Take a wine walk in Grove City

Written by Rebecca Sodergren on . Wine

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The formerly dry town of Grove City (wet since 2007) is preparing for its sixth annual Winter Wine Walk, one of the more popular events meant to increase traffic through the shops and businesses of "Olde Town Grove City."

More than 20 merchants around town will host wineries and food vendors inside their stores. Wine walkers can stroll the stores, enjoying samples at each.

The Wine Walk happens from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, and features 11 Pennsylvania wineries. Check-in with wristband distribution is at Steigerwald’s
Kitchens & Baths, 120 S. Broad Street. Tickets are $20 and are available here.

Merchants and corresponding wineries are:

Nonni’s Corner Trattoria: Starr Hill Winery

Grove City Realty: Wilhelm Winery

Grove City ArtWorks: Fractured Grape Wine Cellars

Shannon’s Kandy Kitchen: Volant Mill Winery

Sweet Jeanie’s: Presque Isle Wine Cellars

ASA Fashions: Conneaut Wine Cellars

Static Styling Salon: Mazza Vineyards

Nancy’s Hair Loft: Flickerwood Wine Cellars

Natural Options: Deer Creek Winery

Burdick’s Men’s Clothing (pictured above): Courtyard Wineries

beans on broad: Foxburg Wine Cellars

Food and special attractions will also be available at b’gifted, Steigerwald’s, D’Licious Bouquets, Bobo Rice Bowl, Crimson Connection, Gel Nail and Spa, Jordan’s, Kritter Kreations and Marilyn’s Antiques.

Green "Olde Town" banners will be posted to help walkers identify participating merchants.

If you're interested in wine events, don't miss another local one -- the American Wine Society's Pittsburgh Wine Conference on March 15 in Ross. Read all about that here.

Old Town Grove City photo


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Learn to be a savvy wine consumer

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Wine

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Let's face it: When it comes to buying wine, a lot of us just wing it and guess what wine we might like, often going by the label. 

That's why Post-Gazette wine columnist Elizabeth Downer's columns are so popular. She's an expert on good wines and good values that you can find in Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board stores and elsewhere. Why, just this week, she attended a PLCB tasting where she and others tried 45 Chairman's Selection wines that will be available in time for the winter holidays. As she quips, "That's way more tastes than one's mouth can effectively do."

She'll soon be writing about those wines, and in this week's Food & Flavor section, she gave her picks for Thanksgiving wines, including the Roots Run Deep Educated Guess Cabernet pictured here.

You can continue to pick her brain on Wednesday, Nov. 19, when, from 7 to 9 p.m., she presents a Post-Gazette University, or PGU, class on being a "Savvy Wine Consumer." 

The course description from the PGU page: "Learn to navigate the wine list in Pennsylvania's state-run liquor procurement system. Elizabeth and a guest speaker will show you how to get the best buys available, as well as how to shop outside the system.

"Where to meet: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd of the Allies

"Free parking at Boulos lot across Commonwealth Place from Post-Gazette."

The tuition is $35; you can register here.

Two sure things: You'll very much enjoy your time with Libby, and you'll learn a lot. 

Roots Run Deep photo

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New winery open in McDonald

Written by Elizabeth Downer on . Wine

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Looking for an unusual outing this weekend?

Reese Winery is celebrating its opening in McDonald with free wine tastings all weekend.

Winemaker Teresa Reese and her husband, Mitchell, moved here last year from North Carolina. He  is the district manager for the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. She already had bought all the equipment needed to start a winery, so they shipped it all to Pittsburgh, and in a 100-year-old home they bought on the edge of Robinson, she set up her winery in the basement. (That's the home on the label.)

With grapes purchased from California, Washington and Argentina, Mrs. Reese is making a number of varieties including Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer. There are also sweet wines from Moscato grapes and fruits from North Carolina.

Tastings normally cost $5 for seven wines but this weekend a taste of four wines will be free.

The winery will be open 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m. and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Reese Winery is located 132 Fourth St., McDonald, PA 15057. The phone is 724-492-1569 and here is the website.

