Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pairing Guide: Wine and Fall Flavors [Infographic]

Fall is cider and football and beer, and classic fall flavors: pecan and pumpkin pies, caramel apples, and other classics. Here's an info graphic to get your taste buds salivating with anticipation. Will the pairings work? Only one way to find out - taste!

Wine and Fall Flavors
Infographic courtesy of Shari's Berries

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thirsty Thursday: Boneshaker Zinfandel 2012

"Imagine. Bumping down a cobblestone street on a wrought iron bicycle. Thump, thump…thump. Thrill seekers of the past called this kind of ride a Boneshaker. Your teeth rattled and your bones shook. You felt it. This is our BONESHAKER. A full bodied Zin."

Boneshaker Zinfandel 2012

When I was offered a sample of the Hahn Family Wines for review, it didn't take long to respond with a resounding yes! Lodi Zinfandel from a group known for their work with high quality, small, family owned, estate brands? Heck yeah.

I couldn't find much information on the winery itself - their website appears to be for a vintage bicycle shop, though further research shows that Cycles Gladiator actually produced the Boneshaker Zinfandel in an earlier incarnation. Interesting...

Tasting Notes:
Grapes from sustainably farmed vineyards; 88% Zinfandel, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon; aged in 70% new French oak, balance neutral; Deep ruby with lighter edges; smoke, smoke, and more smoke, on the nose and in the glass; cassis, red cherry, and vanilla aromas; dark plum, earth, mocha, and dark cherry flavors (almost cola-like); medium mouthfeel, decent acidity into a slightly tannic finish; drinking nicely now but might be better in a few years; tasted with beef ravioli, nice combination with the smokiness of the meat and wine; 15% ABV; 2500 cases produced; SRP $25.
BONUS!

Boneshaker Zinfandel 2012

The wine label is GLOW-IN-THE-DARK! How cool is that? I have no idea what useful function that brings, but it is an extra step that didn't need to be taken and makes the Boneshaker crew extra cool.

This wine was provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Craft Beverages Unlimited 2015


Craft Beverages Unlimited 2015

I've looked longingly at the Craft Beverages Expo on the West Coast, but time and expense have made it impossible to attend. Now there's a somewhat better opportunity - registration is officially open for the 2015 Craft Beverages Unlimited (CBU) conference and trade show, formerly Wineries Unlimited. Craft Beverages Unlimited will take place March 4-5, 2015 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, VA. Some highlights:

  • Dr. Bruce Zoecklein, Enology Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech, will be joined by winemaker Clark Smith, whose “Postmodern Winemaking” was hailed as Wine and Spirits Magazine’s 2013 Book of the Year. These two experts will conduct a two-day forum on cutting-edge “Postmodern Winegrowing” for experienced grapegrowers and winemakers based in the eastern U.S.
  • Craft Beer & Brewing will develop beer education sessions and specialized tastings.
  • An on-site Spiegelau glassware beer tasting where attendees may take home the glassware set as a parting gift.
  • Bill Owens, founder and president of The American Distilling Institute, will be on hand to conduct a distilling workshop that includes an interactive field trip to a local distillery.

In the past, this was definitely geared towards the trade and not so much media or the consumer, so this is a definite maybe. I'll have to take a closer look at the event agenda and decide if a trip out to Virginia is worth adding to the budget.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wolf's Ridge Brewing, Columbus, OH

Wolf's Ridge Brewing, Columbus, OH

Wolf's Ridge Brewing is no ordinary gastropub. At first glance, it seems no different than others: storefront, gleaming kettles and tanks, bar, beer, food.  The difference in this restaurant is that almost every detail is elevated, curated to top effect almost. The room is long and narrow and gets loud, but none of that is a problem, the spacing is correct and you are of the crowd but not in the crowd - I ate by myself and felt totally at ease, not always the case when dining alone. The decor is unobtrusive yet works, casual yet refined, even down to the locally sourced soap in the bathroom. Am I gushing? I haven't even gotten to the food and beer yet.

Wolf's Ridge Brewing Food

Unless you're a regular (and maybe even then), a flight of beers is the simpler way to drink your way through some of a brewery's offerings and, theoretically, should go well with the food offered. Wolf Ridge's beers are definitely reflective of their Midwest locale and, while tasty on their own, do come more alive when washing down the scrumptious food. Garlic fries should be offered by everyone, though I suppose we'd get sick of them then - scratch that idea. These were mighty good, especially as a counterpoint to the burger (and the beers, bringing out different nuances with each one). The burger, oh the burger -- beef and lamb on brioche with lots of toppings, all of which I left off as they simply weren't necessary. Except for the fact that it's kind of tiny, this is easily one of the best burgers I have ever had, simply amazing. The meal was topped off with a very well-made cappuccino (hooray for restaurants that go this extra step!) and an incredibly decadent Chocolate Layer Cake (marshmallow, graham cracker ice cream, and pâte à choux tuile) - overall taste was very good, thought the marshmallow was unnecessary and the cake itself was a bit dense for my taste.

If you find yourself in Columbus (or if you live there), Wolf's Ridge Brewing is a must - they can accommodate small groups to large, have wine and other drinks if you're not a craft beer aficionado, and have very tasty food. 

Wolf's Ridge Brewing on Urbanspoon

Wolf's Ridge Brewing on Foodio54

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