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Friday, October 24, 2014

Megalomaniac 2012 Homegrown Riesling Cellar 4379, Niagara Peninsula VQA

White Wines 002John Howard is an egoist – that is, a man with an outsized image of himself. His friends thought he was full of himself when he decided to name his winery John Howard’s Cellars of Distinction. That’s how his wine brand came to be dubbed Megalomaniac.

We had the opportunity to visit his winery in the Niagara Peninsula a few years ago and had an excellent tasting in his underground cellar. With names light Bigmouth Merlot, Bravado Cabernet and Narcissist Riesling, it was a lighthearted experience. The wines, though, were not lightweight.

During a recent trip to Point Pelee in Ontario, I breezed into an LCBO store. Due to restrictive laws north of the border, we hardly see any Canadian wines in the US. I scooped up a few bottles and was checking out when I saw this one on display near the register.

Homegrown is 100% Ontario wine, which the bottle proudly proclaims. For us, that is great news. Without a doubt, the Niagara region is ideal for Riesling. Howard is also quite proud of the location for his vineyard, latitude 43 and longitude 79.

This is a quality Riesling for a very palatable cost, only $13 Canadian. This offers the full spectrum of Riesling flavors with a rush of peach and citrus and some honeyed sweetness. The sweetness is somewhat kept in check by the acidity, but this is sweeter than we typically drink.

The time to bring out the man with the bowler hat (that graces the Homegrown label) is when you have a casual get-together or need something to cool down a spicy dish. Or maybe when you need to send a subtle message to your egotistical friend.

Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 3.5 of 5

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Proper 2012 Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

Proper Syrah 2012

When family drops in, it’s always a good time to open a special bottle. It’s even better when they bring the bottle.

My cousin Christie stopped by earlier this week on her way back home to Chicago. For dinner Green Dragon cooked a sensational meal of butternut squash soup followed by linguini in clam sauce. We accompanied the meal with Pinot Gris from Yakima Valley.

We stayed with the Washington State wine theme after dinner. As we chatted and enjoyed music, we opened up a bottle from Christie: Proper Wines 2012 Estate Syrah from the wine Mecca of Walla Walla. Syrah from Washington is one of my top recommendations to any wine lover.

You might notice in the photo that the bottle is empty. That’s because we wanted to give it a good decanting. And we did – for about an hour while we enjoyed dinner.

The Proper Wines brand is relatively new, selling its first wines in 2011. The winery is a project of “five guys from Colorado” who are passionate about building something remarkable. Proper doesn’t have a tasting room and considers itself a micro-winery. Their focus is Syrah and… Syrah. They certainly have picked a premier location for the grape.

The wine is a dark ruby color. Despite the decanting, this took some time to evolve in the glass. With my first sip, I was unable to get a good reading on it, but as the decanter slowly emptied, I was appreciating its style and sophistication.

Full bodied with an edge of spice, the Proper profile is earthy rather than fruit forward. A splash of raspberry mixes with herb. Cousin Christie swears there were flavors of beets. Could that have something to do with the beet salad we had for dinner, perchance?

Christie likes a more fruit-driven Syrah, but Proper clicked with me. I think this would hit its peak drinking window in about two years – although it certainly is delicious now. The best solution is to buy two bottles. The price is about $39.

Thanks, cousin. You are welcome any time – especially when you bring the Proper wine!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: October 22-25, 2014

 
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Wednesday, October 22
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Perfect Wines for Halloween: 1. Skeleton 2013 Gruner Veltliner (Austria), 2. Skeleton 2012 Zweigelt (Austria), 3. Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles), 4. Bogle 2011 Phantom (Cal.). Nominal fee per sample or $5 per flight.
 
Thursday, October 23
Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Fall Italian Wines: 1. 2011 Falesco – Est! Est!! Est!!! – di Montefiascone, Montecchio, 2. 2011 Fattoria Rodano – Poggialupi, Castellina in Chianti, 3. 2011 Poggio Amorelli – Chianti Classico, Castellina in Chianti, 4. 2010 Podere Sapaio – Volpolo, Bolgheri. Nominal fee per sample or $7 per flight.
 
Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Jim's 20th Wine Anniversary Party: 1. Terredora Fiano di Avellino – Italy. 2. Tres Picos Garnacha – Campo de Borja, Spain. 3. Tait Ball Buster – Australia. 4. Black Rock Petite Sirah – California. 5. Fin Amour – France. 6. Amor Fati Syrah – California. 7. Domain Tempier Bandol – South of France. 8.
Lapostole Clos Apalta – Chile. 9. Alto Moncaya – Campo de Borgia, Spain. 10. Smith Woodhouse 1999 LBV Port and some super secret special attractions. Special cheeses by Liz Donaldson from our Cheese house & treats from Tony Packo’s Café. 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. 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, October 24
Toledo Museum of Art, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Wine by the Glass Pavilion. Liquid Indulgences: Smart Wine Splurges. 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, October 25
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Nominal fee per sample.
 
AREA WINE BARS
  • 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.

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[Information on tastings can be sent to TWAV@ATT.NET.]

Up & Coming:

November 1Mobile Meals Wine Gala, (419) 255-7806, Parkway Place, 2500 Parkway Plaza. 6:00 PM. Tickets start at $150 per person. Online tickets at www.mobilemeals.org

November 21 – 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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Estancia 2011 Reserve Meritage, Paso Robles

Estancia MeritageWe cracked open this wine during a recent visit to Poco Piatti, our favorite tapas restaurant. We started with a bottle of 2010 Stags Leap Artemis and as we settled in, we were ready for a nice accessible red wine to pair with our small plates.

The Meritage is a flavorful blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. I’d also say that it is 100% Paso Robles, where the wines are lush with fruit and ready to savor. Although Paso wines can become refined with aging, many are ready to enjoy now.

We were into our servings of chorizo tacos when we opened the Estancia. This was a perfect pairing – not too aggressive and bubbling with fruit – the wine, that is. I had hoped to get a 2009 or 2010 vintage red, but the 2011 Estancia is right on target. There is some earthiness with some dark berry fruit. This isn’t a bottle that should be aged for a long period – it’s drinking just great now.

This is a solid, all-around performer. It is a crowd pleasing wine that pairs well with a variety of foods or can stand alone. A Meritage is a good bet in most social situations as is wine from Paso Robles.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 3 of 5

Monday, October 20, 2014

Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee Offers World of Wine Wednesdays

English: Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000, is offering a special series of wines tastings called, “World of Wine Wednesdays.” This is a series of one-hour wine seminars designed to introduce you to the places responsible for some of the world's most interesting wines.  During the hour you will get a quick overview of the area, a tasting of two or more wines from the region, and an opportunity to get your questions answered.

The programs start promptly at 7:00 PM most Wednesdays this fall.  The cost is $15 per person.  Programs are limited to 20 people. These will take place at the seating in the front of Walt Churchill's Market Maumee and be lead by either Austin Beeman or Jim Krusinski of the Churchill’s wine department. You must prepay to reserve your space.

The schedule is as follows: October: 22 - Piedmont, Italy, 29 - Santa Cruz Mountains, California. November: 5 - Carneros, California, 12 - The Mosel Valley, Germany, 19 - Priorat, Spain. December: 3 - Bordeaux, France, 10 - Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France, 17 - Porto, Portugal.

Call for more information.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tannenbaum Wine Trail Event Scheduled For November, December Weekends

fofieWineries on the Northeast Ohio Vines and Wines wine trail will be hosting their annual holiday-themed Tannenbaum Trail event for three consecutive weekends November 28-29, December 5-6 and December 12-13. This event sells out so quickly we wanted to give our readers a chance to take advantage of this great event. The cost is $50 per couple, $40 per single.

The event gives you the opportunity to travel to wineries in northeast Ohio. Between noon and 6:00 PM each day to enjoy complimentary appetizers and samples of wines. You will pick up your 18" Christmas tree at the first stop. At each winery you visit, you will receive a ceramic ornament with the winery's name printed on it to decorate your tree.

