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Oct 18

Epcot Wine & Food Festival: Reporting Live (2)

It’s Michelle, “reporting live” from Epcot Barcelona. It’s worth noting that the Wine & Food Festival is focusing on cities this year instead of countries.

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Posted by Michelle at 7:00 am in Disney, Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 17

Epcot Wine & Food Festival: Reporting Live

Kevin “reporting live” from Epcot Japan:

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Posted by Michelle at 7:00 am in Disney, Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Oct 15

Disney’s Wine & Food Festival

image from farm3.static.flickr.comI've heard people make fun of this, but until you attend, well … let's just say that when Disney decides to do something, they tend to make it first-class. 

We're out of town this weekend, heading to Walt Disney World in Orlando. This will be our third outing to the Epcot Wine & Food Festival. Epcot is never overly popular with the kids, but during the Food &
Wine Fest, there seem to be substantially fewer kids in the evenings.

We previously attended in 2005, when we discovered it by accident, and 2006, when we planned the entire trip. In fact, in 2006, we were able to take an 8-hour course on Spanish wine from Master Sommelier & Master of Wine Doug Frost. We also attended an amazing dinner party called The Party of the Senses.

Apparently we had more disposable income in 2006, because those particular items are not in our budget right now. That's okay though, because the Wine & Food Festival is an amazing experience even without the extras.

image from farm1.static.flickr.com
Imagine the familiar setup of the Epcot World Showcase. Now add in several extra countries and line the entire lake rim with kiosks from the existing and extra countries. Each of those kiosks basically offers tapas-like options from each country, as well as wine and/or beer from that country. Kevin and I tend to eat our way around the world several times.

image from farm3.static.flickr.com Many of the kiosks also have extensive learning. In the past, there have been free beer and Twinings tea seminars and a walk-through of Australian wine country. This year I know there is a special area for New York (Long Island and Finger Lakes) wine country. 

The Epcot Welcome Center is transformed into a wine bar and classroom. For $8/session, you can take any number of extensive seminars on wine and cooking from winemakers, Master Sommeliers, and well-known chefs. Curious? Download the Program Guide (pdf).

We've got reservations and such each night. We were originally supposed to take this trip with the Hoperatives, but a family emergency has unfortunately forced them to cancel. Without our friends along, we may skip a few reservations. However, we will most likely be tasting some beer at Big River on Thursday night, followed by dinner at Irish Raglan Road in Downtown Disney. Saturday afternoon we will definitely be enjoying a tequila tasting at the new Tequila Bar (La Cava del Tequila) in Epcot Mexico. Sunday we'll probably go to my other favorite theme park in Disney: Animal Kingdom. Other than that, we're playing it by ear.

The Epcot Wine & Food Festival runs every day through November 8.

It's worth mentioning that, despite the fact we have no kids, I am a giant Disney freak. I love Disney. Combining Disney with an excellent food & wine festival? I'll be quite happy indeed.

Curious about the food we'll be munching on as we eat our way around the Epcot World? The menu is after the jump. Also after the jump, a slideshow of our last couple visits to Epcot:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Michelle at 9:35 am in Disney, Travel, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (5)
Jul 10

Guest Post: When You Wish Upon a Grape: Disney-Related Wines

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 Tom Streeter and Carla Gesell-Streeter
, who are dear friends and like me, they are fellow Disney addicts. Tom & Carla run the popular blog Hoperatives.com, a
Cincinnati based beer blog aimed at Believers in Better Beer (In Cincinnati
and Beyond), but they love wine too. Thanks Tom & Carla – and happy anniversary!


love Disney and we love wine (almost as much as beer).  For the longest time, we’ve been
wanting to have friends over for a themed wine tasting.  There are three great Disney-related
wines out there. All are from California, appropriately enough, though each is
produced in a different part of the state.  These wines are frequently featured at restaurants at Walt
Disney World, Disneyland and on the Disney Cruise ships and most are also
available in the Cincinnati area.

Silverado Vineyards:
Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, California

Image Credit: Joe Shiabotnick

by Diane Disney Miller (Walt’s daughter) and her husband Ron Miller (former
president and CEO of Walt Disney Productions), Silverado was established in
1981. The Millers purchased
existing vineyards and originally intended only to grow grapes, but decided to
build their own winery a few years after purchasing the land. The winery was
designed by architect Dick Keith and is reminiscent of the old California mission-style
structures found in the area. The
name comes from a nearby abandoned silver mine.

Current winemaker Jonathan Emmerich produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon,
and some special limited reserve wines. 
Prices begin at about $20.00 a bottle.

