In this week’s wine blog I want to share and update you on several items I hope you’ll find interesting.
Lettie Teague, wine columnist, author
I have been reading The Wall Street Journal for years and one of my favorite columns is Lettie Teague’s “On Wine.” The column appears weekly in The Journal’s “Off Duty” section of the weekend edition. I know I have mentioned her column before but I highly recommend you put it on your weekly reading list. If you don’t subscribe to The Wall Street Journal’s print edition that’s ok as the column is available in The Journal’s online edition at www.wsj.com or Lettie posts her column on her Facebook page here as well as her Twitter account here.
A couple fun things to know about Lettie: First, she is a Hoosier. Lettie was born and raised for a time in South Bend, Ind. Further she is an accomplished writer and author. I find her weekly column interesting, informative and she always seems to write about great topics…it is an easy and fun read.
I am a big collector of books on wine and food and when Lettie’s latest book “Wine in Words: Notes For Better Drinking” came out (this is her third book) I was eager to get a copy. If you are interested in taking a look at the book it is available at Amazon for around $20.00 in hardcover. You can find the link here. It is also available in an electronic version but I am old fashioned and still buy hardcover books.
I like the book because it isn’t one of those huge encyclopedias on wine that tries to include everything ever written about wine in one book. When I started going through the book I found that it contains a lot of good and useful information on wine “stuff” you should or might want to know about if you are into wine. This isn’t a book you’ll sit and read from cover to cover…it is more like a good reference manual with something for everyone.
It is filled with fun, witty essays with titles such as “Is Your Wine Bad or Just Dumb” and “Malbec the Mighty.” As Lettie notes in the book’s introduction, “A Book of essays should be read slowly over a period of time – a week, perhaps even a month. Like a good wine, a book of essays should be savored, not gulped.”
I agree with that statement and I highly recommend this book for your library and, oh yes…it goes well with a glass of red wine.
Another Wine Shop to Consider
I am always on the lookout for good wines to purchase for my wine cellar. I buy and collect my wines from many different sources around the country. I get emails daily on special wine offerings, I am on a number of winery mailing lists and friends are always sharing their latest wine sources with me. Part of the fun I have being involved in wine is looking for that good bottle of wine at a great price…wherever that might be.
This isn’t to say that everyone doesn’t have good wine shops to buy from in their own area. Most of these stores have knowledgeable folks in them who can offer expert advice on wine. Locally the Chalet Party Shoppe on County Road 17 has a large selection of wines to choose from. Stan Minden heads the wine department at this store. Stan and I have tasted many wines together over the years and I know from firsthand experience that he has a great palate, is very knowledgeable about wine and enjoys looking for value wines for his customers. I would say the same thing about wine team at the City-Wide Liquors stores in Mishawaka and South Bend. Both of these groups have some excellent wines to choose from.
A good friend of mine, Kevin Geenty who hails from Connecticut, is one of the friends who shares wine information with me. Kevin is another real estate guy and a wine connoisseur. Kevin has a good wine palate and for years has collected lots of wine for his personal wine cellar. He has a passion for old world wines and lots of our wine conversations are about French wines.
I know from past experience that Kevin has a favorite wine shop in his area: the Mt. Carmel Wine & Spirits Co. The store is located in Hamden, Conn. According to its website Mt. Carmel Wine & Spirits has been in business since the repeal of prohibition.
One of the things I enjoy about the wine experience is walking the aisles of a wine store or browsing the inventory list on a website looking for a rare wine or reasonably priced wines from around the world. The Mt Carmel store has lots of wines to choose from and its inventory list has a good deal of French wines on it. Some of the wines offered are rare, hard-to-find older vintages, while others are younger, cellar worthy wines. Some of the wines, depending on what they are, are pricey but most seem to be priced right and are a good value.