There is a great list of participating wineries this year:

- Benny Vino Urban Winery, Mentor website
- Buccia Vineyards, Conneaut website
- Debonne Vineyards, Madison website
- Deer's Leap Winery, Geneva website
- Emerine Estates, Jefferson website
- Ferrante Winery & Ristorante,Geneva website
- Goddess Wine House, Ashtabula website
- Grand River Cellars, Madison website
- Hundley Cellars, Geneva website
- Kosicek Vineyards, Harpersfield website
- Laurello Vineyards, Geneva website
- M Cellars, Geneva website
- Maple Ridge Vineyards, Madison website
- Old Firehouse Winery, Geneva-on-the-Lake website
- Old Mill Winery, Geneva website
- Sharon James Cellars, Newbury website
- Tarsitano Winery, Conneaut website
- The Lakehouse Inn & Winery, Geneva-on-the-Lake website
- The Winery at Spring Hill, Geneva website
- Virant Family Winery, Geneva website

To make your reservations please call (800) 227-6972 or order online here. The event is sponsored by the Ohio Wine Producers Association.

Photo by Fofie

Thursday, October 16, 2014

11 New Wine Regions Added Within Paso Robles AVA

WBC14 021When I visited Paso Robles this summer on an excursion before the Wine Bloggers Conference, I attended a special session sponsored by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. The subject was plans to establish 11 new viticultural areas within the greater Paso Robles AVA.

In the US, wine regions are called American Viticultural Areas or AVA. An AVA can also have sub-regions (also called AVA) provided that these smaller regions have climactic, geologic and/or historical attributes that make them unique as a grape growing area.

On October 9, the US Department of the Treasury announced its final ruling establishing the new areas. This historic announcement concludes a seven-year process by a dedicated group of Paso Robles vintners and winegrape growers who created a unified approach to develop a comprehensive master plan for the greater Paso Robles American Viticultural Area.

The 11 AVAs are as follows: Adelaida District, Creston District, El Pomar District, Paso Robles Estrella District, Paso Robles Geneseo District, Paso Robles Highlands District, Paso Robles Willow Creek District, San Juan Creek, San Miguel District, Santa Margarita Ranch, and the Templeton Gap District.

This is a big deal. Until the ruling, Paso Robles was the largest unsubdivided AVA in California with about 614,000 acres. By comparison, Napa Valley is about one third the size and has 16 AVA within its boundaries. Just as Stags Leap, Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder and Rutherford have created unique identities in Napa, these new AVA provide the same opportunity in Paso.

“These new AVAs will be a powerful tool for wineries to explain why certain grapes are particularly well suited to certain parts of the appellation, and why some wines show the characteristics they do while other wines, from the same or similar grapes, show differently,” said Jason Haas, general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard and Paso Robles AVA Committee member. “Ultimately, the new AVAs will allow these newly created sub-regions to develop identities for themselves with a clarity impossible in a single large AVA.”

AVA labeling provides information to consumers and trade about what is in the bottle, helping them make a better informed buying decision based on expectations of the region. Thanks to a conjunctive labeling law spearheaded by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance in 2007, the Paso Robles AVA retains top billing on a wine label with the individual districts serving as a way to fine-tune location and potential character of wines.

"Our AVA is an incredibly diverse region that has taken its rightful place on the world wine stage,” said Steve Lohr, chairman and CEO of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and former chairman of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “These sub appellations will allow growers and vintners to tell their stories more clearly, which in turn will give consumers and the trade a much greater understanding of Paso’s diversity and complexity."

The official map of the 11 Viticultural Areas, as well as a comparison grid detailing climate, rainfall, topography, etc., is available on www.pasowine.com/media-center/the-avas-of-paso-robles.php.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: October 15-18, 2014

English: Part of the Justin Winery vineyard in...

Part of the Justin Winery vineyard in Paso Robles, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Wednesday, October 15
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Three New Wines (Plus a Great Closeout Chardonnay!)1. Elizabeth Spencer 2012 Chardonnay, 2. Marquis de Grinon 2010 Caliza, 3. Gran Passione Salice Salentino, 4. La Selva 2008 Ciliegiolo. Nominal fee per sample or $7 per flight.
 
Veritas Cork & Craft, 505 Jefferson Ave., Toledo, (419) 214-9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wine for Tapas.

Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 6-8 PM. World of Wine: McLaren Vale, Australia. One-hour seminar with a tasting of two or more wines. $15 per person. Seating is limited.

