Top Five Experiences on an Italian Journey: The Exciting Conclusion!

In two previous posts, I started counting down the top five wine experiences from my recent trip to Italy. The trip was not focused on wine – I only visited one winery – but it did include a number of unexpected and delightful wine-related encounters that might not have happened on a highly-researched wine-centric itinerary.

The top two experiences on my list sit firmly in that category.

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Top Five Wine Experiences on an Italian Journey: Part 2 – Montenidoli

In my last post, I started counting down my top five wine experiences from my recent trip to Italy. The trip was not wine-centered, but in Italy, wine has a way of reaching out and grabbing you, sometimes even when you don’t go looking for it.

I did go looking for Number Three on my list, though. It was an experience that began in Orlando and ended on a remote patch of land in Tuscany.

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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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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.

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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We’re not Burgundy or Cali, top Oregon winemakers tell Orlando’s wine pros

In Oregon,”you must be the master of your vineyard,” says Eugenia Keegan, General Manager of Gran Moraine Winery.

Speaking to a packed house at the Hilton Orlando on Tuesday, she and four other leading winemakers from Oregon’s Willamette Valley made the case for Oregon as a wine region unlike any other. Her compatriots on the Jackson Family Wines “Oregon: A State of Mind” tour included Lynn Penner-Ash (Penner-Ash), Ryan Zepaltas (Siduri, Zepaltas), Tony Rynders (Zena Crown, Tendril), and Craig McAlister (La Crema).

They have a valid point.

Uniquely Oregon

Oregon has been a major player in the wine game for almost 40 years, but much of the discussion about Oregon wines still takes place in the context of comparison – usually with the state’s giant wine neighbor to the south, or with Burgundy, the standard bearer for cool climate pinot noir.

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A Florida Oenophile in California Wine Country: Part 6 – The Last Day

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
Part 5: Fort Ross, Gary Farrell

Day 7, Part 2 – Friday, Aug 5

We had no more appointments after Gary Farrell, but it was our last day in Wine Country, so …

Joseph Swan: No Fountains or Gardens, Just Great Wine

I looked on the map and noticed Joseph Swan was just down the road. I’ve enjoyed their pinots in the past, so I gave them a call to see if we could come by.

“Sure!” said the nice male voice on the other end of the line. “We don’t have the views they have up there at Gary Farrell, but we’ll be here!”

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