Memorial Day weekend is pretty much synonymous with food and wine for us here at My Wine Education. It means two things: Taste of Cincinnati and opening weekend for the local wineries.
Taste of Cincinnati is the longest running culinary festival in the US. How about that? 32 years! Every year, Kevin and I go and the menu for us is pretty straight forward. I pretty much eat crepes and cheesecake and cream puffs … every dessert I can find. Kevin tries every BBQ he can find. We usually drink some Moerlein and Great Lakes beer and we have wonderful food-filled day.
Kevin and I are usually there on Sunday or Monday, as I can’t handle the crowds on Saturday. It’s generally hot, so we bring water and stay hydrated all day. No passing out down on Fifth Street!
On Saturday, instead of fighting crowds downtown, we’ll be enjoying a leisurely drive out to both Kinkead Ridge and Harmony Hill. Both wineries, as well as La Vigna Estate, open for the summer this weekend. However, while La Vigna and Harmony Hill will be open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer, Kinkead Ridge is open only this Saturday and Monday. If you want some Viognier-Roussane (I do!), get it now and get it early. It’s in limited supply.
If you want to spend the day lazily going from winery to winery, I recommend this route, starting in Ripley and ending in Bethel: Kinkead Ridge, Meranda-Nixon, La Vigna Estate, and ending at Harmony Hill. If you can, stop and pick up some munchies and sit out on the Harmony Hill patio with glass of wine, listening to the music.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. And remember, if you’ve had too much to drink – just call the FETCH taxi service at 513.35.FETCH.
I admit that I enjoyed the Sex & the City tv series. In fact, it was the SATC girls who introduced me to what may be my favorite cocktail of all time: the Bellini.
The SATC movie (the first one) didn’t appeal to me. I was watching it while luckily flying first class to San Francisco and despite the free flowing wine and halfway decent food you get in first class, I still lost about 2 hours of my life to that movie. That said, the trailers alone for SATC2 look better than any of the first movie. My fingers are crossed.
Anyway, I sort of owe those lovely ladies for introducing me to the Bellini. I was inundated with press releases this week about the second movie release. Two of those press releases included some decent cocktail recipes, which I’ll share.
(Oh, and before you ladies ask – I’m a “Charlotte.” I love her clothes and her attitude.)
The first is a cocktail created by the mixologists at The London NYC – The Sexy London.
The Sexy London
2 oz. Green Cardamom Infused Vodka
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
1/2 oz. Rose Syrup
1/2 oz. Cranberry Juice
1/4 oz. Lime Juice
1 pinch of mint
Shake and strain into martini glass!
Next, of course, variations on the Cosmopolitan – often a favorite of the SATC girls.
The Cosmopolitan Dreams (created by Dale DeGroff)
3/4 ounce Citrus Vodka
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce Cranberry juice
1/4 ounce Fresh lime juice
2 1/2 ounces Piper Heidsieck Champagne
Assemble the vodka, Cointreau, and juices in a boston shaker with ice and shake well to chill.
Strain into a champagne glass and fill with champagne. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.
The Original Cosmopolitan (created by Dale DeGroff)
1 1/2 oz vodka
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz cranberry juice
3/4 oz lime juice
Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a twist of orange
This week we again welcome Bryant Phillips to our occasional column Wine Shop Wednesday. You may remember Bryant from Sturkey’s or Chalk. Currently you can find him at the excellent Wise Owl Wine Bar in West Chester. If you’re anywhere near IKEA, you’re near the Wise Owl. Stop by and have a drink – it’s worth it. I visit whenever I’m on my way home from meetings in Dayton.
I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I drink too much Spanish wine. Truth be told, I really just drink too much. It’s not because Spanish wines are cheap, nor is it because the wholesaler we buy them from is one of my best friends. It’s because the wines are that damn good.
Case in point, the 2007 Vina Godeval from the small D.O. called Valdeorras inside the Galicia region in Northwest Spain. Rias Baixas helped put this craggy rain-washed region on the map with its now famous Albarino wines. The Godeval is 100% Godello. This nearly extinct varietal is indigenous to the region that Verdeho originates. Some say they are genetic cousins.
I’m not usually one for labels, but this one manages to capture the wine in a way that is often missed. The region is very independent from the rest of Spain and being coastal is also very old. There are even rumors that the people are descendants of a Celtic clan way back when. The label’s presentation of classic old world with just enough new world flash presents the bottles contents more than adequate.
Godeval is a great alternative to your other off-chard white wines, with just enough citrus fruit behind the crisp leafy green vegetable notes and striking minerality. Its heritage gives it a less than full body, but enough weight to pair it with heartier spring foods like grilled fish rather than sauteed. It’s perfect for all of the fresh produce at market right now like ramps & fiddlehead ferns. I drink this wine all year, but as we come out of cold-weather Cab season, this is were I’m headed first.
You can be sure there is a bottle of this in every mixed case we’re selling right now and we’re flirting with the idea of pouring a strange, nearly extinct grape by the glass. Guess you’ll have to stop in to see the new list!
