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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tiny Bubbles, in my wine….

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pardon the Don Ho flashbacks….

Mr WineOH and I headed over to Lago for a Bubbles tasting with a Northeast Ohio wine group. What better way to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon than sipping on some bubbles and meeting new friends!

Our hosts were Mindy and Alice from WineTrends, an Ohio distributor – so all of the sparklings we tasted are available in the Cleveland Metro area. John from Lago was gracious enough to open the doors early for the group – and provide us with appetizers. This restaurant specializes in northern italian cuisine and has a nice by the glass list. They also have a lovely patio with live music on warm days.

Now, on the the Bubbles!

zardetto prosecco label We started with Zardetto Prosecco – this one is aged in stainless steel.  Any sparklings produced in Italy after 2009 must be from Prosecco to be CALLED Prosecco, otherwise, it is called Glara –  much like the limitations placed on french wines, including Champagne. See more about that here.

The Zardetto is 95% Prosecco and 5% Chardonnay – we found crisp acidity and green apple flavors. Its floral on the nose, and soft on the palate. We got to this one a bit warm, which presented as flat. This one is bone dry, compared to other proseccos you’ll find. At $12.99 – I place it high on the QPR scale.

Loosen Sparkling Riesling label Dr. L Dr. L Sparkling Riesling was next on the menu – 100% pure Riesling from one of the most accessible German producers. The Dr. L is another stainless steel sparkling, called “Sekt” in Germany and is produced using the Charmat method. The secondary fermentation is done in a pressurized tank, producing smaller, longer-lasting bubbles; as opposed to Methode Champenoise, where secondary fermentation is in the bottle. If you are curious about this process, read more here.

The Dr. L was definitely bubble heavy, almost too heavy on my palate. Even the finish had a strong effervescence. I got stone fruit on the nose, and some banana on the palate. It is an interesting and affordable sparkling at $11.99.

Laetitia Pink Sparkling labelWe then headed to the Arroyo Grande Valley in California, tasting Laetitia Brut Rosé – this one is produced in small batch tanks – medium bubbles and elegant fruit, mostly strawberry – showing off the Pinot Noir base, and a niggle (that’s a technical term) of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. If you like pink bubbles, you’ll like this one, as it’s an easy sipper, though I could see it an easy pairing with chicken or fish. Selling at $19.99, I’d put it midrange on the QPR scale.

Taltarni Brut Tache label Next on the trip was Victoria,  Australia, with Taltarni Brut Taché. Made from 54% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier – this sparkling is elegant, floral and has just the right amount of bubbles for me. according to the winemaker’s notes, the pink hue is achieved by adding a hint of red wine liqueur to the finished wine at disgorgement. Strawberry and floral on the nose, I got less of the Pinot Noir in this one. The mouthfeel was luscious and the complex yeast characters typical of well made sparklings were obvious. At a local price of $29.99, its a bit lower on the QPR scale, but I found it online for around $23. I think its worth that price.

We had to spend some time with the French bubbles of course, which means the prices get well…. pricey!

ayala zero dosage brut champagne

The Ayala Brut Zero Dosage was the first of the French champagnes, and is a lesson in how champagne is made. Champagne spends many months, sometimes years maturing in bottle on its yeast lees.  At the end of this time, the wine is ‘disgorged’, meaning the yeast lees are removed.  A final ‘dosage’ – a wine/sugar solution – is added immediately afterwards, which gives the wine the level of dryness/sweetness required by the cellar master.

This is a zero dosage champagne and with no residual sugar, an extremely dry wine.

40% pinot noir; 40% chardonnay; 20% pinot meunier – a delicate effervescence, distinct fruitiness and a long finish.

This was my favorite of the tasting… but as MamaWineOH would remind me. I can walk into a store and fall in love with the most expensive item, without looking at the pricetags.

This champagne retails at $49.99.

champagne j lassalle

The Champagne J Lassalle was the grower champagne of the event. It is grown and produced by three women at this family owned Champagne house in Chigny-Les-Roses in the heart of the Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France. This is a Kermit Lynch import selection, and one of impeccable taste. A blend of 60/40 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it is a distinctive Premier Cru Champagne. Fruity and soft, dry and beautifully structured with a long finish – a champagne to truly sip and enjoy. This bottle would work perfectly for any special occasion and is available from fine wine merchants in Cleveland. It retails for $49.99.

