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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mission Hill 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Okanagan Valley BC VQA

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It can be difficult to get your hands on Okanagan Valley wine. But when you do, oh what a reward!

Okanagan Valley Remote and Rocking

One of my travel highlights in recent years was a trip to Penticton, British Columbia, to visit the Okanagan Valley wine region. It is a land of breathtaking beauty nestled between the snow-crested Coastal Mountains to the west and the Monashee Mountains to the east.

The valley extends north from the US-Canada border for  100 miles and glacial lakes run its length. Lake Okanagan is 85 miles long and is flanked by superb vineyards on the slopes and benches surrounding it. Merlot thrives there as do Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. The magical scenery, superlative wine and friendly people made for an unforgettable experience.

Mission Hill Winery

British Columbia WBC13 046Mission Hill Winery is one of the finest wineries I’ve ever visited. That includes stops on three different continents. It is a nexus of food, wine, architecture and art that is draped on a sharply sloped hillside overlooking Lake Okanagan near Kelowna.

Owner Anthony Von Mandl has spared no expense at this winery, which was built by an international team of architects, designers and craftsmen. The wines are sophisticated and – thankfully – are available outside British Columbia. In my case, I was able to purchase this 2011 Reserve Cabernet at an LCBO store in Ontario.

Canadian Cabernet

Mission Hill offers a spectrum of wine, and the Reserve line is one of their more affordable ranges. I paid $20 US for the bottle, which I consider to be a tasty value.

The grapes for this vintage come from vineyards in Oliver and Osoyoos in the southern reaches of the Okanagan Valley. The area has sand and gravel soil and sage abounds. It’s also rattlesnake country and while touring the area, we had someone going with us to look out for snakes.

The Reserve Cabernet is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and has 14% alcohol. It is well balanced with light and smooth tannins. Delicate cherry notes mix with some oak and a dash of nuanced plum. There is depth to the wine, but nothing like Mission Hill’s top end Oculus red blend. The tasting window on this wine is probably closing within the next year.

Mission Hill produces some standout wines and you are encouraged to seek them out. The Reserve Cabernet represents a good value, but doesn’t deliver the heavy hitting tannins preferred by some Cab fans. Newer vintages are worth a fling at the $20 to $25 price range.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: August 17-20, 2016


Cline Tasting Plus 008Wednesday, August 17
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6-8 PM. Mollydookers, a Good Summer Quaffer & A Tasty Bonus Buy: 1. Domaine du Tariquet 2015 Rosé (France), 2. Trivento 2013 Amado Sur (Argentina), 3. Trivento 2015 Malbec Reserve (Argentina), 4. Mollydooker 2015 Two Left Feet Red (Australia), 5. Mollydooker 2015 “The Boxer” Shiraz (Australia),. Nominal fee per sample or $10 per flight.
 
Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 –7:30 PM. Wine Tasting. $15 per person.
 
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 7-9 PM. Terry Theise Portfolio Champagne Tasting. This is a great opportunity to pre-order your Champagne needs and take advantage of special pricing. The wines will arrive mid-November in time for the Holidays. Reservations required. $40 per person.
 
Thursday, August 18
 
Andersons, Maumee, 5-7 PM. Back to School Wines: 1. 2014 Saladini Pilastri – Falerio White Blend – Italy, 2. 2014 Cucao PX – Pedro Ximenez – Chile, 3. 2013 O’Reilly’s – Pinot Noir – Oregon, 4. 2015 Tinazzi – Vini - Italy. Nominal fee per sample or $5.50 per flight.
Let us promote your wine tasting for free! Send info to twav@att.net
Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. New Arrivals from the French Countryside: 1. Champalou Vouvray Les Fondraux , 2. Henri Perrusset Macon Villages, 3. Domaine Oratoire St Martin Cairanne, 4. Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone, 5. Chapoutier Bila-Haut cotes du Roussillon Ville, 6. Chat Gamage Sel. Xceptional, 7. Dom. Rothschild Legend, 8. Chateau Limbourg. Nominal fee per sample.
 
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Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-8 PM. Wine tasting. 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.
 
Zinful, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. 5-8 PM. Wine tasting.
 
Friday, August 19

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. 4-7 PM. New Italian Selections. Diana Kerr-Brown from Wine Trends is breaking out the latest in Italian favorites great for any family gathering. Nominal fee per sample.

Saturday, August 20

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

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 2-6 PM. Guest Rep Tasting. Shelly Zeiher, will help guide us through European Wine Imports portfolio. Based out of Cleveland, they import wines directly bypassing many of the costs associated with east coast ports.Nominal fee per sample.
 
