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Friday, February 12, 2016

Chateau Tebeau: Ohio Winery Visit

Back in the 1980s Bob Tebeau was a home winemaker who created a humorous label. Little did he know that circumstances would lead him and his wife to create the real Chateau Tebeau.

Chateau Tebeau Frontenac

A Wine Oasis

Last Friday we headed out to Port Clinton and Marblehead on a sunny winter’s day. We enjoyed a great visit to the Liberty Aviation Museum and on the way back made a special detour.

While we’ve tasted quite a bit of Chateau Tebeau wine at the Glass City Wine Festival and the Island Wine Festival, we’ve never been to the winery. Time to correct that!

The winery is located in Helena (population 224!) in Sandusky County, between Fremont and Gibsonburg. The Lake Erie shore is dotted with wineries, but not so in this part of Ohio. Chateau Tebeau is an oasis in a wine desert.

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A Good Choice For Sipping, Strolling or Dining

Chateau Tebeau Winery in HelenaMary Tebeau, who owns the winery along with husband and winemaker Bob, was in the tasting room when we arrived. We learned the winery opened in January 2010 and had a major expansion in 2012 when the old production area was turned into dining space.

The original vineyard had 300 vines and they have since planted another vineyard with three times the amount of vines. The winters of 2014 and 2015 were devastating to Ohio wineries. We were looking forward to trying some Chateau Tebeau Cabernet Franc, but alas, the bad weather meant none was available.

Chateau Tebeau Tasting RoomThe tasting room is spacious, nicely decorated and – we understand – a fantastic place for a meal or to enjoy live music. In the warmer weather, guests can enjoy their wine out on the deck, in the gazebo or picnic area.

Growing Strong, Growing Local

The tasting menu is a long one at Chateau Tebeau. They offer more than 15 different wines ranging from the dry to sweet dessert wines. The wine list clearly shows which wines are estate grown in their vineyards and others that use grapes from other locations. All the wine is made on premises.

TraminetteWe began our tasting with the Traminette, which is a hybrid grape. Chateau Tebeau makes two styles, dry and sweet. Traminette is similar to Gerwurztraminer with a bit of spice and a floral aroma. This one had a semi-dry finish.

We sampled the Riesling next. The grapes come from New York State and this made for a pleasant wine with a semi-sweet finish.

It was time to move on to the reds. We began with the 2012 Noiret. Noiret is a hybrid developed by Cornell University. It was created to withstand cold weather and produces a light bodied red. This Noiret had a very cherry flavor and an almost Sweet Tart taste. We liked it!

I was looking forward to the Frontenac. Frontenac is another cold-hardy grape, this one developed by the University of Minnesota. Some hybrid grapes lack boldness, but not Frontenac. This wine had cherry aromas and tastes of leather and plum. This is very well done.

We finished up with the 2014 Petite Sirah. This was made with grapes from Lodi, California. Lodi produces some stellar wines, especially Zinfandel. This was particularly juicy and we recommend it when you visit.

Rockin' at Chateau Tebeau!Chateau Tebeau offers a beautiful setting for tasting wine and having an evening of entertainment. We particularly enjoy the estate wines, but a wide range of wines are offered. Although we sampled on the dry side, we understand the Harvey Schwartz Red is a favorite of those with a sweet palate.

You can find Chateau Tebeau wines at the upcoming Glass City Wine Festival and even in some Toledo area stores – but the best experience is reserved for visitors to the winery.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Turning Wine Into Whisky In Australia’s McLaren Vale

Access to high quality barley and barrels and a variable yet temperate climate have distillers confident South Australia can emerge as a top-shelf whisky region.

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By Andrew Spence

A $2.5 million distillery in the McLaren Vale wine region – best known for its bold shiraz - will begin operating this month with the aim of releasing its first single malt in about two years.

The McLaren Vale Distillery Founder and General Manager John Rochfort has moved back to South Australia after several years honing his craft in Tasmania, one of the premier whisky producing regions in the southern hemisphere.

His last role was as CEO at Lark Distillery ­– the gold medal winner for Best World Whisky at the International Whisky Competition in Chicago in 2014.

The McLaren Vale region, about 40km south of Adelaide, is home to the original Hardys winery, which has grown into a major international wine brand.

Rochfort said access to high quality local barrels was one of the reasons McLaren Vale was chosen as the site for the distillery.

