Tag Archives: Wine

Loire Valley Wine Tasting in Chicago at the W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive

French red wine from the Loire Valley region o...

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What a great day for the Loire Valley French Wine Tasting on the 33rd floor of W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It was definitely a Vino con Vista opportunity with plenty of French wine and wine-makers. The central part of the  Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire in France was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List  in  2000.

 

The Loire is the longest river in France and it is characterized by elegant historic chateaux and 300 miles of distinctive terroir that supports numerous vineyards along the river banks. This region is the leading producer of white French wines. The region is cloaked  with lovely vineyards and microclimates that produce distinctive varietals and wine styles. It is one of the most diverse wine regions in France with 69 appelations that include red, white, elegant sparkling wines and refreshing rose wines. There are distinct climates and a variety of soil types that divide the Loire Valley into 5 distinct regions.

The first vines were probably planted during Roman occupation 2000 years ago. Afterwards, the Augustinian and Benedictine Brothers enhanced the wine-making practices in this region.

I tasted some interesting Rose wines and plenty of earthy 100% Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is one of the world’s major red grape varieties and was introduced to the region in the 11th century. It  is frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce a Bordeaux style wine. In the Loire region, it is  not blended with other grapes so it is lighter in color than Bordeaux blends. It is used in the development of Chinon and certain roses in the Touraine appelation.

Today I spoke to Philippe Porche, a charming wine-maker from the Saumur-Champigny region in Parnay located on the south bank of the Loire River decreed an AOC in 1957.  Cabernet Franc is the predominant grape in the area.  He and his viticulturist wife founded the estate in 2005 and produce some interesting Cabernet Franc wines. I favored the garnet-colored full-bodied and velvety  “Le Fou du Roi” that was aged in oak.  This lovely couple is looking for an importer @ www.domainederocheville.fr. Feel free to contact them if you are interested in importing  luscious wines from this region. Tell them that Vino con Vista sent you.

There is a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and Chicago’s Landmark high rises from the former “Pinnacle Room” of the hotel where I spent my Senior Prom.Chicago Illinois It’s always exciting to re-live your youth.

Chicago Architecture

Domaine de Roche Ville Winery

Lake Michigan

It was such a beautiful spring day that I decided to stroll down Ontario Street heading westbound after the wine-tasting. I longingly gazed at the wide array of restaurants on Ontario Street that I patronize. They run the gamut from divine to sublime. Here’s a sampling of my “Chicago Foodie Nation” favorites:

Les Nomades is an outstanding French Restaurant that offers a Prix Fixe menu of four courses for $115 in a swanky turn-of-the-century brownstones mansion on Ontario Street. It is the perfect place to enjoy French cuisine after a Loire Valley wine-tasting event at the W Hotel down the street.

Chicago Restaurants

Chicago French Restaurants

Another one of my favorites is the Capital Grille Steakhouse where I can’t stop eating the crunchy potato chips at the bar. I love the grilled salmon served over a bed of  veggies with a side of creamed spinach. They have an extensive wine list and have won numerous awards for their outstanding burgers!

Chicago RestaurantsOntario and St. Clair in Chicago

Capital Grille ChicagoChicago Restaurants

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Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Chicago Italian Restaurants

Across the street from the Capital Grille, I enjoy dining on the outdoor patio of the Coco Pazzo Cafe when the weather is nice. They have an outstanding lunch menu and recently won an award from the Italian government for their “Authentic” Italian cuisine. Quartino was another “Authentic” Italian-award winning restaurant. I took cooking lessons with the chef and he taught me to add some water from the pasta to my sauce–what a novel idea!! The Red Head Piano Bar is another one of my favorites night spots. They have great wine-tasintg events.

Authentic Italian Restaurants in ChicagoRestaurants in Chicago

There are plenty of famous classic Chicago  “Steak-Houses” on Ontario. Lawry’s serves an incredible Prime Rib and I love the “Aged Filet Mignon” and mushrooms at David Burke’s Primehouse in the James Hotel. The Chicago Chop House has a wide array of delicious “sizzlin steaks.”

You will never be hungry or thirsty on Ontairo Street in Chicago. This city is a haven for Foodies!

Chicago is a Haven for Foodies

Chicago Steak HouseDavid Burke's Primehouse

Stop in at the the Hard Rock Cafe if you’re up for some live music. There are also some landmark fast food joints on Ontario including “Rock and Roll” McDonalds with a Rock and Roll Museum filled with memorabilia that my guitar-playing son adores.

Portillo’s has a great Italian Beef sandwich and classic Chicago hot dog and the drive-thru is always packed. Make sure you try the decadent chocolate cake . Chicago DestinationsM Burger is another fast food option that people are raving about.

Chicago Hot Dogs and Beef Sandwiches

Burgers in Chicago

Plan a trip to the Loire Valley and explore some of the majestic castles with spectacular medieval architecture: Chambord, Cheverny, Villandry and Chenonceau.

 

1. Villandry was built by the same man that designed much of Chambord (François I Finance Minister Jean Le Breton). Villandry is actually most renowned for what is outside of the castle. However, while Chambord remains Le Breton’s main achievement in construction, it is Villandry where he used all of the Renaissance gardening tricks he had picked up while working as an ambassador in Italy. The castle remained in the Le Breton family until the early 20th century, when it was purchased by Joachim Carvallo, who spent a whole of time, money and devotion to rebuilding, expanding and repairing the beautiful gardens. Today the gardens at Villandry are considered one of the best examples of Renaissance style gardens in the world and boasts a water garden, flower gardens and vegetable gardens laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges—making it a must-see on any castle tour of the Loire.

2. Chambord is one of France’s most recognizable castles known for its distinct French Renaissance architecture, which blends late French Gothic and newer Italian Renaissance motifs. Chambord is also the largest castle in the Loire. Chambord was first built by King Francois I as a hunting lodge (I know you picture a hunting lodge as being more of a log cabin than a magnificent model of French Renaissance architecture, but it was a KING’S hunting lodge, after all).  Chambord has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces and 84 staircases. It is most known for its façade, which through more than 800 sculpted columns was designed to look like the skyline of Constantinople, with 11 kinds of different towers and different types of chimneys. Chambord also has a double-helix staircase that serves as the centerpiece to the castle and was rumored to have been designed (or inspired) by Leonardo da Vinci during his time at nearby Clos de Luce.

4. Chenonceau is one of my favorite castles in the Loire Valley. Chennonceau was built in 1513 by Catherine Briçonnet and later embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, the Chateau de Chenonceau contains exquisite interiors and has idyllic gardens that look over River Cher.

Originally a small castle along the banks of the River Cher, the castle got its current design in the 16th century when it was seized by the crown for unpaid debts. In 1547, King Henri II offered the castle to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. and she had Chenonceau’s  arched bridge built. It spans the river. She is also responsible for the gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens set in buttressed stone terraces.

Upon King Henri II’s death in 1559, his clearly bitter widow and regent Catherine de Medici had Poitiers expelled from the castle and she moved into the scenic spot herself, adding even more extensive gardens. Since then the castle was privately owned for years and even used as a make-shift hospital for soldiers during WWII; its gallery bridge’s southern door provided access to the unoccupied Free Zone while the castle’s main entrance was in the Nazi occupied zone. Chenonceau today is one of the most visited and popular of the Loire castles and its Renaissance architecture and well-lit gallery and beautiful gardens.

5. Amboise is perched up on a strategic point along the Loire River and was originally built as a fort. In 1434, the castle was seized by King Charles VII after its owner (from which the castle got its name), Louis Amboise, was convicted and killed for supposedly plotting against the King. In the 15th century that the castle was lavishly rebuilt and added onto, starting with its late French Gothic architecture, until Italian builders were brought in and the castle’s style changed to Renaissance.While the castle became a favorite retreat for many French Kings (King François I was raised primarily at the castle), Amboise’s most famous guest was Leonardo da Vinci, who came to the castle in 1515 as a guest of the King and stayed in nearby Clos de Luce. What is most notable about Amboise, however, is known for its unique blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and large formal garden.

