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Nov 09

For Historian Beer Drinkers, Beer Drinkers, and Historians

By Angela

Last night I went on the Queen City Under Ground Tour from American Legacy Tours and I was amazed. I’ve been on at least three of their tours and every time I go I learn something new about the greater Cincinnati area. This tour was focused on the Over the Rhine area where there were over 163 saloons, beer gardens, theatres, and breweries were on Vine St. in the late 1800s. The breweries would store and make their beer underground the buildings in these huge tunnels/rooms (the rooms are the sub and sub-sub basements). Some of the tunnels/rooms I was standing in were at least 20 feet high, it was amazing. They had tunnels that were underneath the streets that go in between the barreling and bottling buildings and onto other buildings.

Pictured: One of the tunnels underneath the Guild Haus on Vine Street. This was one of the barrel tunnels underneath the Barreling room.

Did you know that Cincinnati drank over two and a half times more beer than the national limit in the late 1800s? That’s a lot of beer! Besides seeing the underground breweries and historical buildings we saw where the new Christian Moerlein brewery will be located. There was a tunnel that was boarded up from the one building that led into the Christian Moerlein brewery but we didn’t get to see that tunnel. The future home of the Christian Moerlein Brewery was once the Malt and Lager house of the Kaufman Brewery that was one of the breweries during the late 1800s.  Christian Moerlein Brewery was the only Cincinnati beer from that time that was exported internationally.

The tour was a great history lesson and shows how much Over the Rhine have developed in the last decade.  Please note that the tour is a walking tour and to get to the tunnels you will have to go down a few flights of steps. The tour runs till the end of November every Saturday and Sunday. Please check their website for more information.

 

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Angela at 12:32 pm in Beer, Cincinnati, Entertainment, History, Local | Permalink | Comments (2)
Sep 20

Mollydooker Wine Event Was Sooo Much Fun

By: Cresta

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Mollydooker Blending and Wine Making Celebration on behalf of wine-girl.net. The event, which took place at Morton’s The Steakhouse Cincinnati, featured Sparky Marquis, award-winning winemaker and owner of Mollydooker Wines.

Cresta and Sparky Marquis

Before I get too far, Mollydooker is Aussie for left-hander. Both Sparky and wife, Sarah, are left-handed. The husband-and-wife team established Mollydooker in 2005 and they’ve won many awards for their wines since.

This event was entertaining and educational. We were first greeted with a tasting of Mollydooker’s only white wine, The Violinist, made from the Verdelho grape. We all learned later in the evening that it was Sparky’s mum, Janet, who greeted us with the wine! We munched on Miniature Crab Cakes and Blue Cheese Tenderloin Crostini, and Sparky came in to welcome us and chat for a while.

We were then led to another banquet room with assigned seating. There a personable and extremely entertaining Sparky told us the story behind Mollydooker. He also demonstrated the Mollydooker Shake – the best way to prepare and enjoy most Mollydooker wines. The vigorous shaking of the wine bottle releases nitrogen, which allows these young wines to show their full, creamy flavor profile.

Then it was time for the interactive part of the evening. We were paired up and challenged to create our own blend of wine. Each pair designed very different flavors using three Mollydooker Lefty Wines: a Merlot called The Scooter; The Maitre D’, a classic Aussie Cabernet; and a Shiraz called The Boxer. Each table voted on the four creations and my team’s blend was the ultimate favorite! Funny thing is Mollydooker makes a blend with the perfect combination of these three wines called Two Left Feet.

Finally, we tasted Mollydooker’s Party Wines, including Gigglepot, a Cabernet Sauvignon named after the Marquis’ daughter, Holly; and Blue Eyed Boy, a Shiraz named after their son, Luke. We also tried the Love Wines: Enchanted Path, a Shiraz/Cab; Carnival of Love, a Shiraz; and the fabulous Velvet Glove.  Many thanks to the event organizers for comping my ticket.

Some fun Mollydooker facts:

- All Mollydooker bottles are screw caps so that no wines ever experience cork taint.

- Bottles include a Wine Find tear off tab on the back label so you always remember the name of the wine you just drank.

- Sarah is the inspiration behind all the labels. Each label tells a story about some aspect of Sparky and Sarah’s lives.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
May 11

MicroWines Changes its Business Model

I got an email this morning that grabbed my attention. Microwines in Kenwood, a wine shop known for its open tasting table and its often unique selection of wines, is making some drastic changes. They will be open “most” Saturdays from 12-5 pm and by appointment only. They will also be increasing their internet ordering, which means they’re “increasing communication”  - more email! (Just what I wanted … I’m three months behind as it is.)

I could speculate on why they are making this drastic change – we all could – but I don’t know the real reasons. Here is their letter, as received in my own inbox:

microWINES is updating its model!  For the past six years, microWINES has been delivering cutting edge wine retailing, entertainment and educational experiences in a unique setting.  Our global portfolio of small production wines from around the world is well selected and much appreciated by all our loyal customers.  Like most retailing today, many of our customers now call in orders, browse our web site and e-mail orders for ultimate delivery, and follow us on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites.  microWINES will seek to enhance these methods of reaching our customers to further improve your wine acquisition experience.  We will retain physical store hours at our unique wine lifestyle venue (7292 Kenwood Road Cincinnati 45236), but on a limited basis (most Saturdays 12 – 5 and by appointment).  This will allow our customers to continue to choose an unequaled in store experience and take advantage of our ability to host the most unique wine themed events in Cincinnati.  We will increase communication with you regarding great new wine discoveries and planned events via electronic communication.  I have personally studied and developed a passion for wine over the past 25 years and I very much look forward to enhancing your education and enjoyment of wine in the years to come.  Please look for further updates on: www.microwines.com and please send us your wine stories, interests, buying requests and event interests: info@microwines.com

Come in this Saturday (May 14th 12 - 5) to discuss our new concept with the owner!

Thank you for your continued loyalty and interest in microWINES!

All the best,

Paul Jantsch

Owner – microWINES

 

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 7:59 am in Cincinnati, Wine Shops | Permalink | Comments (8)
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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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:57 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local Wineries, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (11)
Mar 09

Wine-Girl’s Annual Wine Festival Survival Guide

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 at last year’s festival.

These tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered.

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. This year you’ll find Kevin & I enjoying the Friday night session only.
  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, and the St. Patrick’s Day parade and festivities fall on Saturday. 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!
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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:03 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (23)

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