Vinos de Madrid Open Tasting in Washington DC


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Vinos de Madrid seminar at Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington DC

Earlier this week we had an invitation to attend a seminar tasting with wines from the Vinos de Madrid DO. The seminar was followed by a walk-around tasting. The venue was held at the Barcelona Wine Bar on 14th Street NW in Washington DC. We have attended several wine tasting at this restaurant all featuring Spanish wines. The restaurant does a wonderful job with tapas served during the walk-around tasting.

One of the purposes of the tastings and seminar was to introduce wine enthusiasts, distributors, importers and writers to Vinos de Madrid, an often undiscovered wine region in Spain. Many of the producers in this area are crafting premium wines at very reasonable prices. Gretchen Thomas, Vice President of Beverage at Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group that owns Barcelona Wine Bar, conducted the seminar and tasting. 

Gretchen became interested …

Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C.


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The Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Road Show took place at the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC

On Monday, June 3rd, we attended the Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C. held at the Embassy of Italy. The weather was beautiful for a June day in the nation’s capital. We had a mile walk to the Italian Embassy from the DuPont Circle Metro Station. The walk was easy passing many embassies along the way.

We were asked to arrive early for our scheduled 1:15 pm seminar on Italian wine. Unfortunately, we were informed that they were not ready so we had to wait outside the entrance gat for the embassy. At 1:40 pm we were let in, only to wait again. The session began at 2:15 pm. During this wait, I recalled the first day we were touring wineries in the country Georgia. We were quickly off …

A Unique Father’s Day Gift: Wine on the Vine


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Wine on the Vine

For a unique Father’s Day gift for those wine enthusiast dads, consider planting a vine at an Israeli winery for your Father’s Day gift. This opportunity comes from Wine on the Vine, an initiative from the Israel Innovation Fund.

The steps are easy, starting with visiting the Wine on the Vine website. Choose how many vines you wish to plant ranging from one for $18 to 1000 vines for $18,000. For the one vine you will receive a certificate. For the 1000 vines you receive a certificate, 100 bottles of wine from the winery you choose, dedicated vineyard and a wine label of your own. You start receiving a bottle of wine with five vines. 

Your next step is to choose a winery to plant your vine. Nine wineries are participating in the program. Your final step is to choose a cause from the …

A Unique Father’s Day Gift: Wine on the Vine


This post is by Terry from Wine Trail Traveler LLC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Wine on the Vine

For a unique Father’s Day gift for those wine enthusiast dads, consider planting a vine at an Israeli winery for your Father’s Day gift. This opportunity comes from Wine on the Vine, an initiative from the Israel Innovation Fund.

The steps are easy, starting with visiting the Wine on the Vine website. Choose how many vines you wish to plant ranging from one for $18 to 1000 vines for $18,000. For the one vine you will receive a certificate. For the 1000 vines you receive a certificate, 100 bottles of wine from the winery you choose, dedicated vineyard and a wine label of your own. You start receiving a bottle of wine with five vines. 

Your next step is to choose a winery to plant your vine. Nine wineries are participating in the program. Your final step is to choose a cause from the …

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard Repeats as “Best in Show” at the 2019 Maryland Wine Comptroller’s Cup Awards


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The 2018 “Best in Show” award went to Catoctin Breeze for the 2016 Cabernet Franc.

Last June, Kathy and I were invited to the Maryland Wine Comptroller’s Cup Awards at Catoctin Breeze Vineyards in Thurmont, Maryland. Catoctin Breeze hosted the event. They won the top prize “Best in Show” for their 2016 Cabernet Franc. It is not easy to repeat. Just look at the Washington Capitals early exit in the 2019 NHL playoffs. But repeat is exactly what Catoctin Breeze did, again with their Cabernet Franc, this time with the 2017 vintage. We congratulate Voytek Fizyta and his wife, Alicja along with the winemaking team at Catoctin Breeze for their outstanding job with Maryland Cabernet Franc. 