Reece Winery photo

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Celebrating "Women in Food & Wine"

Written by Rebecca Sodergren on . Wine

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The Hartwood Restaurant is celebrating women’s increasingly influential role in the food and wine industry with a "Women in Food & Wine" wine dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17.

The Indiana Township (Glenshaw) restaurant chose "wines that stood out and winemakers who are doing interesting things," said General Manager John Muth. For instance, Cheryl Indelicato, one of the winemakers (above), produces a HandCraft Cabernet Sauvignon and donates a portion of her profits to breast cancer research.

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month just past and Mother’s Day just around the corner, Mr. Muth said this seemed like a good time to highlight the contributions of women in the industry.

Once they'd selected four wines, the restaurant staff dreamed up a food course to accompany each. The food is "inspired" by famous women chefs, though the restaurant will use only one of the chef’s actual recipes – Julia Child’s Queen of Sheba Cake.

"We drew philosophical rather than literal inspiration" from these chefs, Mr. Muth said, noting the restaurant will use local and sustainable ingredients as these chefs often do.

Here’s the full menu:

First course: 04112014Elena

Alice Waters-Inspired Smoked Local Trout with Accompaniments

Wine: Ferrari Carano Bella Luce

Winemaker: Sarah Quider (at bottom)

Second course:

Susan Spicer-Inspired Peppered Lamb and Goat Cheese Grissini with Cream of Garlic Soup 

Wine: Campo Viejo Garnacha, Rioja

Winemaker: Elena Adell (at right) 

Third course:

Lidia Bastianich-Inspired Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Balsamic Glaze, Skillet Cauliflower and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Wine: HandCraft Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Cheryl Indelicato (at top)

Fourth course:

04112014OndineJulia Child-Inspired Queen of Sheba Cake

Wine: Geyser Peak Uncensored Red

Winemaker: Ondine Chattan (at left)

Cost for the dinner is $65 per person, and the restaurant will limit the guest list to about 40 or 50 people. For reservations: 412-767-3500.

Photos from the winemakers' respective wineries

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Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day!

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Wine

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I have a soft spot for Beaujolais nouveau that goes back to college, when it was the first wine I learned to drink (if you don't count the bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill that my high school friends and I found along the railroad tracks on one of our overnight country hikes).

One of my college roommates was from a family of Italians who lived in France and much more worldly than the rest of us at the time. He worked as a maitre d' at a local hotel restaurant, and he often managed to come home with the kind of treats we didn't know and certainly couldn't afford to buy -- New York strip steaks, baguettes and bottles of Georges Duboeuf Beajoulais.

The nouveau, or new wine -- released soon after the Gamay grapes are made into wine -- is especially light and fruity and drinkable, which worked for our young palates. Lots of people still love and look forward to the annual release, which occurs on the third Thursday of November.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is marking the occasion, having proclaimed today as  Beaujolais Nouveau Day here, too. The PLCB is doing complimentary tastings at restaurants in Philadelphia, Hershey and, here in Pittsburgh, at Spoon, 134 S. Highland Ave. in East Liberty. That event runs from 6 to 8 p.m.

There are additional tastings happening at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores across the state, where the 2013 vintage is on sale for $10.99, a $3 discount, today through Nov. 24.

The stuff will go well with your Thanksgiving meal.

I'm going to try to get a couple of bottles, and raise a glass to my old roommate.



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A new Pennsylvania wines mobile site

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Wine

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The Pennsylvania Winery Association, which notes that "You're always less than a 45-minute drive from a winery or tasting room" here in the Commonwealth, has launched a mobile website to help people find and explore the state's nearly 200 wineries, and just in time for the fall harvest. Not to mention Pennsylvania Wine Month.  10222013winelogo
 
The site, m.PennsylvaniaWine.com, works on smartphones, tablets, and laptops and desktops, and is part of the PWA's marketing campaign that includes the new logo at right (wine-colored, of course), tagline and more.
 
The site uses GPS to recommend nearby wineries and provide basic contact information and hours about them as well as information about upcoming events.

The goal is to highlight the diverse experiences at wineries and tasting rooms across the state, according to PWA’s Executive Director Jennifer Eckinger, who notes in a release that "however you pace yourself, there is a lot for you to discover" on the state's dozen wine trails. 

 

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