Sunday, 28. February 2010
The Julia Cekala Charitable Foundation is sponsoring their 3rd annual wine event on Friday, March 12th from 7 to 11pm. The event will be at Christina’s in Foxborough (Foxboro), Massachusetts. The event includes wine tasting, food, music, dancing, raffles and a silent auction. Tickets are $45 per person.
The Julia Cekala Charitable Foundation was created to remember Julia, a nine year old with many medical problems but a love of life. Visit the foundation’s website to learn more about Julia.
If you want to volunteer or donate to raffles and auctions, visit The Julia Cekala Charitable Foundation website.
Saturday, 27. February 2010
If you are looking for the recipe for St. Julian Red Wine Dressing mentioned in the earlier blog, use this link to the recipe on Wine Trail Traveler.
Saturday, 27. February 2010
St. Julian Winery is the oldest winery in Michigan. They have four additional tasting rooms in the state. Be sure to include enough time during your visit to enjoy the winery tour where you will discover a large collection of “antique” wine making equipment. We visited St. Julian in 2009.
St. Julian provided the recipe for St. Julian Red Wine Dressing. Eleven ingredients are simply blended together and chilled before serving over greens. Two of the ingredients are St. Julian Wine Vinegar and St. Julian Red Wine. The other ingredients are commonly found in the kitchen. For the complete recipe, visit the Wine Trail Traveler recipe site.
Enjoy exploring the world of recipes with wine.
Friday, 26. February 2010
This week we enjoyed dinner and wine with good friends, whom we do not have the opportunity to see as frequently as we would like due to family and work obligations. It’s amazing how the time can fly by when catching up on what’s been happening in each of our families.
We enjoyed a delicious salmon that had been marinated and served with quinoa. A salad with a raspberry homemade salad dressing was terrific. This meal was paired with a Pinot Noir from C. Donatiello Winery in Healdsburg, California. With a smooth mouth feel, the wine paired well with the marinated salmon.
C. Donatiello Winery, located in Sonoma Valley, produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. If you have the opportunity to visit the winery during the growing season take time to wander through the spacious gardens in front of the winery. These gardens feature two smaller gardens with plants that feature aromas found in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
An article about C. Donatiello Winery is available on the Wine Trail Traveler website.
For dessert, we enjoyed ice cream with petite biscotti and a glass of dessert wine, Terry had made in 2009. The wine was made from a kit and was remarkably good with dessert.
What wine and food pairing have you enjoyed recently?
Thursday, 25. February 2010
This weekend, plan a trip to your neighborhood winery and discover a new wine or new release. Ask questions about how the wine was made, where the grapes were sourced from, about pruning and bud break. Enjoy tasting wines and perhaps purchase a bottle to take home with you to enjoy with dinner during the week.
Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Bryan, Texas is offering a Wine Appreciation class, “Wines and Chocolates” on February 28 at 3pm. Reservations are necessary and the cost is $19.95 per person. Classes last an hour & a half and include light cheeses. Most classes have five to eight wines so Messina Hof suggests lunch at the Vintage House. Make reservations for lunch.
On February 28, Three Fox Vineyards in Virginia is having a Three Fox Piano Lounge and Burger BBQ between 2 and 5 pm. Music and grilled burgers are a great combination. Burger plus potato chips are $5 and with the purchase of wine, half-price.
Want to enjoy wine and dinner, then go to Foti’s Restaurant in Culpeper, Virginia. On February 28, Chris Pearmund of Pearmund Cellars, Winery at La Grange and Vint Hill Craft Winery will be hosting the dinner at 6pm. Cost is $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 540-829-8400 for reservations.
Barrel Oak Winery offers a variety of events almost every week. Check out their events for February 27 and 28th. This weekend’s events include A Paws For The Cause: Charitable Chili Over A Dog At Bow, Haitian Relief on Saturday (10% of every bottle sold goes to Haiti relief). Other activities at the winery include a watercolor exhibit, music and the opportunity to purchase jewelry. Be sure to check the days and times.
Check with wineries for details of their events. Enjoy a relaxing visit to a winery this weekend!
Wednesday, 24. February 2010
How do you prefer your wine oaked or unoaked? If you like a wine with oak nuances, are you concerned with where the oak was grown?
For wine aged in oak, do you prefer French oak, Hungarian oak or American oak? As we visit numerous wineries, we ask what type of oak is used and normally the response is French, Hungarian and/or American.
There are many species of oak and oak grows in many areas. Climate and varieties cause a difference in the oak. This affects the oak nuances and winemakers must choose between the many choices of oak available. While some may prefer French oak, French oak barrels are significantly more expensive than Hungarian or American oak.