“We’ve selected some incredible South Australian barrels with amazing history like a 90-year-old muscat cask that continually held muscat for the entire period of time – it was the same block of muscat every single season – and we’ve got our hands on some incredible port barrels as well,” he said.

“A lot of the vineyards are coming forward with their best, award-winning barrels saying ‘we’d love you to have them, please in four or five years when it’s ready can you spare us a bottle’.”

In recent years India and Taiwan have emerged as leading warm climate whisky producers while the southern Australian island of Tasmania has long been known as a hot spot for high quality single malts.

Rochfort said the distillery’s location in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges overlooking the vale was an “amazing climate” for maturing whisky.

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“We get these really crisp, cool nights and then South Australian summer days and then in the afternoon around three or four o’clock we get these really nice cool breezes that bring it right back down so for maturing barrels and really getting the most out of the wood it’s an amazing location,” he said.

A malting plant will be built on site to allow barley from specific districts to be malted individually to make true single batch whiskies.

“What we’ve been able to do is work with farmers in four specific regions of South Australia – they each have their own climate that produce a different character to the grain.

“So by doing that small batch malting, every single barrel we put out will have its own provenance from the grain.”

Rochfort will work alongside his brothers Nicholas and Lachlan and father Christopher at the distillery.

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McLaren Vale Distillery founder John Rochfort, third from left, with his team.

They plan to mature most of the whisky in 100 and 200-litre barrels, but will initially use some 50-litre barrels to kick start the operation.

“Obviously with the wood to spirit ratios they will mature much faster so I would expect that in two years, two and a half years there to be a first release,” he said.

“We would like to think it would be a good rich, oily whisky, that’s got a lovely oily mouth feel and is rich with a really good palate feel, that’s the goal.

“We’ve already been approached by a couple of different countries putting their hands up for our first thousand bottles, which we haven’t even put down yet -demand is incredible at the moment.”

Output at the distillery, which has been helped by a $500,000 South Australian  Government Regional Development Fund grant, is limited because it can only   process 100 tons of barley a year.

“So we’re looking at around 20,000 litres in our first year growing to a maximum of 50,000 litres by year five,” Rochfort said.

The range of whiskies will start with the McLaren Vale single malt at $120-$150 through to the Bloodstone Collection featuring the “Best of the best” barrels from South Australia, ranging in price from $500- $1000.

“These are barrels that have previously won amazing awards – it could be a 1967 Grange Hermitage barrel – so when we get hold of these barrels we want their complete history from everything that ever went into that barrel, the dates of the fill, it must have only ever had the same grape variety from the same block in that barrel or we won’t accept it as a Bloodstone barrel,” Rochfort said.

“The grain must be specially grown on farms, it must maintain its provenance.

“When we bottle them, an original bottle of the muscat, or sherry or port or bourbon or whatever was in that barrel before we took use of it will be part of that box set when the whisky is matured. You’ll also be able to have a little bottle of the Mount Lofty spring water that we use, a little sample of the grain that we use for that particular bottling and some shavings of the actual wood from the barrel as well as the bottle of single malt.”

Rochfort said he was working with separate groups in three other South Australian wine regions – Barossa Valley, Limestone Coast and Clare Valley – who wanted to start their own whisky distilleries.

“We would really like to see the single malts representing the regions of South Australia because each region has its own special wines and grain growing abilities and to be able to produce a single malt which is truly made up of that region’s input is the goal,” he said.

About 45km south of McLaren Vale at the mouth of Australia’s biggest river, The Murray, Gareth Andrews has been running the Steam Exchange Brewery in Goolwa for a decade, where he now also distils whisky. He hopes to launch his first single malt towards the end of the year.

The G R Andrews & Sons Fleurieu Distillery is producing spirit for three established Australian whisky makers – including two in Tasmania – to help provide cash flow while its whisky matures. 

Andrews said South Australian distillers were beginning see the opportunities created by a global whisky boom.

“Globally, the whole whisky boom is on and people are looking for quality over quantity and they are starting to realize that good quality single malt whiskies can be made in other places than Scotland,” Andrews said.

“We’ve got the barley, we’ve got the climate, so everything’s good.”

Adelaide-based Southern Coast Distillers began selling its South Australian whisky in 2011. Jim Murray described one of its single malts in the 2012 edition of The Whisky Bible as "one of the most astonishing whiskies it has been my honour to taste".