6. Blois was always a favorite getaway town for French kings; the castle in this quaint little Loire town is best known as the birthplace of King Louis XII as well as the primary residence for Henri IV’s exiled wife Marie de Medici, and later for the Duke of Orléans (brother of Louis XIII and uncle of Louis XIV). However, the castle has a long and prominent history and its Renaissance architecture and picturesque spot along the banks of the Loire make it a definite worthwhile stop on your Loire castle tour. In fact, the castle was the main resort for the French court during the 16th century and was also the location for the famed States General meetings held by Henri III in 1576 and 1588, where several prominent nobles were sentenced to death. The castle also plays a role in the famous Three Musketeers series by Alexandre Dumas as an important retreat for some of France’s most famous and powerful kings.

7. Cheverny was also given to Diane de Poitiers by her lover, King Henri II. Chenonceau was her favorite and primary residence. Poitiers sold Château de Cheverny to the former owner’s son who had originally built the castle between 1624 and 1630. The castle passed between owners until 1914, when the owner made it the first castle to be opened to the public; the family still owns and operates the castle to this day. The castle is renowned for its beautiful interiors and collection of furniture, tapestries and rare objects d’art. There is also a pack of about 70 dogs that are kept on the grounds and taken out for hunts twice weekly.

 

8. Clos Lucé is not really a  “Château de la Loire”; it is a large mansion located just 500 meters from  the Château d’Amboise by way of an underground passageway and is notable mostly for its most famous resident, Leonardo da Vinci. In 1515, King François I invited the Italian painter and inventor to Amboise and offered him the manor to use as a home and studio. When Da Vinci arrived in 1516 he came with three paintings, including the famed Mona Lisa, and lived in the mansion for the last three years of his life. Visitors to Amboise should not hesitate to hop on over to Clos Lucé, where you can peruse a museum that includes forty models of various machines designed by Leonardo.

9. Langeais is a perfect example of Medieval French architecture. It is located near the Brittany frontier and had a significant role in the battle between the French and English. The structure dates back to the 10th century and was built on a cliff which offered a strategic location overlooking the Loire River. The castle was actually fortified and expanded under the rule of Richard I of England (when English kings ruled this region of France) until King Philippe II of France recaptured the castle in 1206. The castle was also where Anne of Brittany and King Charles VIII wed, thus uniting France and Brittany. Today, the dark and ominous looking castle is replete with a great collection of Medieval tapestries.

Château de Langeais

 

 

Destinations in Chicago

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Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

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Travel to Tuscany’s Vino con Vista Wine Regions in Italy

The gallo nero seal of the Consorzio Chianti C...

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Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chianti sub-zone

Chianti sub-zone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A bottle of the Italian wine Chianti Classico ...

A bottle of the Italian wine Chianti Classico made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A close-up view of sangiovese grapes ...

English: A close-up view of sangiovese grapes to be made into Chianti at the Colle Lungo vineyard in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuscany is Italy’s quintessential wine region and the birthplace of three important red wines: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These wines are made from Sangiovese grapes but have distinctively different flavors in Tuscany’s diverse microclimates.

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of...

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of Tuscany, home of the Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. The photo also demonstrates the viticultural technique of clear (or bare) cultivation that leaves bare soil between the vines and rows with no cover crops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chianti is produced in seven subzones in Tuscany. The Chianti Classico zone has DOCG status. The other six Chianti subzones are: Chianti Rufina, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Aretini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane and Chianti Montalbano. The “Chiantigiana” is the scenic road that twists and turns through the Chianti zones between Florence and Siena.

Brunello is Tuscany’s rarest and most expensive wine. It is produced in the walled medieval village of Montalcino, south of the Chianti Classico zone. The climate is warmer and the hills are steeper. The wine is aged longer and it must be aged in oak barrels.

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 I...

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 Italian wine from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has been made in the town of Montepulciano since Etruscan times. This wine is made from prugnolo grapes a sangiovese clone and was granted DOCG status in 1980.

Here’s Wine Spectator’s detailed overview map of Tuscany . The map includes: Chianti, Bolgheri, Brunello di Montalcino, Maremma and the Montepulciano appellations.

Click here to view the map: http://assets.winespectator.com/wso/Maps/Tuscanymap.pdf

On February 27th, 2014 there was an annual award ceremony for the Best of Wine Tourism 2014 winners at Palazzo Capponi in Florence.

The winners were:

Castello di Gabbiano, San Felice winery, Enotria, Castello di Poppiano, Castello La Leccia, Tenuta di Poggio Casciano from Ruffino, Panzanello winery and Col d’Orcia.

“The stretch of coastline from Livorno to Piombino is known as the Etruscan Coast, the area chosen by the ancient Etruscan people to exploit the huge mining and agricultural resources.  Medieval jewels like the towns of Casale Marittimo and Bolgheri, famous for its Viale dei Cipressi (Cypresses), which gained everlasting fame thanks to the poem “Davanti a San Guido” by Giosuè Carducci, as well as Castagneto Carducci, dominated by the castle of the Gherardesca counts, and Suvereto, a medieval town with charming architectural harmony.

Visit the Etruscan Coast wine trail where you can meet most local wine producers and visit their cellars and vineyards. Here are some helpful links for this area:

To learn more about Italian food and wine read Vino con Vista Travel guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Filed under Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Florence, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Sangiovese, Sienna, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, UNESCO, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites

Vino con Vista has a Crush on Passionate Growers and Winemakers in Lodi

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Tim Holdener from Macchia Winery in Lodi

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Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

If you follow my posts, you know that I adore wine tourism. I love to seek out idyllic destinations around the world where you can enjoy a Vino con Vista; a beautiful place to enjoy wine in the place where it is actually grown. I love places like Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy; the Napa Valley, the Santa Ynez Valley and Sonoma County in California and Bordeaux, Burgundy and The Rhone valley in France. These destinations offer perfect Vino con Vista opportunities. Let’s face it, grapes and vineyards seem to thrive in the most glorious destinations in the world! I guess we can thank the Greeks and the Romans for the fascinating aspects of modern day wine tourism in the sun-drenched vineyards of Lodi California.

Wine Map of Italy

Wine Map of Italy

“Celebrate the Harvest” A Tribute to wine growing in downtown Lodi by Rowland Cheney

Wine grapes

Wine grapes

Old Zinfandel Vines in Lodi

Old Zinfandel Vines in Lodi

I recently discovered an enchanting wine destination along the Mokelumne River in Northern California with over 80 wineries and plenty of tasting rooms. I had a opportunity to get up close and personal with the region’s grapes and many of the multi-generational growers in Lodi at the 9th annual Wine Bloggers Conference. Lodi California 604

WIne Bloggers Conference on Hutchinson Street at Robert Mondavi's former high schoool

Wine Bloggers Conference on Hutchinson Street at Robert Mondavi’s former high schoool

Lodi Wine

Lodi Wine

Located in San Joaquin County between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the region is a wine-lovers paradise! The region’s innovative and passionate producers are generating exceptional food and wine experiences that should catapult Lodi into the wine tourism strastophere! I am so confident about Lodi’s future that I may even buy a place in downtown Lodi. I loved the charming, well-maintained historic California Craftsman bungalows.

It’s relatively close to the UCDavis legendary Department of Viticulture and Enology. Now that I have retired from 30 years as a business professor, maybe I’ll pursue a new degree. I would love to better understand the scientific study of grape-growing and winemaking. It’s never too late, right?

 

Cute houses in downtown Lodi

Cute houses in downtown Lodi

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LODI FACTS:

Lodi AVAs

“The Lodi AVA is located in the northern Central Valley of California, at the northern edge of the San Joaquin Valley east of the San Francisco Bay.

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LODI
Type American Viticultural Area
Year established 1986, amended in 2002
Country USA
Sub-regions Alta Mesa AVA, Borden Ranch AVA, Clements Hills AVA, Cosumnes River AVA, Jahant AVA, Mokelumne River AVA, Sloughhouse AVA
Climate region Mediterranean
Total area 551,000 acres
Size of planted vineyards 90,000 acres

Robert Mondavi was one of the most influential wine gurus in the industry and he grew up in Lodi. In 2001 Robert Mondavi donated $25 million to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UCDavis for the establishment of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, which opened October 2008.

