to learn how other winemakers and growers continue to assist each other in the state. Sure there's competition, but simultaneously plenty of support. And Paradise Springs received plenty from the proprietors at Philip Carter Winery of Virginia, Pearmund Cellars, Winery at La Grange, and Corcoran Vineyards - among others.
However, there has been several setbacks along the way - and even more than the standard start-up issues. Their neighbors were not keen to a farm winery in the area and fought its establishment through the county government. Fortunately the County Supervisors were more sympathetic to their cause, as were the retail owners in downtown Clifton. Fortunately they did not have to experience the painful legal battles as Marterella Winery. Hopefully these troubles are behind them and their neighbors will warm to the idea of a tasting room nearby. I know I would.
For our visit today, Paradise Springs had a wide array of wines and styles waiting for us. We started with their Sauvignon Blanc which was a nice surprise. I've found that east coast versions have been extremely light and flavorless, but this was an exception. It was full of grapefruit flavor and had nice acidity - a good start to the tasting. Their Chardonnay is made in the sur lie style and aged nine months in French oak. The result is a another flavorful wine with a buttery finish. Paradise Springs couldn't be a Virginia winery without producing a Viognier and their version is okay; our apathy may result from the high standards that Virginia has established with this varietal. There is stiff competition for Viognier. Their most interesting wine is their "kitchen sink" Vidal Blanc - composed of 75% vidal and 10% Traminette, 7.5% Viognier, 5% Petit Manseng, and 2.5% Chardonnay. This is a fun wine - fuller than your average vidal with lots of balancing flavor. And even made with 1.1% r.s. - it felt like a dry wine.
Turning towards their reds, we started with their strawberry bomb, Nana's Rosé - a dry rosé blend made from equal parts Merlot and Tannat. I say strawberry bomb because this wine is all strawberry, from the nose to an unexpected explosion of berry flavor. I really liked it, however, I overheard another taster exclaim there was too much strawberry. That's why you need to taste and trust your own palate. Next was the 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, recently awarded a Silver medal in the state Governors Cup. This wine was aged 13 month and should age nicely with the string tannins. We have long dismissed Virginia made Cabernet Sauvignon - but times are a changing. With Keswick Vineyards version that was awarded the Governors Cup last year and others, including this version, its time to start taking Virginia produced cab more seriously. The other cab, Cabernet Franc, has no problems gaining credibility in the state and Paradise Springs produces is a nice medium bodied version. It has strong cherry flavors and a easy finish - making it drinkable now. The final wine was a 2008 Norton made from grapes sourced, not surprisingly, from the word's largest grower of Norton: Chrysalis Vineyards. The wine is aged six months in Hungarian Oak and they did a remarkable job removing the inherent acidity and grapey flavor that make poorly made Norton quite toxic. This is much better than many of the Norton's produced by established Virginia wineries and should even get better with another year or so to mellow in the bottle. Don't expect a 2009 Norton, because the grapes were damaged by uncooperative weather.
Despite problems with their neighbors, Paradise Springs is a welcome addition to the Virginia wine family. Its a nice attraction close to the Beltway so there's no need to journey too far out Route 66 for a quick indulgence. They can expect us to return quite often.