Albarino in my Bordeaux? Climate Change Forces One of France’s Oldest Wine Regions to Consider New Grapes

When it comes to wine, it doesn’t get much more traditional than Bordeaux.

The region has been making wine since Roman times. It’s been favored by European royalty for centuries, and Thomas Jefferson was a big fan.

Bordeaux has been highly regulated and tightly controlled since the Classification of 1855, when the region’s producers were sorted by quality into First through Fifth “Growths.” For more than eight decades, the appellation has allowed only ten grapes to be used in wines bearing its name.

But that may be about to change.

The reason? Climate change.

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This Month in Edible Orlando: Six Orlando Wine Bars to Quench Your Thirst for Knowledge

Photo credit: AaronVan

My latest Edible Orlando wine column shines a spotlight on six locally-owned wine bars across the Orlando metro area that are dedicated to educating consumers, creating community, and raising the bar for Central Florida’s wine scene.

These are places I’ve written about individually, that feature regularly on the Calendar Page and in weekly events posts, and that are listed on the Orlando Wine Bar Guide page … but until now, I haven’t brought them all together in a feature post.

Edible Orlando‘s “Drinks Issue” gave me the excuse, not only to bring them together in print, but also to bring most of their proprietors together for a crazy, fun photo shoot. The results are this article and the great photo above, taken by local food photographer AaronVan.

With one exception, all of these wine bars are under five years old – a testament to just how much our wine scene has exploded in recent years. I expect a few more standouts to join them by this time next year.

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of wine establishments in Central Florida. Many more are included on the Wine Bar Guide, so be sure to check that out too. But if you’re visiting Orlando, new to the area, or just starting out on your wine journey, I promise you will not go wrong by starting with these six.

Cheers, Orlando!

Ashes & Diamonds: Napa Wines That Bring Back the Joy

Like many people who get bitten by the wine bug, my journey into the world of wine has taken me in many different directions. The more serious I’ve become about my wine education, the more I’ve learned to appreciate the nuances wine has to offer … and yet, sometimes I fear that path may take me away from the joy that inspired me to start the journey.

That’s why I appreciate all the more those times that bring back the joy – the times when I’m reminded that wine is about more than acid and tannin, more than determining whether the nose has aromas of roses or violets, more than whether a wine is aged in French or American oak or whether it’s filtered or fined.

Wine is about community. It’s about good food, good music, good friends old and new. It’s about a day that starts out gray and ends up sunny – literally, figuratively, or both.

Today, Florida-based Progress Wine Group hosted a trade lunch to introduce Orlando’s wine professionals to Kashy Khaledi and his wines from Napa’s Ashes & Diamonds Winery.

For me, everything came together at this event to bring back all the joy.

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Magic Hosts First Orlando Wine Festival; Lots of Events Coming Up This Week

This weekend was a big one for Orlando’s wine scene, with the inaugural Orlando Wine Festival on Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes. The Orlando Magic organized the event and invited me to attend the al fresco grand tasting.

It featured mostly Napa wines, and while those big reds were a little challenging to drink outside on a warm day, it was worth it to taste some of the classic wines on hand – Dunn and Heitz were among the biggest names. I also enjoyed making a few new discoveries, including one of Argentina’s first GSM Rhone-style blends from Corazon del Sol, a project of Napa’s Revana Family Vineyard. All the winery representatives were lovely and informative too.

My only regret is that the festival’s high price tag (the cheapest package was $2500 per couple) kept many members of Orlando’s robust and active community of wine lovers away. Of course, the Magic sees the event primarily as a fundraiser for its Youth Foundation, but it would be nice if the team could find a way to make it more accessible to Orlando oenophiles who regularly support local wine establishments.

There are plenty of wine events coming up this week with significantly lower barriers to entry, though. Read on for the highlights.

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New Events & Two New Places to Wine – The Imperial Winter Park & Eola General

It’s a great time to be a wine lover in the City Beautiful!

The number of wine-focused and wine-aware establishments just keeps growing (details on two brand new ones are below), as does the number of wine events popping up on the calendar. Because of this embarrassment of riches, you may notice a slight change in the level of detail on these regular posts. From now on, I’ll highlight a maximum of two events per day – but I’ll always let you know when there are more, and you can always find the full listing on the Wine Events page.

Without further ado, let’s get right to the highlights of …

ORLANDO’S WEEK IN WINE

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Orlando Magic’s Inaugural Wine Festival Targets Big Spenders, Napa Lovers

Orlando is leaping into the high-end wine festival game next month.

After almost three decades, the Orlando Magic is trading its annual Black Tie & Tennies fundraiser for a wine and food extravaganza modeled on similar events in Naples, Destin, and Napa. Ticket sales end in less than a week.

alex-martins-and-dan-devos-with-wine-glass-sculpture-092418_omwf_promo_fm_f018577_edited.jpg
Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins and Chairman Dan DeVos. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Orlando Wine Festival and Auction weekend kicks off on Friday, March 15 with twelve themed vintner dinners at private homes around the area, where attendees will rub elbows with winemakers over meals cooked by celebrity chefs from near and far. The main event takes place the next day at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, featuring a three-hour al fresco tasting, followed by a live auction and a dinner. Some packages also include tickets to the Magic’s game against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

The festival’s participating wineries are almost exclusively from Napa, including high end heavy hitters like Dunn, Heitz, Cliff Lede, and Rudd.

The price of admission is also on the high end, with packages starting at $2,500 per couple – for admission to Saturday’s events – and going up to $18,500 for four people. There are no a la carte ticket options.

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BREAKING NEWS: The Wine Barn in Winter Park Gets New Owners

UPDATED Feb. 20 with information on the new owners.

The Wine Barn on Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park has been sold, but contrary to rumors, the bottle shop and pizza parlor is not closing its doors.

Former owner Andres Montoya says the new owners, Ramón & Veronica Llado, plan to keep the name and continue with the same concept, including the wood-fired pizzas and the rest of the food menu.

He says they’ve retained him as wine buyer and asked him to revamp the inventory.

“Expect in the next few weeks to find a re-energized wine selection, solid values and low prices,” he said in an email last night.

The Llados are a husband and wife team. Ramón hails from Catalunya, Spain and Veronica is from Ecuador, according to Montoya. He says this is their first restaurant venture in this country.

“While new to running a wine and food operation in the US, they have many years of experience in the building and construction industry,” Montoya said.

“As for me,” he went on, “I will forever remain committed to the wine industry, and look forward to … exploring, learning, buying and selling the beverage that we, as wine lovers, could never leave behind.”

More details will follow as they become available.