Category Archives: Educational

BBC: Music ‘can enhance wine taste’

From the BBC:

Music ‘can enhance wine taste’
Playing a certain type of music can enhance the way wine tastes, research by psychologists suggests.

The Heriot Watt University study found people rated the change in taste by up to 60% depending on the melody heard.

The researchers said cabernet sauvignon was most affected by “powerful and heavy” music, and chardonnay by “zingy and refreshing” sounds.

Professor Adrian North said the study could lead retailers to put music recommendations on their wine bottles.

The research involved 250 students at the university who were offered a free glass of wine in exchange for their views.

Brain theory
Four types of music were played – Carmina Burana by Orff (“powerful and heavy”), Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky (“subtle and refined”), Just Can’t Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague (“zingy and refreshing”) and Slow Breakdown by Michael Brook (“mellow and soft”)

The white wine was rated 40% more zingy and refreshing when that music was played, but only 26% more mellow and soft when music in that category was heard.

The red was altered 25% by mellow and fresh music, yet 60% by powerful and heavy music.

The results were put down to “cognitive priming theory”, where the music sets up the brain to respond to the wine in a certain way.

“Wine manufacturers could recommend that while drinking a certain wine, you should listen to a certain sort of music,” Prof North said.

The research was carried out for Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes, who plays monastic chants to his maturing wines.

Mr Montes said: “It was therefore a natural extension to link with Heriot Watt and to scientifically determine the impact that music has on how wine tastes.”

Previously, Professor North conducted supermarket research which suggested people were five times more likely to buy French wine than German wine if accordion music was played in the background.

If an oompah band was played, the German product outsold the French by two to one.

Cabernet Sauvignon: All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix), Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones), Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings), Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who)

Chardonnay: Atomic (Blondie), Rock DJ (Robbie Williams), What’s Love Got To Do With It (Tina Turner), Spinning Around (Kylie Minogue)

Syrah: Nessun Dorma (Puccini), Orinoco Flow (Enya), Chariots Of Fire (Vangelis), Canon (Johann Pachelbel)

Merlot: Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding), Easy (Lionel Ritchie), Over The Rainbow

You get what you pay for

Illuminating article from CNN:

January 14, 2008 10:55 AM PST
Study: $90 wine tastes better than the same wine at $10
Posted by Stephen Shankland

In a study that could make marketing managers and salespeople rub their hands with glee, scientists have used brain-scanning technology to shed new light on the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology and Stanford’s business school have directly seen that the sensation of pleasantness that people experience when tasting wine is linked directly to its price. And that’s true even when, unbeknownst to the test subjects, it’s exactly the same Cabernet Sauvignon with a dramatically different price tag.

Specifically, the researchers found that with the higher priced wines, more blood and oxygen is sent to a part of the brain called the medial orbitofrontal cortex, whose activity reflects pleasure. Brain scanning using a method called functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) showed evidence for the researchers’ hypothesis that “changes in the price of a product can influence neural computations associated with experienced pleasantness,” they said.

The study, by Hilke Plassmann, John O’Doherty, Baba Shiv, and Antonio Rangel, was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research, along with other studies the authors allude to, are putting a serious dent in economists’ notions that experienced pleasantness of a product is based on its intrinsic qualities.

“Contrary to the basic assumptions of economics, several studies have provided behavioral evidence that marketing actions can successfully affect experienced pleasantness by manipulating nonintrinsic attributes of goods. For example, knowledge of a beer’s ingredients and brand can affect reported taste quality, and the reported enjoyment of a film is influenced by expectations about its quality,” the researchers said. “Even more intriguingly, changing the price at which an energy drink is purchased can influence the ability to solve puzzles.”

