Welcome to Wine Blogging Wednesday! This month, the theme is Rhone Whites from anywhere in the world. This month’s adventure is graciously hosted by Dr. Debs over at Good Wine Under $20. Here’s what Deb has to say about her choice of topic:
Some of the best options for summer white wines are made with one or more of the classic Rhone grape varieties: Bourbolenc, Clairette Blanc,
Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, Picardin, Picpoul, Roussanne, Ugni Blanc, and Viognier. Wines made with these grapes tend to be aromatic, and can often rival your summer garden in
terms of lush floral and fruity fragrances.
For Kevin and I, this is a joint post for once. He wrote the majority of it though. And our wine is from the last place you’d imagine we’d find an estate-grown Rhone grape.
At the beginning of the year, Michelle and I visited a friend down in Austin and took a trip over to Texas Hill Country, where you’ll find countless wineries. One of the places we visited was Becker Vineyards and picked up a bottle of their 2006 Viognier. When we popped it open last week, it remained as fresh and fruity as when I first tasted it and at $14.95, I found it a great value from the Lone Star State.
This version of Viognier has a nice vanilla and light oak nose along with the sweetness of a little residual sugar. The 14.5% AbV did not carry to a very heavy, bitter or overly harsh flavor. One of our recent favorites has been Mr. Black’s Concoction – a Syrah/Viognier blend that took the light fruit of the Vigonier and
added it to the dark richness of the Syrah. This pure example from Texas provides a very nice sampling of what a winemaker can do to bring out a flavor, combining the peachy and citrus characteristics of the wine.
One of the best compliments I can give a wine is to pick up a bottle for later and I think picking up the bottle to bring home from the winery counts as well. This is a grape, I don’t get a lot of exposure to in a
single varietal but it is a nice crisp wine for a muggy late spring night in Cincinnati.
Kevin @ the Becker Vineyards Tasting Room, 02/08
The Cincinnati Epicureans About Town Society (E.A.T.S.) has an admirable and set purpose:
To recognize culinary arts as one of Cincinnati’s major
artistic forms, to cultivate a lasting taste for quality food in
younger patrons, and to provide increased recognition and business
for Cincinnati’s finest locally-owned participating
Roughly once every quarter, the group’s founders (Clint Watson, Stepfanie Romine, Michael Sabbia, &
Rob Callif) will choose an independently-owned restaurant for the group to visit on an off night (Mon-Wed). In exchange for a large group on a traditionally slow night, the restaurant will offer a discounted fixed price menu.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved. The group is geared towards young professionals. You know us YPs: we like to socialize, drink, and eat. The restaurant gets exposure to a crowd of folks in which they can hopefully develop a loyal following.
Really, how can you lose?
The first event is this coming Tuesday evening, June 10, at Jean-Robert’s Lavomatic. Cost is $36 pp + drinks. The event begins at 7 pm with cocktails on the roof, followed by dinner at 8 pm. You can find the full menu on the Cincinnati E.A.T.S. web site. Proceeds from this particular event benefit 7 Days for SIDS. RSVP online by Sunday.
It’s a crazy week next week and I’m not able to make it on Tuesday. But I’d love to have comments from the crowd on the event!
Summer officially kicks off this week, with 95° weather and 7 Days for SIDS. (Read my 2007 post about 7 Days for SIDS.)
I haven’t listed all the events or all the participating restaurants. But you can check out the official web site to find out when and where each restaurant is offering discounts or donations that support the charity. As I mentioned previously, now that I run my own charity, I can appreciate the importance of supporting events like this.
Thanks to 7 Days for SIDS, there are a lot of competing events this week, particularly on Tuesday night. There are so many that I thought it better to split them up and you can find the Featured Events list after the jump.
For the full list of Cincinnati tastings, both one-time and recurring, refer to our Google Calendar on this page. For information on what’s going on in Dayton, you can refer to Mark’s blog at Uncorked.
