Thursday, May 29, 2014

Urban Legend Brewing Co, Westmont, IL

"Some Legends are Born...Others are Brewed!"

Urban Legend Brewing Co

A couple of weeks ago, after a shopping jaunt to Whole Foods, I decided to stop by Urban Legend Brewing Company, to check out the brewery and taste their wines. As I pulled up, 3 year old son in tow, the guy sitting outside (who turned out to be assistant brewer Mike) looked at me quizzically. Turns out they weren't going to be open for another 5 or 6 hours or so. Also, under age humans were not permitted in the brewery either. Wow, bummer. Being good people, Mike offered to set a table up outside for my son to enjoy a snack and for me to taste a few beers. Nice.

It's not a large space, with some room at the front for a bar, some tables, and some stools. I can imagine this place gets pretty crowded in the evenings, especially when their food truck neighbor, Chicago Pizza Boss, parks outside to make fresh pizza.

I tasted a few beers, chatted with Mike, then we headed out with a bomber of Elizabeth for further research. I'll definitely be back to taste through the rest of their repertoire, taste some pizza, and hang out with these good folks.

More information can be found on the Urban Legend Brewing Company website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Urban Legend Brewing Company is located at 1115 Zygmunt Circle Westmont, IL 60559.


Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Michigan's Rosé Wines

When we attended the Michigan Wine Showcase several weeks ago, we knew we needed to have a plan - with 20+ wineries and at least 100 wines, there was no way to taste everything, unless we were going to spend the night at a hotel, which was not in the cards. I'm a huge fan of Rosé Wines, so I opted to make that one of my focuses. We've tried Rosé from Michigan before (Old Shore Vineyards used to make a good one), but most were on the sweeter side, not our preferred style. The drier, Provencal style we love has taken hold in California, so it was exciting to see if the same were true for Michigan.

Michigan's Rosé Wines

Tasting Notes

Black Star Farms Arcturos 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé
Leelanau Peninsula grapes; soft pink color; currant and floral aromas; melon and citrus flavors; 12% ABV; twist-off closure; SRP $13.50. 
Blustone Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé
Leelanau Peninsula grapes; very light coral color; melon, strawberry, light floral aromas, and same for flavors; touch of sweetness; 12.5% ABV; twist-off closure; SRP $16.
Bowers Harbor Vineyards 2012 Rosé, Pinot Noir
Leelanau Peninsula grapes; light pink to orange edges in color; melon and floral aromas; melon and subtle citrus flavors; smooth mouthfeel; 250 cases produced; 12% ABV; SRP $16.
Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
Lake Michigan Shore grapes; light red in color; red berry and flower aromas with same but sweeter in the mouth; cork closure;12% ABV; SRP $16.
Wyncroft Marland 2013 Rosé of Cabernet Franc
Lake Michigan Shore grapes; medium pink in color; melon, bright red berry, and floral aromas; melon ands strawberry flavors; 13.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $19.
Granted, this was a tasting of just 5 Michigan Rosé Wines, but it's clear that the vintners are tuned into the new direction. Some have a little further to travel, but it's nice to see it moving in the right direction.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Trione Vineyards and Winery

Trione Vineyards and Winery

One of the biggest benefits of being slightly disorganized and also a procrastinator is that sometimes I come across something in my house that I forgot I had. That was the case with a Tasting Room shipment from Trione Vineyards and Winery (love those little bottles, so cute - photo shows them with a wine glass for reference).