Article courtesy of The Lead South Australia

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: February 10-13, 2016

 
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Wednesday, February 10
20151203_141207The Andersons, Sylvania, 6-8 PM. Jim’s Wines for Your Valentine: 1.
Gruet Rosé, 2. Chateau Dutruch Grand Poujeaux Moulis-en-Medoc, 3. Lioco Indica Red, 4. Redhead Red, 5. Kopke 10-Year Tawny. $11 per flight of nominal charge per sample.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 –7:30 PM. Wine Tasting. $15 per person.

Thursday, February 11

Andersons, Maumee, 5-7 PM. More Valentine Ideas: 1. Dr. Deinhard – Riesling Extra Brut – Germany, 2. Wolfberger – Pinot Blanc – Alsace, France, 3. Tormaresca – Primitivo – Italy, 4. Ridge – Pagani Ranch – Zin Based Red Blend – Sonoma. Pay per sample or $10 for flight.

Let us promote your wine tasting for free! Send info to twav@att.net

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. 2nd Annual Wine & Chocolate Tasting. Pairings for Tasting Event: 1. Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse paired with Sliced Apples, Pears and Peaches, 2. Schramsberg Brut Rosé paired with Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, 3. Fournier Marsannay Bourgogne paired with Lindt Chocolate with Sea Salt, 4. Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel paired with Lindt 85% Cocoa, 5. Field Stone Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Lindt 70 % Cocoa, 6. Merkelbach Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese paired with Lindt Intense Orange, 7. Chateau Bel Air Sauternes paired with Lindt White Truffles, 8. Cossart Rainwater Madeira paired with Lindt Milk Chocolate, 9. Kopke Fine Ruby Porto paired with Individual Chocolate Cakes. Variety of cheeses and artisan breads. Nominal Fee per sample.
 
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Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Wine tasting.

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, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. 5-7 PM. Weekly wine tasting. Call for information.

Friday, February 12

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Valentine Wine Selection Tasting. Emily Wagy with Tramante & Sons, LLC will feature selections that are sure to impress your Valentine and compliment your holiday dinner.Nominal fee per sample.

Saturday, February 13
Kroger Maumee – Wine Tasting, 3-7 PM. Nominal fee per sample.

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 2-6 PM. Valentine Wine Tasting. For the perfect evening for your “sweetie,” we will showcase everything from that ideal Sparkling Rose to the dinner wine as well as the compliment to a fine dessert.

 
AREA WINE BARS
  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg.
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Up & Coming:

Last Thursday of Each Month, 6-8 PM – Monthly wine tasting. Maumee Wines, 2556 Parkway Plaza, Maumee – (419) 893-2525. Wine and appetizers. $40 per person.

February 17 – March 2, Introductory Wine Topics Class, Zinful, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. Three classes Wednesdays at 6:30. Class will be directed by a Certified Specialist of Wine implementing the curriculum of the Society of Wine Educators. Cost $75 through January 29 and $100 after. Limited enrollment.
 
February 27, 6-8 PM, the Exchange Club of Toledo’s Fourth Annual Wine Tasting at the Oliver House, 27 Broadway St., Toledo. Wine pairings with delicious appetizers and silent auction. Cost is $50 per person. Proceeds benefit area youth scholarship program. For tickets contact Gail Weller at (419) 343-2426 or gweller@nationalexchangeclub.org .

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Drone Launches Wine Flight In Search Of Santa Barbara Vino



Like thousands of others this Christmas, I received a drone as a gift. I’ve had a ball flying it – but this is my first attempt to pair my love of wine with drones…

And Now For Something Completely Different


Over the years I’ve enjoyed the humor of Monty Python. Their television show was a collection of madcap skits and often there was no segue – just the narrator intoning, “And now for something completely different.” Today I offer something completely different.

We participate on a regular basis in Wine Studio, which is a wine education program. This month the focus is on the glorious wine of Santa Barbara County. We’ve visited there twice, once with my cousin and later for the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference.

Wine Studio involves tasting wine while having a Twitter chat, which enables you to share your thoughts with wine lovers from around the country. A winemaker or winery rep typically takes part. It’s a great program and I’m looking forward to tonight’s session.

