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Mar 22

Festival Weekend

The Cincinnati International Wine Festival is this weekend. I’m looking forward to it! Kevin usually maps out a plan of attack before the festival. So that everyone else can do the same, you can download a PDF of a map and attending wineries. Even if you don’t stick to your plan of attack, at least you’ll have a vague idea of where that special winery is located so that you don’t miss it, whatever it might be.

Even though I’ve probably said it a lot, it bears repeating. Try to get to the Saturday afternoon tasting for more elbow room and a more relaxing time. The evening tastings – especially the Saturday evening tasting – are always incredibly crowded and you fight to get to a tasting table.

Other tips? Wear dark colors. Even if you don’t spill that Cabernet, someone else might spill it on you. Drink a lot of water. They usually provide it at the festival, but I tend to have a bottle with me. Kevin is actually bringing a throw-away plastic cup to use as a true spit cup this year. I tend to just pour out what I don’t like, but he’s being traditional and spitting. Wear comfortable shoes. It’s a big festival and you don’t ever get the chance to sit down.

We’re having dinner with Mark from Uncorked after the festival. It’s always a good time when bloggers get together. On Sunday, we’ll have write-ups of our impressions of the festival, as well as a review of a new restaurant downtown. We’re looking forward to reading your festival impressions in the comments, and we hope to see you there. If you see us, please say hello!


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Posted by Michelle at 1:34 pm in Cincinnati, Local, Tastings, Wine Blogs | Permalink | Comments ()
Mar 21

Feeling incredulous

There are some really strange things going on out there.

  • Mark Anderson was charged with embezzlement and arson the other day. The man set fire to a wine warehouse and completely destroyed the hard work and library wines of a lot of winemakers. Not just library wines though. Some smaller wineries were completely wiped out of their inventory. It’s similar to setting fire to a Magritte. It’s art.
  • An Eric Asimov article discusses an "authentication tasting." Why? Because counterfeit wine is a big business, and thanks to a combination of technology and legend, it’s hard to distinguish between what is real and what is not.
  • A poor guy in Utah was told he has to change his license plate. For 10 years, the guy had MERLOT on his plate, attached to his dark red car. Then an anonymous caller turned him in. An anonymous caller! Wow! That person must have some time on their hands. Apparently, the state doesn’t allow words of intoxicants to be used on license plates. He plans to challenge the ruling and I don’t blame him one bit.

Alternatively, Virginia has gone the other way, which is a positive thing in this not-so-positive post. Virginia has approved a special new license plate available to all residents. It features a sloping vineyard and grapes and states "Virginia: first in wine."  I wonder if you can personalize it to say MERLOT.

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Posted by Michelle at 9:26 am in News | Permalink | Comments (1)
Mar 20

Irish Whiskey Tasting

Ah, Irish Whiskey. The 1/4 of me that is fully Irish demanded that I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, so Michelle and I headed over to Party Source to trade in green beer for an Irish Whiskey Tasting. The tasting was led by the EQ center’s Jay Erisman. We recently came across a Forbes.com article on the Top 10 Irish
whiskey’s and were pleased to learn we had tried 5 of them in this

On the list:

  • Bunratty Potcheen
  • Redbreast
  • Power’s Gold Label
  • Bushmill’s Black Bush
  • Michael Collins Single Malt
  • 1951 Knappogue Castle
  • Connemara

Ireland has 3 current distillers, Bushmill’s  (Northern), Midleton (South), and Cooley in
the central area. These three account for all current Irish Whiskey
production. This consolidation occurred in the mid 1900’s and there
were only two distillers until 1995 when Cooley came back onto the

When we arrived, we were given a dram of Bunratty Potcheen. Potcheen (or Poitin) is
probably best compared with good old Kentucky Moonshine. Potcheen, up
until recently, was for export only and was illegal to sell in Ireland.
That has changed over the last few years, but it’s always nice to see a
bottle marked For Export Only in bright green lettering. The smell was
reminiscent of bubble gum, mostly Bazooka Joe. The flavor was fresh and
minty. The overall impression was of sweetness. I thought this was a
nice way to start, Michelle created a new smiley for this :-0, meaning she was overwhelmed by the alcohol and burning.

