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Jun 20

Announcing WBW #35: Passionate Spain

With wine & hope, anything is possible.
                                                            – Spanish proverb

Wbwlogo_2Welcome to Wine Blogging Wednesday #35: Passionate Spanish Wines.

Spain – land of bullfighting, magical realism, and the pasa doble. A land of great history and passion. Doesn’t it make sense that Spain would produce great wines? From lesser known whites to the popular reds of Rioja, it’s time to take a look at the world’s third most prolific wine producer.

In the last decade, the number of Spanish wine regions (DOs) has grown over 20 percent and Spain has created a new set of wine regulations. There are a great many grapes that are specific to Spain – too many to list here.

Last year Kevin & I took a seminar on Spanish wine, which opened up a whole new world of wine for us. Spain offers an amazing amount of flavor and diversity for an extremely reasonable cost. (As a special tip, we learned that the 2001 vintage in Spain was excellent!) For more information on Spanish wine, grapes, regions, and laws, visit WinesfromSpain.com. They’ll even send you a free book. I also recommend Catavino and The Spanish Wine Page. Podcast: Wine for Newbies also has a podcast on Spanish wines.

While we’ve had some good Spanish whites, as well as some great Sherry, our favorites remain the Spanish reds. Whether heavier or light, these reds rarely disappoint us. Our best guide to value-priced Spanish wines has been our wine guy, JP from Party Town. So if you’re unfamiliar with Spain, don’t be afraid to ask your local wine store folks for guidance.

Your mission: This is not only an exercise in Spain; it’s an exercise in trying value-priced wines. Taste at least one bottle of Spanish wine, red or white, preferably under $10. (I won’t fault you if you end up spending a little bit more.) Extra kudos to the folks who search out of the Rioja box and find bottles from the lesser known wine regions.

Let me know what you thought of it. How was the selection at your store? Did you get value for your dollar? Email me your thoughts and your URL at spanish.wbw@gmail.com. As soon as I collect everyone’s posts, I’ll summarize. Remember, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you are blog-less, you can also email me your thoughts and I’ll post those. This month’s due date is Wednesday, July 11.

My thanks to originator and coordinator Lenn for allowing us the chance to host this fun, virtual tasting event.


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Posted by Michelle at 1:28 pm in WBW | Permalink | Comments (15)
Jun 19


Just to let everyone know, my posts over these next two weeks will be spotty. I’m trying to get some things accomplished in my real world job as opposed to happily losing myself in the wine blogverse. I promise I’ll still get the Friday listings up though. I’ll also try to mini-blog, or Twitter.
While you’re waiting, have a glass of riesling or vinho verde to beat the heat.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 2:57 pm in Life | Permalink | Comments ()
Jun 15

Cincinnati Wine Events: 6/15 – 6/22

PurplepeoplebridgeHere’s the latest and greatest events for the upcoming week. Don’t forget that 7 Days for SIDS week lasts through Sunday.
You can contribute by eating out at your favorite restaurant. For more
information, read our post. The Curtains Up Opera Young Professionals event is tonight. Opera singers will be randomly singing your favorite hits from the 70s and there will be a dj and an overall great party. Read our post here

You’ll want to check the upcoming events section. There are several
fun tastings coming up, as well as a Lobster Bake at Little Sonoma, so
you’ll want to make your reservations early.

As usual, it’s a big list of events, so we’ve compiled it on one
page for your reading 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 the Cincinnati area, please email us
or comment and we’ll add it to the list.

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!

Map IconFriday Interactive Wine Tasting Map

Map IconSaturday Interactive Wine Tasting Map


Download 0615.pdf
An easy-to-print PDF of all the events in this blog post

You can also click the map icons in the detailed listings to view the maps.

Our Friday Cincinnati image is courtesy of Cincy Images.

Follow the "Continue reading" jump at the bottom for Friday, 6/8 –
Thursday, 6/14 tastings. Upcoming events are listed at the end.


Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Michelle at 7:00 am in Weekly Cincinnati Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (2)
Jun 14

Wine Review Catch-Up

It’s time to catch up on a couple of wine tasting notes I’ve had sitting here, waiting patiently for a blog post.

