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Entries in This Week In Wine (15)


Top 10 Wines of 2014 from Barcelona Wine & Spirits Director, Gretchen Thomas 

It’s been an intense year of traveling (I visited Spain five times!), tasting, and learning. And with our various locations in other Eastern US cities, I’ve been given the chance to taste limited wines that are exclusively available in their respective states, which, if anything, has reminded me that understanding wine is a giant task for those who don’t work in this field. After spending so many years devoted to tasting and learning about wines, I can still be surprised, impressed, and sometimes completely blown away. There are always new (to me) grapes varieties, regions, farming and vinifying techniques, and I’m sure next year won’t disappoint me with a chance to discover something else unknown and worth it. Since I am closing up my 2014 tasting journals and looking forward to a new year of “explore-a-tasting,” I am sharing the 10 most striking wines I tasted for the first time in 2014.

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Spring Wine Picks: Austria's Hopler Vineyards, Gruner Veltliner +

It seems as though everyone loves a good Riesling for springtime and summer sipping.  Last year, New York City was just one of the regions to participate in a “Summer of Rieslings” with a number of selections on the High Line and in restaurants. Germany is revered for its remarkable versions of the varietal.

However, a lesser-celebrated varietal promises to satisfy all of your desires as the warmer weather approaches.  Gruner Veltliner, a national grape of Austria, shares Riesling characteristics, but has lighter, crisper, and fresher tones than its counterpart.  On Friday March 28, Fairfield County hosted Christof Hopler, a respected winemaker and owner of Hopler vineyards in Austria.  He presented a selection of his delicious wines to an eager room of wine enthusiasts at South End Restaurant in New Canaan.

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Sun Winefest's Wine Review: What To Buy & Try

The annual Mohegan SunWineFest caters to a variety of interests. Restaurants, artisans, winemakers, and distributors unite in the sprawling Convention Center to deliver an epic weekend.  However, wine lies at its heart; it is a “wine” fest after all!  I enjoyed all of event’s facets, but as CTbites' wine correspondent, I paid careful attention to the hundreds of bottles presented.  I researched the offerings ahead of time, questioned the representatives, and- of course- tasted the bounties to bring you a full report on which wines reign supreme.

Check out my full report on: The Rise of Sauvignon Blancs, Is Oak a Joke?, Hail a Cab, Pleasing Pinots, Behold the Blend as well as a few other wine and spirit highlights. 

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Reasons to Love Winesday: Wine Wednesdays at Mohegan Sun

It seems that Wednesdays are officially becoming synonymous with wine!  In addition to our “Winesday” column, you can now enjoy an array of vino-based festivities at Mohegan Sun’s latest weekly event, “Wine Wednesdays.”  The evenings embrace the acclaimed restaurants and lounges already present within the casino, but present them with an emphasis on wine.  Four course pairing dinners unfold every Wednesday at both Bobby Flay’s Bar American and Todd English’s Tuscany.  Casino guests can also relax with a glass of champagne and smooth jazz rifts at the Vista Lounge starting at 8pm.  The first Wednesday of every month, though, has a special offering: “Tasting and Tapas” at Todd English’s Tuscany.  I had the pleasure of experiencing the affair (which has an impressively alliterate title, I might add) earlier this month.

Tasting and Tapas unfolded on the beautiful “patio” in the front of Tuscany.  Tuscany has an indoor restaurant with the kitchen, bar, and tables, as well as a front portion looking out on the casino.  Mohegan adopted the motif of a night sky, so guests sitting in that area feel the illusion of eating dinner under twinkling stars on a summer’s evening. 

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Winesday: When It Rains, It “Pours”... Wine & the Weather

“What’s going to come next- a sandstorm?” asked my friend as we stared out at the never-ending expanse of snow in front of us.

