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

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rachmaninov had big hands

No, it’s not wine-related. It’s funny, though — and it’s a good tune! Take your mind off the economy for three minutes....

J. Silverheels Gray, 11:18 AM | link | 1 comments |

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What’s in a name? Consider Palin Syrah....

Palin SyrahFor months, an organic wine from Chile named after the type of ball used in a game played by early Chilean settlers was the best-selling wine at the Yield Wine Bar in San Francisco. And why not? By all reports, it’s easy to drink and reasonably priced, and a perfect fit for the wine bar, which specializes in environmentally friendly wines that are made from grapes that are farmed organically or biodynamically.

But after Sarah Palin was selected as John McCain’s running mate at the Republican National Convention, sales of Palin Syrah plummeted at the wine bar — so much so that it may be taken off their list altogether. One can imagine the winemakers, whose philosophy is “compromise and care for the environment,” thumping their heads against any nearby barrels.

Then again, this tempest in a wine glass may work out to the winery’s advantage. Since the story has grown legs and hit the mainstream media as well as the wine blogs, millions of people have been exposed to what was until just recently a little-known brand. And although tipplers in San Francisco may now be turning their noses up at Palin Syrah, they can’t get enough of it in Texas.
J. Silverheels Gray, 10:37 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wine Cellar of the Black Cat

Schwarzen Katz
Here’s a fun way to celebrate Oktoberfest and/or Halloween, and to get some use out of all those 3-liter bottles that have been cluttering up the basement....
J. Silverheels Gray, 10:21 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, September 22, 2008

More wine, online and local

Wine ShipperAmazon is poised to begin offering wine sales in 26 states in time for the holidays. Presumably Indiana isn’t among the 26 since state law requires that wine deliveries be made by employees of the wine retailer and not by a common carrier, but there is evidence to suggest that the state hasn’t made it a high priority to enforce that particular provision.

Another new entry into the online wine business, The Wall Street Journal, seems ready to test that law. (With the way the stock market and economy in general has been going, I can understand why they might want to diversify!) I filled out an order form on their site to order a bottle of wine to be delivered to Indiana, and it didn’t promptly stop me the way does. I didn’t complete the transaction — the shipping costs totaled more than the bottle of wine — so maybe it would have declined to ship to Indiana at the final step. I’m not likely to find out, because there are plenty of shops in Indiana that offer a much better selection.

Speaking of local shops, I just received the official word from Cork & Cracker that the grand opening open house for their new location at 106th Street and Michigan Road will be this coming Saturday, September 27. They’ll be pouring about 20 different wines, and will also be offering samples of some of their food items.
J. Silverheels Gray, 10:13 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, September 15, 2008

A two-wheeled weekend

Racing WheelSure, the weather could have been better, but the activities leading up to yesterday’s inaugural Indy MotoGP went on as planned, with the exception of the 250cc class race which was cancelled due to the high winds that accompanied the former hurricane Ike on its way through the area.

Thousands of out-of-town visitors still had a great time and Indianapolis put on a great show, closing down streets in Broad Ripple and downtown for pre-race events, and making accommodations for motorcycle parking and storage for helmets and riding suits at hotels, restaurants and bars. In a brilliant stroke of schedule coordination, the venerable Indy Mile flattrack race returned to the Indiana State Fairgrounds after a nine-year absence the night before the Indy MotoGP became the first motorcycle race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 99 years.

Judging by the bikes, t-shirts and jackets seen at the Indy Mile, quite a few Europeans took the opportunity to acquaint themselves with this uniquely American form of motorcycle racing. Flattrack events are as raw and basic as motorcycle racing gets — riders on high-horsepower bikes with no brakes charge around a dirt track and hurl themselves around corners, skidding around the left-hand turns by throwing their handlebars to the right. It’s loud, fast and exciting, and it’s about the last bastion of racing where an independent operating out of his garage at home can compete with and beat factory teams.

In contrast, the MotoGP was more like a Formula One race, with high-tech sport bikes racing on a road course with 16 turns. Saturday’s qualifying races enjoyed sunny weather, but that wasn’t the case for the main event on Sunday. But fans had the opportunity to watch something you don’t get to see very often: Motorcycles sending up rooster tails as they ran at speeds in excess of 175 mph in the rain.