American oak is quite popular at wineries but it is not an easy choice for winemakers to decide from what area of the US they would like the oak sourced. American oak barrels can be produced from oak growing in areas including Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Virginia and Arkansas. Variations in the oak occur depending upon where the oak is growing. It’s similar to the same varietal grape growing in a different climate; it will have different characteristics.
For those with limited funds or space, there are alternatives to expensive, space consuming oak barrels. Small oak pieces in the shape of cubes, beads, blocks or spirals can be purchased. These can be added to a carboy or stainless steel tank and provide oak nuances. These oak pieces are available in different toasts just as oak barrels. This is especially ideal for home winemakers and small startup wineries.
Is there a difference between using an oak barrel and oak pieces? I imagine the purist would say there is a difference but I’m not so sure the public would notice. However during a winery tour, the lack of oak barrels would be noticeable. Somehow oak barrels whether French, Hungarian or American add to the delightful experience of visiting wineries.
Tuesday, 23. February 2010
There are many similarities between wine and olive oil. Grapevines and olive trees need the same basic culture. Tastings are smaller but similar with an emphasis on aroma and taste nuances. While visiting Italy in 2007, we visited several wineries and were privileged to see and photograph workers harvesting olives and the process of producing olive oil. You can view an article about this on the Wine Trail Traveler website.
From March 5 to March 8, 2010 a special event will take place in Trieste, Italy. The 4th Olio Capitale Exhibition includes the expo featuring olive oils from Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain and Poland. Hundreds of extra virgin olive oils will be available to choose between and purchase. The tasting sessions will include information on how to taste olive oil and select it. Cooking sessions will explain how to choose and match olive oils with food. In addition, there will be other information related to olives presented in meetings and talk shows.
Check it out and if you can travel to Trieste, Italy consider attending this olive oil festival. While in Italy, try to visit some Italian wineries. I would suggest that visitors should contact the wineries in advance for an appointment.
Monday, 22. February 2010
Last week I wrote a lengthy article on how wineries can get on the Twitter bandwagon. I learned today that Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Clarksville, Maryland read the article and created a Twitter account. They are now tweeting. It is always nice to know that if your write something, it may help others. It is certainly one thing to say that 2010 is the year of social media for wineries, its another to empower wineries with the knowledge to begin using social media to promote their winery and wines. To many, Twitter is one of the easiest forms of social media to use. Others, however may be totally confused.
In addition to tweeting about your winery, wines and events Twitter provides a venue for other creative uses. Last summer while attending the Drink Local Wine Conference in Dallas, we tasted a room full of wines while tweeting about them. Last month, St. Supéry in Napa hosted a Twitter wine tasting event. People drank California Cabernet Sauvignons and tweeted about them. Next month, St. Supéry has a similar event where people from around the world are asked to taste Sauvignon Blancs and tweet about them. If you would like to participate in the March 4th event, add the hashtag #SauvBlanc to your tweets and follow #SauvBlanc on Twitter.
As Twitter matures, other uses for wineries will be explored. 2010 is a good year to get on the Twitter bandwagon for not only wineries, but also wine enthusiasts.
Sunday, 21. February 2010
Yesterday I discovered an Australian charity program, The Charity Wineshop, that connects the purchase of wine with a charity. The idea is to purchase a case of Australian wine and a portion of the price will go to the charity of your choice. The 19 Australian charities include Epilepsy Action, Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome NSW and AIDS Trust of Australia. According to the website, twenty dollars of every case of wine purchased is donated to charity. There is no charge for delivery direct to your door in Australia.
Check out this way to contribute to charity and enjoy an Australian wine. The website is http://www.charitywineshop.com.au/about-us.taf. It is my understanding that this type of organization is not available in the United States. With more than 6,000 wineries in the US perhaps someone in the United States should consider a program such as this.
Saturday, 20. February 2010
Have you decided what to prepare for tomorrow’s dinner? How about including a Mushroom Merlot Soup? The main ingredients include celery, onion, heavy cream, Merlot, mushrooms and a beef broth. Check it out on the Wine Trail Traveler website. For dessert, consider the Peaches and Cake recipe. This recipe also includes directions for a “No-Fail Pound Cake.” After shopping for the ingredients you need, enjoy spending some time in your kitchen!
The Mushroom Merlot Soup was provided by Knapp Winery Vineyard and Restaurant in New York. White Hall Vineyards in Virginia provided the Peaches and Cake recipe.