October 18, 2009
The first annual "Apple Smash" yielded 47 gallons of cider and a few hours of great fun among our family and friends.
The word for this weekend is most certainly "extraction" - that is, getting the juice from what mother nature has given us. Gently pressing, or violently smashing, it's all good. On Saturday, I helped the Specters press their grapes in Dave's refurbished grape press. On Sunday, we did our "1st Annual Apple Smash" using the cider press my dad refurbished but never got to use. Many years later, it finally did it's maiden smash. Two truckloads of green, red and yellow apples, a dedicated cart, wash, cut and smash crew, and we have 47 gallons of liquid gold. Everyone took home more then enough, and I have enough left to make 20 gallons of apple wine... and 5 gallons of Apple Jack.
Thanks to Dave and Sara Specter, Mark and Tracy Webster, Libby, the kids and my wonderful wife Susan. Special thanks to the Kinkers for providing the beautiful venue, the means, and some mysteriously good coconut curry soup.
With a week of gloomy, dank, cold rainy weather a week before, and a frost the night before, it turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL day and a perfect end to a summer with a very strange crop cycle. I look forward to doing it again next year!
March 14, 2009
Only a portion of the silent auction table. Just a beautiful display for a wine lover.
This was the 19th annual Cincinnati Wine Festival. It's grown to be one of the largest ones in the country. This year, over 600 wines and 130 wineries were present. If you are a wine enthusiast, this is the opportunity to sample hundreds of wines in one place.
Since I am always on the hunt to find wines I like, I've found it is very difficult without doing the tastings. The alternative is to buy full bottles which can get real expensive, real fast.
The admission for the event is pretty steep at $70 for the grand tastings... and another $35 if you wan to attend the master tastings. While it makes it a little less a attrative for the person only getting into wine, it's w ell worth it if you ar going for the reasons I do. You also get to bring home a couple $20 Riedel glasses after the event. Much of the funds go to several big charities so that too makes it worth it for me.
The food is gourmet. The Cincinnati State Midwest Culinary Institute was present with some amazing food and desserts. I got a few pics. I have a lot of respect for this school and the emerging chefs that come from it. I've attended several events that were served by the students and it makes me want to go back to school.
Overall, another great event. My wife and I were able to escape for the first time in a long time, and we had transportation to and from... so we we did it right.
February 20, 2009
On Saturday, we ate, drink and were merry with good friends. Over the last 2 years, I have really been digging the red wines. To me, reds *are* more complex animals and hard to figure out both in the tasting and making. But I drink what I like and it spans from sweet to dry. I look at the craft in the style of wine in reds more so than whites. It seems there’s more tinkering done in the cellar with red wines… and rightly so.
These are NOT all the wines that were available. They were this years, “featured selections.” My idea is to feature a diverse group of wines from sweet to dry and cheap to expensive, both red and white. People liked some, but not all. Seems my homemade peach wasn't so hot. In fact, it tasted soapy :( - But, I plan to play with it some more. You watch, I may just bring it around. My Plum wine however, was something to gett jiggy to.
Here was the official line up, but it didn't include many wines that were brought... and additional wines that were pulled from the cellar.
2007 Menage A Trios (a blend) - Folie A Deux
2007 Chianti – Ruffino
2005 Syrah Petite - Stags Leap
2005 Syrah - Columbia Winery
2004 Syrah - Red Bicyclette
2007 Voignier - Stags Leap
2007 Moscato - Sutter Home
2007 Gewurtztraminer - Chateau St. Michelle
2006 Savignon Blanc - Bogle
2007 Chardonnay - Bogle
2005 Champagne - Valley Vineyards
2007 - Concord
2008 - Peach
2008 - Plum
2008 - Strawberry
2007 - Niagra Ice Wine (juice from a kit… real deal stuff)
Thankfully, my wife shares the passion enough to where we’ve sinfully set up a budget for wine-buying. The goal was to put some good stuff in the cellar, but it’s so hard to keep our hands off it! So the cycle repeats. We find ourselves being wine junkies to the extent of grabbing a quick bottle of the shelf to try something new. It’s cool when you find a good $5-10 bottle that you really like. The point of my featured selections is not to wow or woo. It’s to expose everyone to a variety of wines… and particularly, ones I’ve been drinking lately. Around here, we “drink what we like.” If you like it, and it happens to be priced right, remember who introduced you to it :)
Wine is fun and finding people who appreciate it the same is a blast. Thanks to all those who contributed something to the wine and food. What a great experience. So, see you at the next taste. Check out the pics from this years event.
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