His former high school in Lodi has been converted into a spectacular conference venue.  Woodbridge by Michael Mondavi the home of the famous Mondavi winery in Lodi where you can taste some of their higher end wines. The demand for grapes in California’s wine industry has been fueled by the Mondavi and Gallo families. Lodi producers have filled the pipeline for powerhouses like Mondavi, Gallo and Constellation brands for many years. The growth of the tasting rooms in Downtown Lodi are a perfect example of grape-growers pursuing forward integration; the profitability of Mondavi and Gallo has been enhanced by vertical integration strategies.

White Wine Grapes

White Wine Grapes

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Tasting Wine in Downtown Lodi

Tasting Wine in Downtown Lodi

Many winemakers are following in Mondavi’s footsteps in Lodi. Harney Lane Winery poured their amazing wines at my table at the Wine Blogger Award Event. The estate grown grapes are the product of a 5th generation farming family. The Mettler decendants offer interesting excursions in Lodi,  including a Grape to Glass Tour. Most of their award-winning wine inventory sells out in the Tasting Room or to Wine Club members. Michael Davis Vineyards has a full restaurant; they have been in Lodi since the Civil War.

BBQ at the Blogger Awards Dinner paired perfectly with the Harney Lane Wines

BBQ at the Blogger Awards Dinner paired perfectly with the Harney Lane Wines

Dinner at Estate Crush

Dinner at Estate Crush

At Estate Crush, we made our own Zinfandel blend and then Bob and Ali Colarossi graciously produced enough bottles of the “WIne Blogger Reserve” for all 300 of the wine bloggers to take home. We had a great time experimenting with different blends produced from their old Zinfandel vines at the “Stellina Vineyard”. The wine bloggers did a blind tasting and selected the 97% Zinfandel, 2% Syrah and 1% Petit Verdot as our favorite blend from the Colarossi Estate Crush facility. The Stellina vineyard grapes will soon be part of the Lodi Native Project.

Estate Crush, proprietors: Bob and Ali Colarossi

Estate Crush, proprietors: Bob and Ali Colarossi

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Estate Crush is a dedicated custom crush facility that produces premium custom wine for over 80 clients with more than 120 brands. They have earned many prestigious wine competitions.

Dinner at Estate Crush

Dinner at Estate Crush

We had an amazing Paella dinner prepared by their dear friend J.P. Wetmore poolside surrounded by their lovely Stellina vineyard.

 

We had a lovely dinner at Estate Crush surrounded by old ZInfandel heritage vines that are used for the "Native" Project

We had a lovely dinner at Estate Crush surrounded by old ZInfandel heritage vines that are used for the “Native” Project

I love Macchia Wine

I love Macchia Wine

Macchia’s owner Tim Holdener and his bubbly wife Lani poured so many terrific wines that I joined his Wine Club and anxiously await my first shipment. The Barbera was incredible and I loved the dessert wine. The last time I joined a wine club was Moshin in the Russian River Valley and that was many years ago.

At the speed tasting, the wine bloggers had to opportunity to sample some amazing white wines from the Bokisch Winery.

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Bokisch Winery

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Bob and Ali Colarossi, Proprietors of Estate Crush

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Kevin Phillips and his family produce Cinsaut grapes at the Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi. Planted in 1886, it’s the oldest Cinsaut vineyard in the world!

 

Many of the 80 wineries are winning awards and producing award-winning wines. Located just 90 minutes from San Francisco and 60 minutes from Napa; Lodi produces more wine than Napa and Sonoma combined. Sipping and savoring handcrafted wine produced from multi-generational wine growers and passionate Lodi California winemakers is an excellent way to spend a pleasant wine tourism vacation in Northern California. In addition to the wineries mentioned this far in this post, you can also check out: Vino con Brio at Amarosa Vineyards, Jessie’s Grove, Delicato Family Vineyards, Oal Ridge Winery and Klinker Brick.

Lodi California 379 Lodi California 658

Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel

Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel

Historically, Lodi is best known as the full-bodied “Zinfandel Capital of the World” with many vines that are over 100 years old. It is the home of the famous Seven Deadly Zins. More recently, the “Lodi Native” project is releasing some incredibly luscious old vine Zinfandel wines.

The six premier Lodi Native Wines

The six premier Lodi Native Wines

Schmiedt Ranch 2013 Zinfandel

Schmiedt Ranch 2013 Zinfandel

Many Lodi wines are sold exclusively at the respective winery. From the vineyards to the Tasting Rooms, there are plenty of wine tourism opportunities in Lodi.

There are plenty of Vino con Vista opportunities in Lodi

There are plenty of Vino con Vista opportunities in Lodi

Lodi AVAs Lodi California 512

 

Lodi is predominately a red winegrowing region (“approximately two-thirds of the acreage is dedicated to red varieties”). More recently, Lodi vintners are increasingly winning awards for their Rhone and Mediterranean style varietals. In addition to Zinfandel, Lodi is currently the nation’s leading producer of several popular varieties including: Chardonnay, Sauvingnon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has over 100 varieties in production.

Lodi offers a vast portfolio of diverse wines. Lodi’s 100,000 acres of deep loam in the AVAs and the desirable Mediterranean climate creates numerous microclimates that allow an incresingly larger variety of grapes and award-winning wines to thrive. The soil is similar to the French Region of Chateauneuf du Pape. Lodi winemakers are winning awards for their Rhone and Mediterranean varietals.

Here’s a list of varietals from the Lodi Wine Commission’s website:

Wine grapes from Lodi

Wine grapes from Lodi

Spanish Varieties:

Albariño, Verdejo, Graciano, Tempranillo, and Garnacha are just a few of the interesting Spanish varieties grown in Lodi soils.

Portuguese Varieties:

Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cão, Souzão, Verdelho, and Tricadeira are grownfinding a natural home in the The wines being produced from these vineyards are utterly delicious. Vibrant, intriguing and refreshing flavors make these varietal wines well worth seeking out.

German Varieties:

Kerner, Bacchus, Riesling, Dornfelder, Gewürztraminer, and Zweigelt some of the German varieties grown in Lodi.

Italian Varieties

Barbera, Aglianco, Sangiovese, Teroldego, and Vermentino made me feel like I was field-tasting in Italy.

Southern Rhone

Cinsault, Viognier, Syrah, Picpoul Blanc, Tannat and many others are grown in Lodi.

Made from Cinsaut grapes in Lodi

Made from Cinsaut grapes in Lodi

Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

Lodi Arch welcomes visitors to the charming downtown shopping area

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Wine Map of France

Wine Map of France

To learn more about Lodi visit:

http://www.lodiwine.com/About-Lodi

http://www.lodiwine.com/Wineries

Book a room at the luxurious Wine and Rose Hotel and Spa on Turner Road www.winerose.com  and I’ll meet you at next year’s Zinfest.

http://www.zinfest.com/

2016-zinfest-poster-650

Pictures of Diverse Varietals from Around the World (Courtesy of the Lodi Wine Commission)

 

Spanish Varietals in Lodi

Portuguese Varietals Lodi

German Varietals Lodi

Italian Varietals Lodi

Rhone Style Varietals Lodi

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My Glorious Vino Con Vista Weekend in San Diego

National Register of Historic Places listings ...

Image via Wikipedia

English: Imperial Beach, California The symbol...

English: Imperial Beach, California The symbol of this surfers’ community south of San Diego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you follow my posts, you already know that I wax poetic about my on-going love affair with Italy. Basically every nook and cranny of the magnificent peninsula and surrounding islands take my breath away. But you probably didn’t know that my second love is San Diego. There are 33 beaches, and 70 miles of coastline stretching from Imperial Beach to Oceanside. There are about 267 glorious days of sunshine per year. No wonder San Diego is “America’s Finest City.”

English: San Diego's original Victorian-style ...

English: San Diego’s original Victorian-style railway depot, built in 1887 for the California Southern Railroad Company, is razed to make way for the opening of the new Santa Fe Depot in 1915. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: San Diego Cityscape looking down Harb...

English: San Diego Cityscape looking down Harbor Drive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IMG_3330 I love the Santa Fe Depot train station with its glorious mosaic domes. There are plenty interesting places to visit on the way to Los Angeles.

