Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Free Sparkling Wine Stopper from Cook's

Are you like me and hesitate to open a bottle of sparkling wine when you're alone because you don't want to throw away half the bottle? Cook's is offering a free sparkling wine stopper that they say will preserve the effervesence for a few days so you can finish the bottle. To request yours, visit the Cook's Web site and complete the form. You must be 21 or older to request the stopper.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tasting for the Cure

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Started by First Lady Betty Ford, a breast cancer survivor herself, and her daughter Susan in 1985, NBCAM has made great strides both by increasing early detection of this disease and erasing the stigma that was once attached to it.

A number of pink ribbon products are promoted during October with a portion of the proceeds going to help eradicate breast cancer. One that's particularly attractive for wine lovers is this wine opener and wine glass set from The Wine Enthusiast. The set includes two Riedel Vinum Pink Rose Wine Glasses and the all-in-one lever style Pink Rabbit Corkscrew Kit. Fifteen percent of Riedel's proceeds are being donated to the Living Beyond Breast Cancer Foundation. Five percent of Metrokane's proceeds are being donated to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

To learn more about NBCAM and to download a variety of free material, visit the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Web site.

(photo courtesy of The Wine Enthusiast)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Road to the "Wine House"

In the spirit of the upcoming Presidential election, one Washington DC restaurant, OYA Restaurant and Lounge, is pitting Arizona wines (from Senator McCain's home state) against those from Illinois (Senator Obama's home state). Neither state is well known for its wine industry, but according to the restaurant's Director of Wine Marketing & Sommelier, Andrew Stover, "Illinois has over 70 wineries and has been producing wine since the late 1700s. Arizona's wine industry is on a much smaller scale with close to 30 wineries."

The featured wines include:
  • Lynfred Winery Seyval Blanc 2007, Southern Illinois
  • Callaghan Vineyards 'Lisa's' 2006, Sonoita, Southeastern Arizona
  • Galena Cellars 'Eric the Red' Marechal Foch 2006, Illinois
  • Dos Cabezas Wineworks 'DC Red' Cabernet/Sangiovese/Grenache 2004, Cochise County, Southeastern Arizona
  • Callaghan Vineyards 'Caitlin's' 2004, Sonoita, Southeastern Arizona
  • Galena Cellars Frontenac 2006, Illinois

According to Stover, the Lynfred Seyval Blanc has slightly outsold the Arizona wines during the summer, but fall could usher in a preference for the red wines of Arizona. The promotion will continue through the election in November.

Oya Restaurant and Lounge is located in Washington's Penn Quarter neighborhood. They serve an innovative menu that combines Asian ingredients with French technique.

(state maps courtesy of the US Census Bureau)

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide

Whether you always agree with him or not, there's little denying that Robert Parker, Jr. has had a tremendous influence on wine buying. The author and publisher of "The Wine Advocate" for over 25 years has won countless awards, including being appointed a "Chevalier dans l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur" in France. He created the now widely-used 100-point wine ranking system and has written extensively about wine industries around the world.

Parker's latest work is the exhaustive "Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide," a 1536-page catalog of the world's great, good, and average wines and comes out on October 7. Far from being dry and laborious, this tome is easy-to-read with lots of maps and regional wine information interspersed with winery and individual wine ratings and prices.

Parker even mentions Ohio and Lake Erie wines briefly (see page 1285 and 1290), citing Harpersfield Winery, Kinkead Ridge, Maple Ridge Vineyard, Markko Vineyard, and St. Joseph Vineyard as "wineries worth discovering."

"Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide" is being publishing in trade softcover, in hardcover, and as an e-book simultaneously. Shipping is an issue with a book this large, so the $24.99 ebook is a smart option. The softcover is currently $23 with Amazon.com and you can get free shipping with them for orders over $25. This book would make a good gift for anyone who enjoys wines and/or traveling throughout the world's wine regions.

(photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Profile - Chalet Debonne's 2002 Chambourcin

The Chalet Debonne Web site describes their Chamourcin as being "medium-bodied, dry, red wine with complex, smoky, sweet black cherry aromas. Barrel aging adds softness and light oak flavors." I recently sampled this wine and found it very similar to a California Zinfandel -- robust with jammy plum and cherry overtones. It's a nice, affordable wine to go with hearty fall entrees, like stew and grilled meats.

Chambourcin is a "New World" varietal of partly French lineage, a grape that grows well in the protected micro-climate along Lake Erie.