DGS Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines

Tomorrow, our wine group will be conducting a tasting of Champagne and other Sparkling wines – at brunch, no less. 🙂 

As part of my research, I’m looking into Spumantes, otherwise known as sparkling wines in Italy. Italian sparklers hold a place near and dear to my heart, since they were one of my early introduction to wine. I fondly remember one cool October morning, where I sat with three other friends in a piazza in Turin (one of the Piedmontese cities in northwestern Italy), sipping a tall glass of Moscato D’Asti. That, was life.  

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Spumante: Italian for sparkling
You can find most of Italy’s spumantes in the northern (and thus cooler) regions. Unlike champagne, most Italian sparkling wines are made using the Charmat method, where the second fermentation is done in tanks instead of in bottles. This technique produces young, crisp and low alcohol wines that should be consumed within a few years of purchase.

Asti:
Astis are made from Moscato grapes (white), from Asti in Piedmont, the northwestern region of Italy. The craggy, limestone soil in the areas excellent for growing grapes, and Piedmont is one of the powerhouse regions of Italian wine country – non-sparkling wonders like Barolo, Barbera, and Barbarescos are other examples of the region’s wide
repertoire of grapes. Asti is light, sweet, with hints of peaches. High acidity. It’s typically a non-vintage wine and should be drunk early.

Moscato D’ Asti:
This is the higher class version of Asti Spumanti, if you will. Comes from the same region – Asti, though there are plenty of good fizzy moscatos in other Piedmontese regions like Alba as well, but these are less well known, and not readily found in the US. It’s less fizzy, and is light and crisp with typically 5%-7% of alcohol. Delightful summer drink, and makes for an elagant apertif. Good Moscato D’Asti is not over poweringly sweet, unlike many of the cheap commercially made crap for American palates.

Bracchetto:
Another sparkling wine from Piedmont is the Bracchetto. I haven’t tried this personally, but it’s a red sparkling wine, made from Brachetto grapes. According to some of the tasting notes I’ve read online, the wine is light, with hints of strawberry and cherry; makes for an excellent pairing with fruit/cheese or a light dessert, but is also a good pairing with pizza.

Lambrusco:
Trader Joes sells a delightfully cheap and easy to sip Lambrusco. It’s simple, unpretentious: fizzy and slightly sweet red sparkling wine. Best served chilled, and is an excellent, excellent pairing with spicy food. Lambruscos are found in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy (central).

Prosecco:
Prosecco (derived from its grape) comes from the northeastern region of Italy, in Veneto (where Venice is). It’s the base for Bellinis (recipe: blend peaches into your prosecco). Light and refreshing, it has a lovely bouquet of melons, pears, and almonds. The wine is dry and crisp.

Franciacorta:
I’ve never tried this wine before either. Franciacorta is a name of a region in the Lombardy Lake District of Italy, and is made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco (or Blanc), and Pinot Noir. Unlike most other Italian spumantes, Franciacorta is made using the French champagne method – i.e. wine is fermented in bottles. This results in tighter, smaller bubbles. Tasting notes online say that it is a dry, somewhat complex wine, with hints of almond, vanilla, and yellow ripe fruit. According to Italian wine law, Franciacorta must be aged for at least 18 months, vintage Franciacorta for 30 months.

The Green Path to Organic Box Wines

Yesterday at Whole Foods, I picked up a box of organic box wine from Australia.  Since September, the organic-friendly supermarket has started offering the Green Path Shiraz and Chardonnay by Organic One Winery in New South Wales. I was intrigued by the fact that it was an organic wine, and that it was in a box.

While I won’t get into the discussion on the supposed merits of organic wines in this entry, I would like to state again for the record that I’m a strong proponent for box wines, even if their quality as it stands currently leaves much to be desired. But, if we can get over our snobbish inclination to keep to the tradition of using corks and convert to screw caps, we should over time be able to accept the still-alien notion of drinking quality wines from boxes. The advantages of box wines are many fold: (1) cheaper; (2) portable; (3) ability to keep for a longer period of time. And demand creates supply. So as wine lovers, we should demand the sale of more – and higher quality – box wines. To that end, suppliers have become increasingly amicable to the idea of box wines. In a recent WSJ article, first growth Bordeaux Château Lagrange cellar master said in response to the shift towards more exotic packaging, “Normally, I am a traditionalist. … But if it works, why not?”

