TWAV Leaderboard

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards

A glass of red wine from the California winery...
A glass of red wine from the California winery of Opus One in the Napa Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We love to see sustainable growing practices at wineries and vineyards. The care shown toward the land is often reflected in bottles of beautiful wine. California is leading the way in recognizing sustainable winegrowing practices.
California vineyards and wineries are encouraged to apply for the inaugural California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. Applications are now being accepted at The California Green Medal was developed by California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners and Vineyard Team as a way to showcase some of the leading wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability. More than a dozen regional winery and winegrowing association partners are also involved in promoting the new awards.

California vineyards and wineries that participate in any sustainability program available in California are eligible to apply for up to four award categories that will recognize outstanding achievement in sustainability:
  • Leader Award, given to the vineyard or winery that demonstrates success and innovation in all of the below three areas of sustainable winegrowing.
  • Environment Award, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.
  • Community Award, given to the vineyard or winery that is a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities.
  • Business Award, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.
"The new awards program provides an exciting opportunity for California growers and vintners to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to sustainability," said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director.

Applications are being accepted now through January 31, 2015. for more information or to apply. Winners will receive a Green Medal, be recognized in widely distributed communications and honored at an awards ceremony at University of California, Davis on April 10, 2015.

The first annual California Green Medal is being judged by a panel of wine and sustainability experts. They include: Peter Granoff, MS, Owner/Partner, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant; Matthew Hoffman, PhD, Grower Program Coordinator, Lodi Winegrape Commission; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; Rhonda Smith, Viticulture Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension; Ann Thrupp, PhD, Executive Director, Berkeley Food Institute; Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certification Manager, Vineyard Team; and Steve Lederer, Napa County Green Business Program and Napa County Director of Public Works.

Sponsors are: Wine Business Monthly, Exclusive Media Sponsor; Nomacorc and SureHarvest, Platinum Sponsors; Fruition Sciences and Southern California Edison, Gold Sponsors; Ag Unlimited, CC Wine Caves and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Rise to the Challenge of the 2014 Vintage

Image of a Chardonnay vineyard in Michigan. (C...
Image of a Chardonnay vineyard in Michigan. (Chateau Fontaine in the Leelanau Peninsula AVA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Drastically changing growing conditions are nothing new to Michigan’s Leelanau vintners. So, when this year's harvest arrived with obstacles, area vintners were up for the challenge. Leelanau growers count on Lake Michigan's open water to moderate growing conditions on the peninsula.

This past winter, Lake Michigan was frozen in late February when extreme cold temperatures hit the region, eliminating this moderating lake effect. These conditions caused damage to some grapevines, resulting in a smaller-than-average-crop for this year's harvest, a loss of more than 50% of the overall crop.

The damage mostly targeted specific European vinifera grape varieties that are more susceptible to colder temperatures, such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. Some of the hardier vinifera varieties, however, like Cabernet Franc, Riesling and Chardonnay were affected less if located on optimal sites. Hybrid varieties, including the older French American hybrids including Vignoles, Seyval Blanc, Baco, Foch; and some of the newer hybrids such as Regent, Cayuga white and Marquette were damaged much less or not affected at all.

Growers are optimistic that conditions during the remainder of October will help some varieties ripen nicely for a late October harvest. The warm and dry weather over the last few weeks helped the grapes continue to ripen. Some growers have already harvested very early varieties and report good quality, albeit low yields. No worries for consumers, though!

With robust harvests in 2011, 2012 and 2013, most Leelanau wineries have plenty of wine in their cellars. Many are now releasing full-bodied red wines from the excellent 2012 vintage and are releasing and continuing to sell great 2013 white wines. And, the bright side of unripe reds for 2014 will be a great offering of nice rosé.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lone Oak Vineyards Schedules Thanksgiving Weekend Concert November 29

Gewürztraminer wine in glass
Gewürztraminer wine in glass (Photo: Wikipedia)
Lone Oak Vineyards, 8400 Ann Arbor Rd., Grass Lake, Michigan, (517) 522-8167, has scheduled a special concert 6:30 – 9:30 PM Saturday, November 29. You made it through Thanksgiving Day dinner and Black Friday, this special candlelight concert with Ian Stewart is the perfect time to relax. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the kitchen and show your out of town guests a good time.

The event features great wine, food and music by candlelight.  Ian Stewart continues to be a favorite at Lone Oak. No one captures an audience like Ian.  He's a great singer/songwriter with unmatched guitar skills.  We're pretty sure that "Charisma"
is his middle name.

