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Author Archives: tlcolson

White Wines for Spring – TOWC Notes

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On a gorgeous Cleveland Spring evening, wine lovers gathered at The Olde Wine Cellar for an Ode to Spring, White Wines and Cupcakes on the deck of the wine shop. We were not disappointed with warm weather and a slowly setting sun. So what were we oohing and ahhing over on this beautiful evening with friends and strangers gathered to taste?

Wine and Cupcakes Selection

Brut D’Argent Blanc de Blancs

 Paired with White cake, custard and fresh strawberries with buttercream

How can one resist the urge to begin a tasting on one of the earliest warm days Cleveland has seen by sipping on some sparkling wine? We toasted to a new season with the very affordable and tasty Blac de Blancs from the Jura region on France.

This 100% Chardonnay has light effervescence, slight hints of crisp green apple and pear, a bit of mineral and some touches of buttered brioche at the finish.  Nice value.We paired this with the strawberry custard as a pleasing blend of light fruits. Champagne (or sparking, because even though French, this is not from the Champagne region) blends beautifully with fruits of all kinds. Think strawberry, apple, kiwi, peach… and of course you can easily add in the chocolate!

NV New Age Torrontes  – ArgentinaTorrontes Sauvignon Blanc blend

 Paired with Almond cake with roquefort icing

From one of Argentina’s most famous wineries – Bodega Valentin Bianchi, 90% Torrontes, 10% Sauvignon Blanc.

 Torrontes is the signature wine grape of Argentina. Aromas of fresh flowers and fruit, crisp, yet soft in the finish. Halfway through the fermentation process, the wine is centrifuged (spun) to halt fermentation, creating a slightly sweet, semi-sparkling wine. 9% ABV

The New Age is not your typical Torrontes, so if you are a huge fan, the effervescence may be a little shocking on your palate. That being said, for inexperienced wine drinkers, it is a great way to introduce your palate to a new grape. And if you like sparklings in general, you will probably find this to be a budget friendly one off from your usual bubbly.

Schloss Zell Mosel2007 Mosel Piersporter Michelsberg Kabinett Riesling – Germany

 Paired with Granny Smith Apple cake with Apple Cream Cheese and Caramel

Honestly, this cupcake could have paired with either the bubbly or the riesling. This wine and cupcake together just seemed like grandma’s apple strudel. Piesporter Michelsberg Kabinett is a very crisp moderately light bodied wine reminiscent of granny smith apples. The lively acidity results in a juicy clean palate feel that is ideal for a wide range of foods from cheese and appetizers to shellfish and meat.

There are so many variations on the theme when it comes to Riesling, this is your slightly off dry, slightly more acidity version. And it was a crowd favorite on our Spring evening!

2010 Tortoise Creek Wines Viognier – FranceViognier Tortoise Creek Winery France

Paired with Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing

 This Viognier, “Le Verger” is completely unoaked and therefore bright with lovely aromas of peaches, pears and honeysuckle that lead to a palate that is fresh and crisp but packed with fruit. Viognier can easily be paired with spiced dishes. I love a viognier with a sushi or fish. So I give you ginger and lemon… two of my favorite flavors with those dishes.

Viognier is meant to be consumed young, and typically will lose its perfume as it ages in the bottle, so don’t hold on to this one too long – not that you’d want to – its yummy (that’s a technical term), open it now!

2010 YardDog White Blend – Australia

Yard Dog White Blend South AustraliaPaired with Olive oil and sweet white wine cake with Basil Icing

55% Chardonnay, 18% Gewurztraminer, 15% Sauvignon Blanc, 9% Viognier, and 3% Semillon. from South Eastern Australia.

 This wine is barreled in old oak and stainless steel, so that the oak mellows the edges of the wine, but does not impart huge amounts of oak flavor – and its aged for 2-5 years, depending on the varietal, then blended prior to bottling. This one will cellar for a few years, so be sure to give it some air before sipping.