Since I HAD forgotten about them, their drink-by date had come and gone, so I was a bit worried about the flavors being off. But...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Trione sent me samples of their:
  • 2010 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc: fermented in stainless steel; aged 4 months in neutral French oak barrels; 1,054 cases; 14% ABV; SRP $23.
  • 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay: new and used French oak; 14.3% ABV; SRP $30.
  • 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: 14.2%; SRP $35.
  • 2008 Russian River Valley Syrah: fermentation in small, open-top fermenters; 678 cases; 15.3% ABV; SRP $32.
  • 2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: blended with Merlot, Petite Verdot and Malbec; 45% new French oak barrels; 733 cases; SRP $64.
  • 2007 Alexander Valley Red Wine: classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Melot, Petit Verdot and Malbec; 2435 six-pack cases produced; 14.9% ABV; SRP $48.
  • (All of our samples had twist-off closures; their full size bottles feature a cork closure.)
Needless to say, some of the wines were probably not as intended, but none of them were bad, a good testament to the quality of their wines, and also to the efficacy of twist-off closures.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Winechat with Cairdean Estate

Cairdean Estate wines

Cairdean Estate  is husband and wife Edwin and Stacia Williams, and they come from a background of science - she in software, he an aerospace engineer. However, while their careers were important, they obviously care more about family. This can be seen first in their move to Fresno, where Stacia could take her home winemaking to another level by studying Enology and Viticulture, then moving to Napa Valley (St Helena specifically) so their son could attend high school there as they pursued their vinous dreams. Very cool.

After much searching for their home in Napa Valley, it was their elder son Kyle that led them to the quaint town of St. Helena. He was entering high school and very much wanted to attend the public high school there. In their searches for land that would allow a quintessential wine country lifestyle, they settled on a beautiful 50 acre parcel right on highway 29 in Saint Helena just north of downtown.

After moving from Fresno to St. Helena in 2010, Edwin and Stacia embraced their vision and created Cairdean Vineyards. Cairdean is Scottish Gaelic for friends, which reflects their belief that wine is meant to be shared by those held close to your heart. The Cairdean symbol is a representation of that belief with the four hearts always present and brought together in the center by friendship.

They currently farm two vineyards. Acquaintance Vineyard, in the Coombsville AVA Napa Valley, is 10 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec, and Merlot. The Confidant Vineyard is about 28 acres of Pinot Noir and Syrah, and is located in the Russian River Valley AVA.

Cairdean Estate allowed each participant to choose 2 wines from their collection to sample for this winechat. Do you know how difficult that was? :)

Cairdean Estate logo

Tasting Notes

2010 Cairdean Estate Malbec
87% Malbec and 13% Petite Sirah; aged in 20% new oak, all French; purple with red edges; plum, blackberry, forest, herb, and anise aromas; berry, subtle mocha, vanilla, and dark fruit flavors; medium body into a balanced, lingering finish; 173 cases produced; cork closure; 14.2% ABV; SRP $40.00.
Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010
Grapes are a mix from across Napa Valley AVA’s; aged in 70% new french, 30% 1 or 2 year old French/American; deep red in color; earth, spice and eucalyptus aromas; dark fruit, forest, currants, spice, and pleasant oaky flavors; medium-bodied with tannins evident, with some backbone for cellaring, yet pleasant to drink now; 850 cases produced; cork closure; 14.4% ABV; SRP $76.
From the wines we sampled and the cheers for the other wines coming from participants, Cairdean is a winery to search out for years to come. Eminently drinkable on their own and even better with food, the quality in the vineyard and winery shine through.

#winechat is a social chat on Twitter, occurring every Wednesday evening (except holidays) from 6:00pm -7:00pm PST / 9:00pm – 10:00pm EST. It's an on-line conversation with wineries, distributors, sommeliers, wine writers—anyone interested in a wine conversation to improve themselves and their business. All are welcome!

These wines were provided for tasting purposes.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Craft of Stone Brewing Company

The Craft of Stone Brewing Company

Craft beer does not have a long history, so the first quasi-historical books are coming out, some from the longer-lived breweries that have not only thrived, but survived. The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. - The Liquid Lore Epic Recipes and Unabashed Arrogance by Stone co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner with Randy Clemens is one such book. I heard about Stone long before I had a chance to try their beers; they are probably one of the best-known craft breweries around. Started in 1996, they are also one of the ones that grew well beyond their area and are now a national brand.

