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Dec 29

A Fond Farewell: Wine C.A.R.T., Kona, and more

I never made it out to the Wine C.A.R.T. in West Chester – mainly because I rarely make it out to West Chester. But with all the folks who do live on that end of town – why didn't you go to the Wine C.A.R.T?

Sadly, the economy has taken it's toll and the Wine C.A.R.T. is officially closed. I received their last e-newsletter today.

To all,
The economy
has become an 800 pound gorilla that wasn’t there, nor foreseen, when
we opened our doors in early 2007.  Today it is – – it has strangled our
opportunity to get further funding and enough relief to keep our doors open.

It is with
great sadness that I must say goodbye to all of you.  With no end in
sight to the current financial crisis, I have had to make the tough decision
to close our fabulous wine bar. 

I won’t
close our doors without remembering the great camaraderie and personal
friendships that we have built in our short time in business.  Wow, it
was awesome for me and I hope for you too!  I hope you enjoy some of the
wonderful pictures (too many to post) from 2008.

I wish you
the best in your future wine purchasing and hope to see you all at Jungle
special wine tastings in the future – – tell Dave and
Todd I sent you!

Happy New
Year . . . Mike, Jane and I will miss you,


Of course, the Wine C.A.R.T. isn't the only place we've lost this year. The following restaurants come to mind: we lost the following restaurants:

  • Kona Bistro, Oakley
  • Wah Mee
  • Seny
  • Pacific Moon
  • Tropicana

I'm sure I missed many. Let me know in the comments the other . In the meantime, our fondest farewell to the Wine C.A.R.T.

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Posted by Michelle at 2:35 pm in Cincinnati, Restaurants, RIP, Wine Shops | Permalink | Comments ()
Dec 28

Recession Wines: Tips and Tricks

Admit it folks, the economy has got you down. Here we are, moving into a new year, and all they can talk about on the news is war and depression. It's enough to send you into a bottle – but those bottles are expensive! Oh what to do?

Fear not, Wine-Girl is coming to the rescue. While I'll do my best not to intrude on Tim's CheapWineRatings.com territory, I'm going to dip my toe into the pool about once a week. At the beginning of 2009, we'll be launching a new series called Recession Wines.

Each week or so, we'll review a low-cost wine – preferably under $10, but definitely under $15. Remember my $10 and Under post from October? You had some great suggestions for us in those comments. I would love it if you'd add even more to this post. (Or email me. I know, you all are tentative about comments but you love the email.)

In the meantime, I want to offer out two different tips for drinking wine when the money is tight:

  • Enjoy those wine tastings. As I often say, wine tastings in Kentucky are free. In Ohio, they are generally less than $5, usually around $1. Heck, Bigg's Skytop offers a gourmet meal of samples as well as full pours of 5-6 wines each week for only $10. And you can split a tasting with someone else. Tastings are a great way to get to know what wines you like. In many cases, they will be low-cost wines anyway. In other cases, you'll be getting to try wines you might never afford in other circumstances. So go out there and enjoy the tastings!  Don't forget to take notes so that you can buy those wines later, when a paycheck is just burning a hole in your purse.
  • Closeouts. Oh, what a spectacular deal are closeouts! At Liquor Direct, they have an entire wall of closeouts – 2 for $10, 3 for $20. At Party Source, just ask someone. They will show you excitedly what is on closeout. You see, closeouts aren't necessarily bad wine or old wine. In many cases, closeouts are when a winery is redesigning a label or when a distributor is dropping a wine. Jump on these. Don't be afraid to ask at your local wine shop. In my experience, the retailers are just as excited about the closeouts as you are, and eager to share.
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Posted by Michelle at 8:59 am in Recession Wine, Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments ()
Dec 25

Glad Tidings (or Buried News)

On Christmas Eve, two pieces of Kentucky news were announced, and buried because of the holiday.

Kentucky's Bourbon Trail to be featured at Obama's Inauguration: Or, at least part of one of the Balls. I'd kill to go to this … I have the perfect dress. Seven distilleries will participate in the Bluegrass Ball held by the Kentucky Society of
Washington as part of the inauguration celebration. Our proud bourbon representatives are Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Bulleit,
Four Roses, Maker’s Mark, and Wild Turkey. The black-tie event occurs Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, at the
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., beginning at 6 p.m. 