Wandering around the track waiting for the weather to moderate a little gave us the opportunity to survey the food and drink available. The vendor offerings were a lot like fair food — turkey legs, meat on a stick, Philly steak and boneless pork chop sandwiches and Italian sausages, all about $7. The best deal in the place turned out to be at the grill under the grandstands, where the very palatable breaded tenderloins were a reasonable $5. Add a Foster’s for another $6, and it’s lunch!

Next year the schedule for the Indy Mile and the Moto GP races has been moved up to the end of August. This will restore the Indy Mile to its former status as the grand finale of the Indiana State Fair and move the GP race into a week that may be better for attracting spectators than this year’s mid-September date. For as long as those two races are scheduled back to back, one thing seems clear: For one week every year, Indianapolis is going to be a motorcyclist’s Mecca.
Anonymous, 11:10 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tavern at the Temple Buggs out

Buggs TempleIn a brief email sent today, Chuck and Vicki Mack announced that they will be closing the Tavern at the Temple, their Buggs Temple restaurant, at the close of business on Wednesday.

In a nutshell, the message said that they’re unable to continue throwing money at the restaurant, and are moving to a Plan B that will best serve the rest of the operation. Their missive suggests that while the fine dining component of the Temple will cease operation, lunch, dinner and special events at the facility will continue.

Those wishing to dine at the Tavern on the Temple on its last evening can call (317) 735-7960 for reservations. For more info, head on over to Feed Me Drink Me.
J. Silverheels Gray, 7:25 PM | link | 6 comments |

Tuesday Briefs: Catching up to September

Tuesday BriefsGosh, it’s September already? How time flies! I guess I’ve been fascinated and distracted by how humans go about choosing a new pack leader. But now that Labor Day has come and gone, it’s time to put the old muzzle back on the grindstone and get back to work!

Wine, and lots of it: I’ve been into a beer phase lately, and have particularly been enjoying Belgian-style ales such as Chouffe, Allagash and Brugge Brasserie’s Tripel de Ripple, which should now be making its way into retail locations. Yesterday’s portfolio tasting of the Carroll Company’s wines caught me up on wine, though (I attended indognito, of course).

There were 37 tables of wines to sample, and there’s no way I’m going to file a comprehensive report. But for my nose-driven palate, the standouts included the Wild Hog Pinot Noir 2006, everything from Morgan and Domaine Serene, the Chateau Potelle VGS Chardonnay 2006, the Honig Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 and the Old Boys Tawny Port and the Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2005 from DeBortoli. (I also had a snort of DeBortoli’s 1982-vintage Sauternes lookalike, and it was divine.) Best in show was the small but mighty selection at the Rubissow Wines table, which consisted of their Mt. Veeder Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Trompettes red blend and Rubissow-Sargeant Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, all 2004s.

Open house update: Among all the people I bumped into at the Carroll tasting was the entire crew of Cork & Cracker. I learned that the grand opening of their new store at 106th and Michigan Road is to be in just a couple of weeks, on September 27. Sounds like a good opportunity to try some cheese....

Bacchus the Rascal: Also coming up this month is a presentation on wine, mythology and art by Jan Shrem, the proprietor of Clos Pegase winery. Hosted by The Brick Street Inn in Zionsville and sponsored by Grapevine Cottage, Shrem’s multimedia presentation will be followed by a portfolio tasting of Clos Pegase wines, which can be ordered at the event and picked up later. Bacchus the Rascal, A Bacchanalian History of Wine Seen Through 4,000 Years of Art will be presented at about 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 18. The cost is $29 per person; reservations may be made by calling Grapevine Cottage at (317) 733-1010.

Dalai Lama’s brother dies: Thubten Norbu, the eldest brother of the current Dalai Lama, has died at the age of 86 (87 by Tibetian reckoning). A professor emeritus at Indiana University, Norbu was the husband of Bloomington restaurateur Kunyang Norbu, who owns and operates Café Django, and father of Jingme Norbu, who owns the Snow Lion restaurant, also in Bloomington.
J. Silverheels Gray, 9:10 AM | link | 0 comments |