Ian Stewart is a Welsh born/Canadian/new "Yankee" who first picked up the guitar on the other side of the the Atlantic Ocean.  With musical experience the world over and dues paid by the blues, Michigan is now lucky to have a performer like Ian Stewart call it home. Players like Stewart are one in a million - separated from the masses by the mystic connections they have with their music and their uncanny ability to share that connection with a grateful audience.  You could ask somebody that knows Ian for a story about him, and maybe you'll hear about a great musician, an able teacher, or a kind friend.  Perhaps, however, it might be better to see him play for yourself, and then have your own story to tell.

You can listen to Ian via the YouTube link on or visit

Lone Oak seats just 42 guests in their cozy little venue, so reservations are a must.  Dinner, appetizers, our estate grown wines and craft beers make the evening complete.  Dinners are prepared by our Chef, Karen Drushal. This is a wonderful alternative to the bar scene and truly enjoy the intimate setting.

The cost for dinner and show is $25 per person. Reservations and dinner orders should be in by November 25.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kidney Foundation 23rd Annual Wine Affair Benefit Scheduled November 21

This event is too spectacular to miss. So here is your reminder…
LesHainesThe 23rd Annual Wine Affair will take place Friday, November 21, at Parkway Place, 2500 Parkway Plaza, in Maumee beginning at 6:30 PM. The theme for this year’s event is “Savory Soiree.”

The Wine Affair includes a silent auction, a live auction and a sampling of fine wines from area wine distributors. Gourmet edibles will be provided to enhance the evening.

The event benefits the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio. Last year more than $60,000 was raised. Tickets are $90 per person. Order online tickets here or call (419) 329-2353. The event is black tie optional.

Technorati Tags: ,,

Photo by Les Haines

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flying Otter Winery Celebrates 3rd Grandiversary November 28

The Flying Otter Winery, 3402 Chase Road, Adrian, Michigan, will be celebrating its 3rd Grandiversary event on November 28, the Friday after Thanksgiving, from noon to 9:00 PM. There will be free wine tasting, snacks, celebration specials, games and prizes, and live music by Jesse Sanchez from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, and Cat Canyon from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Flying Otter will also release the 2012 Frontenac that has been barrel aging for two years to celebrate their 3rd year as a winery.

Flying Otter Winery is a member of the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail and also takes part in various local wine events including the Great Lakes Wine Fest at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Ella Sharp Art Beer & Wine Festival in Jackson, and Blues & Brews in Adrian, MI.

The Flying Otter Winery will continue to be open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5:00 PM through December. The winery will be open for special events and by appointment from January through March, and will re-open with regular Friday through Sunday hours next April.

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: November 19-22, 2014

Oregon Pinot noir wine from Bergstrom in the W...
Oregon Pinot noir wine from Bergstrom in the Willamette Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, November 19
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Wines for the Feast – Part III: 1. McManis 2013 Viognier, 2. George DuBoeuf 2011 Beaujolais-Villages, 3. Alexander Valley 2011 Merlot, 4. Warre's King's Tawny Porto. Nominal fee per sample or $6 per flight.
Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Night Wines. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice!
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 6-8 PM. World of Wine: Priorat, Spain. One-hour seminar with a tasting of two or more wines. $15 per person. Seating is limited.

Thursday, November 20
Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Thanksgiving Wines: 1. 2013 Chateau de Campuget – White Rhone blend – Rhone, France, 2. 2012 DeLoach – RRV Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley, California, 3. 2013 Willamette Valley Vineyards – Pinot Noir  – Willamette Valley, Oregon, 4. 2010 Chateau des Karantes – Red Blend – Languedoc, France. Nominal fee per sample or $8.50 per flight.

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner. Classic, satisfying food wines for your dinner, no matter what you serve. 1. La Forcine Vouvray, 2. Rayne Vigneau Bordeaux Blanc, 3. Mollydooker Verdelho, 4. Rene Mure Gewurztraminer, 5. Pfeffingen Dry Riesling, 6. Alexander Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir, 7. Chaman Red Blend, 8. Chateau Soleil Promesse, 9. St. Supery Cabernet. Nominal fee per sample.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Thursday Night Tasting. Wines from the Vintner Select portfolio with special guest Tricia Rasar. 1. Biutiful Cava, 2. Hexamer Spatburgunder Weissherbst Halbtrocken White Pinot Noir, 3. Rochet Beaujolais Noveau, 4. Sattler St. Laurent, 5. Stolpman Syrah, 6. Vols Riesling I. Nominal fee per sample.
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, November 21

Special Event: Wine Affair Savory Soiree, (419) 329-2353, Parkway Place, 2500 Parkway Plaza. 6:30 PM. Benefits the Kidney Foundation of NW Ohio. Wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, live and silent auctions, music. $90 per person. Order online tickets here.