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In Little Italy, go to  Extraordinary Desserts for the most beautiful sweet treats you will ever witness.

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The city has a vibrant Little Italy neighborhood with outstanding restaurants and bars and plenty of gelato and Italian delis. Filippi’s Pizza Grotto on India Street is a Little Italy institution.

Here’s a Video of Little Italy http://youtu.be/beH01nziAIsSkyline in San Diego California

Sometimes, when  I yearn to be sun-kissed by the hilly landscape of Tuscany or transported to the  glistening  azure sea that surrounds the majestic cliffs of the Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast; I just plan a trip to San Diego.

Amalfi coast Italy 1

Amalfi coast Italy 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amalfi Coast Italy 6

Amalfi Coast Italy 6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cinque Terre in Italy

A Town in the Cinque Terre

If all I have is a long weekend, I escape to the www.vino-con-vista.com of San Diego. Did I mention that the weather is always perfect in San Diego? As a college professor, I have the luxury of a Fall Break and believe me, I thank God each and every day for all my blessings.

Chef prepaing glazed shrimp in San Diego

Chef prepaing glazed shrimp in San Diego

I always celebrate Columbus Day in what I consider to be America’s Amalfi Coast. I prefer to stay at the Marriott in the Marina District for a number of reasons. I love sun-bathing at the luxurious pool while listening to the soothing sound of the magical fountains as I sip a refreshing Miami Vice from the Tiki Bar. The Marriott is within walking distance of many of my favorite San Diego attractions and it is close to the trolley.

The city is great for biking and the hotel has a bike rental service. I like the food and the view from Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant. The rooms have outstanding views and balconies. I enjoy watching the jet skiiers and boating enthusiasts. It’s fun to watch people flying their kites in the park. Gazing at the Coranado Bridge and the sailboats is basically one of life’s simple pleasures.San Diego California Marina District Sea Port Village’s 14 acre outdoor plaza has a beautiful 19th century carousel. Grab a coffee at the Upstart Crow Bookstore and Cofeehouse at 835-C W. Harbor Drive. If you go in the summer, get tickets for the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops concerts in the Embarcadero Marina Park South (behind the Conference Center). The tickets start at $20. For more informationn visit: www.sandiegosymphony.com. I’m saw Michael Bolton and Burt Baccarack in the summer of 2013!

English: San Diego Symphony Summer Pops 2008 -...

English: San Diego Symphony Summer Pops 2008 – “Motown Magic with Mary Wilson” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego California

Rocks in Sea Port Village in San Diego

Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego California

The Marina District of San Diego California

The tenth annual San Diego Wine Festival will be held in the park behind the Marriott Hotel  on November 20-24, 2013 at the Embarcadero Marina Park North. What a great “Vino con Vista” venue!! Some of the other festivals held in 2013 include: Taste of Gaslamp (June 8-9), Taste of Little Italy (June 19) Taste of Adams Avenue (June 30), Encinitas Wine Festival (June 1), the San Diego Spirits Festival (August 24-25) and the San Diego Festival of Beer (September 20), and Hillcrest City Fest on August 11th with 250 vendors. On June 15th there was a Carlsbad Beach Fest with water sport challenges. The Festival of Sail is when Tall Ships from around the world dock at downtown’s Embarcadero between August 30-September 2.

San Diego Wine Festival 2012

San Diego Wine Festival 2012

San Diego Restaurant Week Kick-Off Event Tasting Event

San Diego Restaurant Week Kick-Off Event Tasting Event

San Diego Wine Festival 2012 Chefs

San Diego Wine Festival 2012 Chefs

There are many other reasons why I like the Marina District. I like to watch the sea gulls strategically capture and devour left-overs from sleeping sun-bunnies. They really seem to love french fries.  I wonder if they have cholesterol issues? Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego CaliforniaI adore watching the captivating sunsets from Seaport Village.

San Diego California Marina District

I can’t understand why San Diegans don’t celebrate the vistas with the same pomp and circumstance as the daily sunset festivals in Key West.

It’s an easy stroll over to the Port of San Diego. I like the USS Midway Museum with the longest-serving US Navy aircraft carrierod the 20th century. At the museum, you can “relive 50 years of world history by walking in the footsteps of 225,000 Midway sailors” on Harbor Drive. There are 27 restored aircraft. For more information visit http://www.midway.org

Visit the “Greatest Generation Walk” that commemorates military heritage through art. My favorite WWII commemorative statue “is “Unconditional Surrender.”  This romantic 25 foot statue of a sailor kissing a nurse by J. Seward Johnson always makes my heart skip a beat.

Nurse and Sailor in San Diego California

Nurse and sailor in San Diego California

The  Marina District is also appealing because it is within walking distance to Horton Plaza, the Gaslamp District and Little Italy. These are some of my favorite San Diego destinations. Take some time to explore the bay on a Hornblower Cruise. I like the “Sights and Sips” Sunset Cruise. Pay for a reserved window seat when you purchase your ticket.

San Francisco 2012 616

My “Vino con Vista” San Diego adventure began in the Gaslamp District with a local wine event at the House of Blues.  Exhuberant dancers enjoyed the DJ’s classic Prince tunes. I was glad they were pouring Pinot Noir because I can be such a wine snob. We meandered over to the historic Grant Hotel at Broadway and 4th where a female San Diego attorney named Lynn Schenk broke the gender barrier at the Grant Grill restaurant in 1971. The sign at the entrance said “Men only until 3:00 pm.” The Hotel is celebrating their 100th anniversary. Long story short, the place was recently refurbished as an elegant Starwood Property and serves as a testiment to the Glory Days of San Diego. The live music was enchanting.

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IMG_3446 IMG_3447

The Gaslamp District has 94 historic buildings that have been  lovingly restored. Businessman Alonzo Erastus Horton spent $264 for 800 acres in 1867. These 16 blocks eventually became the Gaslamp Quarter. You can schedule a two-hour walking tour of the Gaslamp at the Historical Foundation at 619-233-4692. There are over 200 restaurants, bars and night clubs with a vast array of Happy Hour options including: Altitude Sky Lounge, Chianti, Currant, House of Blues, Hard Rock Hotel and McCormick & Schmicks.

IMG_3442 IMG_3445

The next day, I had the good fortune of having lunch on the sun-drenched patio of the Hotel Del Coronado which is one of my favorite hotels in the world! I am also a big fan of Wentworth by the see near Portmouth New Hampshire.

View of Coronado and San Diego from the air.

View of Coronado and San Diego from the air. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I usually take the Coranado Ferry from the Broadway Pier behind the Convention Center when I want to visit Coranado. I put my bike on the ferry and ride down Orange Street to my final destination. I love the view of the skyline from the Coranado Ferry Landing.  Technically, the Silver Strand connects Coronado to the mainland so it really isn’t an island. It is technically an isthmus because it is attached to the mainland at the southern end of Silver Strand State Beach and is connected to Imperial Beach

English: The pier in Imperial Beach, Southern ...

English: The pier in Imperial Beach, Southern California. South of San Diego, very close to the Mexican border. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The beach at Coronado in front of the hotel is definitely the best beach in San Diego! Have brunch at the Hotel del Coronado’s Crown Room on Sunday at 1500 Orange Avenue. . You won’t be disappointed in this Victorian gem brimming with history.

Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego California

 I love the California Historic Landmark’s  photo montage of  the 1959 film “Some Like It Hot.”  The hotel was featured in the classic film with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. It reminds me of the pictures of “La Dolce Vita” that adorn the walls of the Hotel Majestic in Rome. I like all the cute retail-therapy shops on the lower level. One of the jewelry stores had an adorable ruby slipper necklace that I had to work really hard at resisting. I grabbed a business card just in case I changed my mind when I got home about the necklace. Although our plan involved feasting on one of the restaurant’s famous Ruben sandwiches, we realized that they had changed the menu. I ordered some delicious seared scallops instead. The breath-taking views of the beach, the Pacific Ocean and hilly peninsula of Point Loma reminded me of Mondello Sicily. If I win the lottery, I’m moving to Ocean Drive in Coronado or maybe I’ll move to La Jolla so I can be Mitt Romney’s neighbor.