According to Wine Lovers, box wines make up more than one-third of the wines stocked in any Italian supermarkets now. Some of these box wines are packaged in the by now familiar bag-in-box wine package popularized by Australians, but the newest wine receptacles to hit the market are the Tetra Paks. Tetra Paks are soft-sided, flexible cardboard boxes coated with a neutral plastic lining and sealed with a plastic screw cap.

The following is a description of the box design by Wine Lovers:

Lightweight (about 2 1/2 pounds per liter when full of wine, a half-pound less than a 750 ml glass wine bottle holding 25 percent less wine), unbreakable, easy to carry and dispose of, the concept seems made for picnics and travel (although it should be noted that current airline security rules ban liquids from carry-on baggage). The Tetra Pak is also billed as being recyclable, although some Canadian critics have questioned this as a practical matter, as the combination of cardboard and resin requires special handling; empty Tetra Paks can’t simply be recycled with newsprint and office waste and may end up in landfills.

For traditionalists and wine snobs still grappling with the notion of screwcaps and synthetic artificial corks, the notion of re-inventing a mass-market package customarily used for fruit juice, soup or milk may seem more like a nightmare than a dream.

Indeed, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing high-end, ageworthy wines in Tetra Pak in the foreseeable future if ever; this packaging isn’t designed for products with a very long shelf life, and its natural market for wine appears to be everyday quaffers, the basic “spaghetti reds” and “sipping whites” meant to be drunk up while they’re young and fresh.

But from an industry standpoint, that’s hardly a problem, as inexpensive, everyday wines make up the lion’s share of the market. In Italy, it’s reported that Tetra Pak wines already make up one-third of all supermarket wine sales, matching the volume of low-end bottled wines sold there. In Canada, the LCBO blew large quantities of low-cost wine in Tetra Pak off the shelves just about as quickly as it could be packaged.

And even in the U.S., which has been slower to embrace the technology, the amount of wine-shop shelf space devoted to Tetra Pak is growing fast. Among others, “Three Thieves,” a California firm that made a splash in recent years with its inexpensive wines in old-fashioned liter jugs (July 31, 2005 30 Second Wine Advisor), rushed to market a couple of years ago with a new Tetra Brik line of California varietal wines dubbed “Bandit.” The French negociant Boisset has joined the cute-animal-label brigade with colorful Tetra Pak containers labeled “French Rabbit.” And U.S. natural-foods leader Whole Foods got into the stampede last month with an organic Australian wine in Tetra Pak called “Green Path.”

Love the Tetra Pak or hate it, we had might as well get used to it. With the market clearly accepting the concept at least for lower-end wines, the industry has little incentive to turn back, particularly when we consider that a glass bottle and cork adds well over $1 to the cost of every bottle of wine, while Tetra Paks in quantity cost the producer less than 10 cents per unit.

But how about the wine in the package? Two obvious questions arise: Does the container alter the flavor? And just how good is the wine?

Based on a couple of preliminary tastings that I undertook to check whether more extensive “blind” comparative tastings would be justified, my initial response is a cautious, slight positive: The Tetra Pak doesn’t seem to impart bad or “off” flavors, at least assuming that the wine is fresh. Based on this limited sample, though, the wines – consistent with the mass-market standard for box wines and jug wines – are simple, clean but not memorable, barely rising to the level that would appeal to most “wine geeks” except perhaps for a picnic or casual party.

Green Path Shiraz from Organic One’s Billabong Vineyard in Jerilderie, New South Wales, Australia

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My thoughts: I first took a sip when I was still sautéing my bratwursts, and immediately grimaced. It was harsh, and sourish, and I felt quite disappointed. Had I just spent $10 on a liter of wine I was going to use as cooking wine? I still had a whole box of old wine I was using for that purpose right then. Later on though, after I was done cooking my pasta, I tentatively took a couple more sips. I don’t know whether it had been mellowed down by the air or the food, but this time the wine tasted much more palatable – jammy, plumy fruit with a pleasant sweet finish. Not much of a nose, but I was distracted by my pasta anyway.

