Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Great Washington State Wine

Last night we had pasta with red sauce and decided to complement it with syrah. I found a bottle of Three Rivers Winery from Walla Walla Valley Washington Ahler Vineyard, 2003. We purchased this at Randolph wines last year on a visit to Chicago and I put it in the cellar and forgot about it. What a treat. This is a lush velvety wine with dusty plum and currant notes. It has a finish that last seemingly for several minutes. There is perfect balance between acids and tannin. You can check out the web site (www.3riverswinery.com) , where they have info on their other wines, all of which are single vineyard and probably just as spectacular. This is another example of fantastic wines from Washington State.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Grown up blend from Sicily

Last night we were at City Cellars for a Duck Tour and tasting, which was a blast. Riding the Duck is a great way to tour the city and get a waters eye view. Anyway, as I usually do, I was checking out the new wines and found a neat new blend from Sicily. The wine is from Lagaria and is a 2006 blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Nero D'Avola. Brian said it was full bodied big wine. We opened it tonight and after some air this wine becomes a well balanced full bodied rich wine. At $12 this is a great buy. It would easily hold up to a big steak or ribs, but is elegant enough to be enjoyed on its own. Try this one, its an inexpensive treat!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Keeping the International Wine Festival Honest

Last night Jan & I attended the inaugural Jungle Jim's International Wine Festival. We had been told that there would be fantastic wines available for tasting. We opted for the VIP tickets, which got us a special rooms with gourmet foods and two special tastings, one champagnes/sparkling wines and the other Bordeaux. We also got in 15 minutes early. I would have to say that, for us, it was not worth the additional $45 to $50 dollars. The food was good and the VIP wines were good, but not worth the extra money. The main tasting was a very good deal for the $50 to $55. My only complaint was that there was not enough food available in the main tasting area. I would have a nice dinner beforehand next time and just concentrate on sampling. The wines were very good and in general much better than those at Cincinnati International Wine Festival. All in all for a first time event I was very impressed and I think that with a little tweaking it could be a great wine tasting. It will most certainly cause the Cincinnati Wine Festival to improve itself or they will eventually be eclipsed by the Jungle Jim event. Bravo!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Italy; Florence

The second portion of our adventure in Italy was in Florence. We spent 5 and a half days in Florence. During that time we walked almost 30 miles, drank a little over 5 bottles of wine and had a whirlwind tour of the Uffizi Palace and the Academia. We foolishly thought we could do a three hour walking tour of Florence in the morning, followed by tours of the Uffizi and Academia in the afternoon. We had a great city tour, but only and overview of the museums. Oh, we also ate a lot of great Italian food. One of our tour guides, who was from California pointed out something that should have been obvious, there is almost no other culinary ethnicity's available in Florence at the very least and Italy in general. Try and get a Taco or Cheddar cheese! We did find a great small tasting room on the south bank of the Arno, just up the street from the Ponte de Vechio across the street from the Pitti Palace. It is called Pitti Gola (phone 055/212704) and I believe it's address is E Cantina 16. One of the ppartners is agreat guy named Zeno Fioravanti. If you ask, he will put together a tasting menu. Jan & I spent six hours there and tried more than 8 wines as well as having a wonderful light dinner. Zeno's English is very good and he can advise you on not only the wines he carries, but others found in the region. On out last day in Florence we stumbled upon the Florence Synagogue which was finished in 1882. What makes this synagogue so interesting to Jan and myself is its similarity to Plum Street temple here in Cincinnati. The two structures where built around the same time and feature Moorish motifs. WE were not able to tour because it was after two on a Friday. I will give more wine info in the next instalment, our time in Siena and surroundings, I promise. Italy is a beautiful country and Tuscany is a magical part of that country.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Something new/ something old

The other night I was in the mood to try one of the premium wines from our cellar. I selected a bottle of Origin Napa 2002 Paramount red wine. This a venture with Bill Davies (Schramsberg) and Tom Gamble (entrepreneur) that was started in 2000. Producing Cabernet Sauvignon blends and Sauvignon Blanc. The two men have a life long relationship dating back to when where in nursery school. That nis the old, a life in wine for the two principals.
Now the new, Origin Napa, this is a rich full Bordeaux blend that is full of blackberry and bramble. There are nice hints of smoke and leather just under the surface of this fine wine. This is a handcrafted wine that can be enjoyed with or without food, but would complement a nice Fillet with port reduction or a grilled Portabello mushroom perfectly. Although this is not an inexpensive wine at $65 a bottle, it is a great bottle for when you want to treat yourself. It may be expensive, but it is a great value for the money. There are many wines out there with bigger names and price tags, but not more complexity and finish. This is a great wine for special occasions and will intrigue most seasoned wine drinkers with its pedigree.