Fess Parker Winery: Los
Olivos, California

Image Credit: Spencer Cross

Fess Parker was an actor who is famous for playing the original Disney Davy Crockett. (He also starred in Old Yeller.) Fess Parker is no longer westerns and coonskin caps, however. His name is increasingly associated more with his wines. Much like the Millers of Silverado, Fess Parker and his family originally
intended only to have a small vineyard and source grapes to local producers. They quickly added not only a winery,
but also an inn. Son Eli Parker
started as an assistant winemaker, moved into the position of winemaker in 1995,
and now serves as President. Daughter Ashley Parker Snider started running the tastings and now handles the public relations, marketing and
sales.  Blair Fox is the current
head winemaker.

Fess Parker produces produces Reisling, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir,
Syrah as well as several red table wines. Prices start at about $12.00 a

MacMurray Ranch: Russian
River Valley of Sonoma County, California

Photo from winery web site

playing everyone’s favorite dad on My Three Sons, actor Fred MacMurray starred in several
Disney live action films including The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded
, and The Happiest Millionaire.  In 1941, the actor purchased land near Healdsburg, which became MacMurray Ranch, from descendants of the tract’s original 1846

Susan Doyle has been the MacMurray Ranch winemaker for more than fifteen
harvests.  The MacMurray vineyards
specialize in Pinot grapes so the wines produced are Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.  Prices start at about $18.00 a bottle.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:30 am in Disney, Guest Writers, Wineries | Permalink | Comments (2)
Jul 09

S is for Summer – and Spain, Sherry, Saurus and Schroeder (and Wine Blogging Wednesday!)

S is for Wine Blogging Wednesday.

That’s the fun theme for this month’s group outing, brought to you by the fun folks at Grape Juice and the Letter S.

We started a little early, on Monday night, with some Sherry from Spain, and finished up on Tuesday evening with a Saurus Malbec from Familia Schroeder, paired with some Steak for good measure.

Bodega Familia Schroeder Saurus Malbec, Patagonia Select, 2004
San Patricio del Chanar, Neuquen, Argentina, Retail $17

We bought this wine in Walt Disney World. We were at the EPCOT Wine & Food Festival (a purely adult entertainment by the way) in November 2006. We had attended the Festival of the Senses, which is an amazing Disney adult party surrounded on all sides – and in the middle – by Cirque du Soleil. It was wonderful and odd in my memory. I met the winemaker for Bodega Familia Schroeder. At some point, I was assured that I couldn’t possibly buy this wine in Kentucky, which explains why I paid most likely too much at the EPCOT Festival Wine Store. I bet it’s cheaper than $17 in Ohio, but maybe not. It’s a damn good wine.

It was a weird and wonderful night, that night at the Festival of the Senses. But I remember the winemaker telling me that when the winery was built, they unearthed the fossils of one of the largest dinosaurs on earth. Obviously, this inspired the name of their wines – Saurus. Of course, I add in a Disney element and picture a big happy dinosaur, a la Land Before Time, toting around a bottle of wine. When I heard "Sponsored by the Letter S" for this WBW outing this Saurus wine came to my mind before any other.

This wine was handpicked, and 40% of the juice spent its time in French oak for 12 mos before blending in with the rest. It paid off. The wine is smoky, without a lot of overpowering oak. That said, it’s still a very new world style wine, with big fruit and big alcohol.

I have a built-in hot "high-alcohol" detector. Over 12% and I usually don’t like the wines. However, most of those wines are poorly balanced. This particular wine came in at 14% and while I felt the alcohol’s effect, I certainly didn’t feel the wine was hot or unbalanced. The wine also brought in a large amount of plum, berry, and spice, complimented by leather.

We enjoyed this wine with a very tradition Steak dinner, seasoned simply with Salt, pepper, and garlic, as well as your traditional Steak dinner sides. The Steak brought out the fruit in the wine and the wine brought out the simple seaonsing in the Steak. It was a simple but perfect pairing. Our rating for this wine:

Bodegas Pedro Romero Cream Sherry
Full Sweet, DO Jerez

I love Sherry. I think it’s because it’s fortified, and it reminds me so much of brandy. I love brandy. So you see the connection. This particular Sherry we happened to have sitting around. I think we might have picked it up at Bigg’s or Kroger. In other words, it’s a run-of-the-mill Sherry that’s easy to find. That said, you can’t always discount run of the mill. It’s a nice, easy drinking Sherry, although like any of its kind, it’s high in alcohol, coming in at 18% AbV. Eat before you drink this wine – save this Sherry for dessert.

The Pedro Romero Cream Sherry has nice flavors of caramel and raisins, with what I like to call burnt marshmallows on the nose. I like burnt marshmallows, so don’t read anything negative into that. We give the Sherry a because it’s a common bottle, but it’s still easy to enjoy.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:06 am in Disney, Tastings, WBW, Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments (3)

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