Toledo Museum of Art, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Wine by the Glass Pavilion. Holiday Hits: Special Occasion Wines. Enjoy four wines and light snacks at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers. Purchase during Museum hours by phone at 419-255-8000 ext. 7448.

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

Saturday, November 22
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Nominal fee per sample.
  • Tres Belle Wine and Martini Lounge, (419) 874-4555, 3145 Hollister Lane, Perrysburg (Levis Commons).
  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.

Technorati Tags:
[Information on tastings can be sent to TWAV@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).  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cellars Unio Clos Dalian 2012 Garnacha Crianza, Terra Alta

Clos Dalian 003
Garnacha is one of the most widely distributed wines in the world. Wait. What? Yes, that’s right. Perhaps you are more familiar with its French name of Grenache. In the Rhone region of France it is mixed into heavenly blends, usually with Syrah. Garnacha is the Spanish name for the grape and, in my opinion, in Spain the wine takes on a more expressive, bolder form.

The Clos Dalian Garnacha Crianza is from the Terra Alta wine region of Catalonia. This was the region in which a young Pablo Picasso lived and developed his cubist style. To add to the mystique, Knights Templar planted vines and made wine there. Wine production here dates to Roman times.

Terra Alta means “high land” and from this vantage point it overlooks the River Elbe and the Tarragona below. The land features limestone mountain ranges, holm oak and white pine trees. The soil has been farmed for centuries with almond and olive groves, along with vineyards.

Crianza by Spanish wine law must be aged for two years and aged in barrels for at least six months. While this wine is light to medium in body, there is a nip of spice that creates interest. The wine is juicy and fresh with bright flavors of red berries and jam.

Spanish Garnacha is an outstanding value. This bottle is in the $10 range, but scores high in value and uniqueness. Who wants a tired, generic Merlot when you can have an adventurous Garnacha from the land of Picasso?

Full disclosure: The wine was received as a marketing sample.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wagner 2010 Estate Meritage, Finger Lakes

Wagner MeritageThere were quite a few surprises last Friday at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland. This was our second year serving as volunteer wine pourers at the event.

When we checked in at the volunteer desk, we found out that they were not providing complimentary passes for the volunteers. Hmmm… so we drove 100 miles from Toledo to volunteer at the event AND we have to pay $60 to get into the show – and then work for four hours. In a change in policy, they are providing tickets for next year’s event.

The show, of course, is fantastic. With hundreds of food booths, a beer festival and lots of celebrity chefs. We had the opportunity to see Michael Symon, Carla Hall and Martie Duncan display their culinary skills. After enjoying lunch from a couple of food trucks, we strolled to the wine area. There we got our second surprise, a nice one.

One of the main sponsors this year was Finger Lakes Wine Country. As readers of this blog know, that’s our favorite wine region and we have visited there frequently.

After working our way back to the sign-in desk, we donned our volunteer T-shirts and informed them we wanted to work at the Finger Lakes booth. I had seen Laury Ellen Poland a few months ago at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara when it was announced that the Finger Lakes would be hosting the 2015 event. She was delighted to have two volunteers who were familiar with the wineries and the region.

At the Fabulous Food Show three wineries were carrying the banner for the Finger Lakes: Glenora, Standing Stone and Wagner. Each had a Riesling and Chardonnay. Glenora also had its Brut sparkling wine while Standing Stone had a Vidal icewine and Wagner its Riesling icewine. Each also had a red: the unique Standing Stone Smokehouse Red, outstanding Glenora Cabernet Franc and the Wagner Estate Meritage.

Wagner only produces its Meritage when conditions are ideal. Prior to the 2010 vintage, it was bottled in 2007 and 2001. Three times in a decade makes it special indeed.

Finger Lakes reds are cool climate wines and in many cases they are subdued and most usually lower in alcohol. This Bordeaux-style wine, however, is robust. The Meritage is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc.

