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Wine and Cupcakes – East Side Tasting

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We’ll be at the Wine Spot on November 8, 2012 for a seasonal East Side tasting.

MissWineOH will be on hand to pour 4 wines, each with a gourmet mini-cupcake chosen specifically for your palate pleasure. A white, a rose, and two beautiful reds will be served – each with a morsel of flavor to delight your taste buds.

It will be an educational and social event for the connoisseur or wine newbie. We’ll discuss wine pairing for the holiday season and suggest a few wines to complement your seasonal needs.

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 knowledgeable wine folks in the area at your service.

We’ll be pouring from 6-8pm.

Eventbrite - Wine and Cupcakes at Wine Spot

If you want to guarantee your spot, buy your tickets in advance. Limited tickets will be available at the door.

Ticket prices include all taxes, fees and gratuity.

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What to do when you have too many strawberries, and a bottle of Viognier

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On a hot summer evening, I’m loathe to make anything too complicated for dinner. But on an evening when it is cool enough, I have no choice but to get creative. I just can’t seem to help myself.

That’s how I came to pull a bottle of Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc|Viognier from the cooler. There was a crate of strawberries in the refrigerator from the Tremont Farmers Market, one of the best neighborhood markets I’ve seen, and they were calling out for attention, paticularly once the Viognier had a chance to sit in the glass for a bit.

Pine Ridge Vineyards is located in the Central Valley region of California – they’ve been making wines since 1978, and are known for their Bordeaux blends. Today, the Estate’s 200-acres span over five renowned Napa Valley appellations – Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Oakville, Carneros and Howell Mountain.

This is one you don’t want to serve too cold – at about 55-60 degrees you find bright aromas of citrus and flowers, a somewhat creamy mouthfeel, with bright acidity. I was impressed with the lasting finish with tropical citrus and a hint of honey. And the $13 price is right in the sweet spot. This bottle came from Wine and Design in Tremont.

The strawberries came in with the meal I prepared to go with. Pan baked chicken tenderloins, seasoned with lemon and garlic and topped with a strawberry and fig chutney – accompanied by roasted cauliflower and red pepper was the meal of the night.

With the crisp acidityof the Chenin Blanc and the floral and light honey notes of the Viognier, the wine blended seamlessly with the flavors of the food. You can find the recipe for the strawberry and fig chutney here.

When you walk the aisles of your local wine shop in search of a crisp, but full white wine for your summer dinner. Look at the chenin blancs, or viogniers (or a blend of the two, like this one!) Great summer sipper.

Wine of the Week: Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franc

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This is my new weekly feature called Wine of the Week – its a short review and recommendation of wine I loved in the past week (gee, I had to stretch for the title, huh?) You’ll see it hereafter referred to as WOTW for brevity. Or laziness, or both.

I’m not usually one to haphazardly buy wines over $20 per as I wander through a wine store, at least not when I’m restocking for the week. But I was in Rozi’s Wine House on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland just before New Years and found a wine I had to have. I’d been hankerin’ (that’s a technical term) for a good Cabernet Franc and had been remiss in not ordering anything from my beloved Virginia Cab Franc gods. When I found the 2008 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franc, I clutched it to my chest like a long lost brother from the Corps.

Alexander Valley Vineyard - Cabernet FrancThis wine runs $24.99 at Rozi’s, so its not horribly expensive by any stretch – and I will tell you, its worth every       nickel and dime if you enjoy Cab Franc.  The 2009 is available on their website, I can’t speak directly to that one, and I might suggest buying it and putting it away for a bit, but the 2008 is VERY drinkable now, and also could sit in the cellar, but not for too long – its just that good right now.

Alexander Valley Vineyards has been making wine since 1975 in Sonoma County. Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased the property in 1962 and were one of the first in the area to plant grapes. They produce about 100,000 cases annually, including 17 varietal wines and proprietary blends. Seventy-five percent of AVV’s production is red wine. Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon constitute half of total production. They also produce Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Sangiovese, Viognier, and this incredible Cabernet Franc.

The 2008 Cab Franc is an estate wine, but not single vineyard, having been sourced from several of the family’s properties. They made 1400 cases, and aged it for 14 months on 100% french oak, 50% of which was new. I’m not one for an over-oaked Cab Franc – as I love the flavor of the grape and don’t want it hidden in the oak, and this wine is a great balance of oak for aging and the beautiful cab franc flavor. It comes in at 14%, but a few years in the bottle shows beautiful smooth tannins and not a hint of heat (higher alcohol) that I usually taste at 14%.

Berries and spice come out of this wine on my palate, and it smells, well… yummy. As I said on twitter when I poured it, there was a winegasm in my kitchen. Gorgeous wine.

As if you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend this one. The price is out of my daily drinking range, but I’ll definitely be going back to it; and trying the 2009 as well. I’d pair it with a lighter meat dish – herbed pork loin perhaps, not too heavy on the pepper. This is a wine you want to show through, not be eclipsed by your meal. I almost want to put a salted caramel dessert with it… just to see how it shines. If you are on “the tweeter” – follow them at @avvwinery.

Happy Sipping!

Light by Beaujolais – A Pairing Adventure

I had the privilege of inviting a few people over to MissWineOH headquarters for a Beaujolais tasting on December 7. It was a collision of two worlds – a few people from #MrWineOH’s office, and a few great people I’d met through my tastings.