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Surface To Air Missile Of Wine


So, weather conditions were right for some drone flying over the weekend. Also, I usually take some photos of the wine we’ll be drinking in advance of Wine Studio. That’s called serendipity!

I set up the wine bottles and a glass for the photo shoot and then decided I should get some aerial footage from the drone. The result? You can judge for yourself. Please enjoy the cinematic excellence!


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Monday, February 8, 2016

Josh Cellars California Red Wines

Josh Legacy

Josh Cellars is the creation of Napa winemaker Joseph Carr. The Josh wines are sourced from vineyards throughout California and offer an entry level price.

California By The Bottle

Joseph Carr offers wines from Napa and Sonoma with sophistication at a reasonable price. The wines range in price from $20 to $40 and include some from the Rutherford and Combsville regions in Napa Valley.

In 2007 the Josh line was created by Joseph Carr. These wines are sourced from a variety of vineyards in the state and so carry the “California” appellation. The are affordable (in the $13 to $17 price range) and are widely available.

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The Crimson Duo

Josh Cab

We had the opportunity to taste the 2013 Josh Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 Legacy red blend. The Legacy retails for about $11 while the Cab goes for around $13. 

The Josh Cabernet is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. It is sourced from Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties.

This is a quaffing wine. It has a rich aroma of dark fruit and is juicy with blackberry and cherry. However, you shouldn’t expect a multi-layered taste experience at this price point. It’s one dimensional – but that dimension is satisfying.

The finish is short and the tannins are faint – making this a lighter bodied Cab. Like other red wines at this price point, it isn’t for aging, but for enjoying within the next year or two.

The Legacy blend uses grapes from the Central Coast, Lodi and Sonoma and Napa counties. It’s blend is 45% Merlot, 45% Zinfandel, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petite Sirah.

20160203_202530I had expected a Bordeaux style blend, but the Zinfandel takes the wine in another direction. The flavor is plum with a few notes of leather and nuts.

It took me several sips to decipher this wine. It’s an enjoyable casual wine. By that I mean it is light to medium in body without heavy tannins. No decanting or swirling is required to open up the wine. It can be enjoyed with or without food. Guests will enjoy this from the get-go and at the price of about $15, you can afford to serve several bottles.

Uncork Josh for an everyday wine that enables you to sample California goodness with a down home price.

Full disclosure: These wines were received as marketing samples.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Buy Tickets Now For Exchange Club Of Toledo Benefit Wine Tasting February 27

Taste of Washington & Phone 037It’s getting closer! Don’t be left out in the cold. Order your tickets now for the Exchange Club benefit wine tasting.

The Exchange Club of Toledo is a community serice organization with a long history of helping where it is needed most and lending a hand to area students. They’ve also made a name for themselves by hosting an immensely enjoyable benefit wine event.

On February 27, 6-8 PM, the Exchange Club of Toledo will host its Fourth Annual Wine Tasting at the Oliver House, 27 Broadway St., Toledo. The event will take place in the very cool Historic Lobby. Wine pairings with delicious appetizers will be featured along with a silent auction.

The cost for the event is $50 per person and proceeds benefit the club’s area youth scholarship program. In short, you can do good by having fun.

We’ve attended each of the previous wine tastings and have enjoyed the wide selection of wines and the chance to mingle in this very historic room. The Oliver House opened its doors as a hotel in 1859. It was designed by renowned architect Isaiah Rodgers and now has a place on the Historic Register. The Historic Lobby is a unique curved room with an elegant bar and high ceilings. In short, it is a perfect place for a wine event.

For tickets contact Gail Weller at (419) 343-2426 or gweller@nationalexchangeclub.org .

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Stag’s Leap 2012 Hands Of Time Napa Valley Red

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Stag’s Leap Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon soundly beat the grandest French wines in the famous Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976. The winery has never looked back.

Haunting Hands Of Time

I was back in California recently, this time to Anaheim for a business meeting. I had arranged a dinner at The Catch, an upscale seafood and steak restaurant.

For the evening’s wines, I had selected a Zaca Mesa Viognier and on the red side, a tasty French Gigondas. I almost spilled my glass when I was informed that they were out of the Gigondas and weren’t able to special order it. I regained my composure when the server said that we were upgraded at no additional cost to Stag’s Leap 2012 Hands of Time red blend.

