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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Roth 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Roth Pinot

It was a beautiful summer day in Toledo when the Green Dragon announced that I was going to take her out to dinner. We hadn’t been to the Docks recently so we dodged the orange construction barrels and headed north to Forrester’s on the River.

There are several nice restaurants at the Docks complex, on the east bank of the Maumee River. We wanted outdoor seating so we could enjoy the view of the Toledo skyline and the boats motoring up and down the river. We had hoped for Italian, but the long waiting time at our first choice prodded us down to Forrester’s, which had no waiting and a large outside seating area.

Green Dragon opted for the Chicken Marsala while I selected the Sirloin Steak Skewers. In an effort to find a wine that would match both entrees (and not be incredibly heavy on such a hot day), I selected the Roth 2012 Estate Pinot Noir.

Apparently the waiter wanted to age the wine further, because it took an awfully long time for the bottle to arrive. We adjusted the umbrella as best we could, but it was still broiling out. That’s when we got creative. We had requested glasses of ice water while waiting for our meal. Through some mix up, we ended up with four glasses of water.

Viola! We used the icy glasses to form a protective ring of coolness around the wine bottle. This ensured that the temperature of the wine wouldn’t heat it into a simmering grape soup.

This was a very nice bottle of Sonoma Coast Pinot. Surprisingly light in color, it still delivered some lush, dark cherry flavors tinged with a pinch of spice. Since I had steak kabobs, my meal was light enough that it didn’t overpower the Pinot. Of course, it went quite well with the chicken.

In short, it was a perfect wine for a casual yet stylish meal on a very sultry day. The price from the winery is $28 but the markup at the restaurant was quite reasonable.

Forrester’s hosts weekly wine tastings from 5:30 to 7:30 on Tuesdays and their wine list has a few pleasant surprises on it, including this Roth Pinot. Whether you are coming by boat or car, it’s a nice destination for dinner on the water.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 2.5 of 5 based on $28 SRP

Monday, July 27, 2015

Alto Moncayo 2012 Veraton, Campo de Borja

alto moncayo veraton

The Alto Moncayo Veraton was uncorked during a patio dedication party at my cousin Mary’s place in Huntington Beach. It was quite a party – until the police arrived – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Mary and her husband Cleve live a short walk from the beach in California’s Surf City, also known as Huntington Beach. The houses are all pricey, built close together and have narrow street frontage, but often have patios in the back.

On this day, Mary and Cleve were unveiling their new patio in front. They put in a concrete pad, had some nice stonework done and added a gate. It’s just about right for four to six people to sit and observe street life and be able to spy the ocean waves down the road to the right.

Uncharacteristically, it was rainy in southern California during our visit, so after much noodling around with connectors and aluminum poles, erected a little canopy over the front porch. Barbecued shrimp and other treats were soon being cooked.

A dozen or more guests soon arrived, many bearing gifts of wine. Cousin’s cellar was well stocked to start with as they recently won a case of wine at a charity event. One of their friends, however, brought this magnificent Spanish Garnacha.

Alto Moncayo is located in the Campo de Borja district, which is in northwest Spain’s Aragon region. Veraton is produced from vines 30 to 50 years in age.

I was assisting with the wine pouring duties and we decanted this bottle. the decanting allowed the wine to open up, but even so, this is an immense wine.

It has deep chocolate and balsam notes with rumbling deep, dark fruit. The wine is warming and the finish long lingering. It’s a rich and aromatic wine.

We were enjoying the wine on the front patio and, as the crowd grew, another group camped out in the back patio. The houses are just feet apart and so through an acoustic anomaly, the noise in the front and the noise in the back bounced back and forth, united and somehow ticked off a neighbor.

The Green Dragon, who was helping with the cooking and other arrangements, didn’t help matters. At one point Cleve made a comment about her gaucho style belt. He asked her if she had won an international boxing federation championship. She popped up and started to wrap the belt around Cleve. There was a bit of shouting and mayhem.

Most the commotion had died down and just the four of us were in the back sipping one of the 15 bottles that were consumed that night when a knock came on the door. “This is the police,” came the voice.