Written from Greg Koch's perspective, this book is the 15 year history of Stone Brewing Co. straight from the source. Koch, along with others important along the way, offers the stories behind EVERY Stone Beer (and that is a lot). Beyond the beer and the growth of the business, there are 18 homebrew recipes for Stone Beers, along with recipes for some of the most popular dishes at the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens. There are even food pairing suggestions from "Dr." Bill Sysak.

If you're daring, try one of the recipes - we tried the "Garlic, Cheddar, and Stone Ruination IPA Soup," loved it paired with the Stone Ruination IPA (of course). With a cup of butter and 2 1/4 pounds (2 1/4 POUNDS!!!) of sharp white cheddar, how could it not be good? While the recipe was for 8 servings (if I remember correctly), we couldn't eat too much at one time, as it is crazy rich. And thick. Thick like a cheese dip thick. We ended up thinning it with extra stock each time we got the leftovers out and probably ended up with at least 20 servings or so.

Humorous, entertaining, and sometimes educational, really a worthwhile read. Grab a bottle or two of Stone beer, sit down, and enjoy learning about what you're drinking. 

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BuckleDown Brewing, Lyons, IL

BuckleDown Brewing

In the Chicago area we have plenty of top-shelf craft beer breweries, so visiting them will be a lot easier than making it out to wineries. Before our family visit to the Two Brothers Brewing Taphouse last month, I had the opportunity to swing by BuckleDown Brewing in Lyons, IL.
"BuckleDown Brewing was founded by friends, Ike Orcutt (Head Brewer) and Sean Mahoney in Lyons, IL; A small, hard-working community just outside of Chicago.

We share a philosophy that two qualities that make great brewers (or great anything for that matter) are creativity and determination. Plus, there's something uniquely gratifying about working hard, working with your hands, and making something you are proud of.

We're putting that philosophy into practice by brewing small-batch craft beer. From hopped up American IPAs to Belgian-Style Ales, we're brewing the kind of beer that we love to drink, and we're looking forward to sharing it with everbody who's willing to join us.

Good to know you.
We're BuckleDown."
BuckleDown Brewing

Not an overly large building, the taproom takes up about half of the space, with the balance being the brewery itself. With plans for expansion and a canning line, I'm not sure where they're going to put everything, but it's not a bad problem to have. The space itself is what I would call industrial chic, with lots of metal, dark colors, and industrial-type lighting (sort of). It's a comfortable place where you can cozy up to the bar or, if with a large group, commandeer one of the tables.

Any questions I had about the quality and taste of their brews was put to rest after tasting through a flight of 4 beers. While I enjoy many styles, I tend to gravitate towards darker beers, like porters and stouts. However, the beer that flat-out blew me away with its flavor and complexity was their Clencher Double IPA (hopped with Simcoe and Centennial hops) - great, great beer. Not that any of their other beers were slouches, the one just stood out for me that day.

BuckleDown Brewing

Negatives? The brewery and taproom are not located in the most scenic of areas, but they're pretty easy to get to, so there's that. Plus, you're their to drink beer, not take in the view, right? My biggest concern (especially if you're not within walking distance) is that the taproom does not serve food. First off, it's pretty easy to drink a bit too much with the higher alcohol content, and second, beer and food are just meant to go together.  I know they have food trucks on occasion, but hopefully they'll get around to serving food full-time one day. Pretty minimal negatives, in my book.

Definitely go visit them.

More information can be found on the BuckleDown website, via Facebook, and Twitter.

BuckleDown is located at 8700 W 47th St. Lyons, IL 60534.


Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wine Tasting with Casey Flat Ranch

We are always happy to get an invitation to an online chat with Charles Communication Associates, as it usually means something that completely new to us. Have you ever hear of the Capay Valley? Casey Flat Ranch? Well, we guarantee you will.

Casey Flat Ranch Wines
"Casey Flat Ranch is based in the Capay Valley AVA, bordering the Vaca Mountains on the eastern side of Napa County (22 miles due east of St. Helena). The vineyard is defined by its award-winning Rhone and Bordeaux-style blends, stunningly rugged location, the purebred Longhorn cattle that roam the estate, and a rich homesteading heritage that dates back to California’s Gold Rush era. With its unique history and stunning high-elevation mountain vineyards, Casey Flat Ranch produces deep, concentrated wines that evoke the raw natural beauty of the land, aided by the earnest, discriminating and pioneering team behind each bottle.