Thoughts from Wine Lovers Page:

Made with organically grown grapes and packaged in Tetra Pak for Whole Foods markets, this is a clear, dark cherry-red. Plumy fruit and aromatic oak with overtones of caramel. Mouth-filling and ripe, forward red fruit and oaky vanilla, a hint of sweetness well balanced by appropriate fresh-fruit acidity. Simple, quaffable; similar to pop-style Australian Shiraz in traditional bottles at the same low-end price point. It might not be my favorite style of wine, but I can’t see any evidence that the Tetra Pak is any less effective a container than glass, and it certainly boasts the advantages of lightweight portability, with a small extra point for the possibility of squeezing out most of the air before closing the plastic screw cap. Decent quaff with the bold flavors of Cuban-style arroz con pollo. U.S. importer: The Country Vintner Inc., Oilville, Va. (Sept. 7, 2007)

Gastronomic YAY!: Beer and Mussels

With all the tasty delights in Chicago and high end gastronomic paradises popping up left and right, sometimes its nice to indulge in hearty pub fare. So for this week we decided to wander on over to Andersonville for the classic Belgian combo of beer, mussels, and fries. The Hopleaf has decidedly one of the largest beer menus in the city, and probably the most extensive Belgium beer menu outside of Belgium itself. With rare brews on tap, this place is always hopping and has extensive wait times, luckily bar seating with a full menu is available with a little patience. Using our heightened senses secondary to hunger and cat-like reflexes, we pounced on the first available seating at the bar within minutes and bellied up to what was on tap. I ordered Dupont Biere de Miel. Sweet and refreshing, this went perfect with my salty steamed mussels.

Brasserie Dupont Biere de Miele (Belgium)– ( 750ML $8.99/btl ) Damn Good 😉

This is a Saison style (farmhouse style) Belgium ale that has a golden haziness and sweet finish with warm honey notes. This ale is definitely on the sweeter end of the spectrum of ales with some floral notes and fruitiness to it. The finish was very sweet and had a little bit of cherry, honey aspects to it. It went well with the saltiness of the mussels and fries. This beer conjures up images of a drunken pooh bear gorging on honey.

Sniff- honey, floral, yeast

Sip- sweet, complex, light, cherry, honey

Eat- salty bar food, seafood

 

 

 

 

Mussels In Belgian Beer

From the Hopleaf, “borrowed” from WTTW

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 6 Minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

This recipe is adapted from Michael Roper, owner of Hopleaf Bar in Andersonville. Serve these mussels with plenty of good bread for sopping up the cooking juices and wash them down with a cold, Belgian wheat ale, such as Witterkerke (which you can also use for cooking the mussels).

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
1 small rib celery, thinly sliced
2 pounds mussels, cleaned, debearded
1 bottle (12 ounces) Belgian wheat ale
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/8 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet; add shallots and celery. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add mussels; add beer, thyme, bay leaf, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Cover. Cook until mussels are open, about 4-6 minutes, keeping pan moving frequently. Discard mussels that do not open. Serve in shallow bowls.

Scotch Tasting 3

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This is the third installment on my three-part series on Scotch tasting, as I research and prepare for my upcoming trip to Scotland. In the first piece, I looked into how Scotch is made, and how one should go about tasting it. In the second installment, I examine how whisky – and Scotch in particular – is made. In the third installment, I will detail my itinerary and planned stops at distilleries along the way.

