www.wine-girl.net
    Home   |   Archives   |   Calendar   |   Wine & Food Pairing   |   Wine Trails
Mar 26

Mad Men Mondays: Shagadelic

by Michelle

We’re back! After more than 500 Mad Men-free days, Season 5 returned last night with a two-hour episode.

There’s so much I could talk about in our 1966 episode: Joan’s baby, Don’s marriage, the missing Betty and Henry, the fact that the wardrobe people didn’t give Peggy a new dress … But I’m here to write about the alcohol our overindulgent friends imbibe.

It’s going to be another frustrating season for me from the alcohol standpoint, unless the writers start adding in more cocktails to the mix. It looks like Mad Men retained the sponsorship of certain companies, therefore on every bar you will see any combination of Wild Turkey (Don and Peggy), Macallan (Pete) and Stoli (Roger), amongst others.

Sponsored Bar“Sponsored” Bar (lousy TV capture by Michelle)

What I really want to talk about … and what completely captured me in this episode, is Megan’s surprise party for Don. The artistic direction behind the entire party sequence just blew me away – from the cocktails and the clothing to the music and then entire set and blocking. You see, one of my all-time favorite artists is Shag. All I could think of when I watched the party scene was that it was a Shag painting brought to life.

"Predators and Prey" - Acrylic paint on canvas. 89 cm x 244 cm (35" x 96"). © Josh Agle, 2012
SHAG: “Predators and Prey” – Acrylic paint on canvas. 89 cm x 244 cm (35″ x 96″). © Josh Agle, 2012
Original Online Link 

Don’s loft alone was simply stunning. Pure 1960s Manhattan goodness … the perfect lifestyle for the 40-year old ad executive/part-time dad and his 26-yr-old secretary turned wife.

Megan, at 26, wants to party. She simply cannot comprehend how Don, at 40, has no interest. She also doesn’t seem to get that her little rendition of Zou Bisou Bisou was just slightly inappropriate, enticing every man (except Don) in the room and slightly horrifying the women.  (As an aside, I truly loved her dress.)

Per usual in this show, we can’t see what type of wine our girls (in this case, Jane) might be drinking. We know it’s red. I was happy to see it’s in a decanter though (see the above “bar” photo). I want to believe that Don has a nice cellar somewhere in that Shagadelic loft and that perhaps it’s an older bottle that Megan pulled and appropriately decanted to open up the vintage.

AMC 2012Jane’s Red Wine | image from AMC TV, 2012

The cocktails at the party were endless. I saw a Manhattan (Trudy), Roger’s vodka martini, a sidecar, and of course, a lot of bourbon on the rocks. I also glimpsed some red wine and beer, although I couldn’t read the label.

Trudy’s Manhattan | image from AMC TV, 2012

What I found fascinating is that while there was a live band, there wasn’t a bartender. Yet everyone there was adept at making cocktails. Pete easily tossed together a Manhattan and someone made Ken’s wife a sidecar without a problem. Today we have amazing people who are “mixologists,” making us cocktails. But with the exception of when I get to hang out at Julie’s place, I know of very few people who can actually toss together a sidecar, a manhattan, or even a simple martini without grabbing a recipe. The everyday art of making and consuming cocktails has been lost in exchange for two-ingredient mixers.

Next week we should get to see more of Betty, and perhaps further along a little bit of Peggy’s story. I’m holding out hope for the return of Faye, the brilliant analyst from last season who was so cruelly dumped by Don. We’ve got Roger’s baby to content with and Lane’s weird new obsession with a woman he’s never met. As far as this blog goes, I’ve already started researching the history of the martini. Season 5 is shaping up to be quite interesting!

 

Share on FacebookEmail This
Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 12:34 pm in Cocktails, Mad Men Monday, Pop Culture, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments ()
Mar 07

Wine-Girl’s Annual Wine Festival Survival Guide

by Michelle

Welcome to Wine-Girl’s Annual Wine Festival Survival Guide. Every year I poll a large group of wine bloggers and find out if there are any outstanding tips, which I add to my own. This year, I’ve added new tips based on my experience pouring wines for the last two years. I’m sad to say that I’m missing the Wine Festival for the first time in years. It makes me sad, but it snuck up on me and I’m currently in San Francisco. I’m leaving Festival reporting to the capable hands of Kevin, Cresta, and Angela.

Please realize that these tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered. If insanely drunk is your goal, well … get a cab and/or a hotel.