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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Thursday, August 11, 2016

California Wine Shows Strength in Challenging Economy

2015 Annual Economic Impact Grows to
$57.6 Billion in California, $114.1 Billion in U.S.

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California Wineries Generate 786,000 Jobs

The California wine and winegrape sector and allied businesses deliver a total economic contribution of $57.6 billion annually to the state’s economy and $114.1 billion annually to the U.S. economy according to a new report commissioned by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers. California wineries and vineyards also directly and indirectly generate 325,000 jobs in California and 786,000 jobs across the nation. The report, “The Economic Impact of California Wine and Grapes 2015” prepared by John Dunham & Associates of New York, was presented today at a Joint Informational Hearing of the California Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Assembly Select Committee on Wine held at UC Davis.

The report shows growth of 17% in statewide impact (from $49.2 to $57.6 billion) and 19% in national impact (from $96.0 to $114.1 billion) in the past seven years. This strong growth during a period that started with the Great Recession and continued with slow recovery shows the strength and resiliency of the nation’s number one wine-producing state as a positive economic force across the nation. John Dunham & Associates used new methodology for the 2015 report and has also adjusted the 2008 economic impact numbers so that the comparison in growth would be comparable.

“California wine is an economic engine for our nation. Our predominantly small, family-owned businesses create jobs, pay significant taxes, and give back generously to charities and communities,” said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. “These are significant accomplishments when the strong dollar and pressure from imports make the U.S. the most competitive wine market in the world, and we continue to face the threat of increased taxes and regulation at every level of government.”

 

California Wineries Hosted 24 Million Visitors

“Vineyards and wineries are iconic images of the California landscape, but today's report reminds us that wine and winegrapes are also integral to a vibrant state economy,” said California Association of Winegrape Growers President John Aguirre. “The scenic views and tasting rooms found in wine country attracted nearly 24 million tourist visits in 2015, and the commitment of California growers and vintners to sustainable practices forms a foundation that supports 325,000 jobs while also promoting important social and environmental benefits.”

The report measures the full economic impact of the wine and grape industries in terms of employment, wages, taxes, tourism spending and visits, and charitable giving. It uses a standard and widely used methodology which includes direct, indirect and induced economic impact in order to present the full picture. The IMPLAN model, developed by the U.S. Forest Service and University of Minnesota, is used by many companies around the world as well as government agencies such as the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Economic Research Service and Federal Reserve Bank.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

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


20151117_200629-02Wednesday, August 10
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6-8 PM. Lamont’s Picks:1. Custard Chardonnay, 2. Trapiche Broquel Malbec, 3. Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon. Nominal fee per sample.
 
Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-8 PM. Wednesday is retro night. Show up in your best fitting concert t-shirt and get entered into a raffle to win a bottle of wine. Nominal fee per sample.
 
Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 –7:30 PM. Wine Tasting. $15 per person.
 
Thursday, August 11
 
Andersons, Maumee, 5-7 PM. Some New, Some Wine Closeouts: 1. 2015 Innocent By-Stander – Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough, New Zealand, 2. 2015 Latue Rose’ – Toledo, Spain, 3. 2014 Castillo de Monseran – Carinena, Spain, 4. 2010 Chateau Gamage – Red Bordeaux  - Bordeaux, France. Nominal fee per sample or $5 per flight.
Let us promote your wine tasting for free! Send info to twav@att.net
Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. Down Under Wonders: 1. Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc, 2. Jacobs Creek Chardonnay, 3. Rosemount Shiraz/Cabernet, 4. Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier, 5. D’Arenberg stump jump red, 6. Greg Norman Cab/Merlot, 7. Shotfire Shiraz, 8. D’Arenberg high Trellis Cabernet. Nominal fee per sample.
 
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Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-8 PM. Thursday is anything goes night. I may even open up something special. 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.
 
Zinful, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. 5-8 PM. Wine tasting.
 
Friday, August 12

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. 4-7 PM. Boutique Wine Tasting: Rachel Nasitif from Grand Cru Wines will have the latest chic and savvy wines that are perfect to share or savor for yourself .

Saturday, August 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. Nominal fee per sample. Dog Days of Summer: Light refreshing wines for the heat of summer that won’t give one palate-fatigue. As the seasons change so do our needs for wines to compliment the weather as well as our food.
 
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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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dry Creek Vineyard 2013 Endeavour Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

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Endeavour is Dry Creek Vineyard’s effort to produce Cabernet that is the equal of any in California. So how did they do?