The 2019 Best in Class awards included:

White: Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards • Legacy 2017

White Blend: Big Cork Vineyards • Russian Kiss 2018

Rosé: Port of Leonardtown Winery • …

Champagne Paul Launois Announces Single Barrel Champagne Auction


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Sarah and Julien Launois hand-selected the Chardonnay grapes for the ten barrels to be auctioned. Image provided by The Gallavant Group.

Wine enthusiasts who love champagne might enjoy the possibility that Champagne Paul Launois is offering. The champagne house has set aside ten barrels of Chardonnay, that they will auction off on June 14th, 2019. The minimum price for each barrel is 23,400 Euros (about $26,142) for the 216 bottles of champagne that will come from the barrel. That would put the minimum price for each bottle of champagne at least at $121.

Those purchasing a barrel will have the opportunity to work with the champagne house to determine aging and dosage. Aging can take place between three and ten years. The dosage will be determined by the barrel owner’s preferences. 

Although the auction is out of the reach for most wine enthusiasts, collectors, industry professionals and restaurants may …

Day 11 of Visiting Hungarian Wineries


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Pálffy in Hungary

On Thursday, our 11th day of visiting Hungary, we stopped at Pálffy Since and visited with Mr. Gyula Pálffy, who is the owner and winemaker. The winery is a boutique style. We walked to a small knoll where Gyula provided with us with a detailed description of the region. He commented that the land was once under the sea. One of his best comments was, “You  just don’t sit down and drink wine, you have to work.” After viewing the landscape, we entered the cozy tasting room where he showed us rocks embedded with fossils from the area. We also enjoyed tasting  a few of his wines.

Kreinbacher Estate

We then traveled to  the second smaller wine region of Hungary, Somló, to learn about the Kreinbacher cellar in this region. At this modern-style winery we tasted wines and enjoyed lunch. In the Somló region, …

Day 10 Near Lake Balaton, Hungary


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Pezsgö, sparkling wine at Garamvári.

On the 10th day we traveled about two hours to reach Lake Balaton,the largest lake in Central Europe. The area around the lake to home to tourist spots, traditional homes and not far away are wineries. A ferry provides easy transportation across the lake.

The first visit of the day was at Garamvári where we met one of the owners and the winemaker. Garamvári was established 25 years ago. Today the winery, an 85 hectare estate, produces sparkling and still wines. The temperatures of the vineyards are moderated by Lake Balaton. 

We then enjoyed lunch at Kistücsök, a restaurant owned by a brother and sister. The restaurant menu offers a variety of Hungarian foods. The atmosphere is friendly with touches of low-key elegance including fabric tablecloths. After lunch we reached the far side of Lake Balaton by a short ferry ride.

Weeping vines at …

Day 9 in Hungary


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Wine cellar at Bodri wine estate

We began day 9 in Hungary by traveling to Szekszáred to visit Vida Péter, a boutique winery, where Mr. Péter Vida is both winemaker, vineyardist and owner. At a young age, Peter’s father had Peter and his brothers tending a vineyard. Eventually, Péter learned to make wine and  Péter entered wines into a contest without his father’s knowledge. When his father read the newspaper and saw that the wines had won, he told Péter, “God will help you with your work.” Years later Péter is enthusiastic about producing the best possible wines from his vineyard.

After a delightful visit with Péter Vida, we traveled to the Bodri wine estate where we learned that the family has been involved with vineyards for eight generations. A restaurant where we enjoyed lunch is also on the property. Large cellars include a section that wine collectors can …

Day 8 in Hungary


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Vylyan Wine Estate cellar

On day 8 of our visit to Hungary we traveled to Villány to visit Vylyan Wine Estate and enjoyed a large elegant lunch with the owner. The winery produces a unique Hungarian wine with the grape Csoka. Vylyan winery claims to have the largest vineyard of Csoka with 0.6 hectares.

After a delicious lunch at Vylyan, we visited Gere Wine Estate. The winery has 75 hectares of organically grown grapevines. After the end of Communist domination, the owner’s parents, Attila and Katalin, began buying vineyards. The maternal grandfather, Adam Wéber, remembered where the good vineyards had been located and this helped to locate which vineyards to buy.