The first vines were planted in 2004 and the vineyard is sustainably cultivated, using materials and farming techniques that emphasize water and soil conservation. The growing season brings warm days and cool nights, creating climate conditions similar to the St. Helena appellation, just 22 miles to the West. 

In addition to the vineyards, the family has maintained a Longhorn Cattle operation on the property for 11 years. Current estimates have the herd numbering between 140 and 170 head, with 30 to 40 heifers as annual replacement. Registered Bulls, purchased out of Texas from the Bass Brothers Ranch have been used as the basis for the line breeding program."
Tasting Notes

2013 Casey Flat Ranch Sauvignon Blanc
Pale yellow in color; melon, tropical, stone fruit and green apple aromas; mid-weight wine with good balance between sweetness and acidity; aromas mirrored by flavors in the wine; 693 cases produced; cork closure; 14.4% ABV; SRP $18.
2013 Casey Flat Ranch Viognier
Pale yellow color; stone fruit, touch of citrus, and floral aromas; more stone fruit and citrus flavors; medium weight, crisp finish; 220 cases produced; cork closure; 14.1% ABV; SRP $20.
2013 Casey Flat Ranch Syrah Rosé
100% Syrah; light pink color; strawberry, citrus, and bright red fruit aromas; flavors mirror the aromas; medium bodied into a crisp citrusy finish; 205 cases produced; cork closure; 14.1% ABV; SRP $18.
2010 Casey Flat Ranch Estate
44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Syrah, 19% Cabernet Franc, 4% Mourvedre; deep purple with ruby edges; herb, dark fruit, and forest aromas; black currant, olive, vanilla, and cedar flavors; nicely balanced but with some tannins for aging; 2,233 6-pack cases produced; cork closure; 14.8% ABV, SRP $35.
Thanks to Charles Communications and Casey Flat Ranch for an educational and tasty meet up -- check out the chat and video at Brandlive website!

About Charles Communications Associates: CCA is an independent creative marketing firm that employs traditional public relations and new media strategies to assist companies, organizations and non-profits in the creation, development and marketing of interesting and compelling brands. Recognized as one of the most effective PR firms in the wine industry, we have an exceptional track record of promoting products in the gourmet, natural and organic food and beverage categories, from wine and tea to top shelf spirits and luxury goods. We consider ourselves fortunate to work with clients who share our philosophy of social responsibility in work and everyday life. For more information, visit the CCA website.

These wines were provided for tasting purposes.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

WineStudio: Tasting Le Marche - Rio Maggio

Over the last three weeks, we learned about and started tasting wines from the Italian wine area Le Marche. Our host (and wine supplier) was Jonathan Zeiger of ZGR Imports. The region is in the central area on the east coast of Italy. Up first for tasting were two wines, a white and a red, from the Centanni Family of Wines.
"ZGR Imports, LLC, is an importing and distribution company based in Dana Point, CA. We currently specialize in wines from Le Marche, Italy, known as “Italy in a Region” due to its inclusion of nearly all types of production and landscapes. This enchanted land is emerging as a premier wine production area and is gaining popularity as more exquisite wineries are discovered. It is ZGR’s goal is to connect American consumers with the best of these wineries that truly represent the culture of Le Marche."
Rio Maggio
"Handmade artisan wines, chiseled from the heart"

More recently, we delved into Rio Maggio wines, a winery that strives for a low environmental impact in the vineyard, hand-harvests their grapes, and uses minimal sulfites in winemaking.