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High Fives All Around

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is a superlative winery that earned worldwide recognition for California wines by stomping the French competition in the Judgment of Paris blind tasting in 1976. Today their Cabernets are extraordinary and Artemis and Cask 23 are close to the hearts of wine lovers.

Hands of Time is the entry level Bordeaux blend from Stag’s Leap. On the upper level, the label allows you to authenticate your wine. The estate tier of wines are all north of $100.

The good news is Hands of Time is a sensational wine. At about $30, it is loaded with Napa goodness. The blend is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 43% Merlot. This gives it a soft texture but enough structure to stand up to a nice medium rare filet.

On the palate this is juicy black cherry flavors with a touch of cedar and chocolate. The finish is fine and lingering. The bottle shows the image of a hand with palm outstretched. This prompted many of our dinner guests to “high five” the bottles for a job well done.

A Thoughtful Wine

When the “Hands of Time” unexpectedly shows up on your table, it causes you to reflect. On how time passes too quickly. On people and friends from years gone by. On the promise of tomorrow.

This is a wine well suited for “deep thoughts” such as these or just plain enjoying good food and wine. At about $30, this is affordable even after the restaurant markup. The Hands of Time may indeed move too quickly – slow them down and enjoy each second with this bottle.

Rating: 4 of 5  Value: 5 of 5

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: February 3-6, 2016

 
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Wednesday, February 3
Phone photos 061913 031The Andersons, Sylvania, 6-8 PM. Wines from the 2015 Wine Spectator Top 100: 1. Pomelo 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (California), 2. Brumont Madiran 2009 Chateau Bouscasse Red (France), 3. Montes Alpha 2012 Syrah (Chile), 4. Collosorbo 2010 Brunello di Montalcino (Italy), 5. Taylor-Fladgate 2009 Late Bottled Vintage Porto (Portugal). $13 per flight of nominal charge per sample.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 –7:30 PM. Wine Tasting. $15 per person.

Thursday, February 4

Andersons, Maumee, 5-7 PM. More Great Wines from the Iberian Peninsula: 1.
Kopke – Dry White Porto, 2. 2009 Twisted Douro – Red Blend, 3. 2009 Mariana – Red Blend, 4. Kopke – Special Reserve Porto. Pay per sample or $7 for flight.

Let us promote your wine tasting for free! Send info to twav@att.net

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. Great Value Everyday French Wines. Think of what wine you would get sitting down with a French family for dinner. Their everyday wines are different than ours. They are brighter and have a more refreshing quality.1. Les Roucas Chardonnay, 2. Little James Basket Press White, 3. Black Beret Grenache Syrah, 4. Black Beret Grenache Syrah, 5. E.Guigal Cotes du Rhone, 6. Pierre Usseglio Cotes du Rhone, 7. Puydeval, 8. Maison Blanche Medoc Bordeaux. Nominal Fee per sample.
 
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Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Wine tasting.

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, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. 5-7 PM. Valentine Gift Tasting with special guest Rachel Nasatir of Grand Cru Wines. Call for information.

Friday, February 5

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Join us and try some great wines at the right price. You might even find one for your Super Bowl Party. Special guest Diana Kerr Brown of Wine Trends. Nominal fee per sample.

Saturday, February 6
Kroger Maumee – Wine Tasting, 3-7 PM. Nominal fee per sample.

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 2-6 PM. The weekend of the 6th & 7th is Walt Churchill’s annual Chili Bowl, and we will have on hand several wines to complement our extensive line up of different chilis.
AREA WINE BARS
  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg.
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Up & Coming:

Last Thursday of Each Month, 6-8 PM – Monthly wine tasting. Maumee Wines, 2556 Parkway Plaza, Maumee – (419) 893-2525. Wine and appetizers. $40 per person.

February 17 – March 2, Introductory Wine Topics Class, Zinful, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. Three classes Wednesdays at 6:30. Class will be directed by a Certified Specialist of Wine implementing the curriculum of the Society of Wine Educators. Cost $75 through January 29 and $100 after. Limited enrollment.
 

February 27, 6-8 PM, the Exchange Club of Toledo’s Fourth Annual Wine Tasting at the Oliver House, 27 Broadway St., Toledo. Wine pairings with delicious appetizers and silent auction. Cost is $50 per person. Proceeds benefit area youth scholarship program. For tickets contact Gail Weller at (419) 343-2426 or gweller@nationalexchangeclub.org .

