Chile and Bordeaux, Candy and Lamb: Beautiful Chaos in Next Week’s Event Lineup

Some weeks, Orlando’s wine events seem to magically align around a theme, as though Bacchus himself were guiding the hands of our local wine merchants.

Other weeks, it’s utter chaos. Next week falls into the second category … and it looks like a great time!

Monday, you can test your blind tasting skills with Master Sommelier George Miliotes by day and hobnob with a Chilean winemaker courtesy of Central Florida Women for Winesense by night.

Tuesday, taste and learn about the wines of Bordeaux at Tim’s Avalon or combine blind tasting practice with wine-and-Halloween-candy pairings at Swirlery.

Thursday, learn about the building blocks of wine at Tim’s Lake Mary-Sanford or celebrate with Digress Wine as it mark its first anniversary. (The Digress party continues on Friday, so you really don’t have to choose!)

Saturday, get your Level 1 WSET certification with Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly, and then celebrate with an Orin Swift wine dinner at Norman’s or a deliciously self-explanatory event at Tim’s Lake Mary-Sanford called “A Man, A Lamb, and A Plan.”

Details for these and many, many future events are on the Events Page. Wherever you end up next week, you’re sure to learn something new about the wonderful world of wine.

One more thing: in case you missed it, Orlando Wine Blog is hosting its first-ever tasting event on November 8 at Digress featuring the wines of Missouri, home of America’s first AVA. More information and tickets are at the links above. Seating is extremely limited – hope to see you there.

Cheers, Orlando!

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Orlando Wine Blog tasting to feature wines of Missouri, a piece of America’s wine history

I’ve made little secret of the fact that I’m fascinated by wines that are outside the mainstream. Don’t get me wrong – I dearly love great Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Barolo, and even a few California cabs. But give me a grape I’ve never heard of from an unlikely location, and my eyes light up.

When the Missouri Wine & Grape Board invited me a on a press trip exploring the state’s vineyards and wineries last month, I jumped at the chance. I’ve written about Missouri wines in the past, and readers were intrigued.

This time, I was inspired not only to write about the wines, but also to bring some bottles back to Orlando and give my readers an opportunity to try them. I’m partnering with Digress Wine in College Park to host a tasting two weeks from today, on November 8 at 6:30pm, where we’ll sample and learn about these unique wines that rarely make it out of their home state. They’re not distributed in Florida, so this may be your only chance to experience them. Seating is extremely limited, so reserve your spot today!!

Want to know more about the wines we’ll be tasting? Read on!

Continue reading “Orlando Wine Blog tasting to feature wines of Missouri, a piece of America’s wine history”

De Toren all over town! Plus taste and learn with two Masters

What a week we have coming up in Central Florida!

First off, winemaker Albie Koch from South Africa’s celebrated De Toren winery will be in town, offering three opportunities to taste his boutique wines:

Wednesday at Swirlery

Thursday at Vintage Vino

Friday at Wine Bar George for a twelve vintage retrospective of the flagship Bordeaux blend, De Toren Fusion V.

But that’s not all!

Tuesday offers opportunities to learn from two of Central Florida’s resident wine masters:

Master Sommelier John Blazon will lead a tasting of Spire Collection wines at Bella Tuscany in Windermere.

Master of Wine Jean K. Reilly kicks off her latest WSET Level 2 certification course at Tim’s Orlando.

On top of all that, there are two Southern Italian tastings next week, as well as a tasting of New York wines led by three prominent women in that state’s growing wine industry, via Facebook Live.

Check out the Events Page for details of these events and other options for next week and beyond.

Get out and taste the wine, Orlando!

Big Tastings, Blind Tastings, & More

Orlando’s wine purveyors want you to expand your palate over the coming week, with two opportunities to try and compare a vast array of wines.

Tomorrow (Saturday, September 8), Swirlery is celebrating its third anniversary with a grand tasting of more than 30 wines. Light bites are included.

Next Saturday, September 15, Luisa’s Cellar in Sanford is celebrating harvest with a patio tasting, also featuring more than 30 wines.

