Be still my beating heart! The Weekly Wine Events are back! Really, all is takes is for me to be in town longer than a week at a time. And happily, I’m in town for quite a while this time! I’m terribly behind at this, and my calendar crashed and lost a lot of information this morning. So … please let me know what I’ve missed and I’ll add it to the calendar!
You’re probably thinking Super Bowl for this weekend, but take a moment to peruse the rest of the February calendar. There are all sorts of great events coming up. Of course, if you look ahead on the calendar, you’ll see things with a Valentine’s theme starting to pop up. In my Molecular Bartending post last week, Josh commented and said he’ll be offering cocktail classes at Tonic soon as well. I don’t know what the schedule is for that, but as soon as I know – well, you’ll find it on the calendar and I’ll make sure to share. Pucks & Pinot is also next week. It’s the Cincinnati Cyclones wine tasting event. I mention it because I’m in love with the name!
I want to take a minute to let you know about Give to Haiti weekend at The Wine Merchant (3972 Edwards Road
Oakley). All wine bar proceeds made during the week benefit Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund, so head over to their wine bar tonite through Sunday.
Remember, all the recurring events, those dependable weekly tastings, are displayed on our calendar. The one-time events are after the jump.
For information on what’s going on in Dayton, you can refer to Mark’s blog at Uncorked.
Once upon a time I wrote for the (now defunct) Taste Magazine. I was working on an article about celebrity-branded alcohol, although that article got scrapped when I took over the Wine Academy column for the magazine. In the process of researching that article, I somehow managed to get in touch with the publicist for Maynard James Keenan, and eventually, I interviewed him. It’s just as well my article got scrapped, because my recording of the interview wasn’t very good. It was so bad, I have yet to be able to clean it up and use it. (Since then, I’ve improved my recording equipment.)
For those unfamiliar, Maynard James Keenan is the front man for rock bands Tool, Puscifer, and A Perfect Circle. Until I met Kevin Keith, I had no idea who he was, so don’t feel bad, and I think that Maynard actually preferred my lack of knowledge of his music during the interview. If there is anything I got out of that conversation, it’s that he doesn’t like being called a “Rock Star.” Well, that and Maynard James Keenan is the most intense person to whom I have ever spoken. I believe that he does everything with the same intensity – be it music or wine, which should tell you something about his wine.
When Kevin and I went to Arizona in 2007, we visited Cornville, AZ as we drove south towards Phoenix from the Grand Canyon. It’s off the beaten path a bit, but Cornville was an absolute delight for us as wine lovers. We started at Page Springs Cellars, where it just so happens that Maynard had worked with the wine maker to learn everything he could about wine. At the time, Page Springs Cellars was also selling Maynard’s labels, Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards. (Our Photos from Arizona Wineries) We have several Maynard-created wines in our wine fridge.
When I interviewed Maynard, he was working on launching Arizona Stronghold, a winery in the southern Arizona ghost town of Jerome. (A lot of grapes are grown in southern Arizona.) Last summer, an article in Decanter.com alerted me that Maynard and his winemaker Eric Glomski have officially launched the new winery.
Turns out, the process of creating Arizona Stronghold is the basis for a new documentary called Blood Into Wine. It premieres in Arizona (of course) on February 19 (full list of theatres is after the jump – mostly West Coast I’m afraid). But the DVD will be released on May 4 Sept 6. Check out the trailer. Even if you don’t like his music, how can you resist a documentary like this? It’s got music, wine, and a lot of humor, I think.
Blood Into Wine arrives in select theaters on Feb. 19 with a Phoenix-based premiere at the W Hotel Scottsdale.
CNN Money reported today that restaurant wine lists are huge rip-offs. I think we all knew this. But just in case you weren’t clear on the facts:
Restaurants mark up cheaper bottles by an average of three times the retail price, while the prices of higher end wines are typically doubled, says Ronn Wiegand, a master sommelier who runs the industry newsletter RestaurantWine.
Last week, I got to eat at the wonderful (and amazingly expensive) new restaurant Sage in Las Vegas’s new Aria / City Center complex. My friend and I picked a $44 bottle of Argentinian Malbec off of the wine list, and proceeded to enjoy two bottles, but I was aware that the bottle probably retailed for around $15. We made a decision to “not think about it.” That said, we both felt we got off lucky with the $44. Mixed into the French listings was a bottle of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tâche, which was listed at over $9000. Per bottle. Ouch!
The CNN article continues, with tips about wine by the glass:
Think that’s rough? Prices for wine sold by the glass are tripled or even quadrupled, Wiegand says, since restaurants have to account for the chance that they won’t sell the whole bottle before it spoils.
I hate ordering wine by the glass, but occasionally, that’s all I want and I bite the bullet. If I’m with a group though, or if Kevin and I actually want the same glass, I’ll tend towards a bottle. Back when Tonic was Twist, I would always order a bottle of the Gruet Sparkling Wine from New Mexico as opposed to just a glass. The difference between an ~$14 glass and a $40 bottle seemed negligible when people were sharing. I recently noticed that Tonic still offers the Gruet on their list, so if I can ever tear myself away from cocktails, I might resort to the full bottle again.
Many restaurant wine lists have a sweet spot – that spot where you can find several bottles of wine in a similar price range that is actually affordable and not so far off from the retail price to give you a heart attack. At Sage, we found that spot in the Argentinian section. At the Wine Cellar at Las Vegas’s Rio, that spot was located in the Spanish wine section. So if you have to shop by price, look for the sweet spot.
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