 The YardDog made me think of fish, pork, chicken… white meat dinners on a summer day. So its paired with a sweetened cake (to balance the semillion and gewurtztriminer – traditionally sweeter wines) with basil icing – one of the herbs commonly used on summer white meat dishes.

2010 Dreaming Tree Chardonnay – CaliforniaDave Matthews Band wine label Chardonnay

 Paired with Fig cupcake with Brie

Steve Reeder partnered with Dave Matthews to create this wine. They wanted to bring the traditional Central Coast flavors of spice and big fruit to their Chardonnay. This wine was aged for 9 months in oak and stainless steel, so you will get American oak on the nose.. which will calm after getting some air.

 At 13.5 % this is not a heavy Chard, nor is it a fruit bomb… this is, with some air, a lovely dinner chardonnay.

 It reminds me of sipping white wine on the deck with fruit and cheese, so I give you fruit and cheese.

If these pairings sound like fun, join us for our next public tasting on April 28 – tickets are available for the East Side tasting at The Wine Spot. Or give me a call, and we can put together a private tasting for your friends, family, company or civic group! 


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WOTW – Did Your Mama Teach You That?

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The Other Guys Wines make Hey Mambo. And they named this one Kinky Pink.

 Right now you are singing Mambo Italiano… so here’s another version of Hey Mambo to get THAT out of your head.

Now, on to Kinky Pink. Because it’s definitely worth talking about.

BottleShot Kinky PinkI opened a bottle of Kinky Pink Rosé on a fine spring day in Cleveland and waited to see what would happen. Their Sultry Red is one of my most recommended chillable reds – I’ve poured it at a number of tastings, including this one in January, so I was interested to see what they do with a Rosé.

The color in the glass is a beautiful pink. Aromas of orange blossom, strawberry and peony. (the winery says wisteria… i didn’t smell it, so maybe my nose has gone old school floral on me)

The Kinky Pink is 98% pinot noir with a splash (2%) of Chardonnay. Pinot Noir rosés can be a bit thin – but this is a medium bodied wine which will hold up nicely with spring and summer dishes.

It starts with tart cherry and clementine and has a pleasing finish of strawberry and lemon. Light chicken dishes, pasta salads, your Sunday ham – all great pairings with this wine.

The good folks at The Other Guys sent me a bottle of their new Rose, as well as a bottle of the Sultry Red, and I’d recommend either of them as great summer sippers!

We’ve made it to the East Side!

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Wine and Cupcakes has become a popular event in Cleveland, and we’ll be at the Wine Spot on April 28, 2012 for the first East Side tasting.

Tuscany Distributors will bring four of their beautiful italian wines – and MissWineOH will be on hand to pair up each wine with a gourmet mini-cupcake chosen specifically for your palate pleasure. As always, A Cookie and a Cupcake in Tremont will be baking our treats.

A white, a rose, and two beautiful reds will be served – each with a morsel of flavor to delight your taste buds. We’ll also have an intermezzo to clear your palate.

We’ll discuss the wine regions of Italy, and get insight on how to pair wine and food. It will be an educational and social event for the connoissuer or wine newbie.

The beautifully appointed Wine Spot will be our venue – with the incredible art from local talent, a superior selection of wine and beer, and some of the most knowledgable wine folks in the area at your service.

This is a formal tasting event which will begin promptly at 7pm and last about 2 hours.

RSVP is required, with payment in advance. Ticket prices include all taxes, fees and gratuity.

Join us for a culinary experience you won’t soon forget!

Eventbrite - East Side Wine and Cupcakes

Selection Sunday demands Craft Brew and Cupcakes

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There was Beer and Cupcakes at Market Garden Brewery on Sunday, March 11. We had a rockin’ time. Here are the notes. I sat with Andy Tveekrem to get information about his beers. If any of these notes are incorrect – this is my fault – and not his.