A California Cabernet Challenge

There’s oodles of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Golden State. Napa Valley is our country’s most famous wine appellation. Across the Mayacamas Mountains is Sonoma, with wine quality to match Napa ounce for ounce.

When you say you set out to produce a Cab that is the equal to any in the state of California, that’s saying a lot.

Quite An Endeavour

Kim Stare Wallace and Don Wallace are the second generation at Dry Creek Vineyard family winery. The winery was the first established in Dry Creek Valley after Prohibition was repealed. Today is it one of the few remaining family-owned wineries.

Endeavour is the vision of Kim and Don to grow and produce Cabernet that equals the finest in California. The estate Endeavour Vineyard is located in the Lytton Springs district of Dry Creek Valley. It is planted to take advantage of each of the different soil expressions on the property.

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The Judgment Of Dry Creek

The Judgment of Paris is a key moment in wine history, when a California wines went head to head with the best of France and came out on top. It was the vinous shot heard round the world.

We didn’t have quite as elaborate a taste challenge for Endeavour, but we did also pour a second Cabernet from a well-known producer in British Columbia. The wine from BC paled in comparison!

Endeavour is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with a 10% dollop of Petit Verdot. It spent 20 months in French oak, 10% of which was new.

We decanted Endeavor for about 30 minutes. In the glass it is dark red with a medium-full body. The aroma explodes with a rush of berries.

On the palate it is a deep, lush wine with silky notes and a touch of cedar. The tannins are amazingly integrated for a 2013. There are extracted flavors of raspberries with plum and spice. Layers of taste dance and sing with each sip. It is a wine that is balanced from start to finish.

There were 995 cases produced and the wine was just released in June. This wine could certainly age comfortably for five or more years – but it is drinking like a champ now. Retail price is $70.

This is an Endeavour well worth undertaking!

Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Woodinville Wine Country Dining: Two Recommendations

Barking Frog restaurant excels with seafood.

Here are a pair of Woodinville wine country restaurants you should be sure to visit during your next trip to Washington State.

Man Does Not Live On Wine Alone

During our visit to Woodinville, Washington, we had the chance to visit some outstanding wineries and tasting rooms. Tasting some of this country’s best fruit of the vine only stokes the hunger for delicious cuisine.

Our base of operations was the Country Inn Suites in Bothell, a small community about 10 minutes and three miles away from Woodinville. Woodinville was where we spent most of our time, enjoying the abundance of choosing between 108 different wineries and tasting rooms. But you need fuel for such a marathon.

Preservation Kitchen, Bothell

Preservation Kitchen in Bothell is in a 1916 building

The first day of our wine exploration, I decided we needed a substantial lunch. When you plan to visit four or five tasting rooms, cheese and crackers just don’t cut it.

Preservation Kitchen was a convenient and fortuitous stop on our way to Woodinville. Preservation Kitchen is in a 1916 building that was originally home to the mayor of Bothell. The back dining room was once the garage for the estate. In the 1970’s the building was Paris Chef Gerald Parrat’s Releais de Lyon restaurant. Many elements of his 2,000-foot French kitchen still remain.

More importantly for today’s diners, Preservation Kitchen preserves the traditions of regional cuisine and drink. Their seasonal menu supports local producers, and uses sustainable, organic ingredients when possible.

Mouthwatering AleHouse meatloaf sandwich from Preservation KitchenThe original woodwork and floors, a fireplace and huge windows make this a relaxing, inviting space. Indie alternative tunes wafted through the air as Green Dragon and I selected lunch.

I opted for the AleHouse Meat Loaf Sandwich, which is meatloaf topped with sweet chili ketchup, lettuce & ale “mustayo” on toasted Como bread. Green Dragon makes incredible meatloaf, but I told her this was the first meatloaf to rival hers. Savory with just the right consistency, the zip from the chili ketchup made for a delightful treat. For $13, I felt I was dining like royalty.

Preservation Kitchen has an extensive vegetarian menu featuring Fall Papardelle as well as a Spinach and Berries dish with Praline pecans, chèvre, and pear basil vinaigrette. The AleHouse is a more casual pub and features everything from chicken wings to Wild Boar Ragu. The House Roasted Hazelnuts sounds appetizing.

Of note to wine lovers is the extensive list of Washington wines. Included in the stellar lineup are: Baer, Barrage, DeLille, Elevation Cellars and Force Major, to name just a few. Cocktails are prepared with goods from in-state artisan distilleries such as Softail Vodka, Halcyon Organic Gin and Woodinville Whiskey. An ample supply of the region’s microbrews are on hand as well.