Gere Wine Estate

Bock Cellars acoustical room

To end the day, we visited Bock Wine cellar which included dinner at the Bock restaurant. Bock winery now produces sparkling and still wines. Bock began producing sparkling wines in 2007. …

Day 6 in Hungary


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Tasting rooms in the Valley of Beautiful Women

On our sixth day of visiting Hungary, we returned to The Valley of the Beautiful Women in search of the two statues that we had read about. The Valley of Beautiful Women includes two rows of tasting rooms.

We also visited the Farmer’s Market of Eger, where the outside of the building was filled with an array of colorful plants. Inside the market were many farmers offering a variety of vegetables and fruits. Sweet and hot ground paprika was available in various sizes. Unfortunately for us, we knew that in order to take paprika back to the US, we needed to purchase the paprika in “sealed” packages.

 

The cellar at Gal Tibor is 500 years old.

Our final visit to a winery in Eger was to Gal Tibor. The cellar at Gal Tibor is 500 years old. This is a second …

Day 7 in Hungary


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The Hernhyák winery started in 1993 and is a family owned winery offering many wines including Noir.

We began our Sunday early in Budapest by visiting the historic church of St. Matthias. Inside the religious facility has aged statues and old ornate pews with wood kneelers.

On Sunday, many shops are closed or have shorter hours. Most wineries are closed but after breakfast we did visit a small winery about 40 minutes outside of  Budapest. The Hernhyák winery started in 1993 and is a family owned winery offering popular events for the public. They also produce distilled products. We visited the large greenhouse on the property where we saw small seedlings that had just been started.

We traveled a short distance to another small Hungarian village and had lunch outdoors at Sonkamester. We enjoyed a pleasant, sunny afternoon with members of the Wine a’ More Travel agency and their …

Day 7 in Hungary


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The Hernhyák winery started in 1993 and is a family owned winery offering many wines including Noir.

We began our Sunday early in Budapest by visiting the historic church of St. Matthias. Inside the religious facility has aged statues and old ornate pews with wood kneelers.

On Sunday, many shops are closed or have shorter hours. Most wineries are closed but after breakfast we did visit a small winery about 40 minutes outside of  Budapest. The Hernhyák winery started in 1993 and is a family owned winery offering popular events for the public. They also produce distilled products. We visited the large greenhouse on the property where we saw small seedlings that had just been started.

We traveled a short distance to another small Hungarian village and had lunch outdoors at Sonkamester. We enjoyed a pleasant, sunny afternoon with members of the Wine a’ More Travel agency and their …

The Fifth Day Visiting Hungary


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Kovács Nimród Wines

On our 5th day of visiting Hungary, we continued exploring Eger. Our day included a visit to Kovács Nimród Cellar, sightseeing in historic Eger, a visit and wine tasting at St. Andrea winery as well as dinner at Szépasszonyvölgy located in The Valley of the Beautiful Women.

At Kovács Nimród we saw a number of crucifixes and our winery/wine tasting guide noted that people would pray for a good harvest. We walked, tasted wines and walked through the wine cellars while our guide talked about the history of the winery with special emphasis on the owner. 

Eger Castle in Hungary

After our visit to Kovács Nimród, we explored the area of Eger near the castle. An array of small shops are available to enjoy shopping for souvenirs and Hungarian products. Eventually we made our way to Eger Castle, the site of the renowned Siege of Eger …

The Fourth Day of Visiting Hungary


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Árvay Family Cellars in Tokaj, Hungary

Our fourth day in Hungary began with a visit to Árvay Family Cellars. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by family members who are very involved in the winemaking, vineyards and marketing of the Árvay  wines. The vineyards of 17 hectares are organic. The vineyards consist of Hungarian and international grapevines. Upon entering the tasting room, visitors will quickly see a large display of the rocks that have been found over the years in the vineyards. The family knows details of the rocks including the ones that have fossils. Later our discussion included the improvements to the Hungarian wine industry including the more recently produced good, food friendly, dry wines.