Also coming up …

A blind tasting tomorrow with Master Sommelier George Miliotes at his eponymous Disney Springs wine bar;

A dinner with the winemaker from Silkwood Wines in California’s Central Valley on Wednesday at The Vineyard;

And a tasting of Spanish coastal wines at Luisa’s Cellar on Thursday.

Details are on the Events Page, where you’ll also find barrels of new entries for the rest of the month and into October.

Cheers to Almost Fall, Orlando!

The Inquisitor Wine Company: How two Orlando friends turned a “pipe dream” into a local importer of private label South African wines

On June 18, 2016, a small group of sommeliers from some of Orlando’s swankiest dining spots sat down for an invitation-only blind tasting. Hosts Laura Fletcher, then 29, and Christie Briscoe, then 23, were good friends and colleagues at Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton, where they worked in sales and marketing. But this event was about something completely different.

They poured tastes from a few well known, high end bottles alongside samples from a largely unknown South African winemaker, Christian Kuun. His wines got good reviews, sometimes beating out the big names.

“In that moment, I was like, ok it can happen,” said Christie, whose last name is now McLeod.

“We looked at each other,” Fletcher recalls, and thought, “let’s do this.”

Continue reading “The Inquisitor Wine Company: How two Orlando friends turned a “pipe dream” into a local importer of private label South African wines”

England’s Camel Valley Vineyards Pulling Back from US Market

On a stone terrace in the county of Cornwall, overlooking rolling hills blanketed with vines and fields, Camel Valley Vineyards founder Bob Lindo beams with pride as he shows off award after award to visitors sipping on the tasty fruits of his labor.

This winery is one of England’s most decorated, at the forefront of the country’s surging wine business. Producers here are winning plenty of awards, particularly for their bubbly, which has come out ahead of Champagne on enough occasions to make a Frenchman blush.

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Founder Bob Lindo welcomes guests on the terrace at Camel Valley Vineyards in Cornwall.

In 2016, the UK wine industry made a collective commitment to a tenfold increase in exports over five years, and American wine lovers are starting to reap the benefits. Just under two years ago, Camel Valley wines were part of the first full shipping container of English wine ever sent to a foreign shore; they were bound for the US.

Here in Orlando, though, you still have to look hard to find British bubbly. Wine Bar George serves a brut from producer Digby Fine English; Tim’s Wine Market Orlando has Ridgeview in stock.

But Camel Valley is not available in Florida, and sadly, that’s not likely to change. Bob Lindo says he’s pulling back from the US market.

Continue reading “England’s Camel Valley Vineyards Pulling Back from US Market”

Chocolate, Grilled Cheese & Music – Wild Week of Wine Pairings ahead!

Looks like the summer holidays are over for the wine community here in Central Florida! Tomorrow is awash in vin-soaked Bastille Day celebrations – check out the highlights in my previous post. (LATE ADD: The PinkNIC event at Tim’s Windermere has been rescheduled. Check the Events Page for details.)

Next week’s theme is all about creative pairings.

You’ve heard of pairing wine with all kinds of food – what about wine and music pairings? Two events next week aim to engage your ears along with your nose and taste buds.

  • Thursday, Swirlery’s co-owner Damian Roman (aka, DJ Collaborator!) is pairing ten tunes with ten wines, each chosen by one of Orlando’s top Sommeliers, for a “Wine & Vinyl Top 10 Listening Tasting.”
  • Friday, Hard Rock Universal’s “Wine Riffs” series hosts BV winemaker Trevor Durling and features his wines alongside a five-course meal and a specially chosen soundtrack.

Next on the list of crazy pairings is Swirlery’s Wine & Grilled Cheese Night on Wednesday. Uncommon Catering will supply four gourmet grilled cheeses, to be paired with four wines chosen by Swirlery’s Advanced Somm Melissa McAvoy.

Finally, you can’t go wrong with a classic – Champagne and chocolate. The Vineyard Orlando is hosting winemaker Gilles Dumangin on Wednesday and pairing his Dumangin Champanges with chocolates by chef & chocolatier Luis Mendez.

If you’re not into pairings, there are many more events next week where the wine stands alone. Check them out, along with a robust list of happenings over the next few weeks, on the Event Page.

Cheers, Orlando!