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Oct 26

Sparkling Wine with Dinner

Tomorrow night, the Dilly Cafe (Dilly Deli) in Mariemont is hosting a wine dinner with sparkling wine vintners Domain Chandon. At last check, there were still about 8 seats left and at $65, the price is pretty reasonable.

Now, I’d be perfectly happy to only drink sparkling wine (including champagne, prosecco, cava, and others) for the rest of my life. It is my favorite type of wine, closely followed by pinot noir. But to get you in the mood for a sparkling wine dinner, I thought I’d talk a little about a seminar we took in Disney, with Moët & Chandon, Domaine Chandon’s parent company. Moët & Chandon, based in France, makes champagne. Domaine Chandon, in Napa, makes sparkling wine using the traditional champagne method. Only sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France can actually be called “champagne.” For our purposes, I’m just going to go with “bubbly.”

Our instructor was Seth Box, Director of Education for Moët & Chandon USA. One of the first things he did was to preemptively correct the class’s pronunciation. Despite the fact that folks everywhere pronounce it Mo-AY and Chandon, it’s actually Mo-ETT. That, folks, is what those two little dots mean over the e.

image from farm3.static.flickr.com
Champagne, and sparkling wine in the champagne method, can be made from three grapes: Pinot Noir gives the wine backbone and structure, Chardonnay lends elegance, and the Pinot Meunier picks up the slack as a workhorse grape. I find this interesting, as I really enjoy Pinot Meunier on its own. In fact, I think Domain Chandon might make one of the few Pinot Meunier-only wines available on our retail shelves.

Seth pretty much told us to just enjoy our samples while he talked
about Moët & Chandon and bubbly in general. I thought I’d touch on
some of the more interesting points he shared before I dive into our
review of the wines.

  • Why are bubbly hangovers so bad? It’s for one of two reasons: either you drank too much, in which case you probably earned your hangover, or your drank bad bubby. No kidding folks. Drink too many bottles of $5 Andre and you’re going to feel it for a reason. According to Seth, the cheaper bubblies are suffering from poor workmanship. The grapes are squeezed too hard, releasing histamines into the wine. The histamines are then fermented. It’s a sign. Drink. Better. Wine.
  • Store your bubbly upright. Kevin and I keep ours upright in our pantry, where it’s dark and there’s no vibration. But don’t store it too long. Seth commented that “It’s a British thing to sit on wine until you’re almost dead.” Most non vintage bubblies have aged at the winery and are ready to drink now.
  • There are ~250 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne. That’s a lot of bubbles folks. The cork can come out of the bottle at up to 65 miles per hour, due to the pressure built up behind the cork.

image from farm3.static.flickr.com On to the wines. We tried three, all Moët & Chandon Non-Vintage. I enjoyed all three, but definitely preferred the second glass.

Rosé (Brut): According to Seth, this pink wine was the best of our three for food pairing, because the contact with the red grape skins (thus the pink) lends a little bit of tannins to the wine. This wine had some strawberries, light cherries, and a good texture.

Michelle: Kevin

Imperial (Extra Dry): You might know this wine as White Star. Until recently, it was known world-over as Imperial, except in the US. They changed the name domestically so that you could order your favorite sparkler by the same name, no matter where you land. I’ve always been a fan of White Star, er, Imperial. It has more of the dry, bread-y flavors I prefer in a good bubbly, and it’s not very sweet.

Michelle & Kevin:

Nectar Imperial (Demi-Sec): This was by far the sweetest. I’m not a huge fan of sweet bubbly, so this one was my least favorite. I made a very unscientific observations at the Dessert & Champagne booth, however. I noticed this wine was being poured more frequently than the other bubblies and that it was almost always chosen by women. Seth noted that this wine pairs well with strong cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda, and chevre.