Wine at Tóth Ferenc in Eger, Hungary

While we were excited to visit the next wine region of Hungary, we were sorry to leave Tokaj, a world renowned wine region that …

A Third Day in the Tokaj, Hungary Wine Region


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Our wine in Hungary continued for the third day. We spent the entire day in Tokaj exploring and tasting the sweet Azu wines as well as the new and upcoming dry wines. After leaving our lodging site of Gróf Degenfeld Castle, we visited Kikelit Cellars , Hetszolo Estate Vineyard and Oremus.

At Oremus, a large winery, we saw several carboys aging gallons of Eszencia. Oremus was established by a Spanish company. The winery was named for a vineyard. Grape varieties in the Oremus vineyards include Furmint, Hárslevelü, Sárgamuskotály and Zéta. The cellars of the winery remain a constant 11 to 12 degrees Celsius (52 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit).

As soon as we reached Kikelit, we stopped in a room where the types of soil and rocks from the vineyards were displayed. One drawer displayed fossils, another rocks and stones and then the third displayed artifacts found in the vineyards. Guesses …

A Second Day in Tokaj, Hungary


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Gergely Somogyi is a very knowledgeable guide.

On our second full day in Hungary, we arrived in the Tokaj wine region and met our knowledgeable wine guide an expert on the wines of Tokaj, Gergely Somogyi at Barta Cellars. Gergely guided us through the 400-year-old structure while also explaining the history of winemaking in Hungary beginning at least 1,000 years ago. He noted that the vineyards of Tokaj were classified in 1670. In 1737, the wine region was demarcated  and it became the first demarcated wine region in the world. A wall in one of the Barta buildings displayed a large map of the wine region in 1865.

As many of the world’s wine region did, Hungary and the Tokaj wine region has had its ups and downs throughout the centuries. The Hungarian wine industry also saw the loss of vineyards due to phylloxera as did many other wine …

Aszú Restaurant in Budapest Offers a Taste of Hungary


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Aszu Restaurant in Budapest, Hungary

On our first night in Budapest, we were taken to Aszú Restaurant by Gabriella Gónusz  and Csilla Jánosi of Wine A’ More Travel. This wine travel agency set up our wine journey through Hungary and a region in Austria. Aszú specializes in Hungarian cuisine that has a modern twist whiles respecting tradition. The wine list heavily relies on the Tokaj wine region in the north eastern part of Hungary. 

We began with a Palinka and a sparkling wine from Tokai. The Palinka, a distilled spirit, was very aromatic. It had a clear color and intense taste of pears. The mouthfeel was velvety with some alcohol heat. This was paired with a  goose liver appetizer that included goose liver cream, Aszú jelly, grape salad and olive powder. Kathy had a duck liver appetizer that included duck liver on french toast with sorrel and …

Our Wine Journey through Hungary Begins with Austrian Air


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The prosecco in the Lufthansa lounge at IAD

We avoided the food and drink in the Lufthansa lounge deciding not to ruin our appetite for what is served on Austrian as we fly to Vienna and then onto Budapest. We did have a nice Siema Vineyards Prosecco while waiting to be called for our flight. The prosecco was refreshing and had multiple columns of bubbles forming a central mousse on the surface. The bubbles lasted for quite a while even while I ran an errand that would rescue hundreds of photos with my camera while on a wine journey in Hungary and Austria. 

The yellow colored prosecco had an aroma and taste of apple and citrus. The mouthfeel was lively with racy acidity. The prosecco cleansed the palate.

Finally, we boarded the Austrian Boeing 767 and settled in our middle row two seats. We received our menu choices …

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry


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Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry

We received three bottles of prosecco from Mionetto. We shared the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry with friends that enjoy prosecco. The wines we received were from the Mionetto Luxury Selection. The bottles were beautiful with an elegant black color and the word Mionetto embossed on the glass. The two other proseccos that we wrote about were the Cuvée Anniversario 1887 – 2017 and the Cartizze DOCG. Although I enjoyed all three, the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry was my favorite.

I like my sparkling wines to have tiny bubbles and showcase in a flute with multiple columns of bubbles forming a mousse on the surface of the wine. The Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry had the smallest of the bubbles of the three proseccos, and also formed multiple columns of bubbles and central and circumferential mousses. The sparkling wine had a …