The tasting was lovely, and bubbles are a great way to spend an afternoon. I love Lago Restaurant in Tremont – but there was not a lot of thought put into the pairings on the appetizers. One of the apps was heavy onion – which can do some serious damage to the palate, particularly when tasting the delicate flavors in champagne.

The price was right at $30 for this tasting. I’d just as soon have had a bit of brie and crackers to nibble with the bubbles though.

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WOTW – Pennywise, but not pound foolish

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I’ve been a fan of The Other Guys for a while now. I first had their wines back in 2006 when I was just exploring all that my local wine shops had to offer. There are 5 wines made under the Pennywise label – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah. I’ve had the Petite Syrah and the Pinot Noir.

2009 Pennywise Pinot Noir

The Pinot is what we opened as a pre-dinner sipper. You must understand that we are pinot lovers, and we typically don’t spend our mortgage money on cult pinot,s much to the chagrin of Rex Pickett’s character in Sideways. We are looking for “affordable and delicious”. That is what you will find in the 2009 Pennywise Pinot Noir.

The Other Guys is a wine producer run by one of California’s oldest winemaking families. August Sebastiani is a 4th generation wine maker, and president of TOG. They’ve been doing this for a while, and I haven’t had a wine from TOG that I didn’t like.

The Pinot Noir is blended from the grapes of several vineyards and that blending provides a flavor profile that is pleasing to the nose and to palate. Cherries and a the slightest smell of cotton candy greet your olfactory sense, while strawberry and a hint of vanilla add to those aromas on your palate. Its smooth, with mild tannins and a lingering finish.

This is an easy drinker, but will pair well with burgers or chicken for your mid-week dinner. I could easily pair this with a chicken pot pie, or a homemade meatloaf – as well as a more upscale meal. Even a little acidity wouldn’t bother this wine.

It is (usually) widely available in Cleveland wine shops and comes in at a pleasant $10.99 in our area.

On another note, since I mentioned Rex Pickett – if you enjoy a good novel about wine, pick up Sideways, or the new sequel Vertical.

Excellent reads. You can click on the images below for more information about the books.

Pairing Adventure – Butternut and Bordeaux

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We picked up a new bordeaux the other night. The 2008 Chartron La Fleur Bordeaux – 70%/30%, Merlot and Cabernet from Maison Schroeder and Schyler. The man wanted french wine for dinner, so I went hunting for a new appropriate recipe – it had to include butternut squash, since there was one glaring at me to be cooked from the corner of the produce pile. Velvety and berry on the palate, this wine has balanced tannins and acidity. Its not a cru – but it is a great blend and budget friendly sipping. High QPR wine at $11.99.

I modified this dish from one found on allrecipes.com

Chicken Pasta with Sage Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 2/3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 3-5 chicken tenderloins
  • italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a roasting pan with the olive oil. Place the squash and onion in the pan, and season with salt, pepper and sage. Roast 30 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place penne pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the tenderloins, covered in italian seasoning, until done. Remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces, then transfer back to your skillet. Transfer the cooked squash and onion and the cooked pasta to the skillet. Gradually pour in the cream. Season mixture with sage. Continue cooking until heated through. Mix in garlic. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with balsamic vinegar to serve.

I realize you may look at this and say OMG, that’s a LOT of balsamic. You might even think that again as you are portioning it out into the bowl. I know I did, and it scared me just a bit. Trust me when I say that it does not taste like its overly vinegary. The balsamic brightens the recipe substantially. Also, you only want to turn the squash once when its baking, and get it out of the oven when its just done, otherwise you get a squash that looks less appetizing than it tastes.

This wine was pleasing, balanced this dish well, and I recommend them together, separately, or paired with others.

We loved this adventure – and they are definitely a wine and a dish we will go back to. (as evidenced by multiple bottle purchasing on this one)

Enjoy!

WineOHs Cuvée* – WineOHs Night Out

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This is the way we usually choose a place for dinner.

