Slipping Slowly into Summer Wine Season

Temperatures continue to warm in the City Beautiful, and I can feel the tempo beginning to slow down on the wine scene, as Central Florida slips into its languid summer pace. But there are still plenty of events to enjoy and plenty of recurring events to check out too.

Given the slower pace, I’ll go ahead and share event highlights for the next two weeks. It works out well, since I’ll also be a little busy in the coming days. As I write this, I’m winging my way to California wine country – be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for updates on my adventures!

Without further ado, here are …

ORLANDO’S NEXT TWO WEEKS IN WINE:

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Where to Go in Sonoma: The Blockbusters

Note: The wineries in this post followed the common industry practice of waiving tasting fees for bloggers and other media. 

Is a trip to wine country on your list of resolutions for 2018? If so, Sonoma County should be on your agenda.

Sonoma is sometimes an afterthought – nothing more than a quick stopover between San Francisco and Napa. But this diverse county is a worthy wine destination unto itself, offering everything from stunning tasting rooms with breathtaking views to flip-flop-casual samplings in out-of-the-way vineyards. Most importantly, though, Sonoma offers plenty of good wine.

In this post, we’ll explore three blockbuster wineries that hosted me for tastings on a visit to Sonoma last fall. Next time, I’ll unveil a few of the region’s hidden gems.

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Successful test run for Jordan Winery’s new caviar & wine tasting

Jordan Vineyard & Winery occupies a rambling French-style “chateau” in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. Since its founding in 1972, the operation has been almost as much about food and hospitality as it has been about its French-inspired wines. Each tasting experience at Jordan involves wine and food pairings, and the estate even has its own executive chef.

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A Florida Oenophile in California Wine Country: Onward to Sonoma – Fort Ross & Gary Farrell

About this series: After years of loving (and semi-seriously studying) wine, I finally took my first trip to Napa and Sonoma this summer. It was a wonderful week of sunny days, cool nights, beautiful views, and beautiful wines. These are the impressions, discoveries, favorites, and surprises from my journey.

Part 1: Chateau Montelena, CADE, Pride
Part 2: Frog’s Leap, Heitz, Mumm Napa
Part 3: Y. Rousseau, Antica, Failla
Part 4: Stony Hill, Domaine Chandon

This being my first trip to California Wine Country, I focused mainly on Napa, but I couldn’t leave without a little taste of Sonoma too. We managed to fit quite a lot into just a day and a half, including a few well-known places and one hidden gem.

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Canadian Wines for Victoria Day

Americans are heading into the Memorial Day weekend today (stay tuned for some holiday beach wine reviews), but Canadians celebrated their national holiday this past Monday.

Neither I nor my British husband had ever heard of Victoria Day. They don’t observe it in the U.K – I guess the Brits aren’t as excited as the Canadians about that particular monarch.

Canada lantern
Maple leaf lanterns festooned Orlando’s Victoria Day celebration

But that didn’t stop us from celebrating with Orlando’s Canadian community at a heck of a party organized by our friend Faiyaz Kara, food critic for the Orlando Weekly  … and proud Canadian.

The event – which benefited Orlando chef Kevin Fonzo‘s charitable foundation – pitted local chefs against each other to see who had the best take on Canada’s national specialty, poutine.

For the uninitiated (or un-Canadian), poutine is a dish comprised of french fries drenched in gravy, topped with cheese curds. The chefs at this event added meat and a whole lot more. This was not a low-fat affair.

But what excited me most – as you might imagine – was that the evening’s festivities also included a tasting of five Canadian wines, all from the Niagara region! We don’t get many Canadian wines this far south of the border, so this was a real treat. And no, they weren’t all icewines!

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