My Rating:

As a note, after the first taste on many of these, I added a drop of water to the whiskey. Michelle added a drop of water to all of them to help her, as she’s not a big spirits drinker to begin with.

Review and notes after the jump

– Kevin

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Posted by Michelle at 4:56 pm in Scotch & Whiskey | Permalink | Comments (4)
Mar 19

Special Wine Event at Liquor Direct

RedwineNext weekend is a big weekend in the Cincinnati wine world. There is the International Wine Festival, with dinners that start on Thursday evening. Grand tastings are held on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening. If you can’t make it to the Wine Festival, there are still a lot of great tastings going on in the area. In particular, Liquor Direct in Ft. Thomas is having a special session.

John Erickson, the regional manager for Wimbledon Wines (wines such as Cycles Gladiator, Hahn Estates, Calistoga Cellars, Mettler
and others), will be in the Ft. Thomas store on Saturday, March 24th. He’ll be doing a free seminar using several of his wines. These wines will be featured during the regular 12-4 tasting, but a formal seminar will begin at 1:30 pm. There are about 30 seats available, plus standing room. Even better, the tasting is open to the public and free. According to Kevin Keith, the wine guy for Liquor Direct, John is informative and entertaining.

This is the first time Liquor Direct has hosted an event like this and Kevin & I have already reserved our seats. For more information or to claim your seat, contact Liquor Direct Ft. Thomas at 859-781-8105. The store is located at 90 Alexandria Pike, right off 471 in Ft. Thomas, KY.

Liquor Direct has also updated their web site recently. Kevin Keith provides continuing wine education for the staff, which includes occasional "quizzes" and assignments. The web site now offers staff journals, which are wine reviews, or explorations, written by the staff as one of those assignments. The web site also offers a Blogs page, linking to several local and national blogs (thanks for the link guys! Much appreciated!).

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Posted by Michelle at 9:32 am in Cincinnati, Local, Uncategorized, Wine Events, Wine Shops | Permalink | Comments ()
Mar 19

Rosenblum Cellars & Weekend Tasting Roundup

Each weekend we try to go to several regular tastings. I’ll pick Kevin up from work downtown and we’ll head over to Ft. Thomas. We’ll begin at the Ft. Thomas Liquor Direct, move on to the Covington Liquor Direct, and then we’ll head to either both Cork-n-Bottles, or just the Cork-n-Bottle in our part of town. This week, Cork and Bottle disappointed, as they were short staffed on Friday and opted to not have their tasting. Liquor Direct in Covington had some great Rhone wines, but the tasting that stuck with me was the Rosenblum Cellars flight at the Liquor Direct Ft. Thomas store.

SwingsvillezinOn Saturday, we happened to be out in the Milford area. Since we were passing the Dilly Deli on the way home, we stopped for their Saturday Casual Tasting. In fact, we were actually a little late, but the knowledgeable and super-friendly guy pouring stuck around to pour our tasting and converse. We were impressed with him and with the Dilly Deli selection. Whenever we’re there, we try things that are fun and eclectic. The one that stands out for me on this tasting was the 2003 Swingsville Zinfandel from R&B Cellars. It had some great cherry notes, and the pepper wasn’t overpowering, but just right. This is a fun and easy to drink zin. Saturday evening we attended an Irish Whiskey tasting at Party Source. Kevin will fill you in on that event later this week.

KlinkerSunday we had to move fast, but we managed to make it to the tasting at Party Town at Turfway. JP is the wine guy at Party Town, and we’ve never had him steer us wrong. The impromptu theme for Sunday’s tasting was "Wines JP Had Yet to Try." He had an Idaho Riesling, several table wines from California’s Three Alarm Cellars, and an Old Vine zinfandel from Klinker Brick, which we really liked.

Click "Continue Reading" to check out our notes on the Rosenblum Cellars flight from Liquor Direct.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:01 am in Cincinnati, Local, Tastings, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()

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