Orlando Chef-Winemaker Jamie McFadden Releases Snowbirds Rosé

If you’re like most Central Floridians, you know Chef Jamie McFadden because he catered your wedding, or your company’s holiday party, or your favorite charity’s fundraiser.

Jamie’s Cuisiniers Catering company has been a mainstay in Orlando for almost two decades, and Jamie himself is well known as a top-notch local chef.

But I know him in a different context – as an oenophile.

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THIS WEEK: More Bubbles! And a Deadline!

Happy Mother’s Day, Central Florida! Have a wonderful time celebrating Mom tomorrow – hopefully with a brilliant brunch and some bubbles.

The celebration doesn’t have to end there, though!

Bubbles will be the name of the game at The Occasional Grape’s monthly tasting, this time dubbed “Bubbly & Bold.” It’s coming up Thursday, and it looks like a fun lineup.

Also, don’t celebrate so much this weekend that you miss the early bird registration deadline for the Women for Winesense chardonnay and merlot class with Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly. The price goes up after Monday!

Find details for these and many more upcoming wine events at our events page. Cheers!

 

Setting, Stories & Spectacular Wines Make Tim’s Ch. Musar Tasting a 2017 Highlight

There are a lot of great and even grand tasting experiences to be had in the wide world of wine. But every now and then, if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself at an unassuming, casual weeknight tasting that somehow becomes transcendental. The setting, the people and, most of all, the wines come together to magically transport you to a place far beyond your workaday world.

Last Tuesday’s Chateau Musar tasting  at Tim’s Wine Market Orlando was such an event.

Before you call me overly sentimental or accuse me of having had one too many “tastes,” you must understand that I go to a lot of wine tastings – usually at least two a week and often more. I almost always enjoy them on some level – intellectual, social, or sensory. But for a number of reasons, this one was a cut above and a step beyond.

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Colorado Wine – A Different Kind of Rocky Mountain High

Floridians travel to Colorado a lot. Only California and Texas send more tourists to this land of snow and yogis. If you find yourself heading to the Centennial State for some skiing or hiking or yoga (or, ummm, partaking of recreational substances) it’s worth checking out the local wine too.

In a state known – beverage-wise – for beer, and more recently for spirits, winemaking in Colorado has long played third fiddle. And it still does. But on a recent visit, I was pleased to find that the quality of Colorado’s wine is nothing to sneeze at. If you know where to look, you can find some lovely, cool-climate Old World-style wines, some of them even age-worthy.

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Orlando Hosts 3 Winemakers in 3 Weeks!

If you love wine, there’s nothing quite like talking to winemakers about their work and their creations. They’re as passionate as artists and as meticulous as scientists. When you talk with them, you’re all but guaranteed to come away with insight and perspective you couldn’t have gotten other way.

I can still hear the diminutive Carolina Garcia Viadero talking about the “little pieces of art” she creates for Bodegas Valduero. Or jovial Nik Weis of St. Urbans-Hof likening the “birth” of a wine to the existence of god. Or the elderly Heinrich Grohe weaving the tale of his life’s journey from metalworking in Germany to winemaking at Missouri’s Heinrichshaus Vineyards.

This month, Central Florida wine lovers have three opportunities to meet and talk with winemakers:

  • Robert Rex, owner and winemaker at Sonoma’s Deerfield Ranch Winery will present a tasting at The Wine Room on Park Ave. on March 15.
  • Brian Talley of Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande will host a wine dinner at The Ravenous Pig on March 22.
  • Julie Lumgair, consulting winemaker for J. Moss and former winemaker for Ideology – both in Napa – will be the featured speaker at a Central Florida Women for Winesense wine dinner on March 23.

Don’t miss the chance to connect with the people closest to the wines you love. Get more information about these and many other Orlando-area tastings, classes, and events on our Events Page.

New Orlando Wine Events: Napa winemaker dinner, Italian pairing dinner, and more!

The Upcoming Wine Events page has been updated with lots of new happenings around the region, including:

  • Italian pairing dinner hosted by Jean K. Reilly, Master of Wine
  • Wine dinner with Napa winemaker Julie Lumgair, hosted by Central Florida Women for Winesense
  • Tasting with Sonoma winemaker Ben Papapietro

Don’t miss these great events coming up next week:

  • Fat Tuesday party with high-acid whites at Swirlery
  • Everyday Italian tasting at Tim’s Wine Market Lake Mary
  • Australian wine class and tasting, also at Swirlery

As always, there’s no excuse to go thirsty in the City Beautiful!

Meticulous to Metaphysical: St. Urbans-Hof’s Nik Weis

“I don’t make riesling,” winemaker Nik Weis said with a sly smile. “I make Mosel.”

Thus began a fascinating two-hour vertical tasting of six vintages of Nik’s St. Urbans-Hof Laurentiuslay riesling spatlese in Miami last month.

The small private event took place in a beautiful condo on Biscayne Bay, but it was organized by one of the newest members of Orlando’s wine community, Jean K. Reilly, Master of Wine. (More about Jean in a later post!)

st-urbans-hof-tasting-jan-2017
Winemaker Nik Weis of St. Urbans-Hof leads a private vertical tasting of his wines in Miami, Jan. 2017

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