Our Nation’s Capital…for Wine!

Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Uncategorized |

While there are many sites to visit in Washington, D.C., the best way to enjoy all that the nation’s capital has to offer is to enjoy wine along the way.  Washington, D.C. is surrounded by history, and also great wineries, vineyards, and wine bars.  Brand Ambassador Abigail Cole sampled quite a few on a recent visit. It was a cold winter evening, so a red was the ideal wine to start off with at Luna Bar and Grill on Connecticut Avenue in the fashionable Dupont neighborhood.     Right around the corner is The Tabard Inn, which offers offers intimate surroundings for sampling dessert wines after dinner.     Marching down the street from The Tabard Inn takes one to The White House.  No matter the weather conditions, that is always worth a trip when in our nation’s capital.       The same is true for heading on up to Capitol Hill to check out The Capitol Building.       For movie buffs, having a red at The Tombs in Georgetown always emboldens one for a visit to “The Exorcist Steps,” made famous from that legendary film.     All of the wine action in Washington, D.C. is not just in the city. It is surrounded by hundreds of wineries, wine bars, and vineyards in Virginia and Maryland.  There are many more a short drive away in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  The wines produced have done very well in competitions and rankings.  Judging from the look of Abby’s face, she will be back to enjoy more of the wine scene in Washington, D.C., with a pledge to learn more about Pinot Noirs!...

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The Reds are the Equals of the Whites at Chandler Hill Vineyards

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Uncategorized |

When someone who looks like Grace Muraski leaves somewhere with such a captivating smile, it naturally raises the question: “How do I how get to be like that?’     The short answer is to buy a bottle of Port from Chandler Hill Vineyards like the one that has Grace, a Brand Ambassador and Spokesmodel from St. Louis, looking so radiant.  A better answer, though, would be to go through the entire tasting, like Grace did one brisk autumn weekend day, and take in all that Chandler Hill Vineyards has to offer.  A previous post detailed how splendid the whites were at Chandler Hill. For Grace, it was the reds that had her looking so beautiful, although that is probably her norm. You will not be disappointed in any of the wines at Chandler Hill, no matter what your personal preference.     Chandler Hill Vineyards was started in 2008. There has not been a moment of disappointment in the years since for those who have made the rewarding decision to visit.  In addition to its panoramic setting, the tasting room at Chandler Hill is warm and inviting.  So gracious is the gentle embrace of Chandler Hill, that 90 weddings have been held on the grounds, many in the tasting room below.     Tasting was what Grace had on her mind when she visited that day, too.     For only $5, the tasting at Chandler Hill Vineyards is unrivaled.  The smile on Grace’s face is proof of that: the tasting card being filled out as never looked so alluring at Chandler Hill as when she did it, either.     The staff at Chandler Hill Vineyard makes the experience even more rewarding.     Not only knowledgeable, they are very friendly; and everyone is made to feel welcome.  That is a tribute to the owner, Chuck Gillentine.  While there are many truly wonderful folk working at vineyards, the food at Chandler Hill makes it special.  The menu sets it apart from others.     There is no better way to cut the autumn chill in the Ozarks than to sit in front of the inviting fireplace in the gracious tasting room at Chandler Hill Vineyards.  If you live in the area, there is no reason to head out to Napa.  If you don’t, Chandler Hill Vineyards is a great reason to visit St. Louis! From the website: Founded in 2008, in Defiance, Missouri, Chandler Hill is only 30 minutes west of St. Louis, and is adjacent to America’s First Wine district, Augusta, Missouri. This unique grape growing region has produced some of the highest quality wines within the Midwest. Chandler Hill proudly grows Chambourcin, Vignoles and Norton.  In...

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Destination: Defiance, Missouri for Great White Wines at Chandler Hill Vineyards

Posted by on Nov 23, 2013 in Uncategorized |

A major objective of Wine & Spirits Watch is to edify followers that there can be great wines, wineries, and wine bars everywhere, and anywhere.  That was recently proven, again, at a great winery, Chandler Hill Vineyards in Defiance, Missouri.  Closer to St. Louis than to Napa, the wines of Chandler Hill Vineyards will keep those in the Midwest from leaving home and have more traveling to the “Show Me” state for a wide variety of  fine labels, both red and white.     From the website: Founded in 2008, in Defiance, Missouri, Chandler Hill is only 30 minutes west of St. Louis, and is adjacent to America’s First Wine district, Augusta, Missouri. This unique grape growing region has produced some of the highest quality wines within the Midwest. Chandler Hill proudly grows Chambourcin, Vignoles and Norton.  In addition to our award-winning Missouri wines, Chandler Hill also offers a selection of the very finest wines from the west coast. Our west coast wines come from our vineyards in Napa Valley, Willamette Valley, Columbia Valley and the legendary Central Coast. The grapes are hand selected by our vintners to produce the finest wines. In addition to the wines, the tasting room at Chandler Hill Vineyards is well worth the journey through the Missouri countryside.  The tasting room is as nice as any to be found.       Making the tasting room even more pleasing to the eye this Saturday afternoon was brand ambassador,  Abby Cole.  She was a huge fan of the whites at Chandler Hill Vineyards.  The staff led her through a tasting that is very reasonably priced at $5.     The Pinot Gris obviously met with Abby’s favor!     As did the Chardonnay on a brisk Missouri fall day on the outdoor desk.     Warming up inside, Chuck Gillentine, the owner of Chandler Hill Vineyards, helped her make her final choice.     No better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than a wine tasting at Chandler Hill Vineyards and leaving with a bottle of the Raspberry Sparkling Wine to bring back the tasty memories for Abby!     If you are not fortunate enough like Abby to be able to make it to the lovely setting that is Chandler Hill Vineyard, restaurants that have its wines include: Cafe Napoli and Napoli 2 Viviano’s on the Hill West End Grill and Pub Gianfabio’s Italian Cafe J Buck’s in Clayton All Pi Pizzeria locations West End Grill and Pub Truffles Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar Four Seasons Cielo Yia Yia’s  ...