So in no particular order, here are my tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:

  1. Decide when you want to go. The Friday Grand Tasting has always seemed more manageable to me, with slightly less people. The Saturday Grand Tasting is generally the biggest event, with what seems like an unending number of people. My favorite session is Saturday afternoon, as fewer people attend and I can get more face-time with the winemakers.
  2. Eat a big meal before hand. You’ll stay sober longer. You may want to follow your festival experience with a large meal afterwards. Either way, it’s a busy weekend downtown. Whenever you decide to eat, make reservations.
  3. Consider a designated driver, cab service, or even a hotel room. Last year we decided to succumb to an afternoon and evening of alcohol and we got a hotel room. The Wine Fest web site offers several hotel packages downtown, and we often find great last minute deals at The Cincinnatian. In past years, we’ve had good luck booking through Hotwire.
  4. Make a game plan. First, download the Tasting Guide ahead of time. In the guide, you can find the list of attending wineries, the corresponding floor plan, and the list of wines in the Special Tasting Room. Plan ahead. See what looks interesting. Accept that you can’t possibly try everything. You may want to decide to divide and conquer within your group of friends.
  5. Dress comfortably. Seriously, ladies, there is no need for high heels. You can still look cute and trendy and leave the stilettos at home. You will be walking a lot, standing even more, and jostling in and out of a lot of people. Expect it to be warm in the tasting hall. Lots of people and red wine can raise the temperature in a room.
  6. Since we’re talking about clothes, wear dark colors. I know it’s almost Spring, but don’t pull out your sundresses and pastels. Even if you manage to avoid spilling red wine on yourself, someone else might very well careen into you. Lots of people + lots of alcohol = lots of wine accidents. Dark colors are your best bet. On that note, carry a small bottle of Wine Away or a Tide Stain Stick. Even if you don’t need it, someone else might.
  7. Get there early. People start filtering in late and things get really crowded really fast. Enjoy being early.
  8. Start at the end. Most people will start at the beginning. Starting at the end (or back) will allow you to fight a smaller crowd – at least until you make it to the middle.
  9. Manage your route so that you visit the sparkling wine and champagne in between big wines. Sparklers are excellent palate cleansers and you’ll last longer if you try those in between the big reds.
  10. Save those dessert wines for last. One year I succumbed to temptation and had a chocolate port early on. As tasty as it was, my next ten wines still tasted like chocolate.
  11. Hold your glass up and don’t tilt it sideways. Think about it  - the wine will spill out. Holding it up higher makes it easier for the pourer to reach over all the bottles. Guys were better at this than gals last year, most likely because guys are just taller in general. Reach out with those glasses ladies!
  12. The pourers are not bartenders. Seriously, don’t bang on a bottle with your glass expecting service. (And no, I’m not kidding.) And while we’re on the topic, say please and thank you. Just because you’re thirsty for wine, doesn’t mean that all good manners get thrown out the window. Some of the pourers are just volunteers and aren’t being paid to be there and everyone has been working hard for at least two days; in the case of winemakers, they’ve been going non-stop for nearly a week.
  13. Move out of the way. I can’t stress this enough for the evening sessions. You don’t have to leave, but get your wine and move to the side. Don’t step back two steps, you’re still blocking the three people behind you and you’ll probably spill wine in the process.
  14. Try new things. Just because you haven’t heard of them doesn’t mean they’re bad. Truly, some of the booths have the name of the distributor, but they might be featuring three or four different wineries. This is a perfect opportunity to branch out and explore a little. Who knows what you’ll find? There might be something you really like, even if it’s not Merlot and Chardonnay. The two questions I heard while pouring last year were “Do you have any Merlot? Do you have any Chardonnay?”  The answer is not always yes, and there are some really exciting grapes out there that are not merlot or chard. If you see an Alicante Bouché for example, try it – you might be surprised. Chances are, the person behind the table can tell you a little bit about the grape as well, and if you don’t like it, then dump it.
  15. Spit or dump. A winemaker commented to me a few years ago that Cincinnati is strange because hardly anyone spits. Some thoughts on spitting:
    Carry your own spit cup. Dixie cups work, as well as those Solo plastic cups. When a table is crowded, it’s hard to get to the bucket, nor do you want to be in someone else’s spit stream. Also, it’s easier to be discreet when you are quietly spitting into your own cup.
    Dump instead of spit. I don’t spit at the Wine Festival. When I’m judging a wine competition, it doesn’t bother me to spit into a personal cup. But in our weird lack-of-spitting city, I get really self-conscious. So I take a small sip or two, try to really glean something out of it, and dump the rest of the wine into the bucket. It’s expected. You’re not wasting wine or hurting anyone’s feelings.
  16. Take breaks every 30 minutes or so to have some snacks and water, as well as to regroup.
  17. Hydrate, and wine doesn’t count. Bring water if they aren’t handing it out. But you’ll definitely want some handy.
  18. Rinse strategically. You see, rinsing your glass is necessary occasionally. But when you’re switching between white and red, ask for a wine rinse. No one will complain. If you’re switching between the reds at the same table, you don’t need to rinse your glass between every one. Not only do you waste water, but no one ever gets all the water out of their glass. You know what that leads to? Watery wine, and you certainly don’t want that.
  19. Don’t try to take detailed tasting notes. Sometimes I just rate things on my happy face scale; occasionally I’ll write a sentence. There will be no time for detailed information, nor will you really have free hands or space for writing.
  20. And finally, don’t expect your friendly wine blogger to get you free tickets. Even Kevin & I pay to get in to the evening events. It’s a charity function. In fact, I believe 50% of your ticket is a tax-deduction as a charitable donation. So don’t try to get in free and skimp on those charities, okay? Instead, just go and have a fantastic time!
Share on FacebookEmail This
Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 9:01 am in Special Events, Tastings, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (2)
Feb 29

