Friday, 28. November 2008
Yesterday was spent between the kitchen, living room and dining room. Everyone was involved in some aspect of the cooking for Thanksgiving dinner and we all enjoyed each other’s company. Before dinner was one of our traditional 4-square games in the driveway. Even the neighbors came out for it. After a late afternoon dinner, we gathered for a jovial game of Balderdash.
During the afternoon, we had a crockpot of Mulled Wine simmering, adding a delightful fragrance to the air. For dinner, we chose a dry Riesling. It was light, crisp and fruity, pairing well with turkey, spicy dressing and pumpkin & apple pies.
I am still looking for more Mulled Wine recipes. If you have one you would like to share, consider posting it on this blog.
Thursday, 27. November 2008
We wish each and every one of our friends, families, readers, winery friends and Wine Trail Traveler advocates a wonderful Thanksgiving with many blessings. May everyone’s spirits be uplifted.
Kathy & Terry
Wine Trail Traveler
Wednesday, 26. November 2008
I really couldn’t tell if adding some Port to the decanter helped my Cabernet Sauvignon or not. I do know that if you have a glass of Port before the Cabernet Sauvignon, my Cabernet Sauvignon is much better. On the other hand, those who had the wine said it was fine for a table wine. The off taste from oak dust (I will never add oak dust again) wasn’t present. Perhaps the Port had some effect on this or aging. There was more of an aroma and fruit taste than previous. The present verdict is that it is an OK table wine.
Today, Thanksgiving Eve, everyone will be gathered for dinner. With the usual big traditional dinner planned for tomorrow, we had to decide what to have today. Since our family likes Italian we are going with an Italian meal. One dish will be Ziti Pizza, a pizza made from ziti and topped as one would a regular pizza with a red sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni. We are also planning a spaghetti with Alfredo sauce. Some in our family get quickly tired of one pasta type entrée, so we are going to have two different entrees. Added to this is fresh baked bread, green salad and carrot cake. For wines I will have my Cabernet Sauvignon table wine and a Miyone Granacha. I like Granacha wines. They pair well with many foods including Italian. After the dessert, I’ll bring out the real dessert, an Icewine. I haven’t decided which one yet, but it will be a traditional icewine where the grapes were harvested at 17 degrees or colder as opposed to a fake iced wine where the grapes are harvested in the fall and frozen in a freezer. I’ll let you know tomorrow which Icewine I’ve selected and which one I’ll have for Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, 25. November 2008
Our family chose Tuesday to come home for Thanksgiving. So we will be off to college (125 miles away) to pick up our son, off to the airport to pick up others and finally off to the bus station. Picking them up will take most of the day and they will arrive home at different times. So what should we have for dinner?
We decided on a slow cooked beef stew. The weather has been unseasonably cold for this time of year averaging ten to twenty degrees below average and stew just seems to fit. We’ll make it in a crock-pot so timing for dinner doesn’t have to be exact. Along with the beef stew we’ll have fresh baked bread, Jell-O mold and apple crisp for dessert.
Now onto the wines to pair with dinner, I’ll go with a red. To start, I’ll open a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon I made from a wine kit. If I decant the wine, it is OK as a table wine. It has only been in the bottle for three months so it is still young. Natalie MacLean’s November newsletter suggests pouring a little Port in the bottom of the decanter before decanting the bottle of wine. I’ll see if this helps and let you know tomorrow. I have several good reds from around the United States in case our family associates the word “Yuk” with my wine.
Monday, 24. November 2008
The Symphony grape, a relatively new grape varietal on the wine scene is found frequently on the West Coast. Dr. Harold Olmo, at UC, Davis crossed Grenache Gris and Muscat of Alexandria in 1948. However, it was not until 1981 that development was completed. In 1983 the grape was patented. Symphony grape is primarily grown in California where the grape does well in hot weather. Virginia vineyards are beginning to introduce Symphony. Winemakers can either produce a single varietal wine or use Symphony as a blending grape.
The aroma of Symphony features a deep floral aroma with a significant fruity taste. This wine offers a nice alternative for a white wine drinker who wants something different from a Chardonnay or Riesling. When you have an opportunity to taste Symphony, do not pass it up, as it is somewhat unusual to find. California is most known for the grape and due to it’s love of warm weather, Symphony can be found in Hawaii at Volcano Winery and in Virginia at Oak Crest Vineyard and Winery.
For me, while I prefer a fruity Riesling before a Symphony, I did enjoy the opportunity to taste this unique wine last week. If you have an opportunity to taste, Symphony, I hope you will respond and let others know how you liked the wine.
Friday, 21. November 2008
Red, White & Bleu, located in Falls Church, Virginia, opened five and a half months ago. The shop is more than a wine shop. It also carries a selection of gourmet foods and if you visit at the right times, you will have an opportunity to enjoy fresh baked bread. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a GiraMondo wine event took place at the wine shop this week.