The Debevc Family, owners of Chalet Debonne in Madison Ohio, has been crafting a variety of wines since 1916. You can visit the winery and taste their wines. Tastings range from $3 to $5.50 for three to five samples. Hours vary.

You can order the Chambourcin via the Debonne Web site or pick a bottle up at your local grocery or wine store. I got mine at Giant Eagle for $10.99. It's listed for $9.99 on the vineyard site, but then you have to pay for shipping.

(label courtesy of Chalet Debonne)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cleveland's Fabulous Food Show

Cleveland's Fabulous Food Show is less than two months away--November 14-16, 2008. The event features dozens of food vendors, guest chefs, cooking celebrities, and wine tastings. For a look at last year's event, watch this video:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hallowine Party at Chalet Debonne

Wine, witches, and ghosts combine on November 1 at Chalet Debonne's Hallowine Party. The Madison Ohio winery is hosting a party with a costume contest, live music, and plenty of food and wine. Don't worry if it's chilly that evening, the spacious patio is equipped with heaters.

The costume judging starts at 6pm. A $75 gift certificate will be awarded to the best overall costume and $25 certificates to the winner in each category. Second place finishers get a $15 certificate. So, start working on those costumes.

Chalet Debonne is located at 7443 Doty Rd. in Madison. Visit their Web site for more information.

(photo © istockphoto)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Amazon to Start Selling Wine

Amazon.com, the online purveyor of books, apparel, and just about everything else, has announced its plans to enter the wine sales business. Beginning as early as mid-October, the online retailer will offer a selection of more than 300 wines from all over the United States to customers in 26 states. No word whether Ohio will be among them.

The company indicates that the selection will represent a wide cross-section of US producers, not just wineries in California, Oregon, and Washington State.

Shipping and taxes, as ever with online wine sales, will likely be an issue. Amazon says that customers of the Amazon Prime service (which carries a $79 annual fee) will get free shipping. Still, it's an intriguing development.

(photo © istockphoto)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Geneva Grape Jamboree

Ohio's many small town festivals are part of what gives the state it's character. When the festival is in the heart of Ohio's Lake Erie wine country and celebrates the grape, well then it becomes a must-see.

Geneva Ohio's annual Grape Jamboree is held the last weekend in September. This year the dates are September 27 and 28. Events include two parades (Saturday at 130pm and Sunday at 2pm), a craft and antiques fair, grape and wine tastings, a myriad of grape products (try the grape pie; it's delicious), and live entertainment.

Geneva is located about hour's drive east of downtown Cleveland, two miles south of I-90. The festival is open Saturday from 10am to 830pm and on Sunday from noon to 915pm. Admission is free.

(photo courtesy of the Geneva Grape Jamboree)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Put-in-Bay Wine Festival

If you needed another reason to enjoy a fall Saturday at Put-in-Bay, this is it. The fifth annual Put-in-Bay Wine Festival is Saturday, October 4, from 11am to 6pm.

The Festival features more than 200 wines, many of them from Lake Erie wineries, including Put-in-Bay's own Heineman Winery. There'll also be live entertainment, food from island restaurants (including chocolate dipped grapes), and a silent auction.

Admission is $5 plus $1 tasting tickets. Wine samples are from 1 to 8 tickets. The Put-in-Bay Wine Festival is being held in DeVivera Park, in the heart of downtown Put-in-Bay. For more information, call 419 285-2213.

(photo credit: istockphoto)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Free Downloadable Wine Book

Best Deal Magazines is currently offering "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wine" as a downloadable version for free. The guide is currently off of print in bound form, but is loaded with good advice on how to select, taste, and collect wine. Although aimed at the beginning wine lover, there's sure to be something of interest to the experienced sipper also.

To download your copy, visit the Best Deal Magazines Web site.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Halloween Costumes for Wine Lovers

Halloween is only a little over a month away. It's time to start thinking about your costume. Did you know that there are several wine-related costumes available? Consider the following:

Purple Grape Costume (pictured at left)
The Grape costume includes short grapes tunic and purple leaf hat. Available in Adult size Medium.

Pinot Wine Box Costume (pictured at right) - Costume is Polyester laminated onto foam for a very durable costume you can use year after year. One size fits most.

Vineyard Vixen (pictured at bottom left) - Costume includes Includes a purple and maroon dress with attached tulle petticoat, apron and lace-up sleeve detailing, headband with faux grapes and a cork necklace. (Wine glass not included.) Available in regular and plus sizes.

(all product photos courtesy of Buycostumes.com)