Wine Festival Tickets, Dinners and Map

by Michelle

If you haven’t purchased your wine festival tickets yet, head on over to Winefestival.com. The Cincinnati Wine Festival is one of the best in the nation and draws high-end distributors and winemakers. You shouldn’t miss it.

Additionally, the Wine Festival organizers have put the wine tasting floor plan online for you to download. It’s a bit hard to find on their site, but you can download it through this link.

Dilly Cafe is having its own series of events starting this Saturday, where you can meet 3 winemakers in 9 days. For more information, visit their web site or call 513.561.5233.

Saturday, March 3, Free tasting with McNab Ridge Winery and Owner/Winemaker Rich Parducci
1:00 to 4:00 pm, $10 per person
No reservation needed

Thursday, March 8, 6:30 pm
Winery dinner with Austria’s Höpler Winery and Owner/Winemaker Christof Höpler
$40 per person, all inclusive
Reservations required

Sunday, March 11, 11 am
Winemaker’s Brunch with Graziano Family of Wines and Owner/Winemaker Gregory Graziano$50 per person, all inclusive
Reservations required

Not all of the Wine Festival sponsored winery dinners are sold out just yet, and this year five of the dinners are featuring Vintner Select, which is a local and excellent wine distributor. In attendance at each of the dinners to talk about the highlighted wines will be a special guest from the winery or specific wine portfolio (Spain or Italy), as well as a Vintner Select representative. All of the dinners start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at different restaurants around the city. Ticket prices range from $125 to $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations for each dinner are required. For more information on the menus and to make reservations, click here.

March 8 Winery Dinners and corresponding wine speakers include:

  • Bouquet Restaurant – President Aurelio Cabestrero of Grapes of Spain
    519 Main St., Covington, Ky. 41011
    Price: $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity
  • Daveed’s at 934 – Winemaker and Owners Erich and Joanne Russell of Russell Family Vineyards
    934 Hatch St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
    Price: $125 per person, plus tax and gratuity
  • Embers – Co-owner Kevin O’Connor of LIOCO
    8170 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236
    Price: $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity
  • Jag’s Steak & Seafood – National Sales Representative Mollie Lewis of Indigenous Selections of Italy
    5980 West Chester Road, West Chester, Ohio 45069
    Price: $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity
  • Stone Creek Dining Company West Chester – Co-owner Jim Varner of Varner-Neely-Foxglove
    6200 Mulhauser Road, West Chester, Ohio 45069
    Price: $125 per person, plus tax and gratuity

 

 

 

Share on FacebookEmail This
Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Dec 15

Staying Safe This Holiday Season

by Michelle

With all the  holiday parties and excessive drinking to make it easier to hang out with relatives, I just wanted to post a reminder to stay safe.

I’m currently in San Francisco, where it’s fairly easy to find public transportation or catch a cab (or an Uber car). But there are cabs in Cincinnati too.

If you’ve got a smartphone, be it an Android, Blackberry, or iPhone (or anything else), there is most likely a taxi app for your phone. No kidding. Go to the iTunes store and search for “taxi.” It’s ridiculous the number of apps that are available.  I prefer to use Taxi Magic out here in San Francisco, and in Cincinnati, I always preferred Cab4Me.

