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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Opolo Vineyards 2009 Summit Creek Zinfandel, Paso Robles

Opolo plus 001

Opolo Vineyard is a wine producer in California’s famous Paso Robles wine region. Their first crush was 1999 and have produced Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon since that time, along with other grape varieties.

Opolo’s 2009 Summit Creek Zinfandel is dark garnet in color with a light body. Swirling reveals long “legs,” which is usually a sign of good things to come.

The wine is velvety smooth. It has a prominent flavor of black currant along with vanilla and caramel. In the background are earthy notes and a wisp of licorice.

You probably won’t find this vintage, but it is still drinking nicely. The 2012 Summit Creek Zin sells for $19. If you pick up the 2012, you can drink it now or cellar it for a few years.

Opolo also produces a Mountain Zinfandel, which it terms more “decadent” and a Late Harvest Zinfandel, which would be suitable for a dessert wine.

Opolo Summit Creek Zinfandel is a tasty, affordable bottle.

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Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 3 of 5

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: April 23-26, 2014

Chateau Ste. Michelle

Chateau Ste. Michelle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, April 23
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Jim's Blind Tasting. Our own Jim Thomas presents his first wine tasting of 2014 — a fun blind wine tasting. We'll have five choices: two reds, two whites and a dessert wine. You choose four of the five at a cost of $10 for a flight of four. "Your eyes may deceive you, but your palate will never let you down."
 
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Wednesday, April 23, 6:00 – 8:30 PM. Wine Seminar - Superstar White Wines of Austria. $45 per person. Limited to 12 participants. This seminar focuses on elite small-production white wines from Austria. These wines are part of the portfolio of premium European importer Terry Theise and are of excellent quality and highly limited.
 
Thursday, April 24
Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Enjoy Some Wonderful Spring Favorites: 1. 2012 Santa Christina – Umbria – Italy, 2. 2010 Clos du Mont-Olivet – Cotes du Rhone – France, 3. 2012 Delas – Ventoux – France, 4. 2012 The Doctors – Riesling – New Zealand. $4.50 per flight or nominal fee per sample.
 
Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. — WineTastings-1_thumb3Wines from Washington State featuring Ste. Michelle Indian Wells: 1. Kung Fu Girl Riesling, 2. Mercer Canyon Chardonnay, 3. L'Ecole #41 Chardonnay, 4. Mercer Canyon Cabernet, 5. Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot, 6. Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red, 7. Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet, 8. Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica. Nominal fee per sample.
 
Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Wines distributed by Grand Cru Wines. Special guest Rachel Nasitir. 1. Alento Branco, 2. Mariana Vinho Branco, 3. CepasAntiguas Rioja, 4. Gaglioppo Calabria Red. Nominal fee per sample.
 
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, April 25
Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Wine By the Glass Pavilion: Days of Wine and Roses. Enjoy four wines and light snacks. $20 members/$30 nonmembers plus tax. Tickets available at Information Desks.
 
Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. 4-7 PM. Red, Red Wine. Five wines for $10.

Saturday, April 26
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Iconic California Cabernet Sauvignon Part 2. Our first Iconic Cabernet Tasting was a roaring success and there were immediately cries for another. Plus, there are plenty more great Napa Cabs that can rightly be called 'iconic.' So join us as we sample: Joseph Phelps 2010 Insignia, Heitz 2005 Cab Sav "Martha's Vineyard," Fisher 2009 Cab Sav 'Mountain Estate,' and many more. Cost: $75 per person or pay per sample.
 
Up and Coming:

Cherished Friends of Ahava 10th Annual Wine Tasting, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Thursday, May 1, at Fifth Third Field - Suites Level, 406 Washington Street, Toledo. More than 40 wines, appetizers, and desserts. $45 per person and $55 per person for reserve tasting. For tickets and details call (419) 241-5877.

 
Flight, A Wine Tasting at the Toledo Zoo, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Friday, May 2. Aviary Tour then “migrate” to the Lodge. $40 for Toledo Zoo members, $45 for non-members. Appetizers, wine and entertainment.
 
Stella’s Restaurant and Bar, 104 Louisiana Ave, Perrysburg, (419) 873-8360 – May 4 at 6:00 PM. Wine dinner sponsored by Berman Wines featuring a great portfolio from Piedmont, Italy.  Chef Rob Campbell will prepare a 5 course meal. $59.95 per person. Call for reservations.
 