Tell the retailers we sent you, and have a great weekend!
This weekend is the N Ky Wine Festival sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Vintners and Grape Growers Association. It’s being held at a nifty new venue: the Bank of Kentucky Center at NKU. Since this is where I’ll be seeing Cirque du Soleil later this year, I’m excited to see the venue. It’s also air conditioned and protected from the rain, which are both important given our current streak of weather.
Kentucky grapes? Yes, actually. Those tobacco fields aren’t getting much use now that smoking is being banned in many states and causing cancer in general. But they do provide the perfect soil for growing grapes. I admit, Kentucky wineries are still young and growing, but you might be surprised about the quality of many of the wines.
The N Ky Wine Festival is all Kentucky wines, but not all of Kentucky’s wineries. Some of our favorites that are attending include Ashwood Cellars, Elk Creek Vineyards (which is right up the road in Owenton), Wildside Winery/Wildside Vines, and Chrisman Mill.
The wine festival isn’t just wine though. It’s an opportunity to try some tasty Kentucky Proud snacks. I tend to buy a lot of these products at Remke; I’m a big Ky Proud supporter because the food is just so good. In addition to food, there will also be crafts such as ceramics, rustic furniture, and jewelry. Last year these vendors were mixed in well with the wineries, giving you a chance to enjoy your wine and keeping the wine tables from being too crowded.
The wine festival runs from 2-9 pm on Saturday. Tickets are supposedly $15 if you buy them ahead of time, but I’d encourage you to buy them at the door. It looks like you can only buy them ahead of time through Ticketmaster, which tacks on $6.65 in fees. If you’re going to pay more than $15 for the ticket, make sure the money goes to the Grape Growers Association and not Ticketmaster.
If You Go
I was lucky enough to be a judge for this year’s wine festival (last year’s as well), so make sure you taste the wines with gold and silver medals. I also recommend the Sangiovese and the Blush from Elk Creek, the Cabernet from Ashwood Cellars, and the Sweet Jessamine Blush from Chrisman Mill. Last year Chrisman Mill was also offering their sweet blackberry dessert wine with a shot of Woodford Reserve bourbon. That mixture was fantastic.
UPDATE: I’ve seen differing prices, including $17 and $22. So somewhere in there is the correct price, plus Ticketmaster fees.
Update: We just got back from the N Ky Wine Festival. I still
encourage everyone to go. However, I want to make clear that the press
releases and other information I was given were a little incorrect or,
perhaps, purposefully vague. For instance, the Bank of Kentucky Center
is indeed hosting the wine festival, but not inside. From what several
vintners told us, the festival was originally supposed to be inside
but the facility isn’t quite finished yet. Therefore, the festival is
outside in tents. Please make sure that if you’re tasting wine, you
taste chilled red and whites. It’s hot out there and that does affect
We visited Chalk last weekend. We hadn’t been there in a while and it’s still my favorite local slightly-more-than-casual restaurant. This time we ate at the bar.
Whenever Brandon the Bartender is working, I ask him to create a drink for me. This time he did a variation on a Depth Charge – at least, I think that’s what he called it. (I think of a Depth Charge as a drink involving beer.) Regardless of what it’s called, it was quite tasty and included the newest liqour to hit Kentucky – Absinthe.
1/4 part Lucid Absinthe
1 part Hendrick’s Gin
1 part Lillet Blanc (A white bordeaux wine used as a mixer or an aperitif)
Line a martini glass with the absinthe.
Shake the Gin & Lillet well over ice and pour into the martini glass.
The ice chips and coldness of the Gin/Lillet mix cloud the absinthe, which is what you want.
This was a rather nifty drink – classy and reminiscent of an earlier time. I never know whether Brandon is reaching into some crazy amount of mixology knowledge to create this drinks or randomly creating them, but I’m never disappointed. Thanks!
Image by Thomas Hawk, via Creative Commons on Flickr.
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