You can check out the Mt. Carmel Wines website by clicking here. I recently purchased some French Bordeaux’s during their holiday sale, (a recommendation from friend Kevin) at a great price. It was an easy transaction. I dropped Mt. Carmel an email on what I wanted to purchase and shortly thereafter Eric Seggerman phoned me. He confirmed my shipping address, took my credit card information and told me he would ship the wine shortly. In not too many days the wine was delivered to my office and is resting nicely in my cellar. It was a good experience and really simple. If you want to call the store or drop them a note here is the store’s contact information:
Mt. Carmel Wine & Spirits Co.
2977 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
If you call, you can ask for Bob, Ben or Eric and I am sure they’ll be pleased to assist you.
A Wine Club Without A Name
I first met Kent and Becky Bontreger several years ago at a French wine dinner at Lucchese’s restaurant. Since that time I have discovered their passion for wine and enjoyed seeing and visiting with them at many of our wine events.
Last September I received a note from Becky telling me about a wine club they were in and would I be interested in coming to one of their meetings to do a tasting of my wines. The wine club is made up of their friends and friends of those friends. There are currently around 45 members and Becky tells me that the main membership requirement is that “you have to love wine and want to increase your knowledge of wine as much as you want to drink it.”
The original premise of the club was for its members to get together, taste wines from a specific region or vineyard, then in the future travel to that region and visit the wineries and vineyards there. They haven’t made any trips yet, but I know there is a trip to Tuscany planned for this coming October.
I accepted the invitation to come to one of their meetings, which finally happened a couple Sundays ago. I presented my wines for tasting and led a lively discussion on them and the history of my wine company. We tasted the following wines first:
2013 Glenwood Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Glenwood Cellars Chardonnay
2013 Glenwood Cellars Pinot Noir
2011 Glenwood Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
After tasting those four wines we did a three vintage, vertical tasting, of our Tiedemann Signature Series, Bordeaux-style, Red wine. We tasted, all at once for comparison, the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Tiedemann. It was great fun and provided for good discussion on which was liked the best.
The Club has yet to agree on a name, but there are several under consideration. Becky tells me that perhaps they’ll vote on the name again this spring. The Club meets every couple months, usually at the Bontreger’s home in Middlebury. Normal attendance is around 25 to 30 wine drinkers. There is always plenty of food to pair with the wines. It was a good group and made for a very enjoyable evening. Becky tells me they are not necessarily looking for new members, but if you measure up to the Club’s membership requirements of liking wine and wanting to learn more about it and feel you might have an interest in the club, drop Becky an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know of your interest.
As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below.
Until next week,
Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club Event: McCarthy’s Wine Dinner Featuring Premium Italian Wines
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Starts: 6:30 pm
Cost: $70 Per Person ($60 for Wine Club Members)
Starter: Bortolin Prosecco Extra Dry
Course One: Charcuterie Board. Hot Capicola, Salami, Prosciutto, Pickles, Mixed Olives, Duck Liver Pate and Italian Cheeses Served with Italian Bread — Paired with the 2011 Fabbri Olinto Chianti Classico
Course Two: Butternut Squash Ravioli. Pureed Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffed in our Handmade Ravioli, Served with our Housemade Brown Butter and Sage Sauce — Paired with the 2012 Salvano Barbera Piemonte
Course Three: Baked Meatballs. Housemade Meatballs of Veal and Pork Smothered with Marinara, Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese Served with Italian Bread — Paired with the 2009 Podere Canalino Brunello Di Montalcino
Course Four: Crispy Parmesan Roasted Rack of Lamb: Lightly seasoned, breaded with panko and Parmesan cheese then roasted to a perfect medium rare — Paired with the Legenda Aurea Primitivo Cabernet
Dessert: Ricotta Cheese Quenelle. Served with Fig & Mix Berry Preserves — Paired with the Marrone Tartufo Bianco
For Reservations, Call McCarthy’s at 574-293-2830
Mark Your Calendar for these Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club Upcoming Events:
February 13, 2016 – Uptown Kitchen Valentine’s Wine Dinner featuring Italian Wines
February 18, 2016 – McCarthy’s Wine Dinner featuring White Oak Wines
April 7, 2016 – McCarthy’s Wine Dinner Featuring Three Clicks Wine