After lunch, we went to the Cabrillo National Monument on the southern tip of Point Loma and paid hommage to the Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo who landed here on September 28,1542 when he anchored his “San Salvador” ship. This is agreat place to watch the sunset! Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego CaliforniaI never knew about the sandstone cliffs that surround the tide pools and precious pre-historic fossils in Point Loma, but they definitely peaked my interest. Tide pools are generally found on rocky shores that are covered and uncovered daily by ocean tides. They are best viewed at low tide when you may see an array of sea like including sea stars and urchins.

Point Loma San Diego California

Point Loma San Diego California

As I gazed at the fourteen foot structure of Cabrillo, I was magically transported to the “Monument to the Discoveries” in Lisbon that honors the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator with Magellan, Vasco da Gama and other notable Portuguese explorers lining the concrete prow of a caravel. I heard the sweet serenade of Fado music and envisioned the Manueline Belem Tower that protects Lisbon’s harbor. I remembered that I was in San Diego when I saw the lighthouse, North Island, military ships and the skyline. Senior Cabrillo looks like he was kidnapped from the monument in Lisbon. In Point Loma have a burger at Slater’s 50/50 at 2750 Dewey Road. One of my favorite lunch is Point Loma Seafoods at 2805 Emerson Street.

Point Loma San Diego California

We drove past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery that was named after a Union General in the American Civil War. The tombstones made me think about my travels to Normandy.

Point Loma San Diego California

Then I thought about how much I missed my Dad. I remembered that someone from the army called me the day before his funeral to tell me that they were sorry to hear that they had lost another one of their WWII brothers. They came to his funeral and presented me with a folded flag and gave him a proper 21 gun salute. It brought  tears to my eyes. Weeks after his funeral, I received a certificate from the White House. President Bush signed a document that stated The United States of America honored my father’s memory. It says: “This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.”  I presume that the daughters of many beloved fathers buried at Rosecrans and other military cemeteries received the same document.

It was time for us to check out the newly-renovated Bali Hai Tiki Temple at 2230 Shelter Island Drive. Bali Hai was a famous show tune from Roger and Hammerstein’s 1949 musical “South Pacific.” Shelter Island in San Diego CaliforniaThe venue was lavishly adorned with maps and Polynesian artifacts. We sat at the bar for another incredible “Vino con Vista.” Instead of wine, I opted for a Polynesean cocktail that was so strong that  I had to dilute it with orange juice. I felt it was too early in the day to get hammered. I’m starting to sound like Ernest Hemmingway; most of his tales revolve around cocktail hour.

That evening, we went back to Banker’s Hill overlooking  Balboa Park  where the San Diego Zoo is located. We watched the 1937 film “Captains Courageous” based on a 1897 story by Rudyard Kipling. In the film, a young Spencer Tracy serves as a heroic role model for the arrogant son of a wealthy tycoon played by Freddie Bartholomew.  Rudyard Kipling‘s heart-warming tale is about vices and virtues. Spencer Tracy is a Portuguese fisherman who teaches the child about respect, valor and love. This tear-jerker is a must see for the over-indulged pre-teen in your family.

IMG_3361 IMG_3351

The weekend was  filled with festivals. We walked over to the Saturday morning Mercado in Little Italy. I love the fresh flowers, farm-fresh produce and wide array of merchandise offered at this weekly event. Smilin’ Jack was playing Italian songs on his accordion. When you go to Little Italy, make sure you try some of the Happy Hour Venues. I like the Glass Door Restaurant and Lounge for a Vino con Vista overlooking the Bay. San Diego’s vibrant dining scene has more than 7000 options. There are also plenty of food trucks including Mangia Mangia Mobile and Miho’s Gastrotruck. In Little Italy dine at Bencotto Italian Kitchen at 750 Fir Street or Prep Kitchen for Happy Hour.

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Little Italy in San Diego California

san diego california

We hopped on the Trolley in Little Italy that transported us to the Art Festival in Old Town where I found the perfect blush-colored  pearl bracelet to wear to my son’s spring wedding. Then for about  $20, we took a cab to Prospect Street in downtown La Jolla. I had to re-visit the historic  La Valencia Hotel and climb the stairs at George’s at the Cove for a panoramic shot of the Pacific Ocean. George’s Chef Trey Foshee serves contemporary California cuisine with breath-taking views. There’s even a rooftop terrace. Another interesting dining option in La Jolla is Nine-Ten at 910 Prospect Street inside the Grande Colonial Hotel. Chef Jason Knibb’s seasonal cuisine is served in an elegant dining room. I love the pink La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla on Prospect with the hand-painted murals

San Diego California

We walked over to the Art and Wine Festival on Girard St. The festival was a school fundraiser. Wineries from Temecula were pouring $3 tastings. I found it interesting that the public school on Girard Street was located at the intersection of the Maserati Dealership and the Ferrari Dealership. That spoke volumes about the demographics in La Jolla.

San Diego California

San Diego California

Plan to attend the La Jolla Music Society Summerfest between July 31 and August 23, 2013. La Jolla has an annual festival of the Arts between June 22-23. I wanted to attend the Gourmet Festival in Del Mar but we didn’t have enough time. If you have time, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla Village where Nancy Rubins’ large-scale, nautical inspired  artwork adorns the museum’s west side.

One of my favorite Fall Festivals is in Little Italy. I love this annual Columbus Day celebration called  “Festa” in Little Italy.

San Diego California

Live music permeates the neighborhood as the chalk artists work their magic on five- foot square sections of Date Street. Some of the chalk art is incredible!

Little Italy in San Diego California

Litte Italy reminds me of Cefalu Sicily with the historic tales of tuna fisherman, cute shops with imported Italian ceramics and charming outdoor Italian restaurants. I had some flavorful gnocchi from Buon Appetito’s food booth.

I made my mandatory trek to Fillippi’s for pine nut cookies. They offer the perfect blend  of almond paste and pine-nuts. I was too full to order a Caprese Sandwich at Mona Lisa, one of my favorite Italian stores on India. Have a perfect expresso at Caffe Italia at 1704 India Street. There’s a summer Film Festival in Amici Park Amphitheater on Saturday nights in the summer at West Date and State Streets.

Little Italy in San Diego California

In the evening, we went to Island Prime on Shelter Island and I ordered a yummy Ahi Tuna/crab meat appetizer that was drizzled with a balsamic infused apricot flavored glaze. It was just the right mate for my Cadillac Margarita with Gran Marnier. I savored the combinaton as I admired the billion-dollar views of downtown San Diego at night. The cruise ship was parked in the Port and the configuration of the ship’s red lights resembled the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Diego California

Then it was time for some  “Smooth Jazz” at Humphrey’s at 2241 Shelter Island Drive. .  I loved watching the people on the dance floor move to the rhythm of Marcus Anderson’s sexy saxophone. The passionate tatooed drummer was getting a cardiac workout.

Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay is a great venue for dinner and a show during the summer months.

No weekend in San Diego would be complete without visiting the Gaslamp Quarter. Go to Bice at 425 Island for an outstanding Happy Hour. Everyone loves Searsucker with Top Chef Brian Malarkey’s grand slam at 611 5th Avenue. I absolutely love the Grant Grill at 326 Broadway inside the elegant US Grant Hotel.

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If you have extra time, there’s plenty of biking, hiking and walking trails. Go to Balboa Park, Lake Miramar, or the Grasslands loop if  you want short and flat terrain. Balboa  Park is the site of the 1915 and 1935 international exposition.

 I think my next book will be “Vino Con Vista San Diego.” Fortunately, my research will involve many return trips to my favorite American city. How appropriate that the local flowers are “Birds of Paradise.” If you wand to browse an event calendar visit http://www.sandiego.org/events

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com

 

San Diego California

Mark your calendars for the San Diego Wine Festival in November. Here’s a YouTube Video overview that you might enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPmEnsU3LsY

English: The city flag of San Diego, CA. Flag ...

Image via Wikipedia

Buon Viaggio–

 

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It’s Always Halloween in San Gimignano Italy

San Gimignano, perhaps the most popular of Ita...
Image via Wikipedia
Coat of arms of San Gimignano

Coat of arms of San Gimignano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Gimignano delle belle Torri is 32 miles southwest of Florence. It is considered the Manhattan of Tuscany. The majestic skyline of noble towers was built for defensive purposes and as a symbol of status and wealth.

