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.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Free Pizza at Cleveland's Bar Cento

Help Jonathon and Amelia Sawyer and their staff celebrate the one year anniversary of Bar Cento, the fun bar/restaurant across from the West Side Market in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood tonight, October 9. The restaurant is offering free pizza for the occasion with the purchase or a carafe of wine or pitcher of beer. And this isn't just any pizza. The menu includes such things as the "Salsiccia" (sausage, provolone, and tomato sauce), the "Puttanesca" (capers, olives, and provolone), and my favorite pizza, the one with roasted pork, bleu cheese, scallions, and fresh chilies.

Why talk about this on a wine site? Bar Cento carries more than 100 wines, many offered by the glass. In fact, that's what the "cento" (100 in italian) in the restaurant's name refers to. The wines cover the globe and feature many lesser-known wineries and varietals.

Bar Cento is located at 1948 W. 25th Street in Cleveland. There's metered parking along W 25th and surrounding streets as well as a paid lot at the end of Market Avenue, which runs adjacent to the restaurant.

(photo © Stu Spivack/cc license)

Ohio Fall Wine Frolic Weekends

Beginning this weekend, October 11 and 12, twelve Akron/Canton Ohio area wineries are sponsoring the Fall Wine Frolic, a self-driving wine tour. Each stop will feature a selection of Ohio wines as well as appetizers and beverages for the designated driver. The $45/couple ($35 for a single) fee includes a souvenir Schott Zwiesel crystal wine glass and a picnic tote loaded with a corkscrew, cutting board, cheese knife, and cloth napkins. Among the participating wineries are Breitenbach Wine Cellars in Dover, Swiss Heritage Winery in Dover, and Viking Vinyards in Kent.

The wine frolic continues October 17, 18 and October 24, 25. Several area bed and breakfast inns and small hotels are offering special rates for those wishing to spend the night. For more information, visit Ohio

Of course, while you're thinking about wine, be sure to visit "Drink Local Wine," the new Web site devoted to regional (including Ohio) wines.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Drink Local Wine

The Ohio Wine Lover is pleased to be a part of a new wine-writing project called "Drink Local Wine." The site brings together wine journalists, sommeliers, bloggers, and other wine enthusiasts from 16 "non-west coast" states and Canada. The goal is to enforce the reality that North America wine is not just about California, Oregon, and Washington anymore.

At "Drink Local Wine," you'll find information about wines from Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, and Wisconsin...and, of course, Ohio. Be sure to take a look.

(image courtesy of Drink Local Wine)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sandusky Ohio's Sand Hill Winery

Sand Hill Vinyard & Winery, about five miles south of Sandusky, is a little piece of Europe in Central Ohio. The winery, which just started making wine in 2002, sits on 150 acres that have been in propreitor, Dr. David Kraus' family for generations, since his great, great, great grandfather came to this country from the Moselle region of Germany. You might say that winemaking is in his blood.

Kraus, however, took an unlikely route to winemaking. He is a licensed psychiatrist and still maintains a practice in Greenwich Village (yes, New York City), where he lives during the week.

Kraus' approach to winemaking is a European one. He has planted over a dozen kinds of traditional Italian and French vinifera grapes, including Grenache, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Viognier, and Semillon. In an interview last year with the Lorain Morning Journal, Kraus said that he likens the Sandusky microclimate and limestone-rich soil to that in Turin, Italy.

Sand Hill bottles just 5000 cases a year, but they have caught the attention of the Wine Enthusiast reviewers, who give the winery's Hermes 2006 Viognier an "84" and their Semillon an "82." Both wines are available at local (primarily in Erie and Huron County) wine stores and directly from the winery. They both retail for around $15. You can also sample wines in their tasting room, housed in the family's restored 18th century barn.

Sand Hill Winery is located at 6413 Hayes Ave. (route 4) in Sandusky (about one mile south of Route 2). They are open seven days a week.

(photo credit: Flickr user: miss beckles/cc license)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Volunteer to Be a Wine Worker at Cleveland's Fabulous Food Show

Share your interest in wine--and get into Cleveland's Fabulous Food Show for free--by volunteering to help the Cleveland Wine School pour wine during the event.

The Fabulous Food Show is being held at the I-X Center (near Cleveland Hopkins Airport) on November 14 - 16. Volunteers are needed to help man the wine tables and work in the wine shop. Volunteers receive a complimentary ticket to the show and the "opportunity to hang out with really fun wine people," advises Marianne Frantz, organizer and owner of the Cleveland Wine School.

For more information, or to volunteer, call Jessica Brown at the Cleveland Wine School - 216 831-9919.

(logo courtesy of the Fabulous Food Show)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The World's Most Wonderful Wine Destinations

We call know that Ohio's wine country is lovely, particulary in the fall, but if you are looking to plan a wine country getaway, you can't go wrong with one of these top 10 spots, as determined by TripAdvisor readers. From Tuscsany to South Africa, there's something for every interest and budget:

1. Geaux Bordeaux: Bordeaux, France
Perhaps the world's most famous wine destination, the Bordeaux region of France has long been renowned for its vineyards that produce everything from delicious table wines to the most expensive bottles in the world. In Bordeaux, the French passion for food and wine unite for a sensational wine-tasting experience.

2. Golden Grapes: Napa Valley, California
Napa Valley has long been synonymous with superb wine and striking scenery, both of which draw millions of wine lovers to the region each year. Home to nearly 400 unique wineries, the valley has a Mediterranean climate that is ideal for growing a variety of grapes, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Zinfandel.

3. Keen on Chianti: Tuscany, Italy
Famed for its reds like Chianti and Montalcino, the Tuscany region of Italy (pictured above) is a delight for the senses. Celebrated not only for its vineyards and its cuisine, its sheer natural and historic beauty make it one of the world's most sought-after destinations and a magical place to taste the local "vino."

4. A Bit of the Bubbly: Champagne-Ardenne, France
The Champagne province is famous for the beloved sparkling white wine that shares its name. Its neatly-tended vineyards amongst a picturesque natural landscape, rich history, and unique culture make this region as vibrant as its effervescent wine.

5. Raising the Barossa: Barossa Valley, Australia
This scenic region in Southern Australia is highly regarded for its Shiraz and its other robust varieties of red wine. Characterized by its visibly rich German heritage, along with its rolling, vine-covered hills, Barossa Valley is a uniquely beautiful destination for sightseers and wine connoisseurs alike.

6. Spanish Inbibation: La Rioja, Spain
Spain's most famous wine destination, Rioja is divided into three regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. Most recognized for its outstanding reds, the region's wines are particularly distinctive because of the oak aging and delicious vanilla flavors.

7. To the Moon: Sonoma Valley, California
Nicknamed the "Valley of the Moon" by legendary writer and one time Sonoma local Jack London, the Valley features amazing vineyards, with particularly remarkable whites, as well as beautiful scenery and charming towns.

8. Grand Central: Valle Central, Chile
Just outside the Chilean capital of Santiago, the gorgeous Valle Central set among the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean is internationally acclaimed. Wine enthusiasts will be particularly fond of the Maipo Valley's cabernets, and the Curico's chardonnays.

9. Great Escape: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Home to one of South Africa's most visited wine routes, Stellenbosch is the heart of the Cape Winelands region, with more than 100 wine cellars to visit surrounding the culturally rich center town of Stellenbosch.

10. Blanc Stare: Marlborough, New Zealand
Located on the southern island of New Zealand, Marlborough is widely regarded as the country's birthplace of winemaking. Famous for its white wine varietals, the region is best known for its delectable Sauvignon Blancs.

(photo © PRNewswire)