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. Sunday, May 11, 6:00 – 8:30 PM. Wine Seminar: 100 Point Perfection from Pontet Canet and 1996 Mouton Rothschild. $150per person. Limited to 20 particpants.“In what is dramatically the greatest Wine Seminar we have ever had, we will focus our attention on the world’s premier wine region – Bordeaux, France – and taste some of the its greatest wines. Our tasting group will be joined by Importer/Distributor Mark Maher of Cutting Edge Selections who will be bringing a nice surprise as well.
 
AREA WINE BARS
  • The Bistro at Maumee Wines, (419) 893-2525, 2556 Parkway Plaza, Maumee.
  • Tres Belle Wine and Martini Lounge, (419) 874-4555, 3145 Hollister Lane, Perrysburg (Levis Commons).
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Flight Event May 2 At Toledo Zoo Offers Wine Tasting and Tour

Toledo Zoo pedestrian bridge

Toledo Zoo pedestrian bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get ready to take wing during a special “Flight” wine tasting 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Friday, May 2 at the Toledo Zoo. You’ll have an opportunity for an Aviary Tour then you will “migrate” to the Lodge to enjoy delicious appetizers and selected wines. The cost is $40 for Toledo Zoo members, $45 for non-members

Appetizers in the Lodge: Pesto chicken salad, grilled bread, Polenta rounds with roasted pepper mousse, fried capers, Lamb and mint rissoles with beet tzatiki, Giardeniera Chocolate bark.

Wines: Leese Fitch Chardonnay, Leese Fitch Sauvignon Blanc, Dynamite Chardonnay, Dynamite Sauvignon Blanc, BV Coastal Riesling, BV Coastal Moscato, Leese Fitch Cabernet, Leese Fitch Merlot, Leese Fitch Pinot Noir, Leese Fitch Red Zinfandel, Dynamite Cabernet, and Dynamite Red Blend.

Entertainment: Gypsy Luvin’

You may purchase tickets online here. If you have any questions, or prefer to place your reservation by phone please call The Toledo Zoo Group Sales department at 419-385-5721, Ext. 6001, Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

J. Lohr 2011 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles

Lohr Hilltop CabLast week I participated in a twitter discussion about Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon along with members of the Paso Robles Cab Collective. It’s a group of 28 wineries banded together to promote the full potential of the Paso Robles AVA in producing superior-quality, classic and age-worthy Cabernet and Bordeaux varieties.

For events like this, I’ve learned that it’s better to sip the wine in advance in an unhurried setting. I (try to) save at least a glassful to taste while the twitter discussion whirlwind is taking place.

I purchased this bottle of 2011 J. Lohr Hilltop Cab at Churchill’s and Green Dragon outdid herself by preparing a meal of Beef Bourgogne, a hearty French stew with sauce that is about 50% red wine.

Long before becoming synonymous with world class wine, El Paso de Robles, or “The Pass of the Oaks,” was known for its natural mineral baths, almonds and agriculture. In 1776, Franciscan priests produced the area’s first wines. About 200 years later, under the guidance of U.C. Davis enologist André Tchelistcheff, Dr. Stanley Hoffman planted some of the region’s first Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The western boundary of the Paso Robles AVA is just six miles from the Pacific and the ideal climate, location and growing conditions mean Cabernet Sauvignon grapes can linger on the vine until their fullest potential for lush ripeness is achieved. Some, like journalist Randy Caparosa, believe that the cutting edge for Cabernet Sauvignon is now in Paso Robles. The Paso Robles Cabs are known for velvety and round textures plus acidity that makes them outstanding food wines.

Cool climate prevailed in 2011, resulting in considerably lower vineyard yields. According to David Galzignato of Jada Winery, the 2011 vintage let Paso Robles winemakers craft Bordeaux style Cabernets with higher acidity, lower alcohol and a focus on the fruit.

Opolo plus 004_thumbJ. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on a handful of select vineyard sites that feature long summer days of intense sunshine followed with chilly, ocean-cooled nights. These Cabernet vines are naturally stressed in the dry, often very gravelly, and sometimes lime shale-laden soils. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are blended with 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, and 1% Syrah.

The Hilltop Cab is part of J. Lohr’s Vineyard Series. It is a beautiful wine that melded nicely with the savory stew – and later with a chocolate lava cake that capped the meal. It is expressive with swirls of ripe berries, stewed fruit a bit of earth. The wine is rich, but with a complexity that raises it above simpler fruit-driven Cabernet. It is a long, gliding finish from the Hilltop to the last drop.