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Nebbiolo And Montefalco Offer Italian Charm And Character

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Nebbiolo from Langhe and Rosso from Montefalco provide a pleasant and flavorful surprise.

A Return To Montefalco

Several months ago I had the opportunity to write a feature article on the wines of Montefalco. We’ve loved Montefalco for a long time and had hoped the articles and photo might be a ticket to that Italian region in Umbria.

While that didn’t materialize, a bottle of Azienda Agricola Romanelli 2012 Montefalco Rosso did. Last week’s Italian wine dinner featured this red blend along with Germano Angelo Azienda 2010 Nebbiolo d’Alba “Visette” from the Langhe area of Italy’s Piedmont region.

It’s A Flashback To Rigatoni

To accompany our wines, Green Dragon fired up her special spicy spaghetti sauce. She has a special recipe that I really like in which the meat is cooked in the sauce, as opposed to being cooked separately and then added. It’s robust and awfully delicious.

We poured both wines to enjoy with our kale and super green salad along with rigatoni noodles slathered with red sauce. Although some might say this is “old school” we think the rigatoni noodles are better suited to hearty wines. Perhaps the hole in the middle helps you absorb wine better!

Nebbiolo & Montifalco

Italian Impressions

Montefalco Rosso is a blend of 60% to 80% Sangiovese and 10% to 25% Sagrantino. The remainder is rounded out by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Romanelli Rosso is aged 18 months in a combination of stainless steel and oak.

The Sangiovese contributed to a smooth, sleek wine, while the Sagrantino, which only grows in the Montefalco region, gives a bit of staccato firmness. From the start the Romanelli Montefalco was a luscious glass of wine that immediately added elegance to the meal.

20160126_191735Germano Angelo has been making Barolo since 1908. This Nebbiolo is really a “baby Barolo.” It can’t be called Barolo since the grapes don’t originate there, but you are getting the flavor and power of Barolo without the pricetag.

We decanted the Germano Nebbiolo for about 30 minutes. This is a 2010 vintage and the complexity versus the Montefalco was immediately evident.

This is a deep dark wine with riffles of raspberry and chocolate. In fact, after we finished our meal our friend Maria dropped by and we enjoyed a killer pairing of dark chocolate with sea salt and the Germano Nebbiolo. The Nebbiolo is priced at an insanely low $24 SRP.

Sartori Montamore cheese and some aged Gouda also made a stellar match. In particular the creamy and tangy Montamore and the Romanelli Montefalco were great partners.

When pursuing wine excellence sometimes it is necessary to zig when others zag. These two fine wines are exemplars of great taste and solid value.

Full Disclaimer: We received these wines as marketing samples.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bastianich 2012 “Adriatico” Malvasia, Croatia

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Looking for a white wine that is truly different? How about a Malvasia from Croatia?

International Intrigue

Most people will be baffled by the label of the Bastianich Malvasia. It shows an outline map of Adriatico and surrounding mysterious lands. It might as well be a map by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Of course, it isn’t. It is the Adriatic Sea and the lands that surround it. Croatia is on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, opposite Italy. This exotic wine comes from the Istriana Peninsula that is shared by Italy, Croatia and Slovenia.

Rock Star Roots

This wine is the brainchild of Joe Bastianich. Bastianich has opened numerous famous restaurants, including some with partner Mario Batali. With the Adriatico line, he is hoping to introduce the wines of eastern Europe to a wider audience.

Croatian wine culture dates back 2,500 years to ancient Greek settlers. Today the country has more than 300 wine regions and a strict classification system. The majority of Croatian wine is white.

A Sprightly Vino

I consider this a sprightly wine. What in blazes does that mean? Good question. When first poured, this had a slightly metallic taste. Green Dragon had a rush to judgement, but we let it open up a while and – like a playful spright – it changed.

On the palate there are delicate flavors of white flowers and tropical fruit. This is a dry wine, with a light to medium body. It strikes a mid-point between lush and crisp. The finish falls off rapidly and doesn’t linger.

I liked this due to its differening flavor profile from the typical Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. It will be a good match with poultry or seafood or just sipping by itself.

This was on sale for less than $10 at the Andersons closeout sale. That’s a pretty inexpensive ticket to eastern Europe!

Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 3 of 5