The Barking Frog and Willows Lodge, Woodinville

1,500 year old Cedar Snag on the grounds of Willows Lodge

The Barking Frog and The Willows is not the name of a classic children’s book. Willows Lodge is the top luxury accommodation in Woodinville and the the Barking Frog is its restaurant – a food lover’s dream.

We paid two visits to Willows. The first was for Experience Woodinville – a charity food and wine event. This was a mostly outdoor event with food and wine stations on the lovely grounds and a competition between local chefs assisted by area winemakers.

Willows Lodge is located on five acres bordering the Sammamish River. It’s Pacific Northwest style and luxurious accommodations have earned it a place on the Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List.  We enjoyed the harmonious blending of nature and architecture plus the picturesque gardens and grounds.

Experience Woodinville is an annual food an wine charity eventThe lodge delivers on its aim of capturing the heritage and informality of the NW while providing the highest level of refinement in food, comfort, aesthetics and service. It uses Douglas fir timbers throughout the rustic lodge which also features a beautiful stone fireplace.

The Barking Frog is the ideal location to recharge the batteries during your wine country visit. Native Americans use the frog as a symbol of wealth or abundance, and the Barking Frog was had a bounty of exceptional food.

Willows Lodge and Barking Frog

We had lunch on the Barking Frog patio, first passing an inspiring collection of large format bottles. The sun and temperature were perfect as was the gurgling fountain nearby.

For my lunch I opted for the Angus Flat Iron Steak with Béarnaise and house-cut fries while the Green Dragon selected the salmon special. The artful presentation of each dish had our mouths watering. My pairing was the Savage Grace 2015 Cabernet Franc while the Two Vintners 2014 Grenache Blanc accompanied the fish. This was a sensory-filled lunch we didn’t want to end.

The Barking Frog focuses on fresh local ingredients. Dinner entrees include Butter Poached Halibut with leeks, chanterelles, beluga lentils, artichoke puree and apple-celery vinaigrette. You can also order Iberico Lomo, a pork dish from southwestern Spain.

Barking Frog is an outstanding meal choice whether it be for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Lunch prices run from $10 to $24 and dinner entrees run from $36 to $60. The wine list cannot be surpassed in the depth of fine Washington State wines, which represent great value and quality.

So there you have it. Two reasons why no one should go hungry in Woodinville wine country!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon Gains Ground

CAB Collective at DAO WineryPaso Cabs are earning more accolades than ever, demand is spiking and wineries are planting more Bordeaux varieties than ever before.

 

Premier Producer of Cabernet

Paso Robles is working to secure its place as one of the world’s premiere producers of Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux varietals. Recognition among critics and sommeliers is increasing across the board for members of the Paso Robles CAB Collective. Paso’s producers are also planting more Cabernet Sauvignon than ever before.

Formed in 2012, the Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective (PRCC) is an independent collaborative effort of leading Paso Robles growers and producers of Cabernet and red Bordeaux varietals specific to the Paso Robles AVA in California. CAB Collective members are helping the region  position itself alongside the world’s top Bordeaux varietal regions.

More than 55 percent of Paso’s 41,000 acres of vineyards are made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. In 2015 and 2016, roughly 3,000 new acres of vineyards were planted in Paso, of those, an estimated 50 percent were Cabernet Sauvignon, according to California Grape Field Representative Andrew Jones of Sunridge Nurseries.

 

Terroir-Driven Wines

DAO WineryOne key to Paso’s success is the devotion of CAB Collective members who strive to craft true terroir-driven wines. While Paso enjoys mountainous slopes and an ideal grape growing climate—hot and dry days, and a cooling maritime fog that rolls in from the Pacific Ocean—it boasts incredibly diverse soils. No two Paso Robles vineyards are the same—a single vineyard block may contain several different soil types. The results—and what continues to win over critics and enthusiasts alike—are wines that are complex, approachable and age-worthy.

“Bordeaux varieties are the future of Paso Robles,” says Winemaker Ben Mayo, who recently joined CAB Collective member San Antonio Winery to help grow the winery’s investment and reach of its high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon program.

Not only are more Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux varietal vines going in, but vintners are putting the utmost energy and focus on what clones they introduce into their vineyards.