Tasting Notes:

2012 Colle Monteverde Pecorino
100% Pecorino; steel-tank fermentation; 8-10 months on the lees; beautiful golden straw color; salty citrus and floral aromas; more saline, Meyer lemon, and earthy floral flavors (tastes like Stephanotis smells); about 1,000 cases; 13.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $23.99. Definitely not a white to drink too cold - much tastier as it warmed. 
2010 Rosso Piceno Contrada Vallone
70% Montepulciano 30% Sangiovese from the oldest vineyard; aged in French barrels for 8-10 months, then 6 months in the bottle before release; dark reddish purple with ruby edges; subtle aromas of smoke, rhubarb, and oregano; stewed plum, dark cherry and vanilla flavors; medium mouthfeel with a tannic finish; about 1,000 cases; 13.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $23.99.
These wines were provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chicago Craft Beer Week

Chicago Craft Beer Week

Chicago Craft Beer Week is one of those things that, while looming large, sort of sneaks up on you. It starts tomorrow, with events happening in and around Chicago (mostly in the city) over the next 10 days. With the hectic family life, adding in Ski Patrol training Saturdays, and general lack of organization, it looks like we may not get to too many of the events, unfortunately. I'd love to get on the craft beer cruise, check out the many collaborations being revealed, and so much more. One disappointment is that the Chicago week, unlike Madison's last week, has no educational offerings, which is a shame, and something for them to work on for future iterations.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Michigan Wine Showcase

Michigan Wine Showcase

We were so excited that the wineries of Michigan were coming to the City Winery in Chicago. While we've tasted quite a bit of wine from the Southwest corner of the state, we've not had many chances to try those further from home. Having them come to us was quite a treat. With more than 20 wineries represented, each pouring at least 4 wines, there was the possibility of over-doing it, so we decided to divide and conquer. I focused on Pinot Noir wines, while Kovas tasted rosés and sparklers. It's both a blessing and a curse to have so much to choose from, because we missed some wines we really wanted to try. We'll have write-ups of our tasting notes in the next few weeks.

One thing we've noted over the years is the rapid improvement, in general, of the taste and quality of the wines. While an occasional foxy or musty wine will appear, many of the wines are starting to be as good as wines we taste from elsewhere in the world. This includes some of the reds as well as the whites.

Michigan Wines Fast Facts

Michigan has 15,000 acres of vineyards making Michigan the fourth largest grape-growing state. Most of this acreage is devoted to juice grapes such as Concord and Niagara, though about 2,650 acres are devoted to wine grapes, making Michigan the fifth state in wine grape production in the nation. Vineyard area has doubled over the last 10 years. Michigan’s 101 commercial wineries produce more than 1.3 million gallons of wine annually, making Michigan 13th in wine production. The vast majority of production is from Michigan- grown grapes.

There are 6 wine trails in Michigan:
We've visited wineries on a few of the trails and always looking for more opportunities to do so again.  

Visit Michigan Wines for information about more than 100 Michigan wineries, a comprehensive calendar of events, including festivals, wine dinners, and to plan your Michigan Wine Tour.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Thursday, May 8, 2014

WineStudio: Tasting Le Marche - Centanni Family of Wines

Last week and Tuesday night (with one more session next Tuesday night), we learned about and started tasting wines from the Italian wine area Le Marche. Our host (and wine supplier) was Jonathan Zeiger of ZGR Imports. The region is in the central area on the east coast of Italy. Up first for tasting were two wines, a white and a red, from the Centanni Family of Wines.
"ZGR Imports, LLC, is an importing and distribution company based in Dana Point, CA. We currently specialize in wines from Le Marche, Italy, known as “Italy in a Region” due to its inclusion of nearly all types of production and landscapes. This enchanted land is emerging as a premier wine production area and is gaining popularity as more exquisite wineries are discovered. It is ZGR’s goal is to connect American consumers with the best of these wineries that truly represent the culture of Le Marche."
Centanni Family of Wines
Check out those glass stoppers!

Centanni Family of Wines is ZGR’s first brand. This family-owned, boutique winery is located in Montefiore dell’Aso, of the Ascoli Piceno province. Winemaking has been the family craft for over a century, the business name translating literally to 100 Years. Their estate vineyards are Certified Organic by the EU governing body. The Centanni Family  utilize VinoLok glass tops, which eliminate the risk of cork taint, allow for easy opening and resealing, and minimize additional oxidation on an open bottle. They were certainly a surprise when we peeled back the top wrapping.