Mary soon had the situation in hand and we scooted inside to enjoy the rest of the early morning conversation…

Rating: 4 of 5  Value: 4 of 5 (based on $30 cost)

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Other Guys White Knight 2013 Viognier, Clarksburg

Whie Knight Viognier

According to their website, The Other Guys winery is saving the world from the “tyranny of Chardonnay.” In line with that, they offer all white wines: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and this Viognier.

The Clarksburg AVA spans three counties in California’s Sacramento Valley. Fog and cool breezes from the San Francisco Bay keep Clarksburg cooler than surrounding areas.

Speaking of cool – Viognier (vee-ahn-YEAH) is a cool French grape with billowing aromatics. Viognier is sometimes added to Syrah or other red wine for the delightful aroma.

The White Knight is a value buy at less than $10. But getting a 100% Viognier at this price is a steal. This is also a very good wine.

On the nose there are floral notes along with apple and honeysuckle. The wine is smooth and expressive. It has a rich body without being flabby. There is no acidic bit.

This is a pleasant pairing for pasta, chicken or Asian food. The White Knight may just be a hero at your next part.

Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 3.5 of 5

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Toast of Ohio Wine Heritage Festival Returns July 25

angelocesareSANDUSKY, OHIO --- Celebrating eleven years, the annual Toast of Ohio Wine Heritage Festival will take place on Saturday, July 25, 2015 in downtown Sandusky ’s Veterans Park , located next to the Merry-Go-Round Museum at 301 Jackson St . The festival will feature ten fabulous Ohio wineries, gourmet food, live musical entertainment, and a juried art show in neighboring Washington Park . The festival grounds are open Saturday from noon - 8 pm.

Admission is just $5.00 per person and includes a souvenir Toast of Ohio wine glass and two complimentary wine tastings. Tickets will also be available to purchase for exchange of wine tastings. Wine tasting tickets are $1 each and glass pours will vary by vendor.  

Participating wineries include Paper Moon Vineyards, Firelands Winery, Ferrante Winery, Maize Valley Winery, Viking Vineyards, Stoney Ridge Winery, Humble Bee Vineyards, Quarry Hill Winery, D & D Smith Winery, and Chateau Tebeau.

Delicious food selections will be offered by: Krav Food Truck, Cold Creek, GessWho Tacos, and Gram’s Goodies.

A variety of musical entertainment and family fun activities will occur throughout the day, including performances from The Brad Walk Trio and Summer of ‘65. The adjacent Merry-Go-Round Museum will offer special $2 admission during the festival from 10 am to 5 pm.

Admission fees benefit the sponsoring Merry-Go-Round Museum . New local retailer Vine & Olive Mediterranean Bakery, Foods & Wine has come aboard this year as a major event sponsor. Other sponsors include Ohio Grape Industries, Ohio Magazine, and Lake Erie Shores & Islands.

The Lake Erie Shores & Islands region once featured huge vineyards that spread from east of Sandusky to the western region near the bay because of the lakeshore climate. The Toast of Ohio event was developed to celebrate the area’s winemaking heritage. Today, dozens of wineries still operate in the region.  Make a weekend of it with lodging packages available at SHORESandISLANDS.com and tour the area’s wineries. Call 1.800.255.3743 for information.

Photo by Angelo Cesare

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: July 22-25, 2015

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Wednesday, July 22

Phone photos 022314 155The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. And the Hits Just Keep on Coming (Wine hits, that is…): 1. Cataldi Madonna Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 2014 Rosé, 2. Zanon 2011 Dry Creek Zinfandel, 3. C'est la Vie 2012 Syrah-Grenache, 4. Bolla 2012 Torr'alta Rosso, 5. Hope Estates 2010 "The Ripper" Shiraz. $8 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Wine Tasting. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice! $15 per person.

Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville. 6:30 – 7:30.  Wine Class: This class will focus on the health benefits of wine. Come and enjoy our classroom style, interactive learning space. $20 per person includes wine samples

Thursday, July 23   

Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Midsummer Style: 1. 2009 Rudi Wiest – Rhein River Riesling – Germany, 2. 2014 Edmunds St. John – Bone Jolly – Rosé of Gamay Noir – California, 3. 2013 Tom Gore – Cabernet Sauvignon – California, 4. 2012 Vega Sindoa – Cabernet Sauvignon – Navarra, Spain. $5 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. Wines From Sunny Spain: 1. Egeo Verdejo, 2. Herdade do Esporao Verdelho, 3. Finca Sandoval Signo, 4. Con Blau, 5. Vargas Rioja Crianza, 6. La Atalaya, 7. Eternum Viti Tinta del Toro, 8. Genium. Nominal fee per sample.

Kroger Maumee, 1435 South Reynolds Road, – (567)-302-2688. Wine Tasting, 2 – 8 PM. 1. Bartenura - Moscato – Italy, 2. Joel Gott - Chardonnay - Monterey/Napa/Sonoma, 3. Ravage - Cabernet Sauvignon – California, 4. The Federalist - Zinfandel – Lodi.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. Thursday Wine Tasting, 6-8 PM.

WineTastings-1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thNoir Fine . Wine and Beer, 1616 East Wooster, Bowling Green, 6-9 PM. Nominal fee per sample or priced per flight.

TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. Wine & Cheese Thursday. Explore the wonderful world of wine and cheese. Try four different wines with a sample platter of the day’s cheese.

Friday, July 24

Kroger Maumee, 1435 South Reynolds Road, – (567)-302-2688. Wine Tasting, 2 – 8 PM. 1. Ogio - Rosso e Dolce – Italy, 2. Birthday Cake - Cheesecake – France, 3. Barefoot Bubbly - Tropical Fusion – California, 4. Te'a Roa - Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough, 5. Ravage - Cabernet Sauvignon – California, 6. Urlo - Red Blend – Italy.

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Saturday, July 25

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Nominal fee per sample.

AREA WINE BARS

  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville.

Technorati Tags: wine

[Information on tastings can be sent toTWAV@ATT.NET.]
Up & Coming:

Tuesdays – Weekly wine tasting at Forrester's on the River, 26 Main St. Toledo – (419) 691-2626. 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Five to six unique tastings of wine, that are not found on the menu, along with an assortment of tapas style appetizers to complement the wines.  Tastings are between $10-$15 per person and are held in their wine bar (Paige's Wine Bar).

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sokol Blosser Evolution White Blend, 17th Edition

Game Cabin 2015 Plus Wine 050

I say Dundee Hills, you say… Pinot Noir! Except in this case, the Sokol Blosser Winery in Oregon is producing an exotic white blend with a composition you’ll never guess.

This is the third edition of Evolution that we’ve tasted – and we’ve loved them all. It’s a non-vintage wine and it also is an “American” appellation, meaning the grapes could come from just about anywhere. A safe bet is that the grapes are from Oregon, Washington and perhaps California.

The cork closure bears the message “Chill. Pour. Sip. Chill.” What more invitation do you need?

Embellishing the label are quirky thoughts such as: “Happenstance? Coincidence? Chaos? Not a chance. This bottle you hold is a deliberate, pre-meditated attempt to advance the entire wine universe a notch or two. Grandiose? Perhaps, but without evolution we’d be slime crawling in ooze and that doesn’t sound too appetizing.” Very nice to consider as you relax with a refreshing glass of Evolution.

The blend is Muller-Thurgau, Riesling, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Chardonnay in undisclosed proportions. This is not your average white wine blend. The Pacific Northwest excels with white wines and that quality is captured in this bottle.

The alcohol level is 12%, about what you would expect from a Riesling. That means it is a great food pairing wine. There is 1.2% residual sugar and so it has a flowing quality unimpeded by jarring acidity. It is citrus and floral up front with lush tropical flavors and a crisp finish.

You can find this for $18 or less. It is just right for hot summers around the pool or with some spicy Asian food.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 4 of 5

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lexicon Project Helps Winemakers Find Descriptions Easily Understood By Chinese Wine Consumers

Chinese Lexicon ProjectThe Chinese Lexicon Project – a two year long research initiative by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia funded by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) – has revealed what terms Chinese consumers use when describing a wine and what Asian fruit and vegetable flavours are equivalent to the Western ones used to describe wine.

