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May 19

WBW#21 & IMBB#26: Fab Faves Festival

WbwlogoThis will be one of my shortest posts ever. Fraught with disappointment.
Wine: 2004 Biltmore House Signature Series, Syrah, North Coast, California
Dinner: Pepper Steak, Baked Potatoes, Spinach Salad
This wine tasted better in the small pours and short time table at
the winery. Thus, we purchased it. It’s worth noting that this is from
the Biltmore’s California stock, and not the North Carolina grapes.
paired it, being a Syrah, with a nice pepper steak. Except it proved to
be an unexceptional dinner. The pepper steak seemed to have ignored the
pepper and the syrah seemed to have lost any flavor at all. The best part of the meal was the baked potato. (Really, I shouldn’t be allowed in a kitchen except to make cookies.)
Okay, so it’s not a food wine. It does stand on its own alright.
was a little chalky and dry. There was no finish. That said, the pepper
was subdued. In the scheme of syrah, this was a quiet wine. There was
no complexity and was nothing special, but I wasn’t going to dump it out either. After dinner, we enjoyed it, but
at $21.99, we definitely paid too much.

Our score out of 10: 6.5

You know, this is what we get for not following the rules. We picked a wine we really wanted to try that seemed to go well with a recipe we wanted to try. Not favorites. More like curiousities. If this WBW happens to roll around again, I’m making some sort of scrumptious chocolate thing and coupling it with port.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:06 pm in WBW | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 19

Biltmore Estate Winery


Biltmore Estate 
COPYRIGHT 2006, Michelle S Lentz

The Biltmore Estate is one of the most beautiful areas I’ve seen in this country. It’s well maintained and spacious, perfectly set amongst the picturesque North Carolina mountains. If I lived in Asheville, I would use the Biltmore Gardens as my gym. I could walk through the gardens for hours.

The winery has several tours, two restaurants, a large tasting room and gift shop, and a reserve tasting bar. Our food at the Bistro arrived cold, so they comped us the entire meal. I was impressed. However, the wines at the restaurant (Biltmore, of course) were incredibly marked up, especially in comparison to what you could buy next door in the gift shop.

Overall, we thought most of their wines were overpriced for what you got. They offer around 40 wines, and we tried 22 of them. My personal opinion is that they are over-reaching. Why offer 40 so-so wines when you could offer 10 quality wines instead? I always advocate quality over quantity.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:23 pm in Tastings, Travel, Wine Notes, Wineries | Permalink | Comments (11)
May 19

3 Cases Later

StumpjumpOnce a quarter there’s a "wine tasting" here in Cincinnati held by a
social club. We usually go to about 2 per year. I really can’t handle
more than that.

I would say between 200 and 400 people show up at these things.
Sometimes it is hard to tell because the location ends up being a lot
smaller than the amount of people. You pay $10 to get in, which goes to
a charity, and you bring 3 bottles of a specific varietal. Two of your
bottles are wrapped and put in numbered buckets. One of your bottles
goes into the case prizes. This means you’re possibly "tasting" anywhere between 100 and 200 bottles of wine. I usually suffer palate fatigue and don’t make it very far. Others, well, I think there are folks who can pound down a pour from every bottle.

You carry around a piece of paper where you’re supposed to rate each
wine you try on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (good). At the top, you list
the numbers of the best and worst wines you tried.

These events are usually gigantic social events where people drink
giant pours and get pretty darned drunk. The age range is usually in
the mid 20s to mid 30s. The wine is mostly intolerable. Word of the
event must have spread though, because last night was different. In
addition to all of the usual, there was a slightly older crowd in
attendance, which meant slightly better wine, more attention paid to
the size of the pours and the ratings sheet.

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Posted by Michelle at 9:07 am in Cincinnati, Local, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()
May 18


Just a follow up on my virtual wine cellars post from the other day.  A friend of mine sent me a link to Cork’d. It’s yet another new virtual wine cellar. Obviously there is a niche market available. I really liked Cork’d – it’s probably my favorite thus far. I like it because of its innovative use of tagging. Tagging, as everyone who uses Technorati knows, is a great way to tie similar things together in streams. Take that concept and apply it to wine. It works.

While Cork’d has a great interface (clean and Web 2.0-ish), a fun attitude, and a budding community, it does not have the ability to create or import reports. Why is this lacking from so many of these virtual cellars? Do they not realize that a lot of us have been tracking our wine electronically for a while and don’t really want to re-type all of that information?

Attention all virtual cellar folks! Do you want reports and the ability to import or export? Fine. Let me know. My husband is one of those super-intelligent programmer guys and he thinks, using SOAP, he can probably build the reporting ability for one of you. I imagine you can pay us in wine or something. We’ll work it out. That’s how important this function is to me. Let’s get it done!

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Posted by Michelle at 5:15 pm in Wine Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 12

My Virtual Wine

I received an email today from Logabottle.com suggesting that my readers and I might be interested in joining. I’d already read about Logabottle on Fermentation, so I wasn’t completely unfamiliar. I have to say I’ve come to pretty much the same conclusions as Tom.

I’m a devoted user of CellarTracker. I discovered it at the perfect moment in time, when I was feeling frustrated over my books of random tasting notes. CellarTracker put my wine at my keyboard, which is one of my comfort spots. Not only that, I could access my cellar, and update it, from anywhere I could use a computer. My favorite thing about CellarTracker is the user community. I love seeing how other people feel about a wine and why. It’s so interesting. If you view two tasting notes for a Tempranillo, you’ll see two totally different perspectives. I also love the ability to backup my cellar off-line and create a myriad of reports. CellarTracker is a $20 shareware donation. I assume you could use it for free as well, but once I’d entered over 50 bottles, I sort of felt obligated to send in my donation. CellarTracker has been around the longest, and is therefore the most fleshed out and robust of the affordable choices out there. It’s also a labor of love for its creator, and I respect that.
More virtual cellars after the jump –>

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Posted by Michelle at 8:45 am in Wine Tech | Permalink | Comments (2)

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