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.
Orlando has been buzzing about New York’s Finger Lakes wine country lately.
Central Florida Women for Winesense sent a hefty delegation there in July for the national organization’s “Grand Event”; fellow Central Florida blogger Melissa Radley-McConnell of Time to Unwine-d visited the area this summer too.
So when I ended up there last week, I felt a little late to the party. But it was definitely better late than never – especially since I was there during harvest!
I had just one day to hit the highlights of this beautiful and prolific wine region, so I chose four wineries to visit: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Ravines, Hermann J. Wiemer, and Standing Stone.
My itinerary spanned two lakes, with stunning vistas and early fall colors around every turn, and a wide array of grape varietals and winemaking styles.
The Finger Lakes have won national and international acclaim for rieslings, and the varietal remains the regional specialty. But the area has diversified into many other varietals too; and while I’m a huge riesling fan – I even hosted a riesling tasting at my house recently – I was even more captivated by some of those other grapes.
Weekends are when I usually tell you about the plethora of wine events in the coming week … but next week is looking a little slow, what with the holiday and all.
So what better time to discover a new favorite wine place?
If you haven’t checked out the Wine Venues Guide in awhile, you’ll notice a few new spots on the list, including a couple I hadn’t visited in several years, simply because they’d fallen out of my usual rotation.
One of those is Quantum Leap Winery in the Mills-50 district, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. On a recent visit, I found a friendly space and passionate people who are taking risks, breaking rules, and making some pretty cool wines.
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.
Central Florida is fortunate to have a growing number of wine-centered shops, bars, and tasting rooms – veritable playgrounds for oenophiles. They offer curated selections of wines by the glass and bottle, as well as offer tastings and classes to help wine lovers educate and expand their knowledge and their palates.
Not sure where to start? I’ve compiled a list of my favorites, organized by location. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a work in progress. Check back for updates as I continue to explore the area’s wine locales. (I’ve got a couple on my list already.) Talk about a labor of love!
Is your favorite sipping spot on this list? If not, let me know where I should visit next. Cheers!
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.
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.
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!”