Last year I attended a professional conference held at a Disney resort. Because I’m a Disney fanatic, Kevin flew down and we extended the trip into a full-blown Disney vacation. I had been extremely excited to visit EPCOT, as I hadn’t seen it since the early 80′s. It turned out that we were there during the 10th Annual EPCOT Wine & Food Festival.
The Festival was more than we imagined. Free (er … included with admission) seminars were hosted all day in the information center. We attended several seminars, but the one that stuck with us the most was given by Doug Frost (Master Sommelier, Master of Wine) on Greek wines.
We tasted several
Greek wines while Doug talked about the under-appreciated wines of the region. Doug was not at all what we expected. He was like someone we would hang out with on a regular basis, and quite young. He was also extremely passionate about his subject. As a trainer, I know that the more passion you display for your subject, the more enjoyable the class and the more information your students take away. Doug Frost succeeded in that – so much so that I couldn’t tell you anything about the other seminars beyond, "We tasted wine." (We might have been at a South African session in there somewhere.) Disney also offered other free seminars on food and cooking.
Wandering through Jungle Jim’s the other day, I was seduced by the friendly label and utter simplicity of Pizza Vino Pinot Grigio. I did not expect a great wine. After all, the back label reads: … Pizza Vino will tell you that their wines taste good, and taste even better with pizza. Proper serving vessels include fine stemware, juice glasses, tumblers, and plastic cups. This wine goes equally well with pizza, carry-out Chinese, and string cheese.
What can I say? I liked the honesty.
We had our Pizza Vino with a Papa Murphy’s cheese pizza & dee-lite crust. Now, as far as take-out pizza goes, Papa Murphy’s is the best, hands down. They create the pizza – you bring it home and cook it.
First we tried the wine alone. It smelled like a cheap Pinot Grigio. You know exactly what I mean, right? It tastes like apples and pears, and it is a little sweet. This is not a wine I would enjoy on a regular basis without the right food to help it along.
Paired with the pizza, however, we were completely surprised. I don’t know if it was because the pizza was so good or if the wine really does pair well with pizza, but there was a marked improvement. The slight sweetness in the wine helped bring out the sweetness in the sauce. There was definite truth in advertising – Pizza Vino does go quite well with pizza.
I like that it aspires to nothing more. It revels in its own simplicity. It’s a fun, honest wine and I had fun drinking it. My complaint? We paid $9.99. This is more of a $6.99 wine. I don’t think it is a $10 wine, even if it does claim to pair well with pizza.
Pizza Vino Pinot Grigio 2005
Las Vinas Winery
Pizza Vino is owned and marketed by Ohio-based JZ Wine Company and has had a large launch in the Ohio area.
For as long as I can remember, there has been a crazy grocery store on the north side of Cincinnati called Jungle Jim’s. When I was younger, it was fun to go to Jungle Jim’s because it had giant talking gorillas and dancing cats dressed as Elvis. When I was older, I appreciated the large beer selection and the unbelievable selection of cheeses. Later, I grew to appreciate the wine selection and the amazing selection of foods from across the globe.
The store is a crazy mix of quality and kitsch. I love it. Last night, when the rest of the city was on the river watching the fireworks, we happened to be on the north side of Cincinnati and decided to swing by Jungle Jim’s. Neither Kevin nor I had been to the store in several years and were taken by surprise by the monorail, additional stores, and sheer size of the place. Outside, we were welcomed by signs proclaiming "Welcome Foodies!", animatronic chimpanzees, elephants, and waterfalls.
Inside, the wine collection captivated us for about two happy hours. Every possible country and type of wine was well represented. There was one aisle, gated, that contained bottles of vintage Lafite Rothschild, cult cabs, and other luxury wines. In our wandering our cart filled with everything from Pizza Vino and Gala Rouge to a 1995 Chateau Lagrange St. Julien bordeaux. We ended up with 6 bottles plus a craft pack of JW Dundee beers.
Work has slowed down and it’s time to get down to some serious blogging again. We’re even completely prepared for the next Wine Blogging Wednesday. It won’t be sneaking up on us this time!
We haven’t been tasting much wine over the last month or so. I had a toothache, which led to a root canal last Friday. Things are looking up now and we’ve purchased a lot of wine in the last few weeks.
So … back to blogging!
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