Monthly Archives: March 2011

Behold: The 8th Annual Ice Wine Festival

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The 8th Annual Ice Wine Festival kicked off this weekend in the Grand River Valley Region of Northeast Ohio.  In my travels this semester I have found that Ice Wine is absolutely delicious!  I wasn’t able to attend the event on Saturday but I want to tell ya’ll about it so you can join me either Saturday, March 12, 2011 or Saturday, March 19, 2011.  I’ll be experiencing this delicious concoction at the event on March 19 with my nephew’s grandma, Brenda, and her friends.  Join me!

Blogger Sandy M. tells you about the production of Ice Wine in her blog The Ohio Wine Lover.

What is the Ice Wine Festival?

The Ice Wine Festival is a progressive tasting of Ice Wines from five wineries in Madison,

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Ohio and Geneva, Ohio.  At each winery patrons will receive a complimentary appetizer and be exposed to varying degrees of entertainment.

What is a Progressive Tasting?

A progressive tasting means the patron starts the tasting at one winery and progressively move to the other four wineries at his or her own pace.  I know it seems so simple but I had to look into it a little bit to figure out what it meant.  I had assumed all wineries were bringing Ice Wines to one place so we could taste them…I was wrong.

What’s the Ice Wine Festival Cost?

  • Tickets are $5 each at each winery.
  • Patrons receive a complimentary appetizer with each Ice Wine tasting.
  • Bring a canned food item to each winery and receive $1 off the ticket price.
  • The canned food item will help support local food banks.
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What Wineries are Participating?

Great question!

I’ve had the pleasure of tasting the Ice Wine from Grand River Cellars and Ferrante Winery.  I can only imagine the delicious sweetness I’ll experience from the other wineries when I get up there for the event.

What’s my Complimentary Appetizer?

  • Debonne Vineyards
    • Adams Reserve sharp Cheddar served with homemade peach jam & crushed walnuts.
  • Ferrante Winery & Ristorante
    • Fire roasted pork infused with Vidal Blanc Ice Wine.
  • Grand River Cellars and Restaurant
    • Pizza topped with homemade pear jam, bleu cheese, and crushed walnuts.
  • Laurello Vineyards
    • Dark chocolate peppered Biscotti drizzled with white chocolate.
  • St. Joseph Vineyards
    • Pound cake with Krzys Ohio maple syrup, whipped cream and crushed nuts.

Notice that each appetizer has a sort of sweet aspect to it?  That’s because Ice Wine is a dessert wine and the chefs and winemakers have decided each Ice Wine pairs perfectly with each appetizer.

What Entertainment Will I Experience?

  • Debonne Vineyards will have ice carving at noon and a sled dog demonstration.  An Ice Wine martini bar will also be available for a small additional fee.  I’m pretty excited about that martini bar. 😉
  • Ferrante Winery & Ristorante will have a fire and ice cooking demonstration all day by Chef Nina (sounds pretty interesting!) and at 3 p.m. Carol Johnson, a local artist, will create glass art grape jewelry.
  • Grand River Cellars and Restaurant will have an Ice Wine marshmallow roast all day (for a small additional fee); ice carving at 2 p.m.; and live painting by local artist Jacci Guarino-Stincic.
  • Laurello Vineyards will have Lake Erie glass jewelry by Rita Burns; pottery by William Shearrow; and free wine jelly samples by Gatherings.
  • St. Joseph Vineyards will feature a local art show and is giving away a free Ice Wine glass to the first 300 patrons on site.
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Pairing Wine with Meals

It’s only Monday and I’m already dreading the rest of my week.  While my day wasn’t completely unbearable I know I have a ton of schoolwork to be completed this week and that’s what’s riding on my shoulders.

As soon as I walked in the door I grabbed a bottle of Celebration Spice from Ferrante Winery and poured myself a hefty glass.  It was much needed.  As I sipped this delicious concoction of grapes and spices my stomach rumbled, reminding me that I didn’t eat a substantial meal yet today.

That’s when it hit me.  I’ll write about pairing wine with food.

Red vs. White

I’ve always been told to drink red wines with red meats and white wines with white meats and fish.

For example, drink Merlot with a juicy steak and Chardonnay with chicken or fish.

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I haven’t always agreed with this train of thought.  What if you don’t like merlot?  Or red wines in general?  My dad can’t even drink red wines because his stomach gets upset.  And the same goes for people that aren’t big white wine fans.

I’ll preface this by saying: DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE AND LIKE WHAT YOU DRINK.  There’s no judicial force out there that’s going to issue you a ticket for pairing a white wine with a red meat.  The whole point to pairing wine with food is for the flavors to compliment each other.

Heck, for an appetizer a few weeks ago I had a glass of Ice Wine with calamari.  That’s just the way I roll.  Dessert wine and seafood.

In the Beginning

There’s this clever chart for those of you that don’t even know where to begin pairing wine with food.  The chart allows you to pick your food base (beef, chicken, fish, veggies, etc.) and then gives you suggestions for which wines pair nicely with it.  It’s all about preference if you ask me.  But wine connoisseurs from across the globe would probably disagree.

Chefs and winemakers at Geyser Peak Winery in California say to start with a wine you know you like.  Why?  According to an article on, it’s easier to adjust a food recipe to be more compatible with a wine than to start blending your wine.

“Pick a wine you know and love already. This way, you’ll have a sense of its flavors already, which you can use as a starting point to experiment with food pairings. Plus, if the recipe doesn’t work, at the very least you’ll be able to enjoy a nice bottle of wine!”

Preparation is Key

Pay attention to the way you’re meal is prepared.  Is it grilled?  Braised?  Baked?  Broiled?  What kind of sauce is it in?  What

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are the dominant flavors?

  • Meals high in acid pair nicely with high acid wines.
    • Chianti with pasta and marinara.
  • Meals with a cream or butter base need a wine that will break through the richness of the sauce.
    • Sauvignon Blanc with fettuccini alfredo.
  • Big, flavorful meals should be paired with big, flavorful wines.
  • Mild meals should be paired with mild wines.
  • Spicy cuisine (Asian or Indian) pair well with Riesling.
  • If the food is braised in a red wine, like beef bourguignon in a Burgundy wine, then a glass of Burgundy wine pairs nicely.
    • Drink the wine the meal is cooked in.

Ray Isle on Food & Wine warns some wines simply don’t mix well with certain foods because of chemical compounds.

“Some foods contain chemical compounds that clash with wine. For instance, artichokes contain the compound cynarin, which tricks people’s taste buds into perceiving flavors that aren’t really present. For most people, cynarin creates sweetness where there isn’t any, meaning that a tart, fresh wine like a Sancerre will taste strangely, unpleasantly sweet.”

In my adventures so far this semester most wineries I’ve visited have recommended a specific wine with a specific meal.  I figure the chefs and winemakers probably know best.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with pairing.  It only sounds like rocket science.  It’s actually an opportunity to let your creative juices flow.