The wine is aged in oak barrels for 11 months, but is ripe with fruit. The predominate flavors are black cherry and berries with threads of chocolate. Malolactic fermentation contributes to the rounded, smooth texture. The alcohol level is 12.6%, making it a food friendly red that will pair well with grilled meats or pasta.

Finger Lakes wines can be elusive in Ohio, so we stopped by the wine sales area and purchased a bottle of the Meritage. It retails for $25 and is an excellent value for a notable Finger Lakes wine.

The Wagner family has been growing grapes in the region for four generations and making wine since 1978. Their experience and skills shines through in this well-crafted bottle.

We did get one last unpleasant surprise. When we walked out the door at about 6:00 o’clock, five inches of lake-effect snow had fallen and the roads were treacherously icy. With Green Dragon serving as co-pilot, we were able to safely navigate the few miles to our hotel with our precious cargo of wine.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tasty Tempranillo Trivia

November 13 was International Tempranillo Day. Thanks to our friends at the Lodi Winegrape Commission, we're sharing the skinny on one of Lodi's most popular and widely planted Spanish grape varieties. Read on for the lowdown on all things Tempranillo...

How it's pronounced: tem-pra-NEE-yoh

How it tastes: Think strawberry, cherry, raspberry and plum; perhaps a touch of blackberry and mulberry. Oak aging adds additional flavors of herbs, mushrooms, leather, tobacco, vanilla and spice. 

What its style is: Medium to full bodied with low to medium acidity and medium tannin.

Where it hails from: Tempranillo is indigenous to Spain where it is the most important grape TempranilloCluster-BokischRanchesvariety and takes its name from the Spanish word temprano, which means to ripen early. It has a preference toward chalky or limestone soils. Tempranillo needs cooler, more moderate conditions to achieve adequate acidity but, simultaneously, needs a good amount of heat to achieve sufficient sugar levels. Lucky for us, Lodi's unique diurnal fluctuation (i.e. warm days, cool nights) and soil types fit this grape's bill!

What its alias' are: Cencibel, Ojo de Liebre, Tinta de Toro, Tinta del Pais, Tinta Fino and Ull de Llebre in Spain and Aragonêz and Tinta Roriz in Portugal. 

What it pairs best with: Paella, BBQ beef and chicken, braised oxtail, chicken enchiladas, spicy sausage pasta, lamb ragout or pepperoni pizza. Also Cheddar, Manchego, Cotija, or smoked cheeses. 

What its cellar potential is: Most should be enjoyed within a few years of release, but the finest Tempranillo wines (Lodi Tempranillo wines included) can happily occupy your cellar for 10+ years before uncorking.

What Lodi wineries produce it: Bokisch Vineyards, d'Art Wines, Estate Crush, Fields Family Wines, Harney Lane Winery, Heritage Oak Winery, Hux Vineyards, Ironstone, Jeremy Wine Co., Kidder Family Winery, m2 Wines, McConnell Estates Winery, Peirano Estate Vineyards, Riaza Wines, Ripken Vineyards & Winery, St.Amant Winery, St. Jorge Winery, The Dancing Fox Winery, Viaggio Estate & Winery, and Woodbridge Winery. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dry Creek Vineyard 2011 The Mariner, Dry Creek Valley

The Mariner 2011Just as a mariner must navigate the ship’s course through stormy seas, so a winemaker must navigate through a tricky vintage. That’s how this proprietary blend from Dry Creek Vineyard got its moniker.

The 2011 vintage was tricky indeed, with a wet spring and summer. The summer growing season was unseasonably cool. Unwelcome rains returned late in the harvest.

We’re happy to say that this Meritage from prized Dry Creek Valley vineyards sailed safely into shore (and onto store shelves). It is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc,
5%Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec.

Grapes for this Bordeaux-style blend come from red, iron-rich soil. The vines are more than 20 years old and The Mariner spends 20 months in French Oak. It has sleek, integrated tannins.

We decanted this wine, although not for a long time (we couldn’t wait) and it has a silky and full-bodied texture on the palate. The wine is lively with bright red fruit flavors riffled with plum and raspberry flavors. As we savored the wine, subtle spice flavors surfaced as well.

The Mariner retails for $45 and is a solid value at that price. It is a great example of how the blend can elevate a wine above one produced from a single grape variety. Our recommendation: Full speed ahead with The Mariner.

Rating: 4.5 of 5  Value: 4 of 5

Full disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.