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May 11

Goin’ to Carolina in my Mind

Actually, I’m going on Saturday. We are attending a lovely little garden wedding in Chapel Hill, NC, on Monday. We had originally planned on just driving down on Sunday and returning on Tuesday. From here, that means driving to Lexington and hooking a left to West Virginia. However, I started thinking about this yesterday and decided that maybe we should hit something fun along the way.
I have always wanted to see the Biltmore Estate, so we’re headed there first. (That would go straight down to Tennessee and hook at right at Knoxville, I believe.) I’m excited. There is, after all, a winery there. After a little bit of research, I turned up the fact that the Biltmore Estate winery is the most visited winery in the U.S. It cheats a little, in my opinion. After all, if that gorgeous castle wasn’t there, I don’t know if it would be quite the tourist draw.

We’ll be visiting both the estate and the winery. I hope to bring back a couple of bottles – maybe Cabernet Franc – to drink for the upcoming Wine Blogging Wednesday dinner. It looks like their Cab Franc is their strongest North Carolina wine, although a few of their top tier bottles are North Coast California. I’m more interested in the North Carolina bottles. Tonite I may head over to the local Party Source, where I know they carry the wine. I imagine they only carry the table wine, but its worth checking.

I note that the winery is celebrating 21 years of being open to the public. (Vines were first planted in 1972.) To celebrate, they’re having seminars on a daily basis, including

Everyday is a Celebration: Uncork the pleasures of sparkling wine as we reveal how bubbly pairs perfectly with pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and more. Daily, 2:00 p.m.

After spending the day at the estate and winery, we’re in for another 6 hour drive to Chapel Hill. I’ll be back on Wednesday with stories of Biltmore Estate Wines. Let me know if you have any experience with North Carolina wine!

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Posted by Michelle at 3:50 pm in Travel, Wineries | Permalink | Comments (3)
May 09

Spanish California

GunbunWe had a Tempranillo last week. On May 1, actually. I know, we should have been drinking a Riesling on May 1 and saved the Tempranillo for May 5. But come May 5, we were ready for Derby, which is a non-wine day for us.

The Tempranillo was a 1999 Gundlach-Bundschu, Rhinefarm Vineyard, Sonoma County.
For a while, we were members of the Gun-Bun wine club, and truly we miss it. The monthly missives were fun and we always enjoy their wine. As soon as we fulfill our commitment with another club, we’ll probably return to Gun-Bun for a while. We received this wine back in April of 2005, if my notes are accurate, and the cost was around $26.

We drank the Tempranillo as a standalone wine, although in retrospect, I wish we’d tried it with food. I searched for some sort of snack or cheese to accompany it, but we didn’t have the right stuff in our pantry.

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Posted by Michelle at 9:11 am in Tastings | Permalink | Comments ()
May 08

Texting for Wine

I love to read about new technology gadgets for wine, being sort of a gadget girl myself. The latest is a new idea in the UK. Diners can text a message to learn about recommended wine and food pairings.

A survey of 2,000 people, conducted in January,
found that out of the 85 per cent of people in the UK who drink wine
more than once a week, only one in 10 are confident they know which
type of wine to drink with which food.

I don’t doubt those numbers. I also really like the idea of this texting service. However, I wish the text messages were sponsored by an independent wine entity. Instead, Hardy’s is sponsoring the service. (Hardy’s is an Australian wine that I admittedly know nothing about.) Because Hardy’s is the sponsor, your response to "margherita chicken" will be "Try a Hardys VR Shiraz." Obviously, this is just a guide. Hopefully the user now knows to pick up a Shiraz, whether or not the label is Hardy’s.

Diners can text for wine service

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Posted by Michelle at 1:43 pm in Wine Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 05

Bourbon and Horses

I know this is a wine blog, but humour me for a moment. I live in Kentucky (even if only barely across the border). I’m usually not overly supportive of my state, but I am a horse lover and a lover of the races. There is no race more exciting to me than the Kentucky Derby. I’ve been to the Derby a few times and now I generally watch from home or a party, as Grandstand tickets are pricey and the "infield" just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. There have been very few years when I haven’t put on a hat for the race even if I’m sitting at home in my bathrobe. You can’t have Derby Day without a lovely, floral hat.
The other great component about Derby Day is the bourbon. Kentucky bourbon comes in all forms, from very rough to very smooth. My two favorites are Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve. I’ve visited the Maker’s distillery, and I assume the Woodford distillery is similar. Those distilleries proved something to me I hadn’t known before. The Kentucky landscape, once you get out of the cities, is truly gorgeous. There’s something just very "kentucky" about both Woodford and Maker’s. Can you have terroir in bourbon?
I know Mint Juleps are the drink of the day for Derby. Have you ever had a Mint Julep? It’s not the best tasting drink. Have you ever made a real Mint Julep? Making a true Mint Julep is a pain, as it involves your stovetop.
Therefore, I stick with bourbon slush. The key to a good bourbon slush is the type of bourbon you buy. As I mentioned, I prefer Maker’s and Woodford. I find Maker’s to be  a little rough, but it has a pleasant sweetness about it. It’s not one that I can drink on the rocks, although I have many friends who do. Woodford is not quite as sweet, but is incredibly smooth. I can drink Woodford on the rocks, which surprised me.
Don’t forget to watch the Kentucky Derby at 5 pm on Saturday. At the moment I think I’m cheering for "Lawyer Ron." However, I’ve got 3 horse racing shows on my Tivo that I need to get through before the race tomorrow so that I can semi-accurately judge my picks. Not that there really is accuracy in this sort of thing. I tend to pick based on the jockey I like + a horse with a great name. Best of luck to you!
Recipe for Bourbon Slush after the jump.

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Posted by Michelle at 9:06 am in Cocktails, Scotch & Whiskey | Permalink | Comments ()
May 03

Well, gosh. Thanks!

Running my own tech writing/instructional design business, out of my home, generally means I’m either stressed or being distracted from my stress. This blog is a lovely distraction. However, as much as I want to talk about our foray into Tempranillo this week, I really have to work right now instead. Posting needs to be my reward for accomplishment and not my attempt to ignore what must get done.
Before I return to the world-by-day today, I want to thank the wine blogging community for offering such a warm hello. I’ve never experienced such a friendly, welcoming web community before. So thank you much! I look forward to much blogging and communication with you all!
I’ll get that Tempranillo entry up soon. I’ll also be making a Bourbon entry or two, as this weekend is a holiday here in my state. It’s Ky Derby Day on Saturday!
Oh, and a question – we have a lovely Jack London Cabernet from Kenwood that has a big DRINK NOW tag on it. Hell, it might be too late already. Any thoughts on an unusual food pairing for a Cab Sauv? Steak just seems so run-of-the-mill.

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Posted by Michelle at 10:50 am in Food and Wine Pairings, Wine Blogs | Permalink | Comments (1)

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