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclos...

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclosed with walls, causing crowding and the building of tower houses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This destination served as an important relay point for pilgrims traveling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena.

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 5

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The patrician families who controlled the town built 72 tower houses (some as high as 50 meters) as symbols of their wealth and power. The Torre Grossa is still open to the public. Although only 13 of the original towers have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance.

san gimignano

san gimignano (Photo credit: michael pollak)

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 3

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You probably didn’t know about the Spooky Musuem in San Gimignano where you can celebrate Halloween all year long! Visit the Museo Pena di Morte.

Museo della Tortura in San GImignano Italy

San Gimignano Torture Museum

Skull in San Gimignano Torture Museum

Torture Museum in San Gimignano

Panforte at a shop in San Gimignano, Tuscany, ...

Panforte at a shop in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and  Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

Happy Halloween from www.vino-con-vista.com

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I Love the Oenology Wine Room in the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago

From the California wine producer in the Centr...

From the California wine producer in the Central Coast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Display your wine on a Barrel if you can find one

Display your wine on a Barrel if you can find one

Flavor Napa Valley Winemaker Dinner

Flavor Napa Valley Winemaker Dinner

Cathedral Ridge Winery

Cathedral Ridge Winery

If you feel like a wine-tasting event but you can’t find one, here’s a solution. I suggest that you check out the Oenology Wine Bar at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. This incredible Hotel was the former home of the Medinah Athletic Club in Chicago. Like the Medinah Temple in Chicago, it was commissioned by the Shrine Organization. The building was designed by the architect Walter W. Ahlschlager. The cornerstone of the Medinah Athletic Club was laid on November 5, 1928. After your wine flight, take a tour of this gorgeous building.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago

One of the professionally-trained sommeliers at the Wine Spectator, award-winning Eno Wine Room at 505 N. Michigan Avenue will pamper you. They will offer a wine flight paired with the appropriate cheese and chocolate combination.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago

Since I like Pinot Noir, I opted for the “Pinot Envy” flight with a nice Oregon Pinot Noir. My flight included a 2008 Brandborg Bench Lands Pinot Noir from the Umpqua Valley in Oregon. I also had an opportunity to taste the 2009 Yamhill Valley Vineyard Pinot Blanc from Oregon and the 2008 Kenneth Volk Pinot St. George from the Calleri Vineyard in San Benito California.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago Wine Flight

Once you have selected a wine flight, you can select your cheese selection to accompany your wine. My sommelier suggested the Challerhocker from Switzerland with an edible rind, a dense Ocooch Mountain sheep cheese from Wisconsin and the Barely Buzzed Cheddar from Utah rubbed with coffee grounds and lavender.

Eno Wine Room in Chicago Cheese Flight

Now, it’s time to select your decadent chocolate desserts. Once again, just go with the recommendation of your professionally trained server and you won’t be disappointed. Have a Black Truffle Sea Salt, Macadamia Praline and Salted Chocolate Caramel. Now this is living!

Eno Wine Room in Chicago Chocolates

Of course, you can just select wine or cheese from the menu without opting for a personal “Pinot Envy” tasting party. Have a selection of cheese for $12 or just order a glass of wine.

Try a glass of red Amarone or Barbera D’Alba  from Italy. Those are 2 of my personal favorites from Italy.

If you want to learn more about wine pairing, here’s an informative video: http://www.restonsunocosubway.com/Reston-Sunoco-Wine-and-Beer-cellar.htm.

Wine tasting and wine pairing are interesting topics. Some of my favorite events in Chicago are wine dinners held at my favorite restaurants. I loved the Gibson’s on Rush Street Duckhorn Vineyards Wine Dinner!

Gibson’s on Rush Street Duckhorn Wine Dinner

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Eno Wine Room

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Get Tickets for Chicago Gourmet in Millennium Park 2015 before they Sell Out

Map of Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Map of Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Millennium Park is a public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago in Illinois, US, and originally intended to celebrate the second millennium. It is a prominent civic center near the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline that covers a 24.5-acre (99,000 m2) section of northwestern Grant Park. The area was previously occupied by parkland, Illinois Central rail yards, and parking lots.[1] The park, which is bounded by Michigan Avenue, Randolph Street, Columbus Drive and East Monroe Drive, features a variety of public art. As of 2009, Millennium Park trailed only Navy Pier as a Chicago tourist attraction.[2] In 2015, the park became the location of the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting.

Planning of the park began in October 1997. Construction began in October 1998, and Millennium Park was opened in a ceremony on July 16, 2004, four years behind schedule. The three-day opening celebrations were attended by some 300,000 people and included an inaugural concert by the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus. The park has received awards for its accessibility and green design.[3] Millennium Park has free admission,[4] and features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden, and various other attractions. The park is connected by the BP Pedestrian Bridge and the Nichols Bridgeway to other parts of Grant Park. Because the park sits atop a parking garage and the commuter rail Millennium Station, it is considered the world’s largest rooftop garden.

Some observers consider Millennium Park to be the city’s most important project since the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.[4][5] It far exceeded its originally proposed budget of $150 million. The final cost of $475 million was borne by Chicago taxpayers and private donors. The city paid $270 million; private donors paid the rest,[6] and assumed roughly half of the financial responsibility for the cost overruns.[7] The construction delays and cost overruns were attributed to poor planning, many design changes, and cronyism. Many critics have praised the completed park.

Features

Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge in Millennium Park, with Daley Bicentennial Plaza behind, seen from Willis Tower in 2007

Millennium Park is a portion of the 319-acre (1.3 km2) Grant Park, known as the “front lawn” of downtown Chicago,[9] and has four major artistic highlights: the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, and the Lurie Garden.[38] Millennium Park is successful as a public art venue in part due to the grand scale of each piece and the open spaces for display.[39] A showcase for postmodern architecture, it also features the McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink, the BP Pedestrian Bridge, the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Wrigley Square, the McDonald’s Cycle Center, the Exelon Pavilions, the AT&T Plaza, the Boeing Galleries, the Chase Promenade, and the Nichols Bridgeway.[40]

Millennium Park is considered one of the largest green roofs in the world, having been constructed on top of a railroad yard and large parking garages.[41] The park, which is known for being user friendly, has a very rigorous cleaning schedule with many areas being swept, wiped down or cleaned multiple times a day.[42][43] Although the park was unveiled in July 2004, some features opened earlier, and upgrades continued for some time afterwards.[44] Along with the cultural features above ground (described below) the park has its own 2218-space parking garage.[7]

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

English: Millennium Park location in Chicago Loop

English: Millennium Park location in Chicago Loop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

chicago

chicago (Photo credit: MPBecker)

Pelago Ristorante in Chicago

Pelago chef

English: Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium P...

English: Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Band shell in Millennium Park by Fran...

English: Band shell in Millennium Park by Frank Gehry – Pritzker, from across Michigan Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Composite image of four views of Jay Pritzker ...

Composite image of four views of Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, USA from Aon Cen...

Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, USA from Aon Center (Chicago) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millenium Park...

English: Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millenium Park, Chicago(Illinois), USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Millennium Monument in Wrigley Square in M...

The Millennium Monument in Wrigley Square in Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get tickets for Chicago’s Premier culinary event!

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-gourmet-2015-presented-by-bon-appetit-tickets-14325033561

This weekend epicurean affair showcases more than 100 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs,  renowned wineries, spirit makers and premium breweries. It also features dozens of live cooking demonstrations, gourmet tastings, wine seminars and book signings by internationally renowned chefs, master sommeliers and winemakers.

Chicago Gourmet

September 25 – 27, 2015

Chicago Gourmet is a premium food and wine event with 100 chefs, cooking demonstrations, beer and food pavilions, and wine tastings in Millennium Park.

Specific questions regarding ticket sales may be directed to info@chicagogourmet.org.