As my trip draws closer, I grow all the more anxious: there are over a hundred distilleries in Scotland – which ones should I pick to visit? I guess, my task is made easier in that I have to follow the itinerary I have mapped out. This trip, we would have to stick to the distilleries in the Midlands north of Edinburgh, Speyside, and the Isle of Skye. Unfortunately, we’d have to bypass distilleries in the remote Orkney Islands, as well as my favorite distillery in the Isle of Islay, Laphroaig. I’ve tasted probably different 20 Scotches in my life, so while a good number of my favorites hail from those places, I figure I should be a lot more open to other labels.

Still, it’s taken me a while to narrow down the distilleries we might visit on the trip. I’ll be traveling with a friend who has never tasted Scotch before, so I can’t possibly drag her around to half a dozen distilleries. Moreover, we have quite a limited time in Scotland, and we intend to use the bulk of it touring castles and hiking, so drinking, this time at least, shall have to take a backseat.

After much poking around the Internet, I have thus finally decided on the following five distilleries. I figure we could decide which three to go to once we get on the road.

Glenturret Distillery
Founded in 1717, Glenturret is Scotland’s oldest distillery, and also one of the smallest.

Description from Scotland.com:

This distillery has been around through tumultuous times over the centuries. Glenturret has had a long and colorful history beginning with illicit stills and smugglers. It was successful right from the start till the depression of the late 1830. Many distilleries were forced to shut down at that time. In fact it was the sole survivor among the many small distilleries on either banks of the burn. The situation gradually improved for the Scotch whiskey business.

In 1870, Mr. Thomas Stewart the owner expanded the plant warehouses and machinery to cope with the increased demand for Scotch whiskey. It flourished in the worldwide boom in Scottish whiskey but was almost wiped out in 1920, during the US prohibition days and after. In fact the distillery closed down in 1921, leading to it falling into disrepair. It remained in this dilapidated condition till in1957.

The Glenturret distillery was purchased by James Fairlie in1957. He began its refurbishing and revival. By June 1960, the plant was producing whiskey once again. It was mainly used to supply blenders. It continued to make whiskey in the traditional way using the same methods and equipment and the cool, clear waters of the Turret Burn.

In 1981 Cointreau ET Cie who had been one of Glenturret’s faithful customers bought the distillery. They pumped in fresh investment and expanded the distillery to a great extent. The distillery was bought by Highland Distillers in 1990. Even today Glenturret whiskey is made using the Pot Still process with age old copper pots. The whiskey is matured in their traditional warehouses.

Glenturret is the most visited distillery in Scotland and its Famous Grouse experience describes its history, takes visitors on a tour and ends with a whiskey tasting session. The distillery produces an award winning single malt, Glenturret Single Highland Malt Scotch Whiskey, renowned for its glorious bouquet and natural golden hue. Besides this bottling of the single malt in the pure form, Glenturret whiskey is used in the blending of Famous Grouse. They have a new range of blended malts, available in various ages from 10 to 30 years. Personalized bottles and labels to mark l special occasions are also available.

Edradour Distillery
From Scotlandwhisky.com:

If you have been to the Edradour distillery it is easy to understand why it is so popular with visitors. Being the smallest and most picturesque distillery in Scotland it’s a must for visitors on the whisky trail, however it also offers a lot more.

It’s a charming and undisturbed niche of Scotland where the people are genuinely warm and hospitable, the landscape glorious and the lifestyle untouched by the perils of the twentieth century.

Situated in the heart of Tayside by the beautiful township of Pitlochry and surrounded by the wilds of the Grampians, Edradour is a wonderful diversion for hill walkers. If you’re en-route to Aviemore or Inverness it’s certainly worth dropping in.

I first tried Edradour at a Scotch tasting hosted by Sam’s Wine. My notes of the Edradour, S. Highland 10 Yr (86 proof) $53 bottle: thick, creamy, and sweet – due to the sherry barrel; interesting spice; made from water from spring flowing into peat; reminded me somewhat of Dettol, hospital, but a comforting scent; I like!

Macallan Distillery
Known as the “Rolls-Royce of single malts” – how can we not visit?