Michelle & Kevin:

image from farm3.static.flickr.com
The Dilly Cafe dinner (full menu) on Tuesday begins with a reception at 6:30 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Again, it’s a Domain Chandon wine dinner, which is located in Napa and owned by Moët & Chandon. In fact, Domaine Chandon has a special place in my heart as the first winery I ever visited in Napa, back in 2004. There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to begin that trip with some sparkling wine. I recommend you give Domaine Chandon a try as well. You can RSVP by calling 513.561.5233.

image from farm3.static.flickr.com

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 8:38 am in Dinner and Drinks, Disney, Knowledge, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (2)
Aug 19

Repost: At the Bar: McCormick & Schmick’s

Kevin and I are often downtown for shows and end up at different Happy Hours. So welcome to my new feature: At the Bar.
Recently, we were in
search of an affordable dinner and we ended up at McCormick &
Schmick's for their $1.95 Happy Hour.

Yes, you read that right. In the bar area only, McCormick &
Schmick's offers a $1.95 Happy Hour menu, available with the purchase
of two drinks per person. Don't roll your eyes – those drinks do not
have to be alcoholic. Yes, for the purchase of a coke and an iced tea,
you can have a giant $1.95 hamburger.

I absconded with a menu. The $1.95 munchies include a half pound
cheeseburger with cajun fries (also available as a cajun burger),
steamed mussels, beer battered fried mushrooms, fish tacos, and spinach
& artichoke dip. There is also a $3.95 menu that includes crab
& shrimp dip and fried calamari. I went with the gigantic 1/2-pound
burger, cooked to order, and Kevin chose the fish tacos. We also chose
the spinach & artichoke dip. The food is excellent, especially
considering the price.

They have several drinks on the Happy Hour menu. I tried a peach
apple sangria for $5.50, around the average price of their Happy Hour
martinis. Draft beer includes Blue Moon, Stella, and Guinness for
$5.75/glass. For those not as picky about their beer, Michelob Light is

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Posted by Michelle at 3:13 pm in Cincinnati, Dinner and Drinks, Restaurants | Permalink | Comments ()
Aug 13

Goddesses of the Harvest

There is a nifty wine dinner event coming up at the end of August called Goddesses of the Harvest. Organized by Amy Tobin of Amy's Table, the event showcases five local and extremely talented female culinarians: Chef Renee Schuler (Eat Well Celebrations and Feasts), Chef Julie Francis (Nectar), Chef
Anne Kearney (Rue Dumaine), and Chef Summer Genetti
(The Palace). To add to the excellent food, wine expert/Big Fish Farms owner Renee Koerner will
pair each course with wines from female winemakers (donated by
The Party Source).

Photo by Ryan Kurtz for The Party Source / Goddesses of the Harvest Ads

The dinner will take place at the newly renovated Krohn Conservatory on Friday, August 28. Cost is $75 and you can register online via The Party Source.

This is a great opportunity to enjoy samplings from some of our area's fantastic chefs, all in one gorgeous location.

Here's the menu:

Appetizer (Chef Renee Schuler): House Smoked Organic Salmon, Big
Fish Farms Caviar Vinaigrette accompanied by Summer Corn Custard &
Petite Herb Salad

Salad (Chef Julie Francis): Trio of Chilled Salads: Chick Pea and Eggplant with Harissa,
Soy braised Beet with Walnuts, Curried Okra

Entree (Chef Anne Kearney): Pinot Noir braised Veal Short Ribs served
atop locally grown and ground polenta with goat cheese topped with a
relish of roasted corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and edamame with summer

Dessert (Chef Summer Genetti): Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Cream Cheese Ice Cream with Black Peppered Hot Fudge Sauce

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Jul 15

Your Thursday Evening: The Palace & the Bacchanalian Society

There is sort of a perfect coalescence of events happening tomorrow night. So here's my recommendation on how to spend your evening.

Once you've gotten off work, head straight to The Cincinnatian. Once there, you've got two options:

  • You can enjoy their new Happy Hour at the classy Cricket Lounge. Every night from 4-7 pm you can choose from 1/2 price items on the rather impressive bar menu. Drink specials include $2.50 Draft Beers (including Bass and Christian Moerlein), 1/2 Price House Wines, $5 Specialty Cocktails, and daily food and drink specials.
  • Not up for Happy Hour? It's the third Thursday, so that means you can enjoy the Two for $60 option in the restaurant. (Make reservations first though.) You've heard me talk about these enough – you can get a multi-course meal for two plus a bottle of wine for $60 at the Palace. If you haven't gone yet, you should. It's a real bargain and the food is elegant and approachable.