Court Okays Interstate Wine Sales: Yes, we're slowly (SLOWLY) breaking down Prohibition. Here's the entire article, as they say it better than me:

The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a Kentucky law that prohibits the shipment of wine from small out-of-state wineries to customers in Kentucky.

The ruling Wednesday upheld a lower court decision that declared the
law to be an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause.

The lawsuit was initially filed by Huber Winery in Starlight, Ind., which objected to the law that allowed small
in-state wineries to sell directly to Kentucky customers but did not
permit small out-of-state wineries to do so.

A trade group representing Kentucky wine and spirits wholesalers had supported the state’s position.

I'm not sure yet how this will affect our ability to get Ohio wines in Kentucky, if at all, but I"ll be pursuing it in the new year.

Back to your ham, family, and new toys now. Happy Christmas!

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Posted by Michelle at 6:39 am in News | Permalink | Comments (1)
Dec 24

Holiday Beers: Wrapping Up

We’re wrapping up our Christmas Ales series on Christmas Eve with another American craft beer and a brew from the country that knows how to celebrate Christmas, Dicken’s style: England.


In an NPR story this morning, they talked at length on Christmas beers. One thing they mentioned is that wassail was originally heavily spiced beer. When you went a-wassailing, you went carolling for beer. It’s a shame carolling sort of went out of fashion. Our first beer, however, is considered a bit of a modern wassail. Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale, from the oldest brewery in Yorkshire, had a sour cherry nose that Michelle detected while I focused more on the very traditional ale yeast and sour characteristics. The taste was a full flavored ale with a decent amount of carbonation on the palate. Michelle thought the end was similar to brambles, where I was detecting a grainy taste with a good amount of cream. Hints of spice started to appear at the end of the finish, but quickly faded. A very nice ale, but not exactly something that I overly enjoyed.

Kevin and Shel:


Ending the holiday beers is the Christmas Ale from Bell’s Brewery. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a huge fan of almost everything that I have tried from Bell’s. This is a Scotch Ale that started with a heavy dose of maltiness and non-fruity spices like ginger and cloves. The finish was short and crisp. Michelle found a Bretty sour taste that reminded her of a sugar-free peach jolly rancher. This was probably my least favorite of the different Bell’s offerings I have tried.

Kevin: Shel:

As a final note, the print version of that NPR story also lists 10 recommended Christmas ales, 3 of which I tried in the last few days. I’ve also tried the Anchor (Shel’s favorite of all of them), which I highly recommend.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!


Christmas Ales Series

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Posted by Kevin at 8:41 am in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments ()
Dec 23

Holiday Beers: Solstice and Shiner

I guess there’s nothing more American than sitting back watching Monday Night Football and cracking open a couple of beers. Once again, these are two different craft holiday entries that are quite different from yesterday’s mellow Belgians.


Up first is the Winter Solstice Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company. This traditional ale has their secret blend of holiday spices that seem to include flavors of clover, cinnamon, and a slight hint of sweet cherry. It ends with a rich malty flavor which is typical for what I find in most ales. This is my first exposure to the AVBC and I’m rather pleased with the result. At about $2.20 a 12 oz bottle, this is a beer that can be enjoyed all month at a reasonable price.

Kevin and Shel:


Up next is a very odd winter beer. My thoughts usually turn to cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, chestnut, ginger or evergreen smells. Shiner Holiday Cheer from the Spoetzl Brewery opted for peaches and pecans. Added to dark wheat ale, this brings forward flavors of candied pecans and the juiciness of a fresh peach. A great example of something a little different, but not quite up my alley.


Note: Michelle avoided the second beer due to her severe nut allergy and the use of pecans in the brewing process. After our recent run-in with peanut flour in sugar cookie dough, we’re not sure if brewing with pecans would cause a reaction. Better safe than sorry.

– Kevin

Christmas Ales Series

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Posted by Kevin at 2:45 pm in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments (4)

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