This season certainly has seen its share of weather anomalies from Hurricane Sandy to the recent blizzard that hit some parts of Connecticut with more than 30 inches of snow.  As I assessed the damage and tried to get my daily routine back in order, I couldn’t help but consider how these extreme storms have affected the wine industry.  A wine’s quality depends on a host of climate factors including the length of the growing season, temperature, and composition of the soil.  Even a small deviation can alter an entire bottle.  What happens to production in the wake of such monumental weather upheavals?

In order to find the answer to my question, I turned to Andie Martin, Tasting Room Manager, and Chris Moore, Vineyard Manager, at the Jonathan Edwards Winery. 

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Going "Grüner"... Wine Notes from Barcelona Restaurant

Nearing the end of the summer, I always crave what’s ahead in the coming Autumn. I’m dying for some butternut squash, I’m researching fall fashion trends, and I’m assembling my line-up of brooding red wines to pour by the glass. Every now and then something shows up on my desk that brings me back to the present, and most recently it is this amazing white wine that can combat every humid day we have left in this season. Truly, it was a tough summer; I found it hard to reach for a glass of anything other than water on some days, but I have found the solution in the 2010 Grüner Veltliner (pronounced GREW-ner VELT-lee-ner) made by Gustav Winery in Austria.

If you are new to this varietal, here’s the scoop: Grüner Veltliner has been the darling white wine of nerdy sommeliers (like myself) for about 5 years now.

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“Hot” Wine Picks for the Summer 

 JoAnn LoGiurato is a Certified Wine Specialist and the owner of Dancing on Grapes

Deck parties, outdoor picnics, grillin’ and chillin’…. summer is definitely upon us, and so is the summer wine dilemma. What to drink now? Hmm, many people believe that summer is all about white—au contraire! Here are 11 of my favorite wine sips for summer, including a couple of delicious reds and a rosé for those not afraid to “drink pink.” All of them are available at one of your favorite Fairfield County wine shops. If you can’t find the exact wine you’re looking for, ask the merchant to show you something similar—heck, it’s just fermented grape juice.  Taste, experiment, and have fun with it! 

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A History of Connecticut Wine: Vineyard in Your Backyard

It wasn’t until 1978 that the state of Connecticut passed the Winery Act that allowed owners and winemakers to be able to have their own places to make the wine. Nowadays, there are over 30 wineries throughout the state alone, which made University of Bridgeport English professors Amy Nawrocki and Eric D. Lehman interested in pursuing the idea of writing a book on this subject matter.

Their new book; “A History of Connecticut Wine: Vineyard in Your Backyard” was released on March 18 and published by The History Press out of Charleston, SC. The volume, which is the first in depth publication on this topic, talks about history of CT wine before and after the Winery Act was announced, while also answering the question why people should go to these local wineries and taste wine.

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Robert Sinskey Wine Dinner @ The Dressing Room 

On Tuesday, February 22nd, 7PM, The Dressing Room will host a very special wine dinner featuring the organic and biodynamic wines from Robert Sinskey Vineyards. Dressing Room Chef Jon Vaast will create a five-course farm-to-table menu that will pair perfectly with Sinskey’s elegant selections. The complete menu for this evening is below. 

The Dressing Room is known for its commitment to using natural and organic ingredients, a perfect fit for Robert Sinskey’s winemaking philosophy.   I can’t wait to try the two together.  Hope to see you there on February 22nd !

The Menu 

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Buying Guide: Prosecco, Cava & Champagne for 2011

Get your sparkle on! Now that the holiday season is in full swing, what better gift to bring to a party than a sparkling wine? Any occasion becomes a celebration when you open a bottle of bubbles! Not only that, sparkling wine is extremely food-versatile, pairing well with most hors d oeuvres, from foie gras to pigs in a blanket. And for those of us hoping not to overindulge this month, at only

95 calories per flute (compared to 250 calories in a Vodka Martini), sparkling wine allows you to have fun AND behave all at the same time! Here are three ideas I believe might ring your holiday bell:

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