 
Thursday, October 16
Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Fall Wines: 1. 2012 Chateau Lamy – Corbieres – Lezignan-Corbieres, France, 2. 2012 Ancient Peaks - Merlot – Paso Robles, California, 3. 2012 Orin Swift – Machete – Napa, 4. 2013 McManis – Viognier  –  River Junction, California. Nominal fee per sample or $8 per flight.
 
TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. New Zealand Wine Tasting. Six fabulous wines paired with small plates. $25 per person.
 
Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Big California Reds: 1. 
Annabella 5 Red Blend, 2. Saved Red, 3. Beringer The Waymaker, 4. Bogle Phantom, 5. Norman No Nonsense Red, 6. Round Pond Kith & Kin Cabernet, 7. Elyse Morisoli Zin, 8. Rocket Science Red. 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. 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, October 17
Maumee Wines, (419) 893-2525, 2556 Parkway Plaza, Maumee. 6:30 – 7:30PM. Italian Wine Tasting. $25 per person. Two whites and four reds from Tuscany, Piedmont and Sicily (Gavi, Sangiovese, Barbera and Nebbiolo). Hors d’oeuvres including lasagna. Call for reservations.
 
Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting. 4:00 – 7:00 PM.
 
Saturday, October 18
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Nominal fee per sample.
 
AREA WINE BARS
  • 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:

November 1Mobile Meals Wine Gala, (419) 255-7806, Parkway Place, 2500 Parkway Plaza. 6:00 PM. Tickets start at $150 per person. Online tickets at www.mobilemeals.org

November 21 – 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.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pintar 2011 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

Pintar SB

New Zealand’s Marlborough region is tops for producing the racy style of Sauvignon Blanc we so enjoy. Pintar is a product of Cooper’s Creek winery and crafted from grapes sourced from seven different vineyards.

The Green Dragon, my wife and expert on NZ Sauvignon Blanc, rates this wine highly as it offers a similar flavor profile to her favorites Kim Crawford and Starborough. At $12 per bottle, it’s an easy way to keep the Dragon happy.

In the glass, the wine is a light yellow-green. On the nose, you can detect the trademark Marlborough notes of citrus and cut grass.

The flavors are a blast of lemon and lime laced together with vibrant acidity. The overall impression is sunshine and light. It is rich with flavor and the texture feels full.

Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine producing region, accounting for almost 80% of that country’s production. The shining star is Sauvignon Blanc, which is available at remarkably low prices. Pintar is a solid addition to the the field.

Rating: 3 of 5  Value: 4 of 5

Monday, October 13, 2014

EastDell Estates 2013 Black Cab, VQA Ontario

Wine and Arch 011

We became acquainted EastDell Black Cab during a trip to their winery in Ontario a couple years ago. We sampled the wine and couldn’t believe the low price of this unique and flavorful wine.

On a recent visit to Pelee Point Provincial Park in Ontario recently, Black Cab again caught my eye in an LCBO store. I snagged a bottle to see what the new vintage tastes like.

There may be some others, but this is the only Cabernet Sauvignon and Baco Noir blend I’ve every seen. Baco Noir is a French-American hybrid grape that grows well in New York state and flourishes in Ontario.

Black Cab is dark as midnight. The Baco Noir imparts luscious fruit into the blend. The blend is 42% Baco Noir, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Cabernet Franc. Although Ontario Cabernet is not highly tannic, the Baco smoothes the Black Cab blend into a silken texture.

On the palate there is a hint of smoke and flavor notes of dark fruit, cherries and cranberry. On my first sip I got a bit of green pepper, due not doubt to the Cab Franc, but that flavor soon dissipated. This is an easy drinking wine that’s high in enjoyment and low in complexity.

The price for Black Cab, which sports a nice graphic of a Great Blue Heron, is only $13.95 Canadian. A magnum and double magnum are also available at the cost of $19.95 and $49.95 respectively. These large formats are very affordable and would be a great party purchase.

Black Cab is not a connoisseur's wine, but it is certainly a wine lover’s wine.  The only flaw with this wine is that I expect you can only buy it in Canada.

Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 4.5 of 5