Chicago Gourmet
September 25-27, 2015

CHEFS

Rodelio Aglibot, Yum Cha Dim Sum Parlor
Louie Alexakis, Avli Estiatorio
Jimmy Bannos, Heaven On Seven/The Purple Pig
Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig
Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/XOCO
Duncan Biddulph, Kinmont
Greg Biggers, Café des Architectes at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
Robert Blanchard, Norman’s Bistro
Mark Brand, 720 Bar & Grill
Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Aaron Browning, Tavernita
Karyn Calabrese, Karyn’s Fresh Corner/ Karyn’s Cooked/ Karyn’s on Green
Niall Campbell, Firefly Grill
Homaro Cantu, Moto/iNG Restaurant
Billy Caruso, III Forks
Arturo Carvallo, Hash House a Go Go
Edgar Castaneda, Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina
Tony Castillo, Longitud 315
Kostas Chaidaropoulos, Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi
Sandy Chen, Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge
John Chiakulas, Beatrix
Steve Chiappetti, J. Rocco Italian Table and Bar
Christine Cikowski, Sunday Dinner Club/Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Peter Coenen, The Gage
John Coletta, Quartino
Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice
Shaun Connelly, LUXBAR
Judy Contino, Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe
Fernando Coppola, IPO
Luca Corazzina, 312 Chicago
Abel Cortes, e.leaven Food Company
Timothy Cottini, FORK
Chris Cubberely, Cité
Thai Dang, Embeya
Jess DeGuzman, Sunda New Asian
Peter DeRuvo, Francesca’s Restaurant
Frederick Despres, Arami
Rohini Dey, Vermilion
Adam Dittmer, Bistro Campagne
Lamont Donley, Uncommon Ground on Clark
Joseph Doppes, Bistro Margot
Puje Dorlig, Jellyfish
Amanda Downing, Rockit Bar & Grill/Rockit Burger Bar
Stephen Dunne, Paramount Room
David Dworshak, Takito Kitchen
Mitch Einhorn, Twisted Spoke/Lush Wine & Spirits
Graham Elliot, graham elliot/g.e.b.
Gregory Ellis, 2 Sparrows
Nelson Erazo, Adamus
Jaysen Euler, Davanti Enoteca
Sophie Evanoff, Vanille Patisserie
Joe Farina, Rosebud Restaurants/Rosebud Steakhouse/Joe Fish
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones
Dirk Flanigan, Il Coniglio
Jonathan Fox, Firecakes
Jo-Marie Frigo, Nonna Santi’s Biscotti
Dirk and Terry Fucik, Dirk’s Fish and Gourmet Shop
John Gatsos, Tavern on Rush
Chris Gawronski, Henri
Carlos Gaytan, Mexique
Tim Graham, Travelle
Mark Grosz, Oceanique
Mike Hernandez, ZED451
Sandra Holl, Floriole Cafe & Bakery
Tony Hu, Lao Sze Chuan
Riley Huddleston, I|O Urban Roofscape at the Godfrey Hotel Chicago
Stephanie Izard, Girl & The Goat/Little Goat
Eric Jorgensen, Little Market Brasserie
Paul Katz, Old Town Pour House
Tom Kenny, Mike Ditka’s Chicago
Brian Key, Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House Chicago
Jeremy Kiens, Nana
Ryan Kikkert, Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap
Shigeru Kitano, SUSHISAMBA rio
Michael Kornick, MK The Restaurant/Ada Street/DMK Burger Bar/Fish Bar
Josh Kulp, Sunday Dinner Club/Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Thomas Lents, Sixteen
Chris Macchia, The Florentine
Eric Mansavage, Farmhouse Craft Tavern
Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia/Terzo Piano/Bar Toma/River Roast
Joshua Marrelli, The CHOP SHOP
Jeff Mauro, Sandwich King
Shawn McClain, Green Zebra/ Sage Restaurant
Steve McDonagh, Spritz Burger
Michael McDonald, Mercadito Hospitality/Tavernita
Terese McDonald, Candyality
Charlie McKenna, Lillie’s Q
Kevin McMullen, Brixton
Gray McNally, The Tortoise Club
Masaharu Morimoto, Japonais by Morimoto
Cory Morris, Mercat a la planxa
Sam Netter, Real Urban Barbecue
Megan Neubeck, Terzo Piano at the Art Institute of Chicago
Victor Newgren, SideDoor
Martial Noguier, Bistronomic/Troquet River North/Brasserie by LM
Mitsu Nozaki, Henri/ The Gage
Leigh Omilinsky, Café des Architectes at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
Terry Opalek and Michael Frontier, Terry’s Toffee
Oscar Ornelas, Cité
Dan Pancake, Autre Monde Café & Spirits
Beth Partridge, Autre Monde Café & Spirits
Donald Penza, MUNICIPAL BAR + DINING CO.
Ryan Pitts, RL Restaurant
Tony Priolo, Piccolo Sogno/Piccolo Sogno Due
Doug Psaltis, Bub City/Three Dots and a Dash
Adam Puskorius, Eddie V’s
Devon Quinn, Paramount Events Chicago
Jose Ramirez, Kinzie Chophouse
Tigist Reda, Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
Kennon Reed, Cantina Laredo
Cardel Reid, The Signature Room at the 95th
Michael Dean Reynolds, Bread & Wine
Mark Rimkus, Flo & Santos
Matt Riordan, Saigon Sisters
Evan Rondeau, Uncommon Ground on Devon
Joseph Rose, Lockwood Restaurant & Bar
Patrick Russ, The Dawson
Arun Sampanthavivat, Arun’s Thai Restaurant
Patricio Sandoval, Mercadito/Mercadito Counter
Jonathon Sawyer, Trentina
Zoë Schor, Ada Street
Tony Scruggs, Old Crow Smokehouse
Nathan Sears, The Radler
Mindy Segal, HotChocolate
Tommy Sheean, The Drawing Room
Michael Sheerin, CICCHETTI
Patrick Sheerin, Trenchermen
Bruce Sherman, North Pond
Dan Smith, Spritz Burger
Joaquin Soler, Smalls. Smoke Shack & More
Jose Sosa, Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House Naperville
Travis Strickland, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
Kristine Subido, Pecking Order
Michael Tsonton, MH Fish House
Jared Van Camp, Nellcôte/Old Town Social/Leghorn
Tom Van Lente, TWO Restaurant & Bar
Chico Vilchez, Nacional 27
Paul Virant, Perennial Virant/Vie
Randy Waidner, Gibsons Restaurant Group
Scott Walton, Howells & Hood
John Wayne Formica, E + O Food and Drink
Roger Waysok, South Water Kitchen
Christine Welch, The Coffeecake Connection Co.
Jared Wentworth, Longman & Eagle/Dusek’s Board & Beer/Punch House
Justin White, SmallBar Division
Erick Williams, MK The Restaurant/DMK Burger Bar/Fish Bar
Marc Wuenschel, Hutch
Alvaro Zamudio, Kinzie Chophouse
Jose Zetina, Pazzo’s Cucina Italiana
Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia
Bob Zrenner, Hubbard Inn

 

English: From top left: Downtown Chicago, the ...

English: From top left: Downtown Chicago, the Willis Tower, the Chicago Theater, the Chicago “L”, Navy Pier, the Field Museum, and Millenium Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Chicago Gourmet 2012 Dine Around Receipt Holder

WHEN: Chicago Gourmet 2014 will be hosted in Millennium Park, Sept 26-28, 2014

For more information visit:

http://www.ChicagoGourmet.org
http://www.twitter.com/chicago_gourmet
http://www.youtube.com/CHIGourmet

English: Harris Theater (left) and The Heritag...

English: Harris Theater (left) and The Heritage at Millennium Park (right) from Randolph Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nomi chef

312 Chicago's Chef Luca Corazzina

312 Chicago’s Chef Luca Corazzina

Quartino Restaurant in Chicago

Quartino Restaurant’s Chef in Chicago

Chicago is an international culinary mecca for foodies. There are many rising stars like Jimmy Bannos Jr. , a third generation Chicago restaurant owner and Chef. Here’s a video of the 2011 Chicago Gourmet Festival http://youtu.be/LiB0O2Y_A_g

Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. of The Purple Pig in Chicago

I love the Millennium Park venue that was dedicated by Mayor Richard Daley in July of 2004 as a gift to the people of Chicago. We take every opportunity to use this incredible open-air facility!