Me: “I’m making (fill in no effort, unexciting meal) for dinner.” Him: “Hmm…. what about going out?”

One of us: “I’m already sipping a (whiskey, beer, glass of good wine) – so it has to have a good selection of (same beverage)”

And that’s the end of it. No mention of what kind of food – most any place we go in Cleveland is going to be good stuff.

This particular night out was our first snow of any significance in the city, and we knew we were wanting to stay close, so we decided to head to Bar Cento in Ohio City for wine and hand tossed pizzas. (Shock – we were both sipping a glass of pinot noir when we had this conversation)

I knew the wine list was good, and thin crust gourmet pizza just sounded yummy.

When I say we went early, it was probably 6:30pm when we arrived and there were only a handful of people in the front room or in Bar Cento itself. The server was prompt and helpful – even if she did talk to my partner about the wine selections as if I wasn’t sitting there. Bless her heart.

Our wine selection was Steltzner Claret Bordeaux ‘08, at $35.  A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc – its a pretty big wine, with well balanced tannins. Nice cherry, cinnamon and clove on the palate. Its spent 22 months in Mixed French Oak, so this is oakier than I usually like. Steltzner LabelBut with our Big Board – charcuterie, cheeses and house pickled vegetables for $18, it was an excellent balance. We loved the 2 different patés on the board and the cheeses were very well selected. Nothing commonplace.

I was impressed with the upper end of their wine list. Their higher end wines are less than 2x retail. For restaurant service, and comparable to some places in town… I was impressed. The lower end isn’t quite the deal on pricing, but nothing was in my “are you kidding me?” range.

Chef Adam Lambert was out and about in the dining room. One of the things that really stood out was that Chef was outside the kitchen talking to the servers and taking one last look at each plate that went out. It was obvious that quality and presentation were his highest priorities.

Bar Cento Big Board

The pizzas were ordered and arrived just as we finished the Big Board. We got the Bianco with sausage and the Olive. The man can put away some pizza, but with the two good size pizzas and the Big Board, we had about half of each to take home for lunch. Both were delicious. I’m a WineOH who is always looking at ingredients because I have an MSG allergy. Anyone sharing this sensitivity will be happy to know that Bar Cento is 100% MSG free, including the sausage. (always a concern)

Final Comments: Nice wine list, great service, food served with the highest quality in mind.

We’ll go back. And if you are looking for a nice meal with your honey, it makes the grade.

* Cuvée – a blend of several grapes, versus a single varietal. For MissWineOH, this is a blend of topics that will occasionally pop up when a single category is not appropriate.

WOTW – Le Jaja de Jau Syrah

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We opened this one on a random evening – pairing it up with Frank’s great spaghetti sauce over linguine. One of these days I’ll learn to make pasta… but until then, the box works out pretty well.

From the CHÂTEAU DE JAU in ROUSSILLON, FRANCE – built in 1792, and nestled in the southernmost foothills of the Roussillon slopes of the Corbières Mountains in French Catalonia. The estate produces an array of wines, including three very affordable Le Jaja de Jau varieties – a syrah, a sauvignon blanc and a syrah rose. Jaja is a slang phrase for the region’s delicious full-flavored, everyday wines. It is the house selection in local bistros and restaurants, and that’s a great descriptor for this one. A structured but uncomplicated Syrah, it’s easily paired with your everyday chicken, pasta or beef dishes. Anything with a little bit of kick, or a tomato base, will do well with Le Jaja from the vineyards of the Vin de Pays d’Oc.

I will give you the warning to be careful with the screw cap. This one bit in as we removed it. I’d recommend opening it up with a towel or some covering if you don’t want it to draw blood or leave a scrape. The metal band shredded before we got it loosened up.

Other than the problem with the cap, the wine was a good, drinkable Syrah. Well balanced tannins and acid, a hint of raspberry on the palate. We’ll be keeping a few bottles of this one around.

Every wine lover with a budget looks for pleasant, drinkable wines that don’t break the bank. This one comes in at $8.99 from World Market. Follow this link for other places to buy this wine.

For another opinion on this wine, see what The Reverse Wine Snob had to say.