The Ohio City Room

Friar Power Belgian Tripel with a Saffron and orange cake, topped with Cardamom icing.

This strong light golden ale is the product of belgian history. Originally produced by monks – they developed the distinctive yeast that gives the belgian tripel its ester profile. (Volatile flavor compound naturally created in fermentation. Often fruity, flowery or spicy.) At 8%, the alcohol can sneak up on you. This is Andy’s stealth beer.

The profile of this beer – very floral, slightly bitter, with a lovely citrus kick is paired with the complementary subtle flavors of saffron and cardamom – with a little orange to draw out the citrus.

Pearl Street Wheat with an Almond cake, topped with lemon/orange icing.

The phenolics (Flavor and aroma of smoke, or cloves; caused by wild yeast or bacteria) from the yeasts in this Hefeweisen are nutmeg and clove. Its slightly tart or acidic – the banana nose is characteristic of the yeasts as well. The beer is brewed with about a 65% wheat base in addition to malted barley. This makes for a sweeter beer – but lower alchohol than the first, coming in at 5.5%.

We are pairing this one with almond – in complement to the banana (think banana bread) and the lemon/orange icing is a nod to the tradition of serving this beer with a lemon or orange slice.

Boss Amber Lager with a roasted garlic cake and sundried tomato icing.

Possibly the beer from Market Garden that is most suited for food due to the toasted malt. This one would pair with any roasted meat dish. Its fermented colder and slower than ales – for about six weeks. Andy utilizes a Vienna Malt for this traditional Vienna Lager. A great Session beer, it comes in at 5% – a perfect example of how to make a good lager. This is probably my favorite.

Obviously the roasted garlic and sundried tomato come together to give you a sweet treat reminiscent of your Sunday dinner of roast chicken – without trying to create a meat cupcake!

 

 

This beer is named after Andy – the “Striking Viking” – an American Pale Ale produced with Cascade hops and English yeasts. These yeast typically produce a butter or butterscotch flavor. And he uses a crystal malt for color and body. This one comes in at 5.5% – another easy drinker.

We bring creaminess to this pairing with white chocolate to sooth the hops, and bacon and jalapeno demonstrate an easy pairing with burgers or spicy foods.

Wallace Tavern Scotch Ale with a Five Flavor Cake and Salted Caramel icing.

This beer is named for George Wallace, a Scottish settler to Cleveland from 1806. He owned a Distillery and brewery in the area, and later moved to Brandywine. So this is an homage to Cleveland’s beer history. This ale’s malts are actively caramelized utilizing a prolonged boil. The strong heavy malt is balanced by the addition of other flavors to reduce bitterness. Typically the Scots would use heather or other wild ingredients, though Andy doesn’t hold THAT closely to the tradition. He utilizes a slightly higher alcohol percentage (between 6.5 and 7% depending on the batch) to balance the malt – so that the caramel becomes noticeable in the flavor and neutralizes much of the bitterness.

The obvious pairing on this beer is salted caramel, one of my favorite flavors – we added in the five flavor cake to show the diversity of pairing possibilities. A traditional southern dessert, this has lemon, butter, rum, coconut and vanilla in the cake. Any rich saucy dish would pair up nicely with the Wallace Tavern.

Forest City Brown Ale with a nutty carrot cake and cream cheese icing.

This beer is named after Cleveland’s moniker – back when it was all about the lumber here. This brown ale is born from the roasted flavors of a coffee malt which literally can be roasted like coffee beans, providing the brewmaster with differing degrees of flavor to work with. This English style beer is bold and expressive, coming in at 5.8% – and is Andy’s favorite.

When I first tasted this beer, all I could think about was roasted vegetables. Pair this one up with any roasted veg – like a lasagna. The pasta will sooth the bitterness on the finish. We give you a nutty carrot cake with cream cheese to attain the desired affect.

A Cookie and a Cupcake made these incredible treats. Visit them in Tremont. 