The project, led by Dr Armando Corsi, Dr Justin Cohen and Prof Larry Lockshin, involved more than 250 Chinese wine consumers from Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

The participants described the taste of a selection of Australian white, red, sparkling and dessert wines.

Participants selected a series of generic wine descriptors as well as choosing from a list of specific fruit and vegetable flavours. These flavours were either Western fruit and vegetables or proposed Chinese equivalents.

The research found that generic wine descriptors, such as “mellow”, “lingering” or “fruity” were three times more likely to be used than specific wine descriptors by Chinese wine consumers.

Dr Corsi says that wine has been predominantly described in China using Western terminology but such descriptors lack meaning if the consumer has little or no experience of tasting that particular fruit, vegetable or spice.  

“Describing a wine as tasting of blueberry is hard to understand if you have never seen or tasted a blueberry,” Dr Corsi says.

“What this research has provided is evidence of what specific Chinese fruit and vegetable flavours are equivalent to the Western descriptors currently used on wines in China.

“We can now say that the equivalent to blackberry preserve is dried Chinese hawthorns.”

The project also investigated the likeability, willingness to pay and perceived price points of different wine styles.

The research showed that what is perceived to be more expensive is not necessarily what is liked the most.

“There is also the potential for similar research to be undertaken in other countries to determine what cultural descriptors they would use to describe the taste of different wines.”

Photo Credit: JenGallardo via Compfight cc

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: July 15-18, 2015

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OsetraWednesday, July 15

The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Jim’s Globe Trotting Tasting XXXV: 1. Frey-Sohler 2013 Muscat, 2. Chateau Kefraya Lebanese Red, 3. Fritz Estate Grown Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2012, 4. Hayes Valley 2013 Cabernet, 5. Banfi Belnero Toscana 2011. $10 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Wine Tasting. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice! $15 per person.

Thursday, July 16   

Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Great Summertime Wines: 1.
2013 Guenoc – Chardonnay – California, 2. 2013 Crios – Rosé of Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina, 3. 2013 Ryan Patrick – Redhead Red Blend – Columbia Valley, Washington, 4. 2012 Assobio – Red Blend – Portugal. $4 flight or nominal fee per sample.

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. Adventure Wines: 1. Renegade Wine Co. Rose, 2. Frontier Red, 3. Renegade Red, 4. Troublemaker Red, 5. Treasure Hunter The Furious Damsel Cabernet, 6. Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cabernet, 7. Treasure Hunter Scallywag Red, 8. Amor Fati Syrah. Nominal fee per sample,

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. Thursday Wine Tasting, 6-8 PM. Special guest Eric Platt from Pacific Prime Wines. Please come join us for this special tasting and meet our new Wine Manager Katelyn Murray

WineTastings-1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thNoir Fine . Wine and Beer, 1616 East Wooster, Bowling Green, 6-9 PM. Nominal fee per sample or priced per flight.

TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. Wine & Cheese Thursday. Explore the wonderful world of wine and cheese. Try four different wines with a sample platter of the day’s cheese.

Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville. Zen and Zin. Call for information.

Friday, July 17

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Saturday, July 18

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Start of a New Era. Come support the new wine manager with a great tasting.

AREA WINE BARS

  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville.

Technorati Tags: wine

[Information on tastings can be sent toTWAV@ATT.NET.]
Up & Coming:

Tuesdays – Weekly wine tasting at Forrester's on the River, 26 Main St. Toledo – (419) 691-2626. 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Five to six unique tastings of wine, that are not found on the menu, along with an assortment of tapas style appetizers to complement the wines.  Tastings are between $10-$15 per person and are held in their wine bar (Paige's Wine Bar).

Wednesday, July 22Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville. 6:30 – 7:30.  Wine Class: This class will focus on the health benefits of wine. Come and enjoy our classroom style, interactive learning space. $20 per person includes wine samples

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tokara: South Africa Winery Visit

DSC_0278

Continuing the saga of our wine and safari expedition to South Africa…

If you know only one word about South African wine, chances are it is Stellenbosch. Located about 30 miles east of Cape Town, it is the most important wine region in the country of South Africa.

