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Aug 18

Harmony Hill Comes Downtown

This is one of the strangest combinations I’ve come across. Harmony Hill Vineyards is coming to the Mainstay Rock Bar downtown. I know Harmony Hill does the music thing, but hmm …. Regardless of how strange I think the combination, I’m certainly going to be there. After all, the most important thing about this event is that the wine from out in Bethel will be exposed to folks in downtown Cincinnati. I’m all for that!

The event costs $20 and includes a wine tasting (flight I assume) from Harmony Hill and a chance to meet and greet with the winemaker, Bill Skvarla. Bill is an absolute hoot, and explains the science behind wine better than anyone I’ve met. So take this closer-to-home chance to meet him. Your $20 also gets you a selection of paired appetizers prepared by Mainstay.

Come to the party on Thursday, September 16, from 6-8 pm. Mainstay is located on the corner of 5th and Plum, at 301 West 5th Street. Tickets are available at the door.

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Posted by Michelle at 2:38 pm in Local, Local Wineries, Meet the Winemaker, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (2)
Aug 06

Rabbit Hash and Wine … and a Dog

What? Sort of a weird combination isn’t it?

A couple of weeks back, I had my first visit to Rabbit Hash on the back of a friend’s bike as we rode in the 2nd Annual Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Poker Run. I fell in love with the place … of course, a hundred Harleys everywhere helped a bit with the ambiance.

If you haven’t been to Rabbit Hash, it’s hard to explain. It’s small, old-timey, full of character, and apparently home to a rather liberal-walk-around-the-street alcohol policy. Everyone was friendly. There was a cop stationed on the porch of the General Store, but we figure he was there to combat stupidity (don’t go falling into the river) as opposed to breaking up fights. I know they occasionally have rockabilly concerts at the store as well. In Rabbit Hash you can generally get burgers, hot dogs, beer, and now … wine.

I had noticed where the wine shop was going to open. I mean, there are only about 4 or 5 buildings, so it wasn’t hard to miss. The stairs leading up to the second floor shop read off different types of wines, including fruit wines. When I found out today that Curtis Sigretto of Elk Creek was opening the shop, I wasn’t surprised. Elk Creek is actually the perfect winery for that spot. Why? They offer more than just vinifera. By offering the fruit wines, they’ll appeal to a wider base of consumer.

Now, almost everyone around here has heard of Rabbit Hash (I’m pretty sure they’ve got a large marketing budget) and of course, they’re famous for their mayor. Elected in 2008, the current mayor is an adorable red and white border collie named Lucy Lou. It looks like Elk Creek is going to bottle several special editions of their wines with the dog on the label – yep, the Rabbit Hash branded wines will be called Mayor’s Select.

According to Cincinnati.com, the new wines aren’t all ready yet, but will be soon. The store itself opened July 25. The article goes on to quote Curtis as having some big plans,

There are plans to have a Rabbit Hash wine club and there is talk about having a Rabbit Hash wine festival, according to Sigretto.

“The Rabbit Hash wine festival will feature and celebrate Kentucky grown grapes and the processing of Kentucky owned vineyards and wineries,” Clare said.

Store hours are 11-7 pm, Thursday through Sunday, and hours may change for special events.

Editor’s Note: Elk Creek Winery is a frequent advertiser on this blog. At the time of this publication, they are not running an ad. In the interest of full disclosure, they have also been a past social marketing client of mine, although not for several months. I generally try to avoid writing articles that involve my advertisers or clients.  This is, however, news and not a review, and the dog is cute.

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Posted by Michelle at 7:39 am in Cincinnati, Local, Local Wineries | Permalink | Comments (1)
Jul 09

Wine and Beer Event – brought to you by Wine-Girl and Hoperatives

We’re having all sorts of events in July. The first one I want to tell you about is a wine and beer event at the Dilly Cafè. That’s right – it’s beer and wine lovers. You simply cannot go wrong.

We here at Wine-Girl are collaborating with our good friends the Hoperatives to bring you a beer-wine-cheese tasting at Dilly Cafè on Tuesday, July 27th at 6:30 pm. The tasting will be led by the Goose Girl herself, Lindsey Shafer of Goose Island Brewery. The cost is only $20.00 and the number of participants is limited to 30. There will be a waiting list if necessary. Call Dilly to make your reservations (513.561.5233).  We were planning today and already people were calling – so give a call to Dilly ASAP.

Working with Chuck and Chef Eric at Dilly and Lindsay from Goose Island, we’ve managed to put together a tentative list of pairings, although keep in mind that it is subject to a little bit of change.