Spring Joy in White Wines on the West Side

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Its #WineandCupcakes with a spring in its step!

We’ll be tasting White Wines in March. Thursday, March 22 – at 6:30pm.

The Olde Wine Cellar in Olmsted Falls welcomes us back as our wine partner for an enchanting trip through France, Germany, Italy, Spain and California. We’ll start with a French champagne and end in California with Dave Matthews’ take on Chardonnay – and it will be a world tour in between.

Its Wine and Cupcakes for Spring!

We are pairing our six beautiful white wines with six specially created gourmet mini-cupcakes. A bite or two of a unique creation to enhance and complement the wines!

Six incredible courses, in a great setting – The Olde Wine Cellar is a cozy venue – and if its pretty enough, we’ll be sipping on the covered and heated patio.

Ticket prices include all fees, taxes and gratuity. Tickets must be purchased in advance because our bakers at A Cookie and A Cupcake in Tremont need to know how many of these beauties to make!

Join us for a Joyful Spring Evening.

MissWineOH and The Olde Wine Cellar at our finest Pairing Adventure!

Eventbrite - Spring Joy in White Wine and Cupcakes!

Crop’s Minor Delight – a Pinot Noir

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On a very chilly evening MrWineOH and I ventured out to Crop Bistro to see what the talk was all about. One of the new additions to the restaurant scene in Ohio City – we were excited to sit at the chef’s table and partake of some delicacies.

I want to hit the highlights on the food, because the real story was a beautiful pinot noir I encountered. When we were seated at the Chef’s Table, which is a beautiful granite bar in front of the kitchen – we weren’t sure what to expect. But we were quickly treated to a gift from the kitchen. As an amuse bouche, we received this gorgeous egg on a little plate. The Chile Deviled Egg ($4 for 3 or $8 for 6) is a taste bud delight! I highly recommend them. Did I mention that sometimes they are pink? Yeah, you’d think that’d be a little freaky, but the flavor is incredible.

Another highlight was the Cherry Bomb – a little culinary genius that closely resembles a deep fried onion, but in reality is a wonton wrapped combination of plum tomato, chorizo sausage, jack cheese, and corn. This appetizer as shown is $8 and worth every penny. Cutting into it is a beautiful sight and the flavors blend beautifully.

One great thing we found is that a few appetizers a piece were filling and the perfect way to taste several of their signature dishes. I would not recommend the chef’s table though. The way you are seated makes the waitstaff reach around you to set plates or refill a wine glass. Its awkward.

Speaking of wine!

Sean Minor Carneros 2010 Pinot NoirAfter much consternation over the wine list, and the obvious frustration of MrWineOH and our server… I selected the 2010 Sean Minor Carneros Pinot Noir. List price is $42 there.

All I can tell you is – its absolutely lovely! Cherry, plum, a bit of blueberry – and nicely balanced spice and earthiness on the finish. While this pinot noir is aged 10 months in 100% French oak of which 20% is new – there isn’t overwhelming oak on the palate. I could smell the oak – but it was beautifully integrated into the flavors.

For my wine geek readers, this is a blend of Pommard and Dijon clones sourced from Carneros vineyards.

And at 13.5% abv (alcohol by volume) it isn’t overwhelming on the alcohol, even at this young age. Don’t get me wrong – it is a bit hot – but it mellowed nicely on day two –  after the server was nice enough to recork the half bottle I had remaining. This is definitely one I’d decant, or at least let sit in the glass for a while before sipping.

I see this paired with many dishes, but its not light enough for seafood – definitely a medium bodied wine for heavier white meat dishes or pasta. Don’t go crazy with italian spices with this – you will lose the beautiful subtlety of the fruit.

The winery sells this for $22 – I haven’t seen it in local shops, but the distributors have it in Ohio, so ask for it! Its a good buy at retail.