Pairing Adventure – The Olde Wine Cellar – Tasting Notes

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On a beautifully warm and sunny day in January MissWineOH heads to The Olde Wine Cellar in Olmsted Falls, OH for the first Wine and Cupcakes event for 2012. By the time we arrived to prep and set up, it had turned into a day out of the Wizard of Oz  (think “Auntie Em… Auntie Em” – the wind and rains were so strong…) Fortunately this did not deter our guests and we all gathered at 6pm for the first taste.

Olde Wine Cellar Tasting

Love those big wine glasses!

Chateau Belair Moustet White Bordeaux2010 Chateau Belair Moustet White Bordeaux (FR) paired with an Olive oil and Peach Cake with Herbed Marscapone icing from Indulgence.

They call this a Bordeaux Sauvignon

Simple and fresh, cleansing citric flavors make it a decent food wine at 12% alcohol.

Budget friendly white wine at 9.99 retail.

If you are making a dish with clean, but complex flavors (like a chicken with a sauce, salsa or herb crust) this wine will not compete with your food, but provide a pleasant citrus compliment.

2009 Bonny Doon Albariño Ca’ del Solo Estate (CA) paired with White Chocolate Wasabi and a plum sake cake base from Indulgence.

This Spanish grape has become popular in vineyards throughout the US. California, North Carolina, New York and Virginia are growing it increasing numbers. You will see a difference in the grape depending on its origins (or terroir).

Ca’ del Solo is  one of Bonny Doon’s estate vineyards. They farm using Biodynamic® practice, exceptionally light-handed, with with minimal intervention and manipulation. This winery is known for putting EVERY ingredient on their labels – not something you see on many wine labels.

label ingredients

The 2009 Varietal Blend is  91.8% albariño, 8.2% loureiro [loh-RAY-roo](Portuguese grape usually found in Vinho Verde wines)

Alcohol by Volume: 12.8%    Production: 3,350 cases   $15.99 retail

Root 1 pinot noir2009 Root 1: Pinot Noir (Chile) paired with a dark chocolate cake with buttercream bacon frosting from A Cookie and a Cupcake.

We always pair our Pinot Noirs with bacon, because EVERYTHING is better with bacon… and this lively budget friendly wine is no exception.

APPELLATION: Casablanca Valley, Chile   WINERY: Viña Ventisquero  VARIETAL(S): 100% Pinot Noir  ALCOHOL: 13.5%

Fermentation in barrels and stainless steel tanks, and malolactic fermentation with native yeasts. Aged for 10 months: 70% in French oak barrels, 30% in tank.

TASTING NOTES: Deep ruby in color with bright, intense aromas of cherry and raspberry, with hints of vanilla. Soft and mouthwatering on the palate with medium body, and ripe red berry flavors. Lively acidity coupled with elegant, soft tannins and a long and clean finish.

This is known as a pre-phylloxera wine. Phylloxera vastatrix (its Latin name) is thought to be indigenous to the eastern United States, and the thick, strong, native American rootstocks are reasonably resistant to this parasite. Much more vulnerable to phylloxera is the vitis vinifera rootstock – a species native to Europe and Central Asia and responsible for a majority of the world’s wine production. In the 1860s, vine cuttings from the eastern United States transmitted phylloxera to Europe, and eventually most of the vineyards in France and many in other parts of Europe were totally devastated. The parasite eventually spread, causing grave problems in California and other parts of the world including Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The solution was to graft Vitis vinifera vines to native American rootstocks, a remedy that worked for the better part of a century. There are a few places around the world that phylloxera has never invaded either because of the remote location of the vineyards or the inhospitable soil makeup. Many of these vineyards are planted on Vitis vinifera rootstock. Some parts of Australia, Argentina, Chile are phylloxera free as are island vineyards on Crete, Cyprus – Root 1 Wines are one of those original, ungrafted rootstock vineyards.

$12.99 retail

Hey Mambo and a cupcake2008 Hey Mambo Sultry Red (CA) paired with Five Flavor Pound Cake with Lemon icing and crystalized blueberry from A Cookie and a Cupcake.   (Vanilla, Lemon, Butter, Rum, & Coconut)

VARIETAL 41% Syrah, 33% Zinfandel, 10% Barbera, 9% Petite Sirah, 7% Alicante Bouchet    ALCOHOL 14.0%

Deep purple in color, the 2008 blend shows aromas of berry spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg. Raspberry/strawberry flavors present in the mouth, which slowly meld into cedar, dark plums, and molassas. bright acidity.

