Oh my goodness!
Earlier this spring, there was a “brute force attack” on WordPress sites all over the web, including this one. It took us down. In fact, it went in and modified some things that I’m still trying to fix.
But finally, after 6 or so weeks of my fighting with WordPress, code, and my hosting company – the site is back!
Cresta, Angela, Kevin and I will get back to posting as soon as possible – and that includes some belated Mad Men posts.
Hooray! Time for a glass of wine to celebrate …
The Cincinnati International Wine Festival is upon us for the 23rd year! This Friday and Saturday, the grand tasting will be held at the convention center in downtown Cincinnati.
I will be posting as early as I can on Friday afternoon the highlights from the afternoon tasting, especially the surprises that I find. Every year my goal is to find something unexpected, unusual, or interesting. With 133 booths and a few hundred wines, I have never failed in this goal.
Tickets are still available for both Friday and Saturday nights and the list of wines seems both extensive and exciting. While it always nice to see a few favorite importers like Terry Theise(booth 11), Vintner Select(booth 14), Cutting Edge Selections(booth 32 thru 34) and many wineries from years past, for different reasons: Charles Smith/K Vinters (booth 4) from my wine bloggers conference in Walla Walla), Cline Cellars(booth 51) my first wine club, Henke Winery (booth 125) for teaching me that Norton can have a level of depth and quality, Veleta Wines (booth 56) for helping me learn that the story behind the wine helps to explain the taste, JAQK Cellars (booth 98) for beign able to highlight how different approaches to the a grape can have a very different taste in the bottle, and there is also a place for Bully Hill (booth 39) which was my first every winery experience in the Finger Lakes. I think that is some of the power of the taste of wine is that is can transport us back to a different time and place where we first got caught up in trying to learn as much as we could.
I’m also excited to try a few new things this year, a 2011 Chilean Pedro Ximenez (booth 2), Sivas Sonoma (booth 21) a new winery for me, the Italian selections from Dalla Terra (booth 48), hoping there might be a bottle of Pinot Meunier somewhere at a booth.
Beyond just my excitement, we always like to publish a few ways to get the most out of the overall experience. Here is our annual post of tips and tricks compiled from our and other blogger’s experiences on how to best survive this festival:
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 our tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:
I started this blog almost 8 years ago because I loved wine, I loved writing, and I wanted to share with the world. Much to my surprise, the world actually gave a damn for a while.
Life has changed a lot for me in the last decade – particularly in the last 2 years. For those of you who don’t know, I’m now living in the San Francisco area. Turns out, I picked one of the most expensive areas in the country, so there’s been a lot adjustment to the new price tag of life. A lot of other things in my life are changing too and I haven’t paid as much attention to this blog as I should.
Thankfully, Cresta and Angela have really picked up the slack. Both based in the Cincinnati area, they make sure you’re getting reviews and event notifications of great things happening back in my hometown. For me, this is still a regional blog and Cresta and Angela are the heart of that.
In the midst of upheaval, I’ve still had some great experiences in the last couple of years. I tried some great wine. I went to Paris and Bordeaux. I passed the level 1 sommelier exam. These are all things I should write about.
Maybe because of the other changes in my life, I’ve been suffering the world’s largest case of writer’s block. I used to love writing. Now, I have an experience (such as Bordeaux) and I truly want to share it with you. But not in writing. The idea of sitting down at the computer (I almost said “typewriter”) and pounding out a blog post seems unappealing to me. It seems like work, and not something I love to do. I look at other wine bloggers, especially the ones who, like me, have been in this game since the beginning, and I’m amazed at their continued tenacity and passion. I’m jealous.
You’re my readers. You are exceptionally loyal. You’ve welcomed my reduced presence and my great new team with open arms. I can’t thank you enough for that. I ask you, the readers (and for that matter, you PR folks out there too), to have just a little more patience with me. I’m trying to find a way to either make writing fun again or find some alternative means of using this blog to share my wine experiences. I’m open to suggestions.
