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Entries in Winesday (7)


Sun WineFest 2014 @ Mohegan Sun: The Recap

Mohegan Sun’s annual WineFest is my Super Bowl.  Before the big game, football aficionados took to twitter in anticipation of the showdown.  I, too, waged a full out blitz on social media- enthusiastically counting down til I could try some great wines and see my favorite chefs back in action!  For the Super Bowl, avid fans suited up in team apparel and NFL jerseys.  I also donned some fancy getup; my yearly uniform is a pink shirt bedazzled with “Wine Diva” and a sparkly headband.  Some people love calfskin; I love food, wine, and fun.

From the moment I entered the Convention Center, it was apparent that this year’s festival was bigger than ever.  Media members are granted an additional hour to peruse the venue.  Last year there was a handful of us and it was easy to get a preview of what was to come.  This year, however, it seemed that people everywhere were vying to cover the event.  Media members were elbow-to-elbow before the doors even opened to the public.  It was an extravaganza!

The SunWineFest’s signature event is its Grand Tasting, which spans the weekend. 

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Wine Highlights from The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival

How much can change in a year! Last year, I attended the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival as a CTBites contest winner.  I was just a typical reader who had entered the website’s Facebook contest in the hopes of getting a ticket to the coveted annual event. 

Now, just a year later, I was standing under the CTBites tent, which was prominently stationed right at the entrance to the festival.  After attending Greenwich Wine & Food last fall, I went on to write for the website and ultimately become their wine correspondent.  And at that moment I was preparing to interview some food and wine heavyweights including Gretchen Thomas of Barcelona and Laurie Forster, “The Wine Coach.”

2013 marks the third year for the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival.  Serendipity sponsors the event and a portion of the proceeds go toward Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. 

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Winesday: The Color Pink...Rose to Watch

I love the color pink.  Just over a month ago, I bounded into the Kuwaiti restaurant with the tips of my hair dyed a vibrant hue of “funky flamingo,” the result of a renegade mission with a friend earlier that morning.  Yet when it comes to wine, I frequently find myself forsaking my favorite color.  I tend to prefer a rich red to a rose- even in the summer months.

Recently, though, roses that satisfy my taste for reds have garnered attention.  Shelves are slowly filling with roses made from robust, red varietals.  They manage to incorporate the robust notes while keeping the light nature of the rose.  They prove perfect for summer cuisine.  People can still enjoy a cold drink and the more delicate body will not overwhelm poultry or fish straight off the grill.  At the same time, the subtle smoke and black fruit from the red grapes can hold up to spicy dishes, red meats, or even a burger.

One of the most exciting bottles in this genre goes by the name of “Nigl.”  It heralds from Austria and is comprised of 100% Zweigelt, a red grape indigenous to the country. 

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Winesday: Elm Restaurant Rhone Wine Dinner 

“Are you here for the wine dinner?” asked a smiling gentleman as I entered Elm Restaurant in New Canaan, shaking snow flurries from my coat.  Before I knew it, he was whisking us away behind the bar, past a few tables, and into a smaller dining room tucked away in the back.  The area felt cozy and intimate.  Four glossy walls framed the small space and a table set for eight sat in the center.  Nearby stood a countertop, where a few more guests could perch while looking into the bustling kitchen.

“We want people to feel like they are at our homes,” explained Chef Brian Lewis. “It’s like the feeling of having close friends over for dinner.”

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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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Winesday: Best Wines from the Mohegan Sun Winefest

There’s a lot to wine about at the Mohegan Sun Wine Fest.  I watched in horror as my printer spewed out 16 pages of wines that would be featured over the course of the weekend.  The annual event is an exercise in diversity; exhibitors bring everything from the commercial to the exclusive, the traditional to the innovative.  There are wines with long-lasting legacies and bottles that haven’t even hit shelves yet.

Fortunately, I carefully siphoned through all of the offerings to bring you a report of the very best the event had to offer.  Armed with my 16 page list, I diligently worked my way through the tables, asked questions, and sampled the wines.  (Don’t worry, there was a significant amount of spitting involved!)

It’s difficult to compare wines, especially with such an extensive range available.  How can one compare an expensive Napa Valley Cab to a fruity white made for casual drinking?  To solve the predicament, I broke my explorations down into categories.

In this first installation, I feature Robust Reds, Wonderful Whites, and Wines to Watch.  In Robust Reds and Wonderful Whites, my aim is to focus on quality.  Some of these wines might come off as a bit of a monetary splurge, but they drink beautifully.  Wines to Watch also hinges on quality.

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Winesday: Don't Forget About The Glass

Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week!  I know that I have the New York Times Dining Section and a new episode of Top Chef to look forward to.  Now there’s one more reason to love them: our new weekly column, Winesday!  This is your pass to all things wine from amazing bottles to local retailers to restaurant vino offerings.

For the first article, I thought that I would cover a slightly atypical topic: the glasses in which we drink wine.  There are many articles about wine itself, but the vehicles in which we consume it is a less explored frontier.

I first encountered Bottega del Vino stemware at the Mohegan Sun Wine Fest and alluded to it in my article on the event.  Since then, I had the opportunity to try it for myself.  Some of you wanted further information, and now I can render my verdict!

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