I just saw something whoosh by in my feed about the Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic. Taking place in Washington Park on Sept 12-13, it’s a combination of tastings, classes, book signings and more. Celebrating the Midwest, and the excellent chefs that dot that area of the country, it looks like a wonderful weekend in a lovely location.
Tickets go on sale TODAY, Wednesday, July 16. There are a variety of options you can choose from, so grab a ticket and don’t miss out on the fun!
An old friend of mine is on a tour of, well, the world. In the last two weeks, I think he’s been in Istanbul, Zanzibar, and now he’s somewhere in the Serengeti. Curt is a wine connoisseur, so I’ve begged him to send me tasting notes of his adventures whenever he has some time and an internet connection. Here is the first of those missives, detailing a set of Tanzanian wines. I’m hoping for his notes from Africa all the way to Paris. You can check out Curt’s travel blog at march-fourth.com.
The day before leaving for Tanzania for 2 weeks, I attended a once in a lifetime winetasting. Our regular wine group spent the evening tasting some spectacular burgundies, including a Le Montrachet and a Romanee Conti. The advice I received that night, from a friend who has spent numerous years traveling the world - especially in Africa: ‘Take your wine with you!’
So there I was (there I was, there I was!) in the gift shop at Lake Manyara, and a white and a red bottle From the finest Tanzanian Vineyards stuck out like a tourist in a local village – $10 for the white and $11 for the red. There was no vintage on the label and no way these bottles had been stored adequately in a building that more resembled a permanent camper. It was simply Dodoma Dry White and Dodoma Dry Red…so I bought them both.
Back at the lodge, I opened the white wine first, wanting to follow proper etiquette. The color was nothing special, medium to deep gold. The nose on the other hand knocked me back in my bar stool (and not in a good way)! It overwhelmed me with pungent iodine and I thought, ‘I should have brought some wine with me.’ I mustered up the courage and went back for the second nose with very low expectations, but found more mellow aromas. There were notes of unsweet honey and it seemed similar to a sherry. Lucky for me I enjoy a weird white wine like this from time to time. I took a sip and noticed the immediate dryness and strong acid drawing the moisture from my mouth. It actually had notes of wet tobacco on the palate (weird!). I finished 2 glasses and it held my attention but it was certainly beginning to take an effort to keep drinking it.
The red on the other hand was totally drinkable. I would probably stand it up against any California $10 red. It wasn’t the darkest red but it was still a teeth-stainer. I picked up consistent and subtle but identifiable hints of black cherry, pepper, and smoke on both the nose and the palate. A hint of extraction on the palate quickly melted away into a good balanced finish. I could have kept drinking this wine with dinner all night, but as customary I reserved a glass for tasting the next day. By then all of the fruit had evaporated and it was a little like licking a rock.
Curious about my experiment, I searched the web for Dodoma wines. CNN dubbed Dodoma as one of the ‘5 African Wines Making a Splash’ in January this year. Other articles are sparse, but commentary seems to at least say the Dodoma wines are making a marketing push. Right now I think it is a high price to value ratio – let’s hope it stays that way.
You win some, you lose some. I am glad that I didn’t bring wine with me!
For several different years, I’ve tried different types of posts at Thanksgiving. This year, I thought I’d pull a retrospective of those posts to help with your Thanksgiving wine shopping:
2011: Wines I’m Serving At Thanksgiving (by Cresta)
2011: Warm Winter Cocktails (by Michelle)
2010: It’s Not Thanksgiving Without the Turkey (by Kevin)
2010: 2009 Arizona Stronghold Dayden Rosé (by Michelle)
2009: Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner: Host and Hostess Edition (by Michelle)
2009: Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner: Local Blogger Edition (by Michelle)
2009: Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner: Local Retailer Edition (by Michelle)
Or, Don’t Hate on the “Cute, Cheap” Wine
I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle today about the rise of Barefoot Cellars. Now, I’ve never discounted Barefoot. Primarily because I love a good mimosa and Barefoot, being not too expensive and in some iterations, not too sweet, is perfect for that. Mimosas every Sunday without breaking the bank!
But overall, I’m haven’t been a huge fan of Barefoot’s portfolio – until I read the article. Apparently, Barefoot is a rather common entry point into wine for millenial aged wine drinkers? Why? Because it’s approachable (a colorful bare foot on the label) and affordable ($6.99 – $14.99, roughly).
Take a moment, everyone who is not a millenial, and think back to when you were just starting in wine. I remember it vividly. I was away at college and for the first time, away from home. I spent way too much money on the Kentucky gem that is Purple Passion (some sort of grapey drink mixed with Everclear, handily packaged in a 2-liter) and beer. My New Year’s resolution that year was to drink only WINE. I figured I couldn’t really afford it, so I would drink less of it.
By the time I left college, I’d graduated (literally) to Beringer White Zinfandel and various iterations of Turning Leaf. Now those sound rather harsh to me now (and Beringer’s White Zin profits help them create some remarkable Reserve wines you rarely hear about), but it was definitely progress. My boyfriend at the time I graduated must have recognized something in me because he bought me a lovely, vine-detailed wine rack. In fact, I only recently parted from that wine rack, almost 20 years later.
My point is that, as educated wine folks, we tend to make fun or sneer at the lower end, animal/cute labeled wines. We shouldn’t. Those wines are the gateway drug, so to speak, for a younger generation. Just as I was hooked for a while on Beringer’s white zin, the millenials amongst us are drinking Barefoot.
I say, don’t judge. Because sooner than later, those millenials may be planning vacation trips to Sonoma and enjoying wine tastings every weekend at Party Town and Party Source.
Marie Antoinette supposedly said, “Let them eat cake.” Me? I say, “Let them drink anything.” Because the more folks who learn to appreciate wine, through any method, the better. And kudos to Barefoot, as they’re helping recruit a whole new generation of wine drinkers …
I finally got my Bordeaux photos (yes, from a year ago) uploaded to Flickr.
As you’ll see when you peruse the photos, I got a rather thorough introduction to Bordeaux. We stayed in ancient chateaus, had meals with chateau owners and winemakers, explored the town of Bordeaux, had some classroom instruction and got out in the dirt of the vineyards during harvest.
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