From Whisky-distilleries.com:

Situated near the village of Craigellachie, the Macallan distillery got its first distillation licence in 1824 thanks to Alexander Reid.

When he died in 1847, his namesake son managed the distillery until his own death in 1858. Then the distillery was controlled by James Shearer Priest and James Davidson until it was acquired by James Stuart (from the Glen Spey distillery). James Stuart rebuild the distillery.
In 1892, this old farm distillery become the property of Roderick Kemp.

From 1968, The Macallan is quoted on the stock exchange list and shares were purchased by great international groups as Suntory or Rémy-Cointreau, but also by the workers and the inhabitants of the village. That’s why the whisky from the distillery was nicknamed “Malt of the People”. The distillery remained in the Kemp family until 1996, when Highland Distilling Ltd bought the shares of Rémy-Cointreau, and later those from private individuals.
In 10 years time (between 1965 and 1975), The number of stills of the distillery grown from 6 to 21.

Maturation happens in sherry casks for 100% of the production, among which 75% sherry Oloroso casks. Macallan uses a traditional barley type, called Golden Promise.
The Highland Distillers group has been acquired by Edrington Group in November 1999 for £ 601m.

The whole production matured in sherry Oloroso casks is sold as single malt, the remaining being sold to blenders, among which Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, J&B, Chivas Regal, Lang’s Supreme, Ballantine’s or Long John.

Glen Ord Northern Highlands Distillery
From Whisky-distilleries.com:

From the dozen distilleries which used to operate in the area of Black Isle on the East coast of Northern Highlands, Glen Ord is the only survivor. The Glen Ord distillery has been founded in 1838.

First owner were Robert Johnstone and Donald McLennan. The company which owned the distillery, “Ord Distillers Co” changed several times from owner until James Watson & Co purchased it in 1896. Watson was a blender from Dundee and he owned Pulteney and Parkmore.
Watson refurbished and enlarged the distillery by adding new stills and considerably enhancing the malting floors.

The distillery closed during World War I and was bankrupt in 1923, before John Dewar who recently entered the D.C.L. group belonging to SMD, acquired it.

World War II was synonym of a second closing period, because of a general lack of barley.

Important refurbishment works have been done in 1960 and the malting floors were replaced by a “saladin-box” in 1961, with the modernisation of the distillery.

A new malting was build in 1968 to supply the 7 other distilleries of the group, amongst others Talisker on Isle of Skye.

A new modernisation of the malting took place in 1996.

The whisky marketed by the distillery has had several different names during the last years: Glen Oran, Glen Ordie and Glen Ord.

About 10% of the production is marketed as single malt, the remaining being used in the blends Johnnie Walker and Dewar’s.

I also tried Glen Ord at the Sam’s Wine’s Scotch tasting. My notes of the 1998 Glen Ord N. Highland 8 Yr (86 proof) $65 bottle: “leafy, grassy”; leathery and nutty; whiff of barley at the end; aged in bourbon barrel; I like!

Talisker Distillery
Established in 1831, Talisker is set in Isle of Skye, on the exposed west coast of the island. In 1900, the distillery had expanded to the point where it had its own pier, tramway, cottages, and currency, denominated in days worked. Talisker is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye.

Good sources:
1. http://www.scotlandwhisky.com
2. http://scotchwhisky.net
3. http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/jhb/whisky/

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail: Part I

As the other Asian who did not venture on the Memorial Day Michigan wine trip, I felt obligated to go on my own outing and explore the wine region closest to the Windy City, the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. The trip was a great break from the city. We managed to fit in all the wineries. So there is A LOT to review, hence the “Part I.”