Remember the guys who do that Gangster tour in Newport I love so much? Well, they’re back. Not only are they offering the Gangster tour, but now they’re offering Queen City Underground. (Full Photo Set)
Once upon a time, Cincinnati was the third-largest beer producing region in the nation, and the #1 beer consuming location. The late 1800′s were a time of bier gartens, breweries, and theatre. You can still see it. Over the Rhine, the recently rehabbed and lively Gateway Quarter, and the Brewery District are part of the largest intact historical district in the United States. You can get a chance to tour the tunnels of the old Kaufmann brewery, see some of the original internal architecture of the bier gartens, and learn some cool trivia to amaze your friends.
Did you know we have an actual Friary in Over the Rhine? The brothers still wear robes like Friar Tuck, have a gorgeous church, house the Head of the Franciscan Order in the US, and have been helping people in Over-the-Rhine for over a century.
Remember tales of Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody? They performed in the Gateway Quarter. What is now a pizzeria is where Annie Oakley joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. There’s all sorts of trivia and knowledge jam-packed into this tour.
It’s worth a few hours of your time. Right now, this weekend is your only chance to experience the fun tour, although they’re debating on continuing through the summer, as they do with the Gangster Tour. Go show your support – it’s a short walk to and from the Gateway Quarter from Taste of Cincinnati and the tour lasts ~90 minutes.
The tour costs $15 and the proceeds benefit a great local charity where our kids are sent to teach for a week at schools in the Caribbean. The guys that are running the tour are local teachers, and they want to help these schools in Jamaica acquire things like an occasional computer.
If the tour is a success, you’ll find it all summer long. But right now, it’s just being offered Memorial Day weekend. It’s a great way to augment your Taste of Cincinnati day. Take a break from the crowds down on 5th and wander up to the Gateway Quarter (Lavomatic, Senate, and a lot of great shopping) to enjoy the Queen City Underground tour.
Saturday, May 29: 10:30AM, 12:30PM, 2:30PM, & 4:30PM
Sunday, May 30: 12:30PM, 2:30PM, & 4:30PM
Monday, May 31: 12:30PM & 2:30PM
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $15 per person – tours start at the awesome MiCa 12V at the corner of 12th and Vine.
Cash Only Please
Each tour is capped at 100 people (1 guide per 50 guests)
Please arrive at least 15 mins before the tour begins.
Every quarter or so, Kevin and I get a big box of sample wines from the marketing/PR team behind Wines of Chile. The box comes with some information on the wines and an invitation to a really cool virtual tasting. Kevin and I, along with countless other wine bloggers, participate in a video webinar of sorts. Video cameras are set up in Chile and in New York. In Chile, we have the winemakers responsible for whichever wines we’ve been sent. In New York, we have a moderator. And spread out across the United States, we have a lot of wine bloggers, all connected through web conferencing software.
In the webinar chat and on Twitter, we chat about the wines and ask questions (Twitter transcript). Our moderator reads the questions and feeds them to the winemakers. In the end, we have quite the virtual conversation.
And now, the wines …
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2009, Casablanca Valley: Very traditional sauvignon blanc, filled with flavors of ruby red grapefruit, with tons of citrus front and back. There were a lot of pleasant green notes, and a minerality to the wine. It was one of our top three favorites and I know it’s available locally.
Ventisquero Quelat Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Casablanca Valley: I was not blown away by this one, but Kevin didn’t mind it as much. This was much heavier than the previous sauvignon blanc. We both found it to be laced with green pepper, and even the winemaker commented on the jalapeno. The pepper did fade a bit after the bottle was open a while, but it still wasn’t my thing.
Michelle: Kevin: :>
Undurraga T.H. (Terroir Hunter) Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Leyda Valley: More peppers! This time there was green chile pepper – again, it’s not my thing. It was tempered a bit though and the wine was a bit too heavy for me on its own. It didn’t pair well with the quiche we had for dinner, but I suspect it might be food friendly – with the right kind of food. Kevin thought the pepper was a treat and it reminded him slightly of a pepper vodka he tried from [possibly] Hangar One.
Michelle: Kevin: :>
Valdivieso Single Vineyard Wild Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Leyda Valley: There was no typicity on this wine and the nose (to me) was distinctly of nail polish remover. Here’s the thing – it was Wild Fermented. In other words, the winemaker (we think) went out of his way to create something different. However, all the wine bloggers were sort of stymied by this wine, so Wines of Chile are sending out another bottle, in case this one was bad.
Our review? The jury is still out.
Santa Rita Medalla Real Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Leyda Valley: At first I really like this one, as there was the traditional grapefruit and grassiness that I’m found of. Then I was hit by the tomato. No kidding. Kevin called it tomato vines combined with green beans. We had it again the next night and it wasn’t very drinkable, as if the tomatos had 100% invaded the wine.
Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2009, San Antonio Valley: Kevin and I are big fans of Cono Sur wines over all and found this one to be as good as we expected. It was easy to drink and held up over two evenings. Kevin called it a lawn mowing wine, so stay clear of our house when he has the mower out. This had a brightness to it, was very food friendly (paired well with our quiche), and even seemed to have a touch of creamsicle flavoring.
Haras de Pirque, Haras Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Maipo Valley: Hands down, this was my favorite wine of the evening. There was a bit of the traditional sauvignon blanc flavors, with grassiness and minerality. But there was also a creaminess. This wine also paired well with our quiche and was easy to drink.
Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Paredones Estate, Colchagua Valley: Kevin noted a spicy flavor to our last sauvignon blanc. I found it grapefruity, but not grasse. Initially, I thought it was a bit sour but after a few sips that faded and I found the same spice as Kevin.
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