J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon retails for $35. It is an ideal accompaniment for a special meal or a welcome guest to a party.

Rating: 4 of 5  Value: 4 of 5

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Walt Churchill’s Market In Maumee Schedules Second Iconic Cabernet Tasting April 26

Iconic Cab TastingWalt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000, has scheduled their second Iconic Cabernet Tasting. The event will be held Saturday, April 26, from 12 Noon to 5:00 PM. The cost is $75 for the flight, or you can pay per sample.

We attended the first Iconic Cabernet Tasting and it was a roaring success. You can read our article about it here. According to WCM Wine Manager Austin Beeman, there were immediate cries for another – and the result is another installment, perhaps even bigger and better.

They have an outstanding lineup featuring the following wines:

  • Miner Family Vineyards Oracle 2008
  • Fisher Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Cade Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • McCauley Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
  • Joseph Phelps Insignia 2010
    Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

This is one tasting you do not want to miss.


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Claiborne & Churchill 2012 Dry Riesling, Central Coast

C&C Riesling

Recently I had a moment of truth. I realized the number of white wines in my cellar had been dropping dangerously low.

Anyone can fall into this trap! In general, reds tend to age better and longer. No one is going to buy and hold a $25 bottle of Chardonnay for eight years.

As it turns out, I was participating in a wine “tweet chat” and one of the participants was from Claiborne & Churchill in San Luis Obispo, California. They specialize in Alsatian style whites and are known for their Dry Riesling and Dry Gerwurztraminer.

That’s all it took. Shortly afterward I fired off an order for Riesling, Gerwurztraminer and Pinot Blanc. This is the first I’ve tasted their wine, and I really like it.

The Dry Riesling has nice floral scents and a smooth mouthfeel. The acidity is less than the signature Dry Rieslings from the Finger Lakes. It is a soft wine with round edges and noticeable threads of apricot and pear flavors. There is a barely noticeable 0.8% residual sugar.

Claiborne & Churchill prepares this with care. It is hand harvested and whole-cluster pressed. Ninety percent is tank fermented with 10 percent barrel fermented in neutral French oak. Most of the grapes are from Monterey with 20% coming from Edna Valley.

It’s a small production gem with 645 cases produced. The price is a mere $20. This is a tasteful way to correct your color imbalance!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: April 16-19, 2014

French wine from Bordeaux

French wine from Bordeaux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, April 16
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Wines for Your Easter Feast: 1. Eroica 2012 Riesling, 2. La Vieille Ferme Blanc, 3. Chateau Suau 2012 Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, 4. La Merika 2011 Pinot Noir. $6 per flight or nominal fee per sample.
 
Thursday, April 17
Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Some Wonderful near-Easter Favorites: 1. 2012 Nisia – Old Vines Verdejo – Verdejo, Spain, 2. 2012 Sebastiani – Pinot Noir – Sonoma, California, 3. 2010 Chateau Des Karantes – Languedoc, France, 4. NV Botani – Sparkling Muscat – Spain. $8 or nominal fee per sample.
 
Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Food Friendly Wines: 1. La Forcine Vouvray — WineTastings-1France, 2. Gysler Silvaner Halbtroken — Germany, 3. King Estate Pinot Gris — Washington, 4. Dry Creek Fume Blanc — California, 5. Souverain Merlot — North Coast, California, 6. Charteau Soleil Promesse — Puissequin Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France, 7. Marramiero Inferi Montepulciano d' Abruzzo — Italy, 8. Darting Riesling Kabinett — Germany. Nominal fee per sample.
 
Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Wines distributed by Vintner Select with special guest Tricia Rasar. 1. Sean Minor Rose, 2. Point North Pinot Noir, 3. Revelry Cabernet Sauvignon, 4. Qupe Maxtap, 5. Uberschwang Riesling. Nominal fee per sample.
 
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, April 18
Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Wine By the Glass Pavilion: Days of Wine and Roses. Enjoy four wines and light snacks. $20 members/$30 nonmembers plus tax. Tickets available at Information Desks.
 
Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. 4-7 PM. Springtime White Wines. Five wines for $10.

Saturday, April 19
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Chateauneuf-du-Pape… Easter Weekend. The history of wine and the history of Christianity are deeply intertwined, including Chateaneuf-du-Pape and its premier red wine vineyards that used to belong to the Catholic Church. For this Easter weekend, join us as we taste some of the elites of this region including Chateau Beaucastel 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Vieux Telegraphe 2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape and many more. Nominal fee per sample.
 
