Monday, February 21, 2011

Ohio Icewines

More and more wineries in Ohio are producing icewines in response to increased demand from customers. The sweet, dessert wine originated in Austria and Germany before wineries in Ontario, Canada, also began production. Wineries in the Buckeye State began adding their own icewines to the market just a few years ago.

Icewine can only be produced naturally in cold climate areas. The grapes are left on the vines to freeze. They are usually harvested by hand in mid-December when the temperature drops to about 15 degrees. The grapes are pressed quickly after being harvested, which results in a juice high in sugar density being crushed from the grape because any water inside remains frozen. The process results in a very sweet wine that is its trademark. Because the production process is fraught with challenges, crop yields are generally low.

That’s why icewines cost more than many other wines, usually about $35 per 375 ml. bottle. It comes in a number of flavors from apricot to apple to pear. Icewine should be served cold and is best enjoyed in small amounts as an after-dinner drink. The luxuriously sweet taste has increased the popularity of icewines with consumers, resulting in more respect for ice wines and a new product line for several Ohio wineries.

Look for icewines from Chalet Debonne in Madison, Ferrante Winery in Geneva, and Laurello Vineyards in Geneva, just to name a few.

(photo © Rivard/cc license)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm Moving to Wine Country

As some of you already know, I'm packing up my cookbooks, computer, and wine collection and heading to the heart of Ohio's wine country. I just bought a century home in Geneva, Ohio and look forward to exploring--and sharing with you--my visits to wineries (such as Harpersfield Winery, pictured above), wine events, and local food markets.

The move is sure to be a little bit of a culture shock for this urban girl, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and the change of pace. Check back for my observations of my new home during the coming year.

(photo © 2008 S. Mitchell)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pairing Cheese with Red Wine

With the snow falling steadily in Northern Ohio, it's a good time to settle back with some cheese and a bottle of red wine. In the video below, "Wine Spectator" Editor-at-large, Harvey Steiman shares his thoughts on the best red wine and cheese pairings:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ohio Wine Varietals

Ohio wines--and those of the Lake Erie wine district--include well-known wines such as Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Riesling, but the area is also home to some unique varietals that thrive in the eastern Great Lakes region that are not found in other parts of the country. Below are just a few of these:

Vidal Blanc - The grape used to create the regional favorite, Icewine, Vidal Blanc is a hybrid, created by marrying the Ugni Blanc and the Rayon d'Or. Originally created by Jean Louis Vidal in the 1930s for use in making Cognac, it was found to be better adapted to the Great Lakes climate. Vidal Blanc grapes are characterized by a high acidity and notes of grapefruit and pineapple.

Chambourcin - A French-American hybrid, the exact origins of this grape are unknown, although it's only been around since the early 1960s. Chambourcin is notable for its deep ruby color and full-bodied, old world-style taste.

Seval Blanc - A French hybrid created in the 1920s, Seyval Blanc is a good cool weather, white wine grape, noted for being crisp and well-suited for making sparkling wines.

(photo © istockphoto)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pairing Foods with Sangiovese

Fall is just around the corner and few wines are more enjoyable when the weather turns cool than Italy's Sangiovese wines. In the video below, Iron Chef Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich discuss how best to pair Sangiovese with food. Take a look:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Turkey Trot in the Grand River Valley

Do you want to learn more about pairing wines with holiday favorites, or are you just hungry for turkey and stuffing a little early this year? Then mark your calendar for November 15, when the Grand River Valley wine growers hosts its "Turkey Trot" progressive dinner.

No reservations are necessary. You simply drive from one vineyard to the next for wine and food samples and recipes to take home. The event is $4/winery and continues from noon to 5pm. Participating are Chalet Debonne, Ferrante Winery, Grand River Cellars, Laurello Vineyard, and St. Joseph Winery. For more information, visit the Grand River Wine Growers' Web site.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

France's Gigondas Wine Appellation

The French wine appellation of Gigondas (one of my favorite wine regions) tends to get overshadowed by its flashy and better-known cousin, Chateauneuf du Pape. However, the smooth red wines of this Rhone Valley region have a charm and complexity all of their own. Like Chateauneuf, they are made with primarily Grenache grapes, but the similarity ends there as James Molesworth of "Wine Spectator" magazine illustrates in the video below:

Welcome Bed and

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The beauty of this company is that one visit to their Web site connects you with small inns all over the country and makes it easy to book, change, and even cancel your reservation if you have to. What's more: Bed and offers gift certificates so that you can give the gift of a wine country getaway as a present for the holidays or other occasion.

Among the Ohio wine country inns included are the Lakehouse Inn in Geneva-on-the-Lake, the Old World Bed and Breakfast in Dover, and Fitzgerald's Irish Bed and Breakfast in Painesville.

Like all of the affiliate companies recommended on "The Ohio Wine Lover," I have used this company. I found them friendly, efficient, and easy-to-work with.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Artist Arvid Hosts Events in Cleveland

Cleveland area restaurant-goers are likely familiar with the life-like wine art that is the specialty of Atlanta-based artist, Thomas Arvid. His realistic, wine-themed canvases adorn the walls at the Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar restaurants at Eton Collection and in Fairlawn, near Akron.

This weekend Clevelanders get a rare opportunity to meet the artist, sip a little quality wine, and see the latest addition to the Arvid collection, "Winding Down." On Friday night, October 17, Fleming's at Eton is hosting a seven-course Thomas Arvid Wine Dinner. In addition to getting a chance to meet Mr. Arvid, each couple will recieve a special bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse named "46 Diamonds," personalized by the artist. The dinner starts at 630pm and is $150 per person. Reservations may be made by calling 216 896-9000.

On Saturday evening, Piccadilly's Fine Art Galleries, on Professor in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, will welcome Mr. Arvid and his collection for a reception.

(photo © 2008 Thomas Arvid. All rights reserved.)