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.

Continue reading “Magic Hosts First Orlando Wine Festival; Lots of Events Coming Up This Week”

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Step Outside the Champagne Box: Six Unexpected Bottles of Bubbles for NYE!

Looking for something a little different to ring in the new year? Check out this post from 2016 for some Champagne alternatives that will put a sparkle in your celebration!

Orlando Wine Blog

Not much beats Champagne on New Year’s Eve, but if you’re looking for some out-of-the-box (and easier-on-the wallet) alternatives for the big night, you’re in luck! Champagne doesn’t have a lock on quality sparkling wine anymore. All six of these bottles should delight your palate, satisfy your enological curiosity, and enhance your celebratory mood as you welcome 2017. And only one of them is even from France!

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Orlando Wine Blog’s first-ever tasting is next week, along with lots more cool stuff!

This coming Thursday, I’ll host what I hope will be the first of many Orlando Wine Blog events – a unique opportunity to taste and learn about the wines of Missouri. That state played a major role in America’s early winemaking history and is home to the country’s first AVA. We’ll compare some of Missouri’s current wines with more familiar grapes and wine regions. I hope you’ll join me at Digress Wine for a geeky good time! (Seating is very limited, so get your tickets now.)

That tasting is in great company, coming during a very full week of exciting wine events around the region! Here are a few highlights.

Continue reading “Orlando Wine Blog’s first-ever tasting is next week, along with lots more cool stuff!”

Alsace, Napa, Bordeaux & More

If you follow Orlando Wine Blog on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been wine-ing in Washington State for the past couple of weeks. As I type, though, I’m high over Alabama, winging my way home to the City Beautiful.

I’ll be regaling you with travel tasting tales over the next few weeks, but for now, rest assured that the Orlando-area Events Page is newly-updated! There are plenty of local tastings next week to satisfy every palate.

A few highlights

Tuesday, taste through all of Alsace’s grand crus at Bella Tuscany.

Wednesday, Tim’s Orlando hosts a cool, geeky Bordeaux class examining how tiny geographical differences can affect terroir.

Thursday, celebrate “Winetoberfest” with a German and Austrian tasting at Luisa’s Cellar.

Saturday, it’s another chance to see Somm 3 with Master Somm George Miliotes at Wine Bar George.

Those are just a few highlights from the week’s many possibilities. Check the Events Page for much more.

Cheers, Orlando!

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

Continue reading “Meticulous to Metaphysical: St. Urbans-Hof’s Nik Weis”

Step Outside the Champagne Box: Six Unexpected Bottles of Bubbles for NYE!

Not much beats Champagne on New Year’s Eve, but if you’re looking for some out-of-the-box (and easier-on-the wallet) alternatives for the big night, you’re in luck! Champagne doesn’t have a lock on quality sparkling wine anymore. All six of these bottles should delight your palate, satisfy your enological curiosity, and enhance your celebratory mood as you welcome 2017. And only one of them is even from France!

Continue reading “Step Outside the Champagne Box: Six Unexpected Bottles of Bubbles for NYE!”