If you haven’t purchased your wine festival tickets yet, head on over to Winefestival.com. The Cincinnati Wine Festival is one of the best in the nation and draws high-end distributors and winemakers. You shouldn’t miss it.
Additionally, the Wine Festival organizers have put the wine tasting floor plan online for you to download. It’s a bit hard to find on their site, but you can download it through this link.
Dilly Cafe is having its own series of events starting this Saturday, where you can meet 3 winemakers in 9 days. For more information, visit their web site or call 513.561.5233.
Saturday, March 3, Free tasting with McNab Ridge Winery and Owner/Winemaker Rich Parducci
1:00 to 4:00 pm, $10 per person
No reservation needed
Thursday, March 8, 6:30 pm
Winery dinner with Austria’s Höpler Winery and Owner/Winemaker Christof Höpler
$40 per person, all inclusive
Sunday, March 11, 11 am
Winemaker’s Brunch with Graziano Family of Wines and Owner/Winemaker Gregory Graziano$50 per person, all inclusive
Not all of the Wine Festival sponsored winery dinners are sold out just yet, and this year five of the dinners are featuring Vintner Select, which is a local and excellent wine distributor. In attendance at each of the dinners to talk about the highlighted wines will be a special guest from the winery or specific wine portfolio (Spain or Italy), as well as a Vintner Select representative. All of the dinners start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at different restaurants around the city. Ticket prices range from $125 to $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations for each dinner are required. For more information on the menus and to make reservations, click here.
March 8 Winery Dinners and corresponding wine speakers include:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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