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Biondi-Santi Winery Eyes Expansion into China

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in Uncategorized |

Biondi-Santi, one of the oldest and most prestigious winemakers in Italy is on its way to securing a deal with ASC, one of China’s leading importers, as the company seeks to expand its brand into the multi billion dollar Chinese wine market.     With many French vineyards already exporting their wines successfully to China, the way has been paved clear for similar wine producers from other European regions. Biondi-Santi from Italy, believe this is a big advantage for the company, especially with many of Biondi-Santis wines, already well known to Chinese wine lovers. Brunello di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, and the younger Rosso di Montalcino are all well respected red wines internationally and should therefore take to the Chinese market without too much trouble. The Riserva selection is especially in demand since it has the ability to be bottled for over 100 years making it a good investment wine as well as a drinkable wine. The company Biondi-Santi has a rich history and has been in operation for over 200 years as one of Italy’s biggest winemakers, although it is only this year after the death of Franco in April that the company has thought about moving into the Chinese market. His grandfather, Ferrucio Bondi-Santi began the winery in the late 1800’s after a series of well received tastings in the Montalcion region of Tuscany, Italy. As a result, Biondi-Santi has long tradition of producing wine and has laid claim to a number of high profile customers over the years. In fact, in 1969, the Queen of England was said to be a fan of the Brunello di Montcalcino Riserva 55 vintage and the wine was voted in the 20th Century’s top 10 wines by the Spectator Magazine. Consisting of the Sangiovese grape, Brunello di Montalcino was also the first wine in Italy to be  awarded the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation and is still one of Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines.  ...

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Wineries for Sale Featured in Financial Times

Posted by on Sep 14, 2013 in Uncategorized |

In the House & Home section of the Financial Times, a feature article was: “Hot property Vineyards.” Listed in the Financial Times piece were wineries in California, Italy, England, South Africa, and France (naturally!)  The price range was well into the millions.  An article in this month’s Worth magazine was on how to buy a winery.  For the real estate listings of www.winebusiness.com, there are 19 listings.   All were in the United States.     Every American state now has a winery. California, Oregon, Connecticut, and Idaho were represented in the 19 listings.   The prices ranged from $265,00 to $7.9 million.  For the asking price of $265,000, you get a tasting room,  a house, and a lot of 1.39 acres in Canyon County, Idaho. The tasting room is the key to the winery. That is where the great bulk of the revenues will be earned, generally over 90%.  The key to a profitable tasting room is not only to have wine that is desired, but to also be close to other wineries.  A “Wine Trail” location is great for business as groups will want to hit more than one tasting room experience a day. Based on my experience, I believe that a nice restaurant makes for an even more profitable winery. With kitchen facilities, foods that pair well with the wines from the vineyard can be sold on the spot.  The profit margin for that is huge. Visitors will also linger and drink more when there is a nice selection of dishes, rather than just oyster crackers.  In addition, a wider range of functions can be held in the tasting room or somewhere else at the winery.  A restaurant opens up a much wider range of profitable...

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A Delicious Diversion on California’s Central Coast: Wines from Cupcake Vineyards

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in Uncategorized |

When it comes to wine, much like most wine drinkers, when I find a vineyard I like, I stick with them. There are a few vineyards that are on the short list of my “go to” wine labels when I’m stocking the staples, and Cupcake is one of those vineyards. One of California’s many central coast vineyards, it’s easy for Cupcake to get lost among the plethora of California wines on shelves today, but they’ve enjoyed quite a bit of success, and they owe that to the high quality of their product, and to the expertise of their winemaker, Adam Richardson, as detailed by this video. I discovered Cupcake wines the way I discover most new things – there was a sale. Admittedly ever the frugal one, the price was right, and secondarily, I was intrigued by the modest sincerity of the brand. In an industry where names like “Arrogant Frog” and “Fat Bastard” compete for attention on wine shelves, the simple, stylized Cupcake logo was like a breath of fresh air. I chose a Chardonnay, and I was not disappointed.   Cupcake’s Chardonnay is soft, luscious, and remarkably satisfying. I’m a Chardonnay fan, and I know how varied they can be. Cupcake’s Chardonnay is aged sur lies, which means it’s allowed to rest on its own lees, or sediment, as it ages. This process lends a Chardonnay with a richer, more complex character than some other varieties. Also on shelves are Cupcake’s other “flagship” wines, a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve not tried the Merlot (I tend to avoid them – I had Merlot almost exclusively when I started drinking wine and I think I had my fill), but the Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich, berry-forward celebration. If you like your reds to melt into oak-infused silk on the palette, this is one to remember. These days the Cupcake lineup includes a wide variety of varieties from Petite Sirah to Zinfandel, with even some sparkling varieties, so there will be one for you, and they’re quite affordable, too, so check out the...

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