DAOU Vineyards & Winery’s Winemaker, Daniel Daou, for example, is experimenting with 13 different Cabernet Sauvignon clones in order to discover the full potential of the terroir on his 2,200-foot elevation property. “These clones are very qualitative clones that are low yielding and will produce blue and black fruit with a tannin structure reminiscent of a classic Bordeaux wine,” said Daou.

 

Bordeaux Varieties Booming

At the 40-acre Brecon Estate, custodians of likely the oldest major Cabernet planting in the Adelaida District, new plantings include the second only California planting of Malbec Clone 19FPS – an exciting clonal selection just imported from Cahors. The vines are of particularly low vigor and the fruit of very high quality. Combined with existing hill top Cabernet Franc and a new complementary planting of Petit Verdot, the whole Brecon Estate is now planted to Bordeaux varietals.

Ask any member of the CAB Collective what clones they are planting and you will hear many different answers as each are developing the best program for their vineyards. Calcareous Vineyard, for example, is utilizing what is known as a “field blend” in their recent plantings.

“As we expand our Bordeaux plantings here at Calcareous, we've accepted the fact that there are more unknowns than knowns regarding how to best express our vineyard with these varietals. One idea we attempted was to blend several clones into the same block. Talking with other members of the CAB Collective, everyone has their favorite clone. I decided to plant a mixture of clones 191, 337, and 412. By planting a field blend of multiple clones, we turn over a bit of control to the vineyard itself and provide the opportunity for something unique and unexpected to arise,” explained Calcareous Winemaker, Jason Joyce.

As the vine row count grows, coupled with the region's cutting-edge innovations in the vineyards, Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon will continue gaining prominence in the wine world.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

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


Wednesday, August 3
Zinful Tasting 091913 009The Andersons, Sylvania, 6-8 PM. Pretty Portuguese and Return of the Phantom: 1. Casa da Passarella 2014 Dão Branco (Portugal), 2. Casa da Passarella 2012 O Oenologo Encruzado Dão Branco (Portugal), 3. Bogle 2013 Phantom (California), 4. Casa da Passarella 2012 Dão Tinto (Portugal), 5. Campolargo 2010 Dão Tinto (Portugal). Nominal fee per sample or $10 per flight.
 
Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-8 PM. Wines of Kermit Lynch with Katelyn of Wine Trends. 1. Chateau Graville Lacoste, 2. Salvard Cheverney Blanc, 3. Macon Village Henri Perrusset, 4. Fontsainte Gris de Gris Rose, 5. Kermit Lynch Cuvee Cote Du Rhone, 6. Clos Coutale Cahors. Nominal fee per sample or $10 for flight.
 
Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 –7:30 PM. Wine Tasting. $15 per person.
 
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 6-8 PM. Special tasting of d’Arenburg wines from Australia. Hosted by Austin Beeman. High end wines included in this premium tasting.
 
Zinful, (419) 931-9946, 218 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg. 5-8 PM. Welcome party for Liz Crociata, CSW, and launch of the Zinful Wine Club.
 
Thursday, August 4
Andersons, Maumee, 5-7 PM. Hot Summer Wines: 1. 2013 Suavia – Monte Carbonare – Italy, 2. 2015 Chateau d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels Rose – Rhone Valley, France, 3. 2015 Pink Pegau Rosé – Cotes Du Rhone, France, 4. 2012 Numanthia – Termes – Tinto, Spain. Nominal fee per sample or $8 per flight.
Let us promote your wine tasting for free! Send info to twav@att.net
Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6 – 8 PM. Summer Selections: 1. Santorini Assyrtiko, 2. La Fiera Soave, 3. Chehalem Inox Unoaked Chardonnay, 4. Cline Cashmere Red Blend, 5. Ruffino Rosso, 6. Capanna Rosso di Montalcino, 7. Rutini Malbec, 8. Temperamento Bobal. Nominal fee per sample.
 
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Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-8 PM. Kermit Lynch wines with Katelyn from Wine Trends. 1. Bouzeron Aligote, 2. Champalou Vouvray Fondraux, 3. St Joseph Faury, 4. Cote Du Rhone Sierra Gramenon. Nominal fee per sample or $25 for 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, August 5

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

Saturday, August 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. Nominal fee per sample.
 
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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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sainte Anne 2013 Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux

Sainte Anne Entre-Deux-Mers

Some wines from Bordeaux can be inexpensive as well as delicious. Case in point, this white Entre-Deux-Mers.

Land Between Two Waters

One great feature of the Certified Specialist of Wine class that I am taking now is the Wine of the Week. For each of our weekly online classes, a wine is selected for us to sip while class is in session.

