Wine. Food. Reviews. Recipes. Lap it up.

Monday, May 16, 2005

New Harmony Wine Festival Report

We just got back from the second annual New Harmony Wine Festival, and it was fun! New Harmony is in southwestern Indiana about half an hour west of Evansville. If you have a really good arm, it's a tennis ball's throw from Illinois, since it's on the east bank of the Wabash River.

New Harmony is an interesting, historic place. It was twice settled by Utopians, first by Lutheran separatists from Harmonie, Pennsylvania led by George Rapp and then by Robert Owen, a visionary liberal Welshman. Many of the Harmonists' buildings are still standing, and The New Harmony Inn and Conference Center, built among the historic structures, now specializes in hosting events for arts, educational and spiritual groups. (And their policy about having dogs in the rooms is something along the lines of "don't ask, don't tell." If you don't bother them, they won't bother you.)

The Inn's excellent restaurant, The Red Geranium, is the home of the New Harmony Wine Society and the driving force behind the festival.

The festival was a three-day event, but we only participated in the Grand Tasting, held on the second day. About 220 humans sampled scores of wines from around the world and snacked on an abundance of delicious foods. After the tasting's official end at 8 p.m. much of the party moved to the restaurant and then to a variety of venues. My sharp ears detected humans entering their rooms at 4:30 a.m. ("WOOF! Oops, sorry, I'll be quiet now....") A good time was had by all who remember it, and the third annual is sure to be even better.

On the way back home we drove through the beautiful Indiana countryside on two-lane highways, and stopped at a nice Italian restaurant in Bloomington called Grazie!, which just happened to be having a half-price wine night. We got a bottle of A Mano Primitivo, which was a smooth, delicious accompaniment to the Gorgonzola filet -- and twice as enjoyable as usual at just $13.

After that, we headed home and I refreshed myself with a long draught of my favorite domestic eau de toilette and a peaceful sleep on my own bed, snuggled between my two favorite people.
M. Zane Grey, 11:46 AM | link |

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Alexandra / Alexandre

Last night I attended a tasting of Casa Lapostolle wines. Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle was in attendance, and is every bit as lovely in person as she appears to be on her company's web site.

The wines were lovely as well. I skipped the 2003 Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay, having lapped up quite a bit of it on previous occasions. It is wonderfully well-balanced, with enough oak to give it nose and body but not so much that it overpowers the acid that makes this wine food-friendly. It is consistently good, as evidenced by the 90+ scores it has garnered from the wine press over the past three years.

So, I started with the 2001 Cuvée Alexandre Merlot. This, too, is a food wine, with muscular tannins that would go well with a big slab of beef. It's not a particularly good sipping wine for the same reason, though this will no doubt change as the wine ages.

Next was the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Classic. This is a good, everyday Cab -- nothing special, really, but a very good value at its typical retail price of $10 - $11. This, too, would be a good food wine (grilled cheeseburgers come to mind).

The 2001 Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon is something special. French oak makes itself known with the vanilla overtones on the beautiful, deep plummy nose. The tannins are soft, and the mouthfeel creamy. This wine is a treat, either standing alone or with a meal. You should be able to find it at your local wine shop for around $20, and at that price it's a bargain.
M. Zane Grey, 9:51 AM | link |