This wine pairs well with italian, sausage or red sauce dishes. We’ve paired it with a cake of many flavors to show you the versatility of the wine. I can also see pumpkin easily with this easy drinking blend.

Currently (1/17/12) not available in the store due to overwhelming popularity. But it can be found for about $11.99 retail and will be available at The Olde Wine Cellar in mid-February.



Amberhill Secret Red2010 Amberhill Secret Blend (CA) paired with Roasted Garlic with Smoked Gouda cheese icing.

This cupcake combination always strikes folks as strange, until they taste it and put it together with a great wine. A Cookie and a Cupcake filled this one with a bit of roasted garlic buttercream. A lovely little surprise on the inside of your bite.

The 2010 California Secret Blend Red Wine is a mix of varietals that delivers a fruit-forward style. Expressive aromatics of  cherry and strawberry blend with subtle notes of cedar, pepper and espresso bean.

A versatile blend like the Amberhill can pair with most savory meals. I pull a lot of the Zinfandel and Syrah notes out of this one, so garlic and smokey gouda would be up there in the flavor profiles.

The blend consists of Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Malbec

ALCOHOL: 13.5% by vol     Budget friendly at $9.99 retail

2007 InZINerator (CA) paired with Cherry Chocolate cake and Salted Caramel icing

InZinerator is blended with Zinfandel, Syrah and port varieties. New world extraction methods and richness with old world acidity and structure.

Scott Harvey has been the winemaker at Santino Winery, and then partner, winemaker and president of Folie a Deux Winery. He opened Scott Harvey wines in 2004. Scott Harvey wines gained some notoriety when the InZINerator was banned in the state of North Carolina and at ComicCON because some thought the Superhero label would encourage minors to drink it. Read more about that here.

Tasting Notes: Full of big, bold black cherry flavors, Oak aging contributes to the rounded complexity, with just a hint of sweetness. Try this wine with any grilled meat or chicken, or pair with pizza, pasta and burgers

The 2008 is a blend of – 78% Zinfandel 16% Syrah 5% Mixed Port 1% Barbera – the 2007 notes are not available, but the blend is similar.

Alcohol: 15.5% RS: .8%

A great Zin for $14.99 retail.

This blend was crowd sourced. Scott, an active member of the Woot community, asked the InZINerator fans for input on this wine.

See the video here:

We all had a great time at #WineandCupcakes. We’ll be back at The Olde Wine Cellar on March 22. And on the east side in February. Many thanks to @indulgenceCLE and A Cookie and a Cupcake for providing amazing cupcakes, and @theotherguys for getting me out of a wine jam. Incredible customer service from these three companies, and I can’t thank them enough. The Olde Wine Cellar is THE place to get small volume wines and they do great casual wine tastings on Friday and Saturday nights.

If you attended this event, please leave any comments or feedback. We’d all love to hear what you thought!

Winery Adventure – Markko Vineyards

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Markko Vineyards - front entrance

A regal entrance into one of Ohio’s oldest and most successful wineries.

Markko Vineyards isn’t the easiest place to find. There is no big sign indicating “Winery Here” – in fact, there are no signs at all. I got a bit turned around on the back roads off of I-90 because of some bridge work (now completed) – but if you follow the directions from the Markko website, you’ll get there fine. And you should. You should make an appointment for a tasting, and go out and try these wines in Conneaut, Ohio. Arnie Esterer, owner and winemaker, has a theory. “Our wines are good. If they like good wine, they’ll find us,” so he’s not worried about drawing a crowd. He’s been at this for over 40 years, and he knows what he’s talking about – his wines are divine.

Markko WineryThis is not a “destination winery” and not one to appear on the cover of a tourist magazine, but the wines are worthy of The Beard House and the New York Times. There is a small tasting room with a table for 12, and old growth tree shaded deck. Perfect for one of their Perch and Riesling lunches.

