Out here in Napa Valley, there’s a big weekend at the end of April called the Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) Open House Weekend featuring wines from the upper echelon Stag’s Leap District. V2V is out of my limited price range at the moment, but there is something in the press release that caught my eye.
The Stag’s Leap District Vintners are coming together to make a sangria.
Yeah, you heard that right. I often recommend a more low-end wine for sangria, because you’re just going to destroy it with brandy and fruit. But this time, 18 of the District’s high-end cabernet sauvignons will combine with local fruits and brandy to create … fruit punch. Really really extravagant fruit punch.
Here’s what the folks in the Stag’s Leap District have to say about their classier-than-average sangria:
“Everyone knows that we make some pretty remarkable wines here in the Stags Leap District, some of the best in the world,” said newly elected SLDW President, Elizabeth Vianna of Chimney Rock Winery. “What people don’t know is how much fun we have doing it. Our V2V weekend and our ‘Swanky Sangria’ are our way of showing the world the extraordinary sum of our parts as the fortunate beneficiaries of this District’s amazing terroir and eclectic personalities.”
Once again, the sangria is out of my price point, but I would dearly love to try some. Considering the cost of many of the bottles involved, the estimated value of the blend is $20/oz or a staggering $100 a glass. That better be some amazing sangria … and everyone better sip!
Out of your price point too? We’ve got some tasty sangria recipes right here on Wine-Girl.net that I promise won’t cost you $100/glass.
Greatest Hits: Make Your Own Sangria (Red, White, and Blush recipes)
February is shaping up to be a great time to be a beer drinker in the Cincinnati area. The weather’s cold and the nights are long, but there are an amazing number of events coming in the next few weeks. Here’s a quick rundown:
In a few weeks, it will be the inaugural celebration of Cincinnati Beer Week. An official site has popped up to try and track the various events around the city, but I recommend hopping over to the Hoperatives blog for their take on the latest information. Here are a few of the events about which I’m excited:
Thursday February 2
Party Town Local Breweries Backroom Brawl from 6:00 – 8:00pm
Party Town kicks off Cincinnati’s Inaugural Beer Week with a “Backroom Brawl” of only local craft brews featuring the “Cincinnati Beer Week Barleywine,” a collaboration between local brewers, and our 18 tap growler program voted “Best of 2011” by Cincinnati Magazine! Cost $2.00
Friday February 3
Arnold’s Bourbon Barrel 1861 Porter Happy Hour Tapping at 5pm
In honor of beer week Christian Moerlein has remixed a batch of the Arnold’s 1861 Porter. Arnold’s is already the only place that you could get the Porter, but for this special release, Christian Moerlein will be aging the same beer in a bourbon barrel.
Saturday February 4:
Cincinnati Brew Ha-Ha! from 07:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Cincy Brew Ha-Ha Winter Edition will bring all that has been enjoyed over the past 5 years indoors to the Cintas Center on Xavier University’s campus for its Winter Edition. This one-of-a-kind local event features top beers and top comedians creating the perfect recipe for a great time. From ales to lagers and pilsners to stouts, there is something for every type of beer aficionado – including 6 firkins! Cincy Brew Ha-Ha Winter Edition will feature over 80 selections of beer to sample and multiple comedians on 2 stages.
Additionally, there are a bunch of other events, including a 3 Floyds beer dinner at Tellers (2/8) and a selection of Left Hand beers on tap at the Hyde Park Cock and Bull (2/9) . This all leads up to the Cincinnati Winter Beer Festival on the 10th and 11th. Last year, this event was a great time and apparently it’s going to be even bigger this year. Click over to their site for more information and tickets.
On Feb 25, the Moerlein Lager house will be opening as part of the Banks, adding the first alternative to the Holy Grail, which opened last March. Tickets are $150 and the doors open at 6:30. More information can be found over on the Lager House official website.
I’m off to drink a Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere. That should help keep me sated until next month.
Although the temperature in Cincinnati has been all over the place, the first official day of winter is Thursday. If you haven’t already been partaking in seasonal brews, the time is now.
Fox News published a Best Holiday Brews article this week and it reminded me that these seasonal selections won’t be around forever. Although I don’t usually drink darker, heavier beers, they are great for warming you up on cold winter nights.
I have had – and do like – the top beer on this list: Great Lakes Brewing Co. Christmas Ale, a holiday beer brewed with honey and spiced with ginger and cinnamon. It’s medium-bodied, not too heavy, and a repeat World Beer Championship Gold Medal winner. My sister-in-law was nice enough to share her stash over Thanksgiving (Thanks, Laurie).
Not on this list, but a popular choice – Sierra Nevada Celebration. While Celebration tastes good for a change, I can’t drink many as it’s a very robust, rich ale. But it’s great for bringing along to your holiday parties and for toasting friends and family.
Do you have a favorite winter beer? Leave a comment here and let me know what you like and what I should try before they all disappear.
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.
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.
A quick post on one of our almost local breweries: Schlafly of St. Louis. Michelle and I had the chance to stop in here on our way through Missouri and enjoyed the visit. On tap were two cask conditioned alternate versions of the 80/- (80 Schilling) and the Golden Ale.
I sat down with the cask conditioned 80 schilling. Cask conditioning allows a secondary fermentation to occur within the storage container. In this case it added an extra layer of smokiness that I usually don’t find in the normal Schlafly offering. AbV was in line at 4.7 to create a very enjoyable drink.
I also tried a small sample of the Pumpkin Ale from draft and found a pumpkin-pie flavor along with a very noticeable sweetness. This was pumpkin pie filling with a touch of whipped cream. The 8% alcohol was not apparent.
The food was also impressive. I had a pulled pork sandwich along with a side of the Beer Cheese soup. Michelle had a ham and egg sandwich. We could have easily split either entree between the two of us. The portions were generous and the food itself was well prepared and matched the beer.
Overall, I would give a to the Schlafly brewery experience. We did not have time to take the tour at the Bottleworks location, but if any readers have been on that tour, let us know in the comments. For anyone visiting the St. Louis area, I recommend a quick stop by the brewery to split a meal and try something from their large selection.
You can always follow me on Untappd to see what I am enjoying.
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