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Mar 30

Cincinnati Wine Events: 3/30 – 4/5/07

Maisownette Pig from the Cincinnati Big Pig Gig, 2000 Here you go. Our weekly write-up of wine events in and around the greater Cincinnati area. It’s a big list, so we’ve compiled it on one page for your printing pleasure. (For information on Dayton, you can refer to Mark’s blog at Uncorked.) If you know of tastings or events that we missed in Cincinnati, please email us and we’ll add it to the list. New additions this week include City Cellars, The Wine Cellar, and the Cincinnati Wine School. Several grocery stores are also getting in on the act, such as Kroger Miami Township and two Bigg’s locations.

You may note that the tastings in KY are mostly free, and the tastings in Ohio charge at least .25. It’s illegal for a retailer to give alcohol away in Ohio, so they charge you, but many times it’s a nominal fee.

Tell them we sent you, and happy tasting!


  • The next big wine festivals coming up are both in May. You can go to the Northern Kentucky (no kidding) Wine Festival on May 19 and Dayton’s great Fleur de Fetes on May 20.
  • The Jungle Jim’s Beer Festival is on May 12.
  • Jungle Jim’s Cooking School has announced the comprehensive schedule for their cooking classes (many of which involve food & wine pairing) for May-August 2007. Plan ahead and download a PDF schedule here.

Follow the "Continue reading" jump at the bottom for Friday, 3/30 – Thursday, 4/5 tastings. Upcoming events & classes, which require reservations, are listed at the end.


Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 29

Local News: OTR Goes Upscale

UPDATE 01/10/2008: I never made it to Jardin, but recently heard
that it closed. I think that corner is cursed. Vinyl, another property
owned by the same folks, also closed. I have unused gift certificates
to Vinyl and Jardin barely took a breath before closing its doors.
But fear not, as of 01/08, we have two new wine bars in town. In Covington, there is Bouquet, and in Milford (nifty, downtown Milford), we have 20 Brix. Try those out when you get a craving for a wine bar.

When I first moved back to Cincinnati from DC, in the mid 90s, I spent a lot of time downtown. I was a swing dancer (okay, still am) and The Place To Be and Be Seen was The Swing Lounge on Thurs – Sat nights. Across the street was Jefferson Hall, which was where we spent our Wednesday nights. Unfortunately, the Swing Lounge couldn’t hold on. The best acts, usually from the New York area, were expensive to book. Many dancers (not me) refused to drink and dance. We all took dancing seriously and drinking could muck with the dancing. I swear, there were about 5 of us who kept that bar alive by paying for alcoholic drinks. When the Swing Lounge closed, they opened Jump Cafe in it’s place. OTR was not quite ready for upscale, hip and trendy dining. It was, and has remained for quite some time, a bar & club area. We’ve had our share of upscale nightclubs in the area, but they tend to close as fast as they open.

It turns out there are some new ideas and new players. And just maybe, a new approach and the time might finally be right. The owners of Neon’s and Vinyl (which used to be The Diner on Sycamore) are joining together to convert Neon’s into Jardin Wine & Tapas Bar. The establishment will feature an outdoor wine garden, tapas, skewered meats, imported cheeses and other foods. The prices will range from  from $4 to $24 per glass for wine. Dishes will range in price from $1 to $18 (for the Iberico ham). My biggest complaint about The Argentine Bean, a similar concept, is that the drinks and tapas are overpriced. It’s not worth my money. I hope Jardin doesn’t fall into the same trap.

It’s not a bad idea, and certainly not a bad location, as it’s not directly on Main, but located on 12th Street. It’s also very close to Vinyl, which is more upscale than your average club and features Ladies Only Wine Tastings once a month.

Michael Spalding, co-owner of Vinyl and now Jardin, is also in the midst of opening another club, this time in the Jump Cafe/Swing Lounge location, close to the intersection of 12th and Main. Ultra Mixx Lounge will be a sushi bar and private lounge. Finally, sushi downtown at some place other than Benihana.

Neon’s will close April 21 and reopen on Memorial Day as Jardin. Ultra Mixx is set to open this summer. It sounds like OTR is growing up. Those of us who hit the club scene in the 90s are looking for something a little more refined now. I’m glad the area is reaching for an additional demographic. With the opening of Jardin and UltraMixx added to Vinyl and old standby Kaldi’s, I might actually return to OTR for an evening out. It’s a good move for Cincinnati, and I look forward to Jardin.

From The Business Courier

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Posted by Michelle at 4:19 pm in Cincinnati, Local, News, Restaurants | Permalink | Comments ()
Mar 29

Wine + Craigslist = Bad Idea

Still a bit under the weather and completely unable to taste anything. Stupid sinuses. So instead of boring you with my own stuff, I direct you to BrooklynGuy’s wine blog where his guest blogger, Deetrane, has posted three separate adventures buying stolen wine off of Craigslist. It involves fine restaurants, Mario Batali, police stings, illicit corner purchases, and more. Moral of the story – if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Enjoy. The usual Cincinnati event listings will go up around midnight.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:49 pm in Entertainment, Knowledge, Wine Blogs | Permalink | Comments (1)
Mar 28

Under the Weather

Hey gang! I’m a little under the weather right now, so I’m taking a day or two off from any serious blog posting. Don’t worry – I’ve already got most of Friday’s Event Listings post created, so that will go up no matter what. I know that’s why most of you are here. 😉

Also, my apologies to those who receive the feed via email. Yesterday it was rather wonky and I’m not sure why. The two new posts were WBW #32 Announced and Wimbledon Wines @ Liquor Direct.

Let me point you to a great little article on Kentucky’s new wine country (it’s not just fruity wines) written by John Henderson of The Denver Post.

Cheers to everyone and have a great Wednesday!

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Posted by Michelle at 12:01 am in Life | Permalink | Comments ()
Mar 27

WBW #32 Announced: Regular v Reserve

The next Wine Blogging Wednesday has been announced and is coming up on us quickly. The group over at The Wine Cask Blog is hosting this edition. Note that they would like your entries to them by Easter Sunday, to be posted/hosted on their blog by Wednesday, April 11.

If you’re new to WBW, the concept is simple. Just buy a wine that fits the theme and write a review. You don’t even need a blog! If you have a blog, send your link over to the Wine Cask by Sunday, April 8. If you don’t, just email them the whole review. You don’t need to sign up or reserve a spot or anything fancy.

This month The Wine Cask is asking us to grab two wines of the same winery and vintage, one Reserve label (or Estate, Proprietor’s Series, etc) and one regular label, with no fancy title. Compare the two. Is there really a difference in the wines? We usually pay more for the Reserve. Is it worth it?

Again, remember that wine is subjective. If you prefer the regular to the reserve, it doesn’t mean you have bad taste. At the Wine Festival, we tried a Jocelyn Cabernet (regular) and Reserve. I preferred the regular version and Kevin preferred the spiciness of the Reserve. For us, one wine wasn’t better than the other. They just tasted different.

More information on this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday here.


UPDATE: Read our review of two Chilean wines for this WBW.

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Posted by Michelle at 3:33 pm in WBW | Permalink | Comments ()

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