We stayed at Benton Harbor (features much cheaper lodgings) and drove the 5 minutes into St. Joseph’s and toured the local wineries. We used the handy dandy wine trail map provided by the wineries

wine_trail_map.pdf
There was a lot to do and see, especially since this was a first visit for all of us. So I want to keep this short and informational. We went to almost all of the wineries in the region, and almost all of the tourist attractions in there area. First the WINE…Some general comments:

  1. Stick to the whites, the reds fall a little flat and can be a little too tannin. Rieslings abound, many of them are styled more in the California or French style, meaning less fruity, more mineral
  2. Do leave room to try the fruit wines and dessert wines if you have a sweet tooth
  3. ALL of the tastings were FREE

THE WINERIES IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE

Best: Round Barn, Domaine Berrien, Tabor Hill

Eh, So-So: Karma Vista, Lemon Creek, Warner

Pass: St. Julian, Contessa, Free Run, Hickory Creek

Round Barn Winery

By far the best experience we had. The winery is nestled in a scenic spot. The tastings are generous and we felt it a rare treat to find a place that makes wine, beer, and vodka.

Tasting: $8= 5 wines, 1 dessert, 1 vodka, 3 beers + Free Glass + Free Tastings at Free Run Cellars

ORGASMIC 😮 : DiVine Vodka ($34.99)- A unique grape vodka, this stuff is smooth, so very smooth, makes-babies-bottoms seem-like-sandpaper smooth
DAMN GOODS 😉 : Gerwurstraminer ($15.99)-floral, honey, spice, complex
NOT BADS 🙂 : Artesia Spumante ($14.99)– fruity, refreshing, sparkling…you could get worse with the price, but you could get better
Golden Ale-
refreshing light, hoppy
GHETTO HOOCH 😦 : Pale Ale, Amber Ale, most of the dry reds

Domaine Berrien Cellars

Although this has less of the fun and flair of vineyards like Round Barn, St. Julian, or Warner, the wines here are surprisingly good and very drinkable. There is a nice outdoor deck where you can enjoy your wine and they will fix you a nice picnic basket of local treats from their fridge case so you can have a little snack. Try the local buffalo and venison sausage. Laid back and unassuming, the standout thing about this place is its wine.
ORGASMIC 😮 : Cabernet Franc Ice Wine ($50.00)– A cool half a benji this ice wine is unique and flavorful. If you like madeira and sherry, you might find yourself forking over the cash for this tasty liquid. With hints of toasted almonds, walnut, caramel, and raisins, its a complex rich drink. I did not regret giving up my 5 bucks for a taste, but unfortunately felt that I could get a better madiera like experience with a true $50 madiera. Still it is neat to see such a rare type of ice wine.
DAMN GOODS 😉 : Vignoles 2006 ($10.50)– A nice summer white, it has hints of pineapple, apple, and citrus. Its a great clean and fruity pour and well worth the price tag.
Marsanne 2006 ($14.50)– I preferred the Vignoles, but this is less sweet and has a lot of great complexity. Hints of spice and honey, this has good body and is very light and drinkable.
NOT BADS 🙂 : Crown of Cabernet 2004($23)– has good body, fruit, hint of oak. Not sure if its worth the $ Viognier 2006 ($18.50)– viogniers are so great in general, complex, flowery, fruity, this one is okay, but again you can get better for the money
GHETTO HOOCH 😦 : Grandma’s Red

Tabor Hill

Probably one of the most successful wineries on the trail, Tabor Hill is definitely has the feel of a larger more professional winery. The restaurant features fine American dining. There are several tasting rooms in the area so where ever you go it is worth a stop to sample. 8 Free Tastings offered.

DAMN GOODS 😉 : Angelo Spinazze’s Spumante ($13.45)- Good complexity, sweet, bubbly, fruity, and floral. Worth the price, especially if you are a fan of sweeter spumante or asti
Classic Demi-Sec ($8.45)- One of their most populat with good reason. A very good basic fruity wine, refreshing and crisp.

NOT BADS 🙂 : Blanc de Blanc ($13.45)- Not as sweet or complex as the Spumante, but definitely in the same vein of style. It is more of a mellow, fruity sparkling white. Some may prefer it over the Spumante if they lean more towards salt than sweet.

TO BE CONTINUED!!!