It helps expand your wine horizons and gets you to try wines you normally would pass right by. This white Entre-Deux-Mers is such a wine.

Entre-Deux-Mers Region

Wine lovers often debate the qualities of wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank (known for Cabernet Sauvignon) and the Left Bank (home of famous Merlot-based wines). There is an often overlooked region right in between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers – Entre-Deux-Mers – which produces a large volume of wine.

The soil in Entre-Deux-Mers is more fertile than the Left or Right banks, which is a bad thing for wine. Flavors of the red grapes are far less concentrated, so much so that EDM does not have a red wine appellation (AOC in France). The area does produce a boatload of red wines, most of it under a much broader, “generic” AOC Bordeaux label.

The whites are a different story. There is an AOC in Entre-Deux-Mers for dry white wine – and it is quite good.

Entre-Deux-Mers is affordable white Bordeaux

Smashing Sauvignon Blanc

Whites in the region are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. The first two are a classic pairing and Muscadelle is primarily a blending grape.

The wine is lemon yellow with intense aroma of tropical fruit. This is a young wine, crisp and fruity – meant to be consumed within a few years of bottling.

For $16, I was surprised at the quality. In the glass this is dry with medium-high acidity and a light-medium body. There is a swirl of cut grass, slate minerality and citrus notes.

Sauvignon Blanc lovers, this should be on your list, especially if you dislike highly acidic wines. The Semillon and Muscadelle add balance to this refreshing and enjoyable white. At a sub-$20 price tag, you can add a touch of French sophistication with multiple bottles at your next soiree.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Rutini Trumpets Quality Malbec From Argentina

Malbec continues to overdeliver on taste and value. Here are three Argentine Malbec picks plus a refreshing white.

Roots in Italy, Vines In Argentina

Rutini Wines was founded in 1885 by Italian-born Felipe Rutini, one of the first to realize the potential of winemaking in Argentina. His motto was “Work and Perseverance.” On the outskirts of Mendoza, the Rutini family built a legacy for hospitality and quality.

Rutini WinesRutini farms more than 900 acres in Gualtallary, Altamira and La Consulta, Rivadeavia and Maipu. In some sites, the Malbec clones date back more than 100 years. All grapes are 100% hand harvested and the winery team is constantly experimenting with new techniques, such as conical fermentation tanks.

Winemaker Mariano Di Paola was recently named one of Decanter’s top 30 winemakers in the world. We recently had the opportunity to taste a quartet of Rutini wines.

Argentina Has Whites Too

With all the focus on Malbec and red wine in Argentina, it might be easy to overlook white wine. That would be a mistake. Torrontés is a white grape that can produce beautifully aromatic wines.

The Trumpeter brand is a best selling label for Rutini, experiencing great success in the US and internationally. The wines are accessible and are economically priced. the 2015 Rutini Trumpeter Torrontés retails for $10.99.

It offers floral aromas and notes of peach. It’s refreshing with a medium acidity.

A Trio of Malbec

The Trumpeter range also includes the 2014  Rutini Trumpeter Malbec, with grapes from Tunpungato and Mendoza. It’s a good value pick at $11.99. This has all the hallmarks of Malbec, with a deep, dark color, medium body  and a load of jammy flavors.

I’m a fan of Malbec and my current advice is now that you know what Malbec is, spend a few extra dollars and step up to a higher qualify. In addition to the entry-level Trumpeter, we tasted two higher-priced Malbec.

The 2012 Rutini Malbec is aged in new oak (80% French, 20% American) for 12 months. As a result, this wine has more tannins than you might be used to in a Malbec. This wine has aged for four years and could age for several more.

This is their premium Malbec and lists for $35. It is a complex wine with berry flavors and tobacco and vanilla as well. It undergoes malolactic fermentation which provides a rich, full body. We suggest decanting this wine.

Our pick of the quartet was the 2013 Encuentro Malbec. Encuentro means encounter or meeting and the wine reflects a meeting between the winemaking styles of Bordeaux and the New World.

Aging is also for a year, but it is with 50% new and second use French oak and 50% America oak. When barrels are reused, it cuts down the oak intensity. This dials back the tannins nicely for a very smooth wine which doesn’t lack in the complexity department. Aromas of violets and red fruit give way to jam and dark chocolate. At $18.99 SRP, the price is also tasty.

Rutini has solid roots in the past as well as an eye on the future of winemaking. Take your pick of these four wines to introduce yourself to the signature grapes of Argentina.

Full disclosure: We received these wines as marketing samples.