Now, will we be returning to Crop Bistro for a full meal? The jury is out on that. The other apps we had were okay, but not fabulous – and even though we spent what we’d typically spend for a night out – the great wine and the company made the evening, not the location. For a business dinner – I think it works – for a regular night out? Maybe not.

*** We’ve got some great events coming soon! Beer and Cupcakes THIS Sunday – tickets still available. And Wine and Cupcakes – West Side – White Wines for Spring – on March 22 – tickets available here!

Also – Our very first East Side Wine and Cupcakes will be April 28 at The Wine Spot in Cleveland Heights – those tickets will be up soon!  ***

Wine and Design – the OHBlogging Notes

Here are the tasting notes for the OH Bloggers Association Meeting. (These are so much better than meeting notes, don’t you think?)

Wines for OBA Meeting

The white wines we tasted are a bit of a study in malolactic fermentation. This is the secondary fermentation wines go through. The tart malic acid from the first fermentation is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Remember, wine is a bit like laws and sausage… you probably don’t want to know what goes into it, but you know it tastes lovely when its done! You may be familiar with this process if you drink Chardonnay.The malo is what brings out the butter or butterscotch flavors of Chard.

2010 Monmousseau Champagne (FR) $14.99

Brut Etoile – “methode champenoise” – secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Bubbles are refined and persistent and acidity is well-balanced on the palate. Ever so slight sweetness on the finish of this beautiful and inexpensive champagne.

2010 Argiolas Vermintino (IT) $14.99

Vermintino grape from Sardenia. This wine is fermented in stainless steel, and then put through partial malolactic fermentation in the tank which gives this wine a fuller body.You will find orange and vanilla flavors and a zesty acidity (making it a crisp wine). This one is great with Asian food.

2010 Burgáns Albariño (SP) $14.99

Rias Baixas, Spain

Bodegas Martín Códax – a cooperative of 270 growers and the winery.

This wine has good minerality with lemon, peach, tropical fruit flavors and full malolactic fermentation, smoothing the edges of this wine and providing a full mouthfeel.

White Wine Appetizers

Cheddar Cubes, Brie with pepper jelly

Our reds are in the theme of “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” – these are some of the darker red wines with a lighter body, in varietals many people are really unfamiliar with, but are priced well for the budget. Each of them runs $12.99.

2010 Domaine Aime Cabernet Franc (FR) $12.99

Languedoc-Roussillon – Minervois appellation

No oak aging – dark cherry and cassis fruit flavors, slightly spicy and a bit of cocoa.

This is one of my favorite “middle of the road” reds – warm climate doesn’t create the vegetative or green pepper notes that Cab Franc can be known for. Pair it with anything from chicken to pork to vegetarian dishes.

2005 Crianza Camparron (SP) $12.99

The tinta de toro or tempranillo grape. Cherry notes and light oak aging. This is a fruit forward wine with well-integrated wood flavors.

6 months on American oak, 24 months in the bottle before release.

We put this with spanish dishes, of course…although we pair this one with chili and spaghetti quite a bit.

2010 Stella Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (IT) $12.99

Eastern coast of Italy. Montepulciano grapes have also been introduced to Australia, so you may be finding this varietal from there as well.

Aromas of black cherries and herbs. Dry and mellow with concentrated structure.

Best enjoyed young, in order to fully appreciate its fruity character.

Enjoyed with typical Italian dishes, red meats, pizza, and cheese.

Red Wine Appetizer Pairings

The Cleveland Crostini, Southside Hummus and Dichotomy Popcorn

The recipe for the Cleveland Crostini is here.

Many thanks to Greg at Wine and Design for letting the bloggers invade your beautiful space. To Southside in Tremont for the rock star hummus – and to the Ohio Blogging Association for inviting me to put this tasting together for them. It was a lot of fun to meet some of the bloggers who’s work I read regularly, and to see some friends!

We’ve got Beer and Cupcakes at Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City on March 11. And Wine and Cupcakes at The Olde Wine Cellar on March 22. Please join us for more great pairing adventures!

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