Posts Filed Under wine tasting

Postcard From France: Alsatian Cousin’s Visit to Vino Strada

Vinted on April 2, 2009 binned in wine tasting, zen wine

Well, I’m not actually an Alsatian.  And I’m not (to the best of my knowledge) related to any Alsatians.

That naturally didn’t stop me whatsoever from sampling the wine in Alsace last week while I was in nearby Strasbourg.  In fact, in a very un-Alsatian manner I joined a native Strasbourgian (Stras-borg?), a Spaniard, and an Australian and visited the IlVino (Vino Strada) wine bar, located in a converted boat right on the river in downtown Strasbourg.

The French aren’t nearly as snobbish about wine as most Amahr-icahhhns might expect, of course.  At Vino Strada, they sit at tables named after famed French wine regions and sample French wine over dishes of French-inspired tapas (smoked meats, cheese, nuts, fruit, cheese, bread, cheese, and cheese).  And they don’t really talk about the wine – at least, they didn’t talk about it as much as I wanted to talk about it.

They also snuck some Aussie and Chilean selections in there.  But nothing from California (it hasn’t been that long since Bush left office, I’m afraid).

It’s a tiny place with tight quarters, but a very decent selections of wine (I started with Cremant d’Alsace, and worked my way up to some Vendange Tardive Rouge), and if I’d spent more time writing things down instead of talking, drinking, eating, and living, then I might have more to tell you about it all.

So, why am I telling you this?  After all, it’s probably some boring-ass reading, right?  Guy goes to France; guy goes to wine bar in France; guy has French wine in French wine bar.

So what?!??

Well, I could have whipped out the tasting notebook, taken copious notes, and come back here detailing the anecdotal intricacies of my tastings, and probably going gonzo-style and embellishing fats about my dining partners, sort of like Hunter S. Thompson meets Bruce Chatwin.

But as it stands, I decided to instead follow my own advice, and enjoy the moment, the wine, the company, the food.  Might be boring reading for some of you, but for others I’ll bet that a little zen wine action probably can’t hurt.

As it stands, I opted for the living and not the writing, so you’re just going to have to get your butt over to France and check it out for yourself.

If you can stand taking a break from all that California vino, that is.





Wining Combinations: Lessons in Wine & Food Pairing at Wayne’s Flavor Restaurant

Vinted on March 25, 2009 binned in pennsylvania, wine tasting

I have a (potentially unhealthy) love affair with Teikoku, the Chester County, PA restaurant that birthed the increasingly excellent and expanded series of Win Signature Restaurants, whose cuisine is headed by Executive Chef and Iron Chef Japan alum Takao Iinuma.

Anyone who doubts the potential success of pairing wine with the complexity and uber-spiciness that is the hallmark of pan-Asian cuisine need only attend one of the Win restaurant’s several wine & food pairing events, as I did on a recent trip to Win’s Flavor in Wayne to attend their first-ever Wine Appreciation event.

Chef Iinuma takes wine pairing seriously – so seriously that instead of offering selections and helping wine reps chose wines to compliment them, he first tastes the potential wines for each event and then masterfully constructs small plates to highlight the pairing of the chosen wines.  It feels the wrong way around, but if the results are wrong, then I don’t want to be right…

There’s no mistaking the Asian vibe at Flavor, and the general atmosphere – dimly lit but also inviting – is a cross between a Buddhist temple and a cozy living room.  While Flavor’s wine list offers a similarly varied and approachable mixture of selections, Win’s wine & food pairing events usually focus on a mixture of in-house and special selections, as was the case during my visit.

The standout pairing of the night: the vibrant juxtaposition of flavors, heat, and texture of Dionysus Vineyard’s Washington State Riesling with Iinuma’s Fresh Wild Albacore jalapeno Ceviche.  The apple, honey & flower aromas and searing acidity of the Riesling might be a bit much on its own, but it cut right through the fat of the Ceviche.  Here’s how my tasting notes described the experience:

“Like spicy fish meat-butter served by winged Valkyries while Wagner’s “Der Ring” blasts triumphantly in the background.”

Sure, I was probably buzzed, but there’s no doubting a pairing like that!  Lucky for me – and you – that they’re planning more Wine Appreciation events at both Flavor and Teikoku.

If you go: Flavor Restaurant – 372 W Lancaster Ave. Wayne, PA 19087 – 610.688.5853





RSVP Now for the Biggest TTL Event Ever!

Vinted on March 13, 2009 binned in twitter taste live, wine tasting

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Hospice du Rhone, Twitter Taste Live, and 1WineDude are teaming up for the Biggest On-Line Wine Tasting Event EVER on April 17th!

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