The various taxi apps use your GPS or cell signal to figure out where you are, and then shows you a list of local cab companies. If you’re traveling, this is a godsend. After all, you might find yourself standing on a street corner  in a strange city, wondering where in the world all the cabs have gone. If that happens, it’s handy to have an app that will tell you not only what the nearest cab companies are, but where the nearest taxi stand is located.

According to the Cab4Me web site:

If a cab company is found in our database, you can get additional information like available car types or payment methods. If we do not have a cab company for your area, a local web search is performed. You will always get a result. In the Favorites tab you can quickly access your favorite companies and the recent tab shows companies you recently called.

Isn’t that great? You’ll even be able to request a minivan so that you and all of your slightly tipsy friends can pile into the same cab.

On New Year’s Eve, you can also generally call Care Cab, a joint venture between AAA and MADD.

Regardless of how you find a cab, just make sure you find one. It’s okay to enjoy yourself, and enjoy yourself a lot – just be safe about it.

After the jump, you’ll find a list of some cab companies in Cincinnati, in case you want to add some to your Contacts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Share on FacebookEmail This
Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 9:47 am in Holiday, Life, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments ()
Nov 17

Warm Winter Cocktails at Morton’s

by Michelle

Ages ago, when it was still insanely warm outside, someone from Morton’s excitedly contacted me, wanting me to write about their seasonal cocktail. And no matter how yummy that cocktail sounded, I stuck to my guns. Just like my beloved Nordstrom’s, Wine-Girl celebrates one holiday at a time.

But … it’s almost Thanksgiving week and, as relatives descend upon you,  you just might be craving something to get you into the holiday spirit (goodness, I need the help!). Morton’s does have the perfect cocktail right now.

The signature cocktail, called a Sparkling Cinnamon Apple, features Lunetta Prosecco, Lindeman’s Pomme (Green Apple) Lambic, Monin Honey Syrup and homemade, hand shaken whipped cream. (We’ve got the recipe below!)

The Sparkling Cinnamon Apple cocktail is $14 and is available through Dec 31 at the Morton’s The Steakhouse downtown location in Carew Tower, overlooking Fountain Square and I assume at most Morton’s locations the nation over.

Recipe

4 ounces Lunetta Prosecco
2 ounces Lindemans Pomme (Green Apple) Lambic
½ ounce Monin Honey Syrup
2 ounces hand shaken whipped cream

Dip rim of champagne flute into honey syrup and then into cinnamon sugar to rim the glass. Pour honey syrup, Prosecco and lambic into a shaker over ice. Stir with spoon 10 times. Strain into champagne flute. Top with 2 spoonfuls of whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon sugar.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Makes six toppings

4 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 dash vanilla

Pour all ingredients into shaker. Shake vigorously 25 times. Spoon 2 spoonfuls of whipped cream on top of cocktail. Refrigerate and reshake as needed.

Cocktail created by Morton’s Vice President Wine & Spirits, Tylor Field and Mixologist and Certified Sommelier, Sara Fasolino.

 

Share on FacebookEmail This
Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 10:32 am in Cincinnati, Cocktails | Permalink | Comments (4)

Contributing Authors

Wine-Girl.net Rating Scale

Recent Posts

Categories

Wine Competitions Wine Book Club (WBC) Wine Judging Reviews Readings Whiskey Watch France Weblogs Games Wine Clubs Books RIP Repost WBW #65 Wine Glossary Wine Maps TasteCamp Web/Tech Marketing Uncategorized Legislation Recipes Florida Recession Wine Meet the Winemaker Greatest Hits Holiday Drink Pink! (BCRF) Television Current Affairs Wine Shop Wednesday Photos Spirits Contests Scotch & Whiskey History Disney Wine Tech Food and Wine Pairings Mad Men Monday Guest Writers Pop Culture Food and Drink Wine Blogs Knowledge Entertainment Dinner and Drinks Life Charity Benefits News Beer-Guy.net Beer Special Events WBW Local Wineries Cocktails Wine Shops Restaurants Travel Wine Notes Wineries Wine Events Weekly Cincinnati Wine Events Wine Misc Local Tastings Cincinnati

Links That Make Us Happy

Sponsors


sponsors

WineGirl on Facebook

Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Fund

Raising money for a scholarship fund in memory of Michelle's little sister who passed away in 2007Click here for information on the Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Fund.


Winner, Best Cincinnati Weblog 2007

Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)

Ads from our kind sponsors …