Tasting Notes:

Pecorino 2012, Offida D.O.C.G.
100% Pecorino; sunny straw color, subtle effervescence; lemondrop and tropical fruit aromas; honeyed lemon, melon, into kumquat flavors; crisply tart finish; 14.5% ABV; glass closure; SRP $29. Pecorino is also a new varietal for me, adding to my second 100 varietals for the Wine Century Club.
Rosso di Forca 2012, Rosso Piceno D.O.C.
50% Montepulciano, 50% Sangiovese; macerated for 3 days;  6 months in stainless steel and 1 year in French oak; dusty dark fruit, licorice and vanilla aromas;   dark cherry into black pepper flavors; plenty of tannins on the finish; 13.5% ABV; glass closure; SRP $17.
WineStudio, an online twitter-based educational program, is Tuesday nights, at 6 PM PT/8 PM ET - join us not just this week but every week to learn about interesting regions, wineries, and personalities in the industry. The schedule can be found on the Protocol Wine Studio website.

These wines were provided for tasting purposes - all opinions are my own.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Winechat with Cline Cellars

When we found out we were getting samples of Cline Cellars wines for #winechat, we were pretty excited, as Cline has a great reputation. We've tried a few of their wines, but these three Rhone varietals would be our first foray past their well-known Zinfandels.

Cline Cellars winechat

Fred Cline established the winery in 1982 in Oakley, California and relocated to Carneros-Sonoma in 1991. Varietals produced include Zinfandel, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignane, Viognier, and Marsanne. Since 2000, Cline Cellars has farmed the Green String way in an attempt to avoid reliance on chemical pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers that are generally used in everyday farming to maintain and increase fertility, or to combat pest problems. They believe they utilize the most efficient methods towards retaining healthy vineyards as well as creating a healthy product for our consumers. They currently import from the State of Arizona, raw minerals of volcanic origin crushed to dust to incorporate into their soil, adjusting their terroir, in effect. You can certainly taste a strong minerality in these wines.

Tasting Notes

2012 Sonoma Coast Marsanne/Rousanne
66% Marsanne (Carneros estate vineyards) and 34% Rousanne (Sonoma Coast vineyard); unoaked; light straw color; stone fruit, honey, citrus and floral aromas; citrus, spice and minerals grabbing hold on the mid-palate. flavors; 14.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $22.
2013 Contra Costa County Mourvèdre Rosé
Grapes from Contra Costa County Oakley vineyards; skins removed by pressing, extracting a small amount of color; bright pink/light red in color; bright red fruit, plum, and spices on the nose and palate; 13.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $14.
2012 Sonoma Coast Cool Climate Pinot Noir
Fruit from Sonoma Coast vineyards; hand harvested, destemmed, then fermented in stainless steel; aged nine months in 35% percent new French medium toasted oak; ruby red color; cherry, vanilla,and earth aromas; bright red fruit, spice, and earth flavors; medium body with soft tannins; 14.5% ABV; cork closure; SRP $18.
Though not available in all markets, Cline Cellars are widely distributed and well-worth searching out. Supporting vintners who farm sustainably, then create tasty wines at reasonable prices is always a good practice.

#winechat is a social chat on Twitter, occurring every Wednesday evening (except holidays) from 6:00pm -7:00pm PST / 9:00pm – 10:00pm EST. It's an on-line conversation with wineries, distributors, sommeliers, wine writers—anyone interested in a wine conversation to improve themselves and their business. All are welcome!

These wines were provided for tasting purposes.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Two Brothers Brewing TapHouse, Warrenville, IL

Two Brothers Brewing TapHouse

Off a main road, well-hidden, with no signs, the Two Brothers Brewing TapHouse is not something you'd stumble across by chance. You have to seek it out, either by recommendation or luck. We've been wanting to visit the brewery for a tour for quite some time now, but have never been able to get it together. A few weekends ago, however, they held an event with All Herding Breeds Rescue, a dog organization through whom we are planning on adopting our next dogs (whenever that may be). Win-win: we get to try out the TapHouse and the kids get to play with dogs. Perfect.

