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Apr 25

Valley Vineyards Brings Back the Festival

Once upon a time, Valley Vineyards in Morrow had a heck of a wine festival each spring. I have friends who would rent an RV and camp there. But 4 years ago, they cancelled the festival. (Has it really been that long?)

According to Mark Fisher at the Dayton Daily News, the festival is returning on Saturday, June 4, 11 am – 11 pm.

The event will celebrate 41 years of winemaking at Valley Vineyards, and will feature oferings from food producers and restaurants such as Wildflower Cafe of Mason and The Jam and Jelly Lady of Lebanon. The festival also will include the winery’s annual “Walk-Run Through the Vineyards,” which this year will benefit a Hamilton Twp. “Shop With A Cop” program, according to the winery’s web site. Live music and hot-air balloon rides also will be offered.

This year they’ve modified the festival format, most notably limiting it to one day and there will be no camping or overnight parking. I know what you’re thinking – they’ve killed the party. Well, it’s a wine festival people, not a campground. And if you suspect you’ll be overindulging, you can stay at the Spring Hill Suites Cincinnati Northeast, which will be offering a free shuttle to and from the festival.

Visit the Valley Vineyards web site for more information.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:57 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local Wineries, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (11)
Apr 22

Greatest Hits: Easter Wines

I thought I’d pull from some of my previous wine reviews to give you just a couple of suggestions for your Easter Sunday.

McNab Ridge French Columbard

French Colombard is a white wine that McNab Ridge is growing to “preserve history in the county” [Mendocino]. Not many people grow French Columbard anymore, but it used to be quite common. It is believed to be an offspring of chenin blanc, another favorite grape of mine. Colombard was originally grown in France for distilling into Cognac and Armagnac (yum), so I’m not surprised I have an affinity for it.

This is an off-dry wine with 1.8% residual sugar. It had natural, bright acid. I noted that it was sweet, light, aromatic, and refreshing. Kevin noted the intensely floral characteristics, such as white flowers and pansies. During a more traditional first course at brunch, this wine added a bit of spice – or perhaps the food added the spice to the wine. It was certainly easy to drink and based on our own experiences, I think it might pair well with your own Easter brunch.

Don’t be afraid to try the new grape. You’ll like it.

Saint-Meyland Brut, NV

I love bubbly. I particularly like French bubbly and believe in bubbly and mimosas for Easter.

First off, Saint-Meyland is French and it’s only $15. However, it is not officially “champagne.” It’s made in the traditional method, but it’s just not quite located in the Champagne region of France, and well, it can’t take the name. It’s made from hand-picked grapes and has plenty of tiny bubbles and that nice dry taste you associate with a French Champagne. The nose has some vanilla and floral aromas and it has a long balanced flavor. It tastes more expensive than it is. Often, picking the French bubbly from just outside of the Champagne region will net you great taste and amazing value.

I can’t wait to pop this one open this weekend. This wine is a real value and your family might be impressed you showed up with such a tasty morsel from France for your Easter brunch.




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Posted by Michelle at 11:37 am in Greatest Hits, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (8)
Apr 12

2011 Woodford Reserve $1000 Mint Julep Cup

It’s Derby season and as many of you know, I love the Kentucky Derby. While Derby itself isn’t until May (have you picked out your hat yet?), Woodford is already promoting their $1000 Mint Julep Cup.

You can now purchase this gorgeous Mint Julep cup online, made by my favorite jeweler, Tiffany’s. They even come with a sterling silver straw to sip that julep.  Cups are first come, first serve to the first 103 people (there have been 103 Derby winners born in Kentucky) to, um, pony up that $1000. Cups come in a Tiffany blue box, of course, and are set in a Woodford Reserve casing made from the same wood as Woodford Reserve barrels. All proceeds from sales of the Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Cup benefit The Heart of a Horse Foundation and you can pick up your cup at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.

Once you have that cup in hand, you can get your mint julep. Since you’ve paid $1000 for the cup, you might as well have the most exotic mint julep in the commonwealth.

– Bourbon Smoked Sugar from Bourbon Barrel Foods in Louisville, KY represents the union of flavors that result when Woodford Reserve barrels are combined with raw Demerara sugar. The bourbon-soaked barrel staves are utilized during the smoking process to impart a sweet, caramel flavor and the essence of smoked oak.

– Rare Chocolate Mint grown in San Diego, California. This unique mint adds a tantalizing touch of spring freshness to the classic Mint Julep.

– Ice made of rainwater captured on the pristine island of Tasmania, Australia, where the air is scientifically proven to be the purest in the world. The air travels over Antarctica and 10,000 miles of ocean reaching the western part of Tasmania called “The Edge of the World” where it is collected without ever touching the ground.

So go ahead and try to be one of those 103 lucky people. I will probably be at  home on my couch, wearing a fancy hat and cheering on my favorite horse, drinking a mint julep made from Kentucky ice.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:00 am in Charity Benefits, Cocktails, Scotch & Whiskey | Permalink | Comments (7)
Apr 11

Now Hiring

I’m in search of help.

Running my own business full-time and working full-time for a startup has really taken it’s toll on my time and my energy. I don’t want the blog to suffer.

I would love to find someone, or someones, who would like to help out. I can’t pay you. You get only the wonderful name recognition that writing online will give you. Your mileage may vary.

I’ve had a few people express interest and then I never hear from them again. So here’s what I need from you: just email me a writing sample or two that (hopefully) talks about wine. I’ll review them and pick the best folks for the job. My only other requirement is that you’re located somewhere in Ohio / Kentucky / Indiana, since that’s where the majority of my readers are.

To write for this blog, you’ll need to submit one post a week to me. I’ll “run it through editorial” and then get it posted. You can write restaurant reviews (although not too many – that’s really Julie‘s turf), wine reviews, beer reviews, wine editorials … you name it. Just make it alcohol related. You’ll need to use all your own photos or properly credited Creative Commons images. You do not have to be an expert in wine. You just need to enjoy it a lot. Ideally, I’ll be able to create a team of contributors under the wine-girl umbrella.

So, shoot me an email. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you.

– Michelle


Image from Flickr user Tess Aquarium via CC


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Posted by Michelle at 10:34 am in Wine Misc, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (13)

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