Up and Coming:

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Wednesday, April 23, 6:00 – 8:30 PM. Wine Seminar - Superstar White Wines of Austria. $45 per person. Limited to 12 participants. This seminar focuses on elite small-production white wines from Austria. These wines are part of the portfolio of premium European importer Terry Theise and are of excellent quality and highly limited.

Cherished Friends of Ahava 10th Annual Wine Tasting, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Thursday, May 1, at Fifth Third Field - Suites Level, 406 Washington Street, Toledo. More than 40 wines, appetizers, and desserts. $45 per person and $55 per person for reserve tasting. For tickets and details call (419) 241-5877.

 
Flight, A Wine Tasting at the Toledo Zoo, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Friday, May 2. Aviary Tour then “migrate” to the Lodge. $40 for Toledo Zoo members, $45 for non-members. Appetizers, wine and entertainment.
 
Stella’s Restaurant and Bar, 104 Louisiana Ave, Perrysburg, (419) 873-8360 – May 4 at 6:00 PM. Wine dinner sponsored by Berman Wines featuring a great portfolio from Piedmont, Italy.  Chef Rob Campbell will prepare a 5 course meal. $59.95 per person. Call for reservations.
 
AREA WINE BARS
  • The Bistro at Maumee Wines, (419) 893-2525, 2556 Parkway Plaza, Maumee.
  • Tres Belle Wine and Martini Lounge, (419) 874-4555, 3145 Hollister Lane, Perrysburg (Levis Commons).
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cherished Friends of Ahava To Host 10th Annual Wine Tasting May 1

Andrew MorrellIt’s a new date and a new venue – but the same great cause. The Cherished Friends of Ahava 10th Annual Wine Tasting will be held 6:00 to 8:00 PM Thursday, May 1, at Fifth Third Field - Suites Level, 406 Washington Street, in Toledo. This fabulous event benefits the Cherished Friends of Ahava and its non-profit special guests program.

Through the program, more than 950 men and women undergoing cancer treatment have enjoyed a day of pampering and relaxation at the Ahava Spa and Wellness Center at no charge. The program caters to those who are newly diagnosed or currently in treatment for cancer.

Attendees can sample more than 40 wines, appetizers, and desserts. A silent auction is part of the fun. The cost is $45 per person and $55 per person for the reserve tasting. For tickets and details call (419) 241-5877.

Photo by Andrew Morrell

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Educated Guess 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Educated Guess 003

Educated Guess is the flagship wine from Roots Run Deep Winery and is their third vintage. Despite long debates about the art and science of winemaking, says the winery, it often comes down to an educated guess.

The label shows actual winemaking formulas that are either induced or naturally occur during the winemaking process. It may make more sense as you drink the contents of the bottle.

This is a “pop ‘n pour” Cabernet that is a bright gem-like garnet in the glass. There is a trace of truffle on the nose. On the palate it is medium body with light tannins.

Bramble fruits are evident along with cherry and chocolate. This is a very accessible wine with ripe flavors and a touch of vanilla.

Educated Guess is 88% Cabernet, 8% Merlot and 2% each of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. It is aged 12 months in French and American Oak. The suggested retail is $20.

This wine is a safe pick for a party, with juicy goodness enough to satisfy wine novices and wine lovers. It also scores highly in the value department.

Rating: 3 of 5   Value: 4 of 5

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Herdade do Rocim 2009 Ohlo de Mocho Reserva, Portugal

Portugal

A birthday is a time for great surprises. We had one recently when helping the Cabinator celebrate his birthday. Glorious T had stopped by Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee earlier in the day during their weekly wine tasting.

Catarina Vieira, owner and winemaker of Herdade do Rocim was there and charmed GT with her Herdade do Rocim Ohlo de Mocho Reserva. She bought a bottle, had it autographed by Catarina and popped it that evening as we toasted the birthday boy.

Portugal makes some great red wines. I’m not a fan of fortified wines, so I don’t fully appreciate Port. But the Touriga Nacional grape makes some expressive wines – and at a “still undiscovered” price.

The Ohlo de Mocho Reserve is a blend of Syrah, Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet. The wine is aged for 12 months in a combination of French (80%) and American (20%) oak. It is from Alentejano, Portugal.

This deep, dark wine is a melodious red with wafts of perfumed aroma. It is well constructed with loads of dark fruit balanced with vanilla and oak. It’s a great red without following the typical flavor profile of Cabernet Sauvignon – a winning wine.

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