  1. Welcome drink: Sparkling wine
  2. Cheese: Chevre  Beer: Goose Island 312 Wine Type: Sancerre
  3. Cheese: Triple Creme Brie Beer: Goose Island Sofie Wine Type: Champagne
  4. Cheese: Feta Beer: Goose Island Demolition Wine Type: Alsatian Reisling
  5. Cheese: Washed Rind  Beer: Goose Island Matilda Wine Type: Grenache Rosè
  6. Chocolate: Bitter, dark (80-85% cacao)  Beer: Goose Island Pere Jacques Wine: Southern Bell Shiraz

Just to recap:

Tuesday, July 27th
6:30 pm
Dilly Cafè, 6818 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, OH 45227
only $20.00
RSVP (please!) ASAP at 513.561.5233

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May 28

Choice Treats on Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is pretty much synonymous with food and wine for us here at My Wine Education. It means two things: Taste of Cincinnati and opening weekend for the local wineries.

Taste of Cincinnati is the longest running culinary festival in the US. How about that? 32 years! Every year, Kevin and I go and the menu for us is pretty straight forward. I pretty much eat crepes and cheesecake and cream puffs … every dessert I can find. Kevin tries every BBQ he can find. We usually drink some Moerlein and Great Lakes beer and we have wonderful food-filled day.

Kevin and I are usually there on Sunday or Monday, as I can’t handle the crowds on Saturday. It’s generally hot, so we bring water and stay hydrated all day. No passing out down on Fifth Street!

You’ll find all the information you need about Taste at their web site – they even have a Twitter account!

On Saturday, instead of fighting crowds downtown, we’ll be enjoying a leisurely drive out to both Kinkead Ridge and Harmony Hill. Both wineries, as well as La Vigna Estate, open for the summer this weekend. However, while La Vigna and Harmony Hill will be open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer, Kinkead Ridge is open only this Saturday and Monday. If you want some Viognier-Roussane (I do!), get it now and get it early. It’s in limited supply.

If you want to spend the day lazily going from winery to winery, I recommend this route, starting in Ripley and ending in Bethel: Kinkead Ridge, Meranda-Nixon, La Vigna Estate, and ending at Harmony Hill. If you can, stop and pick up some munchies and sit out on the Harmony Hill patio with  glass of wine, listening to the music.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. And remember, if you’ve had too much to drink – just call the FETCH taxi service at 513.35.FETCH.

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Apr 05

Jameson Tasting at Arnolds

Last week, Michelle and I went to Arnold’s Bar and Grill, one of my favorite places in Cincinnati for spaghetti and meatballs, for a tasting of Jameson with Gerry Murray, the U.S. East Coast Jameson Ambassador. The atmosphere was overly social with a few great stories from Gerry to keep the tasting moving along.

We learned that all Jameson is triple pot distilled and will age in a combination of barrels that previously contained sherry or bourbon. The percentage of each as well as the age are what lend to the different flavors and colors.

Over the course of our hour long conversation, we tried 4 whiskey samples:

Jameson: 5-7 year old whiskey with 90% from bourbon barrels and 10% from sherry. A very nice toasted oak flavor with hints of orange and vanilla. Both Michelle and I enjoyed this one and surprisingly, it was Michelle’s favorite. The bourbon barrel seemed to impart a lower acidity than the other options and this was a nice smooth flavor similar to the bourbon we have at home. Gerry was coy on letting us know which distillery provided the barrels.

Jameson 12: 12 -15 year old whiskey with 75% coming from bourbon barrels. The tartness was higher on this one providing a slightly longer finish and a more abrupt mouth feel. Smokeless fuel is used to roast the barley which is one way that Irish whiskey differs from most Scotches. Overall, this one had a more present crispness.

Kevin: Michelle:

Jameson Gold Reserve: 14 – 20 year old whiskey with an added twist. This adds in a small percentage of whiskey aged in virgin American white oak. This adds a creaminess to the initial taste while maintaining very strong honey and vanilla flavors. The end has a little bit of pepper. This was my favorite of the night.

Kevin:  Michelle: 

Jameson 18: A flip of percentages from the first one: 75% 18 year old sherry aged and 25% 20 year old bourbon barrel aged. This one had a very heavy grassy flavor along side apricots and toffee. The finish was a bit much for Michelle, but I found it well rounded with the intensity of the rest of the flavors.

Kevin: Michelle:

A few of the interesting things that I learned were that Michelle likes a whiskey that has been aged primarily in bourbon barrels without smokiness in the roasting of the grain. I think that was one of the reasons she preferred the earlier samples we tried. I enjoyed the whole range and appreciated the differences that were apparent in the different selections. Our current bar has a bottle each of Redbreast and Powers, but Jameson has earned a place as well at any of the levels.

Don’t forget, in addition to liking Jameson on Facebook, you can also now follow My Wine Education as well.

Let me know other thoughts on Jameson or other Irish whiskeys in the comments.  Here’s the rather popular “Lost Barrel” commercial for Jameson as well:

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