Wishing you all a happy, safe, and wine-filled holiday,
Hart Davis Hart, America’s largest wine auction house, conducted a highly successful auction over the weekend devoted exclusively to the wines of Château Lafite-Rothschild. The sale comprised the largest selection of Lafite ever offered at auction and was 100% sold, realizing $5.8 million in sales against a pre-sale auction estimate of $4.3m-$6.5m. Bidders participated from 22 states as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Five of the top ten invoices of the day went to Asian buyers.
The celebrated 1982 vintage brought in $1.39 million over 39 lots and achieved the highest hammer prices of the sale; the top lots of the day were two full cases of this vintage (est. $40,000-$60,000), fetching $59,750 each. Other acclaimed vintages posted strong results as well, with several cases of the 100-point 1996 vintage bringing $23,900 (estimate $16,000-$24,000), and a case of the 1995 commanding $19,120 (est. $10,000-$15,000). Prices for 15 of 20 comparable vintages rose from the strong levels achieved in Hart Davis Hart’s most recent previous auction, held at the end of January. In total, prices for Lafite rose 4% sale to sale. Both the 1998 and 1999 vintages rose more than 14% while the 1982 vintage fell slightly by 4.7%.The average price achieved per lot across the entire auction was an astounding $14,789.
Bidders in attendance at Chicago’s award-winning restaurant TRU enjoyed tastings of several vintages of Lafite paired with specially-created dishes from Executive Chef Anthony Martin. Multiple vintages were poured from magnum format, making the day “a complete celebration of the legendary wines of Château Lafite,” as Vice-Chairman Michael Davis noted.
Hart Davis Hart will be donating 3% of the buyer’s premium from The Lafite Auction to Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund and many of the consignors in the auction will provide matching donations. Hart Davis Hart will raise more than $30,000 which will be used to directly support victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
“The recent devastation in Japan has been weighing heavily on our minds, especially since many of our clients were directly impacted. We were thrilled to get such a great response in support of this effort from both our buyers and consignors,” said Chairman John Hart.
Top Lots (inclusive of 19.5% buyer’s premium):
Lots 275-276: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs)
(est. $40,000-60,000) $59,750
Lots 1-3, 114-115, 142, 196: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs) (est. $40,000-60,000) $57,360
Lot 116: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (3 dbl mags)
(est. $38,000-55,000) $53,775
Lots 27, 117: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (1 imp)
(est. $26,000-38,000) $41,825
Lots 11-12: 2000 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs)
(est. $26,000-38,000) $38,240
Lot 7: 1996 Château Lafite Rothschild (12bs)
(est. $16,000-24,000) $28,860
Lot 48: 1995 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs)
(est. $10,000-15,000) $19,120
Percent sold by lot: 100%
Total Aggregate: $5,887,526
Low Pre-Sale Estimate: $4,337,250
High Pre-Sale Estimate: $6,483,700
No, not me. I’m staying right here in Cincinnati, with an occasional jaunt elsewhere. But we are losing one of my favorite sommeliers in the area.
Bretton Lammi, sommelier at Eddie Merlot’s, is heading to Las Vegas at the end of the month. Bretton is amazingly knowledgeable about wine and I just know he’ll be fabulous as the Head Sommelier at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel on the Strip in Las Vegas. The Cosmopolitan opens on December 15, so Bretton is busy packing up his life right now to transport it across the country. But he’ll still be at Eddie Merlot’s until October 22, so go sample their great wine list while he’s still in town.
Bretton will be busy at The Cosmopolitan. It looks like the hotel-casino will be home to 12 restaurants, of which one is D.O.C.G., a wine bar focusing on Italian cuisine and wines. There are also four bars and lounges in The Cosmopolitan, two of which really appeal to me. The Chandelier apparently has three different bars within its borders, each with a slightly different (yet classy) theme, and Vesper is apparently a place for vintage cocktails. Yum. Those are just the named bars. Being a Vegas casino, I can only assume that there are a multitude of smaller bar locations spread across the casino floor.
I’m heading to Las Vegas in January for CES. While I can’t afford to stay at Bretton’s amazing new hotel, I will certainly find time to grab a drink and say hello. Cheers, Bretton … congratulations and best of luck! We’ll miss you here in Cincinnati!
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