SEDavenport and her husband, WhyCLE and her beau, and EatDrinkClev joined us to delve into the beaujolais world and nosh on some appetizers. The entire event was a twitter tasting and broadcast under the #beaujolais hashtag. All of the Beaujolais wines were served chilled to 60°F.

We started the evening with a little palate cleansing French sparkling. Yes, there are reasonable French sparklings – we picked up ours from Wine and Design in Tremont for less than $15.  The first Beaujolais poured was a 2010 Christophe Pacalet, Chiroubles. Most of our guests thought it to be a light, fruity wine. Others tasted a perfume base, followed by the fruit. This was not high on the list of favorites for the evening at $16.99. It was paired with a Pastry Wrapped Baked Brie.

Baked Brie Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large sheet of puff pastry dough or 1 tube of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 round or wedge of Brie cheese (do not remove rind)
  • Raspberry Jam, or other sweet jam
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 On a non-stick cookie sheet, lay out the puff pastry or the crescent rolls flat; put brie round or wedge on top.

2 Spread jam on brie, fold dough over top, cutting off excess dough. Drizzle maple syrup and place a handful of brown sugar on top.

3 Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes, pastry should be golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers and apple slices.

The 2009 Domaine de Colette, Regnie was the second wine poured. All cherry and berry on the palate, this wine opened up nicely and was enjoyed for the duration. We paired it with a soppressata, beef sausage, and smoked gouda platter – the olives were a hit or miss. Some thought they paired well, others thought the quality price ratio was not up to par. This wine retails for $18.99.

The third wine we poured was the 2009 Chateau de la Chaize, Brouilly. This Brouilly is from the among the oldest and most historic estates in the region of Beaujolais. Medium bodied, fruity, with a long finish, most of our guests picked this as the QPR winner of the evening at $13.95. It was paired with a Proscuitto wrapped camembert.

Proscuitto Wrapped Camembert

Ingredients

  • 6 large fresh sage leaves
  • 8 oz. whole round camembert
  • 6 large slices prosciutto
  • 12 slices French bread stick (baguette), toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange 3 sage leaves on top of the camembert. Place 3 slices of prosciutto over the sage. Carefully turn the camembert over and fold in the ends of the prosciutto slices to enclose. Repeat with the remaining sage and prosciutto to completely enclose the camembert.
  2. Place the camembert on the lined tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp and the camembert is soft. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the bread.

Our last Beaujolais of the evening was the 2010 Pavillion de Chavennes, Cote de Brouilly – the most complex wine of the night, there was a floral aroma on the nose and spice on the finish. Even at the $21.99 price point, this became the crowd favorite and quickly disappeared. We paired this wine with Crunchy Apple Salsa over Chicken.

Crunchy Apple Salsa over Chicken

Salsa

2 cups York or Fuji apples, halved, cored and chopped

3/4 cup (1 large) Anaheim chile pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup lime juice

salt and pepper to taste

Marinade

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup apple juice

1/2 tsp. grated lime peel

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash pepper

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine salsa ingredients and mix well; allow flavors to blend about 1/2 hour. Serve over or alongside grilled chicken. Makes 3 cups salsa. For grilled chicken combine marinade ingredients, pour over chicken breasts. Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cook in an oiled skillet, turning once, until done.

WhyCLE takes pictures, I pour wine. (Thanks, Jen!)

It wouldn’t be #MissWineOH without a cupcake pairing. I chilled and poured the 2007 Markko Select Reserve Johannesburg Riesling. If you have never experienced Ohio wines, Markko makes some of the finest in the state. This is a slightly sweet riesling with floral aromas. I’d pair this with a seafood dinner or a savory chicken dish.

The cupcake I chose for this event and pairing was the pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing from A Cookie and A Cupcake, on of my favorite Cleveland bakers. The savory pumpkin paired beautifully with the riesling. It balanced the sweetness of the residual sugar in the wine, while allowing the minerality to show through.

So, what was the conclusion? A rousing success of course! The wines of Beaujolais are always lovely, and you should seek them out when you find them. I’d recommend pairing a Beaujolais with food – try some of the recipes I’ve included. Many thanks to @sedavenport, @whycle and @eatdrinkclev for joining us. Follow them on twitter because they are interesting and cool ladies in Cleveland.

If you’d like to join us for a future event, stay tuned to the calendar. We’ve got #wineandcupcakes and #beerandcupcakes coming up in January. Or like MissWineOH on Facebook for wine related articles and information from around the world.

The Beaujolais wines were provided by Discover Beaujolais.

Wining at Holiday Tables

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willworkforvino.blogspot.com

Visible Voice Books and MissWineOH are teaming up on November 18 at 7pm to offer Wining at Holiday Tables – a unique pairing experience where you will be presented with 4 wines to taste and 2 perfectly paired mini-tarts to enjoy with them.

Our wines will include:

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Domaine Lapalu Beaujolais Villages

E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge

D’Arenburg Stump Jump

This culinary treat will provide tasters with examples of how to pair multiple wines with all the holiday meals you have to tackle, without breaking the bank.

As with #wineandcupcakes tastings, the tarts will be prepared by a local baker and creatively paired to enhance and compliment the wines.

The BonBon Bakeshop will be providing our mini-tarts. We have some incredible flavor combinations for our four wines. True savory tarts which will perfectly compliment the holiday table.

All taxes and gratuity are included in the price of admission. There are only 30 tickets available, so please purchase in advance. There is no guarantee of at the door tickets being available.

All wines served will be available for retail purchase.

Just click on the link below to purchase your $20 ticket now!

We look forward to seeing you on November 18.

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