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Jan 30

Featured Cincinnati Wine Events: Jan 31 – Feb 6

We're heading into February where we're loaded up with wine classes, wine walks, wine events, and it all heads rapidly towards Fat Tuesday at the end of the month. If I missed anything this week, I apologize. I'm in Las Vegas, and distracted.


This week, you've got two sets of wine classes and a wine walk to occupy your time. The Newport on the Levee Wine Walk benefits the American Heart Association. For $25 you get appetizers and a glass of wine at a fair number of restaurants. We did this last year, and it was a lot of fun. This year we'll probably pass due to non-wine work obligations. Go in our place, won't you?

On Wednesday, you'll notice that the northern side of our city is bubbling over with wine education. You can take 3 sessions at Jungle Jim's for $90 or 4 sessions at Little Sonoma for $75. There's a bargain there – do you see it?

Remember, these are just one-time events of which I'm aware. Regular (recurring) events are always listed on the calendar. The calendar is up to date.
Any wine-related events I'm currently aware of are on the
calendar. If I missed something – something local to Cincinnati that is
let me know!

For information on what's going on in Dayton, you can refer to Mark's blog at Uncorked.

Local Wine Tasting Event Calendar

Map IconFriday Interactive Wine Tasting Map

Map IconSaturday Interactive Wine Tasting Map

Photo Credit: Martini on Video Blackjack, Las Vegas 2007, taken by me, 02/07

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Posted by Michelle at 7:00 am in Weekly Cincinnati Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()
Jan 29

Recession Tip: Staff Favorites Tasting, Liquor Direct

This weekend there are some nifty Staff Favorites tastings occurring at both Liquor Direct locations. I got this email from their "wine guy" Kevin Keith:

So far, we’ve got heavy
hitters from Jorge Ordonez, Torbreck, Orin Swift and Hendry.  The staff’s
limitations are the best wine they can find under $50, already in our store,
and in good supply.  We invite everyone to come check these out – after all,
it’s free.

Staff Favorite tastings are always a great way to try some higher-end wines that you might not always get to taste. Hey!  That makes these tastings Recession Tips! Go try expensive wines for free! 

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Posted by Michelle at 7:40 am in Recession Wine, Tastings, Wine Shops | Permalink | Comments ()
Jan 28

Recession Wine: 2006 Michael-David Petite Petit, Lodi

We picked this up on sale at Liquor Direct right before Christmas on a recommendation from Ass't Wine Buyer Shannon. She was right!


Image courtesy Michael-David Winery

2006 Michael-David Petite Petit, Lodi, $11.99

Petit Petite, from Michael-David out of Lodi, is a blend of 15% Petit Verdot and 85% Petite Sirah. The label shows us two friendly but gigantic circus elephants – a perfect illustration of the wine.

It's a dark wine, both in color and in flavor. I was a little worried,
for once, as I sat on my white couch with this glass. I recently heard
that Petite Sirah is as dark as it gets, although I'd say Norton is
darker and inkier. But this is certainly in the running.

This wine is, as Kevin would say, a berry explosion in the mouth. Jammy jammy jammy. It's full of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries – all those dark berries are just everywhere. But there's more complexity than just berries. On the finish, I get a little bit of coffee (but not too much) or maybe mocha is more accurate. It coats your whole mouth, and makes it feel like your teeth are turning red. They're not, but the wine is that full and structured.

Last week I learned that 100% Petit Sirah is too heavy and big for me, but the small added amount of Petit Verdot seems to make all the difference. This is a bit too high in alcohol for me, at 14.5%, but I've grown accustomed to what seems to be the new norm.

I've seen this wine online for as much as $23, although $15-$19 seems to be the norm. Liquor Direct still has this wine on sale for $11.99, making this another recession wine.

Our review:

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Posted by Michelle at 7:49 am in Recession Wine, Tastings, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (3)
Jan 27

Review: Hahn Estates, Santa Lucia Highlands

"Every so often there is a certain barrel that grabs your soul."

 – Adam Lazarre

Every once and again I get what I call jokingly call a winecrush. It's usually on someone fairly young and accomplished who has an amazing passion for wine. For a while, my reigning winecrush was on Johannes Leitz, an enterprising and charismatic German winemaker that I met in 2007.

That winecrush was superceded by a quick winecrush on Doug Cook, WSET diploma holder and creator of academic wine search engine, Able Grape. Okay, maybe a geek-winecrush there. I met him at the Wine Bloggers Conference and he introduced me to the first Cab Franc I fell in love with (French, of course), and he brought an amazing selection of wine with him to the conference. I think even the guys had winecrushes on Doug.

Adam Lazarre, photo from Villa San Juliette Vineyards
I'm apparently fickle, because Doug has been pushed down my winecrush list by Adam Lazarre. Adam is the winemaker for Hahn Estates and the incoming winemaker for Villa San Juliette. You've probably heard of the former but not of the latter? Well, Villa San Juliette is the brainchild – and originally the reality tv show – of Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance) and Ken Warwick (America's Got Talent). The reality show, Corkscrewed, didn't do so hot, although you can view the entire first (possibly only?) season on Hulu. Villa San Juliette hired Adam in September 2008, so (according to the San Juliette web site) he's in transition between wineries at the moment.

But he was in our town – at the Party Source – to talk about Hahn wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH). The Santa Lucia Highlands are located in Monterey County, California. The location, situated in the western mountain range above the Salinas River Valley, is home to about 2000 acres of grapes. The vineyards, 200-1200 feet in elevation, are home to cool weather grapes such as syrah, malbec, and my personal favorite, pinot noir.

Adam has sort of a rock star look to him. Or maybe more like a surfer. I think it was the beaded necklace or the fashionably unkempt blonde hair. He also has a fondness for good bourbon, which I can fully appreciate. I mentioned talking to him to an industry friend of mine and she asked me, "Was he drunk from too much bourbon yet?" He's friendly and high-energy, to say the least, and deservedly passionate about his wines.

The conversation arose at some point as to how Sideways made loving pinot noir so trendy it's almost uncool now. But Sideways or not, pinot noir will always be my favorite grape. Hahn's SLH pinots are pretty impressive. While Hahn does have a nice selection of inexpensive wines on the market, overall the ones we tasted are not recession wines. The tasting started with a Pinot Gris and included 8 wines in total, all of which you can read about after the jump.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:01 pm in Meet the Winemaker, Tastings, Wine Notes, Wineries | Permalink | Comments (3)
Jan 27

Bacchanalian Society Winter Gathering

The Bacchanalian Society, that crazy wine tasting event held each quarter, is being held Thursday night at the gorgeous Phoenix downtown. More than just a party, the event benefits the Red Cross. The Phoenix is just lovely and can hold up to 1000 people, so there should be some breathing room at this event. 

Suggested donation is $10 per person in advance or $15 at the door.
Your donation gets you admission to the event, wine tasting, DJ
entertainment, and appetizers. If I'm not mistaken, the afterparty is at Bootsy's.

Kevin and I are part of the host committee, so he'll be there someplace. I suspect he'll be either uncorking wines or bagging them. Search him out and say

Oh, the wine this time is "Australian Red." Try to avoid the Yellow Tail and get creative. Which reminds me – <SOAPBOX> this is a tasting event, people, not an opportunity to get sloshed. There's a reason we put dump buckets on the tables. So pour a taste (1-2 oz pour), make a decision and move on. </SOAPBOX> That said, I also want you to have a great time, so have fun and be safe. Don't forget that Fetch (513.35-FETCH) can always be called for a cab.


There are, of course, rules to the game, which you can find after the jump.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:20 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati | Permalink | Comments ()

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