Located along VA Rte. 29, there was plenty of parking in the back. Arriving early, we were able to spend time talking with the owners of Red, White & Bleu. This wine shop respects their products and displays them in a good style. There was plenty of space for customers to walk and browse the displays of wine and beer. At the back of the store, there was a display case of gourmet cheese. The shop has about 50 types of cheese available. Wines from around the world, California and a few from Virginia were available. The wine shop has about 500 varieties of wines and 65 varieties of beer including a beer made in Belgium by a Trappist monastery.
Adjacent to the wine shop, a small room is available for tasting events and meetings. Walls are adorned with large framed photographs of vineyards and more.
Free tastings are available each week and fresh baked bread may be available. Be sure to call in advance for days and times of these specials. I do hope that the owners will consider visiting more local wineries and consider adding more local wines to their inventory. In the meantime, it’s great to see wine treated the way it should be.
Thursday, 20. November 2008
Last night, we took the opportunity to attend a GiraMondo Wine Adventures event in Falls Church, Virginia. The title for the evening was Entrepreneurs’ Wine Tasting Network. We enjoyed the evening and met several other wine enthusiasts. The event was held at the Red White & Bleu wine store that has a small event room. We tasted two white and three red wines, each paired with a different cheese. My favorite white wine was the Three Wives Yamhill-Carlton District 2007 Pinot Blanc. With a delicate aroma, the wine was crisp, refreshing and cleansing. This wine was paired with Fromage D’Affinois Cow, pasteurized, double-cream Brie style. Azienda Agricola La Torre Rosso Di Montalcino 2003 offered an aroma of dark fruit and was dry with some tannins on the finish. This would be wonderful with an Italian dinner. The wine was paired with the Pecorino “Grand Old Man” Sheep. With the wine and the pecorino cheese, it brought back memories of our trip to Italy.
About halfway through our tastings, Laurent Guinand, took time to talk about email marketing, providing information about packages available and key features of email marketing.
Together with good wines, cheese, and wine enthusiasts, we enjoyed our time. Check out other GiraMondo Wine Adventures events offered in the Washington, D.C. area.
Wednesday, 19. November 2008
Our winery partners are stirring up excitement with their end of the year activities. If you are looking for some Holiday Cheer, be sure to check out some of their events. Dove Valley Vineyards and Winery in Maryland is offering music events and Ebenezer Scrooge theatrical presentations. Chateau Chantal in Michigan offers events including a gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Bake Off, Last Sunday Jazz at Sunset, and a special offer that benefits the Salvation Army “adopt a family” program. In Virginia, Pearmund Cellars and their sister winery, Winery at La Grange, offer a Christmas Wine Dinner and a Winemaker’s Dinner. Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint in Virginia offers two events: a Holiday Gift Extravaganza and a Holiday Vintners Dinner. Veritas Vineyard and Winery in Virginia has their 5th Annual Opportunity Ball this weekend and their next event is the 3rd Annual Masked Ball on December 31. Barrel Oak Winery in Virginia offers so many events that here’s just a few to get you started: “Feast of Plenty: Canned Food Drive for FISH,” Friday Nite Flix, and “Black Friday Recovery Ward Weekend.”
If you are in the area, make plans to visit some of these wineries and participate in their events. For those who may not be able to make it to these wineries, be sure to check out our other advertisers for events. With over 5,000 wineries in the United States, you will be sure to find a local winery in “your own backyard” featuring a holiday event.
Tuesday, 18. November 2008
By yesterday morning, the must for the mead was letting off CO2 through the air lock every second. According to the directions we used, it was time to add a nutrient and energizer. As soon as Superferment was added, foaming began and ran down the sides of the carboy. It looked like the opening scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. After four to five minutes, the foaming slowed down so that it could be stirred. Replacing the air lock, we waited to see what would happen. In the evening, the CO2 was bubbling in the air lock once every second.
This morning every two seconds there are two bubbles. We decided that on Saturday we will check the alcohol level with the hydrometer. In the meantime, the room where the carboy is located smells delightfully of honey, almost like an apiary facility.
If you are interested in home winemaking, you may want to check out a winery and home winemaking supply facility we visited recently. Presque Isle is located in North East, Pennsylvania.
Monday, 17. November 2008
We had a great time yesterday morning beginning the process of making mead. We began with sterilizing everything. This being a necessary process is anything but fun but as soon as that was done, we were on our way. The directions we followed indicated that the water needed to be 109 degrees. While heating the water, we sprinkled the yeast (Lalvin K1-V1116) over warm water. When everything was ready, we poured the wonderful wildflower honey from my brother’s apiary into the water. We used Deer Park water to avoid chemicals in the tap water. The water and honey mixture needed to be stirred well until the honey and water were thoroughly mixed. At this point, we put the honey/water into the three-gallon carboy and added the softened yeast. We mixed the must briskly for five minutes. The hydrometer readings were a specific gravity of 1.090 and potential alcohol of 12 percent. After adding the air lock, we were prepared to wait for quite a while as other winemakers had told us that fermentation with honey could take a long time. However, by evening the air lock was emitting CO2 every two seconds. Here’s to hoping that when fermentation is finished and the mead is bottled, we have some good mead. Cheers!