Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Anthony Pierpont Wine Tips: Midwest Wines of Note

Everyone knows that California and Pacific Northwest wines rival their French and German counterparts with ease; but what about wines from the middle region of the country?
  • Michigan started getting some attention a few years ago when the Michigan is rapidly approaching 50 wineries, with a growth explosion in wine production happening over the last decade.
  • You might be surprised to learn that Ohio has more than 80 wineries. Ohio has experienced so much interest in wine making that the Ohio Wine Producers Association provides tips on starting your own winery. The Kinkead Ridge 2003 Syrah is a light red wine that goes well with anything from pasta to steak- a perfect choice for spring. Kinkead Ridge is completely sold out of their award-winning 2003 Viognier/Roussanne blend, but they’ve produced many other winners since.
  • The Falconer winery in Minnesota produces a Frontenac Port that wins awards every year- the 2005 vintage seems to be the most noted, but every year’s been a good year for this dessert wine. Minnesota’s St. Croix Vineyards has won multiple awards for their Vignoles, made with a hybrid wine grape. The 2005 Vignoles is their gold medal winning wine and not to be missed.
This just scratches the surface of Midwestern wines. If you’re on a driving trip through the Midwest, check out the Web before you go to see if you’ll pass any wineries- they’re worth stopping for.

Anthony Pierpont Homemade Wine Tip of the Day: In an earlier blog, I talked about northeast ice wines, a unique dessert wine- and it seems like dessert wines are almost always a good bet when you’re buying Midwest wines, too.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Anthony Pierpont Wine Tips: Ice Wine- Friend or Foe?

Ice wine has been gaining a lot of popularity in the US over the last decade. Created from grapes frozen while still on the vine, it’s a dessert wine, and very, very sweet. It’s not a drink to enjoy on an empty stomach or with a large meal.

I kept hearing about ice wines from friends. They’d travel north and return with cases of the stuff. But the first few times I tried to drink the dessert wine, it was a complete turn-off- sticky sweet, yet flat in flavor. I gamely tried it on a few occasions, knowing that if I hung in there, I might find a brand that I liked.

Ice wine is a tricky harvest, because the grapes must sit on the vine long after they’re ripe, waiting for a hard freeze. If the freeze doesn’t happen in time, the winery is stuck with a lot of rotten grapes, making the harvest a tenuous process. Animals and dropped fruit are also dangers vintners face while waiting for a freeze. Frozen grapes have been known to break a traditional wine press, which is really meant to accommodate ripe grapes.

Over time, I found several of the dessert wines that I enjoyed, and two now grace my wine bar:

  • Fiori delle Stelle, Vidal Ice Wine 2003 has a light honey taste that makes it a unique addition to your dessert wine collection.
  • Canada’s Inniskillin winery was voted the New World Winery of the Year by the Wine Enthusiast a few years ago for good reason. Their 2004 Reisling Ice Wine is not to be missed, with lots of sweet peach flavor that makes it a perfect match with a cheese and fruit plate.

Anthony Pierpont Wine Tip of the Day: Beware of fake ice wine brands- there are plenty of these floating around, and I think the wines I tried initially, that were so bad, were fakes. Fake ice wine brands are made with frozen grapes; probably from the local grocery store and most definitely don’t have the taste of a Canadian or German ice wine.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Anthony Pierpont Red Wine Tips: Buying Wine Online

You can buy champagne online and order wine online through a number of different wine Web sites. It’s a great way to find new wines that are not offered at your local grocery or liquor store, and, if you now where to shop, you can find some of the best prices when you buy your grape from a wine Web site.

If you haven’t yet started to use the Internet to buy champagne or wine, it’s worth a try. Especially if you have an upcoming party or event with a lot of thirsty guests and limited time to put the party together!

Some of the best Web sites to order wine online:

  • The Wine Buyer offers funny, snide wine reviews and rock-bottom sale prices.
  • Buy champagne online with the Wine Commune, an online wine auction. Benefits include specialty wines not found in your local store. Before buying wine online, verify that the seller can ship wine to your state with an e-mail before the sale.
  • Vineyards also sell direct, so check the company wine Web site to price shop before you confirm your online wine order. Mondavi, Gloria Ferrer and Eola Hills all let you buy champagne and order wine online.
When buying wine online consider buying in bulk for the best deals on shipping and overall discounts, too.

Anthony Pierpont Wine Tip of the Day: I can’t find fault with anyone who orders wine online because it is true that the Internet can often offer the best prices and best selections, but give your local wine shops a chance, too. They often have specials but the real value is their knowledge of the products they sell which makes you into a wine connoisseur. It is rare to find wines online that offer that sort of education.