Set your Tivos: Gary Vaynerchuk, unintentional spokesman for the Wine 2.0 movement, will be on Late Night with Conan O’Brien Wednesday evening (or Thursday morning, depending on your perspective). Around here, Conan airs on NBC at 12:37 am.
For those of you unfamiliar, Gary has taken the wine world by storm with his video blog over at Wine Library TV. His unpretentious, over-the-top video reviews are friendly, funny, and unique. He’s become something of a legend in Wine 2.0 circles, which includes blogs. He took his family’s wine store in New Jersey and made it approachable and fun. He started the Wine Library TV phenomenon. He formed a company and purchased Cork’d. Gary is on a roll. As Dr. Debs put it, there is probably a Food Network contract in his future.
The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants with interesting wine lists, whose selections match the menu, and that appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. The wine list itself must include vintages and appellations for everything – including wine by the glass. Spelling, correct producer names, and appearance of the list are also included in the judging. There are three award levels:
The Cincinnati area did quite well, with several restaurants receiving awards of varying levels. There are some pleasant surprises and some expected winners. Absent from the list are places like Red, Pho Paris, Jeff Ruby”s, and The Napa Grille. However, it should be noted that, like with so many awards, restaurants must submit themselves and pay a $250 fee.
Cincinnati-area restaurants on the Award of Excellence list include: South Beach Grill (Covington), Zebo’s Bistro (Covington), Carlo & Johnny, Jag’s Steak & Seafood (West Chester), Jimmy D’s Steakhouse, Mesh (West Chester), Morton’s Steakhouse, One Restaurant & Lounge (Mason), Orchid’s at Palm Court, Palace Restaurant, Parker’s Blue Ash Grill, The Restaurant at the Phoenix, and Teller’s of Hyde Park. Sturkey’s also made the list, but it no longer exists.
Two stand-outs received the Best Award of Excellence: Jean-Robert at Pigall’s and, happily, the Dilly Deli in Mariemont.
Louisville and Lexington dominated the Kentucky list, whereas Dayton and Columbus had impressive turnouts for Ohio.
The list is fun to look through, especially if, like us, you travel frequently. I enjoyed finding places in Las Vegas, Aruba, Chicago, and Florida where we’ve dined – and where I want to dine in the future. The full list is in the August 31 issue of Wine Spectator, available now, but you can also view it online as part of the free Wine Spectator Content. The online list is fully searchable and even works well on a mobile.
Congratulations to all the local restaurants, and especially to the Dilly Deli! Cheers!
Not long ago I posted about Disney’s Ratatouille wine – a French chardonnay that was coming to Costco. I was pretty excited. What I didn’t realize is that the marketing folks behind the actual label were unfamiliar with basic laws. Let’s call it the Joe Camel Effect. You don’t put cartoon characters on the label.
Guess what? They put Remy the Rat on the label and people began to complain. Needless to say, Disney pulled the wine.
I’m sure everyone has noticed the wonderful changes happening on and around Fountain Square. Not only is the landscape changing, but the culinary landscape is improving as well. We’ve added Boi Na Braza and McCormick & Schmick’s recently, with more to come.
I’ve always enjoyed eating at Palomino, in a window seat overlooking the square, with a lavender martini in hand. In a week, we can experience an equally enjoyable view from Morton’s Steakhouse. Morton’s has spent its lifetime in Cincinnati in what I consider the basement of Tower Place Mall. Morton’s is moving up – several floors.
On August 6, Morton’s will re-open on the 2nd floor of Carew Tower, at the southwest corner of 5th and Vine Streets. In fact, this is the first Morton’s with windows in the dining room, according to a recent press release. It’s also the first Morton’s to have a glass-enclosed, walk-in storage room dedicated to wine. Additionally, the bar area has a zone where regular customers can maintain a personal wine locker. (I have to look into this!)
It’s worth noting that our Morton’s recently won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, which honors restaurants with a well-chosen selection of quality wines that match the menu in both price and style.
My lone complaint about McCormick & Schmick’s is that there seems to be little uniquely Cincinnati about the place. My hope is that by including the view of the heart of downtown into their design, Morton’s (one of 74 in a chain) is about to become uniquely Cincinnati.
There are a bunch of great tastings coming up. Make sure to check the upcoming events section. 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, or if we have incorrect information, please email us 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!
You can also click the map icons in the detailed listings to view the maps.
Download 0727.pdf (An easy-to-print PDF of all the events in this blog post)
Our Friday Cincinnati image is courtesy of Cincy Images.
Follow the "Continue reading" jump at the bottom for Friday – Thursday tastings. Upcoming events are listed at the end.
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