Except for the small lettering on the door, you wouldn't guess there was a brewery inside the industrial building, let alone a place to sit down and eat. Enter through the small store, however, and the comfortable looking eatery is laid out before you. A window mostly blocked by large tanks allows for a small glimpse of the brewery beyond, but a full tour will be needed to really check it out.

With the special event happening, there was a special menu to choose from, and plenty of beer options to fit most tastes. We ended up ordering 6 tastes of varying beers, both year-round and specials. Of the 6, I really liked 2, was okay with one, and the rest was happy to leave to Laima to finish. Flat out the best thing about beer (and wine) flights - plenty of tasting but you're not stuck with a glass of something you don't want.

Food was pretty typical in terms of bar and grill presentation, though the special items we ordered showed quite a bit of creativity. Everything tasted good, though some of the bread items seemed on the stale side. Sweet potato and standard fries both had great flair, but I would have preferred them a bit crispier. The kids menu allows for adding more of the entree for a small up charge, which would have been a good idea for our big eaters. It seems like brewpubs are more open minded with kids menus, supplementing the typical french fries on the side with an option to get a fruit bowl instead. Hooray for craft brewers! Unlike some other brewpubs, however, Two Brothers does not brew their own root beer, which is a shame, as our kids are becoming aficionados of the drink.

If you're in the area, this is a good option to seek out. Blackwell Forest Preserve, the Kane Cougars stadium, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and others are all in the area, so combine a lunch here with an outing elsewhere. Unless you're sure of a specific beer you want, go the sample route and taste some things you may not have experienced before - you may find a new favorite!

Two Brothers Brewery Tap House on Urbanspoon

Two Brothers Tap House on Foodio54

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Snooth Tasting: Lodi Wine

We are huge fans of Lodi wine, so when Snooth asked us if we wanted in on a Lodi Wines tasting, of course we said yes! We've tried Summer Whites, Rosés, wine and cheese pairings, and most recently, the Zinfandels of the Lodi Project - all fantastic wines, with character, uniqueness, and often a pure expression of terroir.



Video streaming by Ustream

Lodi Wine Country is one of California's major wine growing regions, located 100 miles east of San Francisco near the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta. Watch the video to learn about the Lodi region and the various wines the 150 year old region has to offer. Snooth's Editor-in-Chief, Gregory dal Piaz, was joined by Camron King, Executive Director of Lodi Winegrape Commission and Markus Bokisch, owner of Bokisch Vineyards.

The following wines were discussed:

  • 2013 LangeTwins Winery & Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2010
  • Ironstone Vineyards Rous Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel
  • 2012 Borra Vineyards Intuition Field Blend White
  • 2010 Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo

Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo 2011

Bokisch Vineyards Tempranillo 2011:
From the Liberty Oaks and Las Cerezas Vineyards, 11 year old vines; Lodi Rules Certified Sustainable; 90% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano; light plum with ruby accents in color; dark fruit, earth, subtle mocha aromas; plum, dark cherry, earth, vanilla flavors; peppery finish; aged 18 months in French and American Oak Barrels; 640 cases; cork closure,14.5% ABV; SRP $23. Nicely balanced, with some tannins showing a few more years in the cellar won't hurt this wine one bit.
LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc 2013

LangeTwins Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Musqué clone from the Jahant Vineyard; Lodi Rules Certified Sustainable; straw color; lemon, lime, starfruit aromas; starfruit, melon, and subtle pear into lemony finish; 13.2% ABV; twist-off closure; SRP $15. Pure Spring in a bottle - grab your partner, pack a picnic and this wine and get outside, preferably far away in a scenic location.
These wines were provided for tasting purposes.

Like 50 States Of Wine on Facebook
Follow 50 States Of Wine on Twitter
Subscribe to the 50 States Of Wine YouTube channel