So now that you've eaten, you're ready to drink a little. That's good, because the Bacchanalian Society is hosting their Summer Gathering at the lovely Union Terminal. Haven't been to a Bacchanalian Society event? Well, don't expect high-end wine, but do expect a lot of fun and the chance to meet a lot of new people. This time around, your team (up to 3 people) needs to bring 3 bottles of a French Red. Think Bordeaux, Burgundy, or just walk into Party Source's French aisle and grab the closest Red. 

Now, don't get your hopes up that there will be a lot of expensive wine there, even though it's French. A lot of folks will buy the cheapest wine possible and then drink to get drunk. The kind hosts and hostesses (of which I'm usually one) bill this as a wine tasting, though, so please take that into consideration. (Kevin and I are not hosting this time around, as we've been out of town so often that we've missed all the emails and such. Next time!)

There are, of course, rules to the game, which you can read after the jump.

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Jul 08

Guest Post: A Culinary Tour of St. Louis (or, where the locals eat)

While Kevin & I are in Alaska, we've asked some friends and
colleagues to post on their wine loves, wine experiences and more. For
this post we welcome Kara Christopher
, who has been a close friend for countless years.  Like me, Kara started blogging around the turn of the century. It's been a while! Kara lives in St. Louis and is, without a doubt, a foodie. She's also a foodie on a mission to get healthy, although you wouldn't know it from the culinary tour on which she's about to take you. St. Louis is a fun weekend trip – I've done it – and I highly recommend eating where the locals eat. Thanks Kara!

While Shel is away in the wilds of Alaska, allow me to take you on a brief culinary tour of St. Louis. These are some of my favorite places, not necessarily the ones you'd be told to visit if you were in town for a weekend. Until now, at least.

I should probably tell you who I am, though. I'm Kara & I've been blogging about life, knitting, and everything else for a little over 5 years at StarMonkeybrass.com. The name is a play on the Beastie Boys Brass Monkey & came about because I like monkeys. I am a knitter, music geek, graduate student in biostatistics, and I like to eat. When I travel, I don't want to eat at chains, at least not ones that I can also eat at in St. Louis.

So let's say you find yourself in St. Louis for a weekend and you'd like a little guidance on where to eat. If you happen to be driving up from the south, I'd recommend a stop at Dexter BBQ for lunch. There are several locations, but the one in Cape Girardeau is about a mile off the highway and probably the easiest to find. I heartily recommend the sammich with slaw on it. *Drool*

Best Fries EVER.

Once you get into town and settle in on Friday night, you're gonna be hungry. I'm sending you to the Highway 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen in Webster Groves. Let's be completely honest: you're here for the fries. The Roadhouse Fries. They are a masterpiece in the world of potato products: waffle fries covered in pulled pork, a creamy cheese sauce, applewood smoked bacon, and scallions. And this is just the appetizer. I can recommend the burgers & pulled pork as entrees if you're feeling traditional. I love a good burger & the folks in the kitchen definitely know how to make one. I'd also recommend going with a side other than the fries since you just gorged on the ones in the appetizer. For a side, I'm a fan of the sweet potato pie. As tempting as it is to order the banana pudding for dessert, don't do it. You'll get dessert in about 20 minutes.

Once you've recovered from the pork-tastic goodness at Roadhouse, head back to Southwest City and stop off at Ted Drewes. There are two locations, but the original is on Chippewa. It's legendary around here and a Friday night is going to be busy. But it's so worth it – I swear they have the best banana split in St. Louis, although the concretes are what most people go for. My favorites are the Hawaiian & the All Shook Up (peanut butter cups & bananas).

YIP 45.365 Ted Drewes

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Posted by Michelle at 8:30 am in Dinner and Drinks, Food and Drink, Guest Writers, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

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