Vintage"Vintage" by Chandon 1996 Brut
Sonoma & Napa Counties
Purchased: 07/04 @ Chandon in Napa Valley
Cost: $35 (on sale from $50)

This is the first wine I ever purchased in California at a winery. Our first day in Napa in 2004, we started our day at Chandon. After all, sparkling wine in the morning isn’t a bad thing. I held onto the wine until New Year’s Eve this past holiday, and yes, I’m just now getting around to sharing the notes I took. We munched on this sparkler with crackers and chardonnay-infused havarti cheese.

The color was of pale straw and there were were tiny but infrequent bubbles. (Maybe it was my lipstick.) The wine had a nose of yeast, paper, and tart apple. It tasted dry, and citrusy, with lemon, pear and apple.

Our overall impression was that the wine was smooth with a short finish. It probably wouldn’t have held too much longer. It was a well-balanced wine – lightly acidic and crisp like a fall apple.

Our rating:

Sofia Rosé Carneros Pinot Noir 2005
Francis Coppola, Carneros, CA
Purchased in May 2007 on clearance at Cork n Bottle
$6.97 from $15 (Told you it was clearance)

SofiaroseThis is a great wine for a hot summer evening. It’s certainly not a remarkable rosé, but it’s not awful. Depending on my mood, and the price, it has buy-again possibilities. At first, the floral characteristics are a bit overwhelming, but they eventually balance out. There’s a subtle sweetness to this wine, as well as a hint of alcohol in the flavor.

From its color to the taste, the wine made me think of a flower garden. The color is the exact pink of the playgirl roses in my garden. The nose reminded me of daisies and roses. There were floral notes in the taste. Even the presentation brought flowers to mind. The shape of the bottle was unique, similar to a flower vase I have in my cabinet.

I can’t give this wine a full happy face because I don’t like to taste the alcohol in a wine  and there was a hint of that. But my value for cost was extremely high on this wine.

My rating:

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Posted by Michelle at 9:13 am in Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments ()
Jun 13

WBW #34: Washington Wines

Hello everyone! Today is Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW) and today, we’re also the Featured Blog here in Typepad-land. If you’re not familiar with WBW, let me introduce you.

WbwlogoBack in July of 2004, Lenn Thompson of LennDevours proposed the excellent idea of a virtual tasting party. It’s not a true tasting, as we’re all trying different things. But once a month, across the Internet, bloggers taste wine within a certain theme and then share the tasting notes online. One lucky blogger gets to host WBW, which means they pick the theme and compile all the submissions a few days later. You certainly don’t have to be a wine & food blogger to participate. I joined WBW tastings before I ever launched the wine blog. Heck, you don’t even have to blog. You can just taste your wine and email your notes to the host. It’s a great way to find and try new wines. Interested? Good. Next month’s theme hasn’t been announced yet, but watch this space. We’ll announce it soon.

This month’s hostess is Catie, the Walla Walla Wine Woman, who requested that we each try a cabernet from her home, Washington State. Kevin & I cheated a little, as we had a difficult time finding a Washington cab that wasn’t from Chateau Ste. Michelle or Columbia Crest. I wanted something a little different, and we ended up with the Matthews Claret, recommended by our Party Town wine guy, JP.

2003 Matthews Cellars Columbia Valley Claret , $25

This wine is a blend of 52% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec. The wine was aged in previously used French oak barrels for 14 months.

The nose had a lot of plum and jammy qualities, with a slight bit of chalk. This was without a doubt a wine meant for food, as the wine felt like it stuck to your teeth. But it stood well on its own. There were mineral qualities throughout, reflecting the Bordeaux style of the wine. There were also a lot of plum, cherry, and berry notes.

We chose our food well – and we chose simply. A nice steak lightly seasoned with pepper and garlic. The tannins in the wine grabbed onto the steak and it was delicious. After dinner, I tried the wine with some dark chocolate. I was surprised that the darkness of the wine disappeared with the chocolate, leaving mostly raspberries.

We paid more than we wanted to for the wine. This time it was worth it. In fact, this wine tasted like it cost more than $25, which is always a pleasant surprise. The wine reminded Kevin of a cool fall evening. To me, it was brisk, like fall leaves blowing across a sidewalk. Was it too much for a hot summer night? With a nice steak dinner and the air conditioning, it was the perfect reminder of seasons to come.
Our rating:

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Posted by Michelle at 8:18 am in Tastings, WBW, Wine Blogs, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (1)

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