The first part of our wine adventure was spent in the Franschhoek Valley region. After a couple of delightful days there, we motored high into the Helshoogte Pass to our luxurious accommodations at Clouds Estate. Clouds is is sleek, modern B&B with an outstanding restaurant, unparalleled views and even produces its own wine.

DSC_0277Due to the immense size of Stellenbosch District and the large number of wineries, our exploration was limited to the Simonsburg Ward. What a problem to have! There are so many outstanding wineries in Stellenbosch that you could spend weeks, if not months, exploring them all.

One that is certainly at the pinnacle is Tokara. It is an impressive marriage of exquisite art, architecture, wine and scenery. If you travel thousands of miles to South Africa and saw only one winery, Tokara, you would feel it was worth it. Such is the impact of this magnificent wine mecca.

Clouds was conveniently located less than a kilometer away from Tokara, which is nice because Helshoogte Pass is a twisty, turny road you don’t want to navigate after a long day of wine tasting. Even the view from the parking lot is impressive, with the winery silhouetted against soaring mountains and rows of terraced vines on the hillside.

DSC_0276Tokara is the embodiment of owner GT Ferreira’s philosophy that good wine, good food and good art go together to make a good lifestyle. Walking into the wine cellar (as the tasting rooms are called) you pass by one of the impressive works of art on display, a metal sculpture of a tree with words gracing each branch.

The inside is impressive as well, with style and good taste in abundance. After taking in the scene, we settled in at the tasting bar for some wine.

DSC_0272We opened up with a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, which we found to be soft with citrus flavors. Tokara offers three ranges of reserve wine: Director’s Reserve, Reserve Collection and Collector’s Release. We next explored the 2013 Director’s Reserve White, which is a blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon. This was rich tasting with green, grassy flavors.

We continued the tasting experience with the 2012 Collectors Release Grenache, which features 12% Syrah. This is a reserved, smooth, blend of strawberry flavors. Superb!

Reds in general are outstanding in Stellenbosch and the 2011 Syrah, although from the lower range Reserve Collection, was no exception. It is a delightful, Old World style Syrah, with deep plum colors and briary fruit.

The tasting crescendo continued with the Director’s Reserve 2011 Red. This Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. This is a wine capable of aging for another three years or more, but offers delicious black cherry and berries for those who can’t wait.

SA Dave 097Our report wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Tokara Deli. For those of you who might think this is a little sandwich shop, think again. It delivers dishes to delight any “foodie” in spectacular surroundings. We dined outside there twice – once by plan and once by chance.

DSC_0271After our first visit, we enjoyed a great lunch accompanied with some chilled rose. The next day we traveled to a nearby winery for a tasting and lunch, at least we thought. The power company had scheduled a rolling blackout, so the restaurant and cellar door were both closed. We hightailed it back to Tokara Deli and this time enjoyed the spectacular mountain views with our meal and a glass of Methode Cap Classique sparkling wine.

SA Dave 098

Tokara is a feast for the senses. It’s an exhilarating experience for the wine lover, but also for those with a sense of adventure and an eye for art.

It truly is a mountain top experience.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Von Schubert 2010 Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Riesling, Mosel Saar Ruwer

Grunhauser Riesling

This bottle of outstanding German Riesling was liberated from the closeout sale at Zinful. The Waterville wine bar is reducing its inventor and had this marked down to $17.

The Maximin Grünhäuser estate lies at the foot of a long steep south-facing slope on the left bank of the Ruwer river, about two kilometers before it joins the Mosel. The estate belongs to the Von Schubert family and is divided into three separate but contiguous vineyards.

Wines from the Abtsberg Vineyard were destined for the table of the abbot of (or abt) of the Abbey of St. Maximin. Rieslings from this vineyard are among the longest lived in the region.

This wine is a crowd pleaser and I can’t imagine anyone, regardless of their palate, who wouldn’t enjoy it. Such is the quality and purity of the wine.

It has a delicate minerality with a dancing acidity. There is plentiful fruit flavor, but balanced in a delicate way. The overall impression is a light, refreshing wine with a crisp, precise finish.

This is one of the top Rieslings we’ve sampled in the last year. We recommend it highly.

Rating: 4.5 of 5  Value: 5 of 5

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