Back deck at Markko

I chatted with Arnie and his son, opening bottles here and there, while we talked  about this incredible adventure they’ve been on. The goal when Arnie Esterer and Tim Hubbard started was to show the potential of Vinifera in the Lake Erie region – it wasn’t an AVA yet in 1968. They were looking for the terroir, and by george, I think they found it.

Markko has 16 acres under vine, and every bottle produced comes from estate grapes, producing about 2100 cases annually. When Markko got started they planted Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir under the guidance of Dr. Konstantin Frank (a New York winemaker). Later Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, and Merlot were added to the plantings. Over the last 44 years, Arnie has become known as pioneer in Ohio winemaking.

Once Arnie came back from testing the wines they intended to bottle that day, we started the tasting with his Chardonnay.

2007 Chardonnay Select Reserve, bottled in ’09 (I tasted in 2011, so it’d been aging in the bottle 2 years) This spent 2 years on oak, but the flavor of the chardonnay grape shines through. Apple and pear on the palate, buttery on the finish. I am in no way an oaky chardonnay fan – much prefer them stainless steel, but WOW. Beautiful. ($33) – This one was paired at a MissWineOH event with chicken salad toast points and fresh garden salsa crostinis.

2004 Chardonnay Reserve This spent 7 years sur lee on American oak. Yes, you read that right – 7 years. This one had less of the fruit on the palate, but the butter was certainly present. I’d call this a perfectly oaked Chardonnay. (2005 is $30, I don’t think the 2004 is available)

2007 Chardonnay Lot 0703 Three years on oak, and fined with egg whites. Pleasant fruit, crisp and aromatic. Slightly more obvious oak here. ($24)

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve A beautiful field blended Cab, smooth tannins and well balanced. Blending consists of 5% each of merlot, cab franc and chambourcin. Gorgeous. ($33)

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Having tasted the 07, I grasped just how Markko wines are meant to be aged. The 08 had more prominent alcohol, and was slightly more tannic. It is also a drier red, but has the same full mouthfeel as the 07. Similar field blend.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve The smoothest of the Cabs. Very fruit forward, the complexity of the field blending shows with fun layers of the chambourcin and cab franc peeking through. This wine, while aged similarly to the others in its oak barrels, did not have the oak intensity – beautiful wine, and any of the Cabs could lay down for many years. ($36)

2008 Johannesburg Riesling Grassy and slightly floral on the nose stone fruit on the palate, slight effervescence that makes this a great wine to pair with spicy dishes. (currently not available)

2007 Riesling Reserve More grassy and slightly petrol on the nose, with honey on the finish. This one also has that effervescence. ($30) I paired this at a special event with a pumpkin cupcake. Beautiful wine.

Arnie did not stop being an innovator when he planted vinifera in Ohio in 1968. He also devised a trellis system for organic grapegrowers and planted American, French and Hungarian oak trees on his 100 acre property.  The intent was to be able to harvest these (now 40 year old) trees to be sent to a cooperage to become Markko barrels. That harvesting begins this year. Winemaking innovation and excellence is  a hallmark at Markko.

I arrived with the intention of doing a bit of a tasting and picking up a bottle for an event I was doing. I stayed about 2.5 hours, and had I been dressed differently, I might have been conscripted to help cork their wines. They were bottling that day, a fun thing to watch, an incredibly labor intensive process to complete. They use a pump system and hand run equipment to bottle and seal.

Employee Notice - wash your feet

Arnie’s son told me during our conversation that they opened a 1973 Chardonnay a week before I’d been there, and that it had aged beautifully. I just wish I’d been around for THAT tasting. These Ohio wines, while not exactly budget friendly, are priced extremely well for the quality and pricing of comparable wines. Don’t let the Ohio AVA fool you. There are serious vintages being made in Conneaut.

Markko’s first vintage was in 1972, and their system works, so they aren’t fixing what’s not broken. Markko wines are available in wine shops throughout Northeast Ohio. I have spotted them in Heinen’s and in Constantino’s. They do have a few budget friendly wines ($9-$20) – and while I haven’t tasted them, I can’t imagine Arnie and Linda would put out a wine they wouldn’t drink. These folks make cellar worthy wines.

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