Chicago Gourmet 2011

Chicago Gourmet 2011

The extraordinary event promotes Chicago’s impressive world-class food and wine community. Last year there was a Grand Cru Wine event at the Harris Theater Rooftop.

Chicago Gourmet 2011 Grand Cru Event

Chicago Gourmet 2011

Forget about dieting during the weekend event or between August 20th until the event begins. There will be 140 chefs participating in the three-day event with plenty of wine-tasting opportunities; as well as a “Dine Around” promotion. Some of the restaurants in my “Rush Street” video  participate in “Chicago Gourmet“.

Here’s a short Video of some of my favorite restaurants on Rush Street

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT858R6N2gw.

Some of the participating movers and shakers include Chicago’s culinary gurus, Chicago chefs, master sommeliers and extraordinary wine makers.

Chicago Gourmet 2011

The Chicago Gourmet Event “aims to highlight the city as an international culinary destination via its unparalleled epicurean talent”.

Chicago Gourmet 2011

Chicago’s Michelin Chefs

Chicago Gourmet 2011

I LOVE Dine around!!

Bon Appétit and Chicago Gourmet Dine Around

The Bon Appétit and Chicago Gourmet Dine Around extends the event beyond Millennium Park into some of the city’s best restaurants. From Tuesday, August 20, 2013 through Friday, September 20, 2013, special prix-fixe menus will be available at participating Dine Around restaurants, offering guests a unique dining experience as well as a chance to earn a free ticket to the event.
Please check back for more information about 2013 redemption instructions.

Earn a free ticket to Chicago Gourmet

From August 20th through September 20th, dine in five participating restaurants, save your receipts, and redeem them for a complimentary one-day Chicago Gourmet ticket at registration. Enjoy the special prix-fixe meal, or dine from the regular menu; either receipt is valid toward the free ticket if the meal total is a minimum of $35.
Rules and detailed redemption information are coming soon. This offer is NOT applicable to the Hamburger Hop.

2013 participating Dine Around restaurants:

2 Sparrows Restaurant

312 Chicago Allium at The Four Seasons

Argent Restaurant

Autre Monde Cafe

Avli Estiatorio

Balena

Big Jones

Bistronomic

Bittersweet Pastry Shop

Browntrout

Bull & Bear

Café des Architects at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower

Courtright’s Restaurant

Davanti Enoteca

Deca Restaurant & Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago

E+O Food and Drink

Embeya Epic

Firecakes

Firefly Grill

Francesca’s Restaurant

Frontier Green Zebra

Harry Caray’s Restaurant Hearty

Henri

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House Chicago

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House Naperville

Ill Forks

Keefer’s Restaurant

Kinzie Chophouse

Lao Sze Chuan

Le Colonial

Level 2 Restaurant at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile

Little Market Brasserie LM Restaurant Group

Lockwood Restaurant & Bar

Markethouse Restaurant & Bar
May St. Cafe
Mercadito
Mercat a la Planxa
Mexique
Nacional 27
Nellcôte
NoMI Kitchen
Oceanique Restaurant
Old Town Social
Pazzo’s Cucina Italiana
Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush
Piccolo Sogno
Piccolo Sogno Due

Prasino – Wicker Park
Prosecco
Public House
Q-BBQ
Quartino
Quay Restaurant & Bar
Real Urban Barbecue
Rickshaw Republic
RL Restaurant
Rushing Waters Fisheries & Trout House
Saigon Sisters
Siena Tavern
South Water Kitchen
Tavern on Rush
Telegraph
The Berghoff
The Bristol
The Florentine
The Gage
The Grill on the Alley
The Metropolitan Club
Uncommon Ground on Clark
Uncommon Ground on Devon
Untitled
Zocalo

The Bon Appétitand Chicago Gourmet Dine Around extends the event beyond Millennium Park into some of the city’s best restaurants. From August 20th to September 20th, 2013, special prix-fixe menus will be available at participating Dine Around restaurants, offering guests a unique dining experience as well as a chance to earn a free ticket to the event.

Dine Around Receipt Holder for Chicago Gourmet 2012

Dine Around Receipt Holder for Chicago Gourmet 2012

Go get your special receipt folder and and start “Dining Around” today. Dine in 5 participating restaurants from the list and save your receipts in your special folder. The folder has a list of all participating restaurants. Then redeem them for a complimentary one-day Chicago Gourmet Ticket at the “Dine Around Redemption” Registration Booth on the day of the event.

This offer is not applicable to the Hamburger Hop. Last year, we started our Dine Around Journey at Gibson’s on Rush and ordered the Salmon and Filet. We love dining outside at this popular Rush Street Restaurant.

Filet with Bernaise Sauce at Gibson's on Rush in Chicago

Filet with Bernaise Sauce at Gibson’s on Rush in Chicago

Salmon with mash potatoes and broccoli at Gibson's on Rush Street

Salmon with mash potatoes and broccoli at Gibson’s on Rush Street

We also went to Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush and ordered the incredible antipasto platter with some linguini with clam and an order of ravioli with pesto sauce. I had a margarita that was out of this world. Then we had a bottle of Frog’s Leap wine. I am never disappointed at this restaurant!

Linguini at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Antipasto at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Ravioli at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Ravioli at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

Fabulous Margarita at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Frog's Leap Cab at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Frog’s Leap Cab at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

Excellent WIne List at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Chicago Gourmet Map 2011

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com. Buon Appetito!

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Filed under Attractions in Chicago, Chef Week Chicago 2011, Chicago, Chicago Architecture, Chicago Art, Chicago Chefs, Chicago Food Festivals, Chicago Food Trucks, Chicago Gourmet in Millennium Park 2011, Chicago Restaurants, Chicago Street Festivals

A Tuscan Winery Tour at Captivating Vino con Vista Castello Banfi in Montalcino Italy

A close-up view of sangiovese grapes to be mad...
Image via Wikipedia
Coat of arms of Montalcino

Coat of arms of Montalcino (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bottle & glass of a 1961 Brunello di Montelcin...

Bottle & glass of a 1961 Brunello di Montelcino wine from Tuscany. This Italian wine is made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Italian wine Brunello from Tuscany made fr...

The Italian wine Brunello from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brunello vineyard, Montalcino

Brunello vineyard, Montalcino (Photo credit: Conlawprof)

Abbey of Sant'Antimo, Montalcino, Tuscany

Abbey of Sant’Antimo, Montalcino, Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino,...

Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuscany is Italy’s quintessential wine region. It is the birthplace of one of Italy’s blockbuster red wines, Brunello di Montalcino. This  is an opulent wine made entirely from sangiovese grapes. It has an intense ruby-red color and displays the complex aromas of black cherry, rasberry and violets.

English: The Municipality of Montalcino within...

English: The Municipality of Montalcino within the Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy Italiano: Il comune di Montalcino nella Provincia di Siena, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino is surrounded by defensive medieval walls that were built in the 13th century.

 Montalcino has remained practically unchanged over the centuries.

 

The Montalcino fortress was built at the highest point of the town in 1361; designed by the Sienese architects Mino Foresi and Domenico di Feo.

Montalcino is west of Pienza, close to the Crete Senesi in Val d’Orcia.

Montalcino is the perfect  destination for wine lovers with it’s 14th-century castle, encircled by olive groves and majestic vineyards.

Here’s a good link: A day trip to Montalcino

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: littlestar19)

Castle (Fortezza) at Montalcino, Siena, Italy....

Castle (Fortezza) at Montalcino, Siena, Italy. Photo taken by Type17, 18:50hrs June 24th 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino is divided into quarters called contrade. They are: Borghetto, Travaglio, Pianello and Ruga. Each contrade has their own colours, songs and distinct drum rhythms. Twice a year they dress in  Medieval attire and compete in an archery contest under the walls of the Castel Fortezza.

English: View of Montalcino from the Castle (F...

English: View of Montalcino from the Castle (Fortezza). Taken Sept 8th 2006 by me. Canon EOS 20D, 10mm focal length (16mm effective length) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: fondelli.nadia)

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Montalcino, take a Winery Tour of Castello Banfi. You will learn about the restrictive government regulations that prescribe wine-making practices in Italy. These rules define areas where specific wines can be made using the acronyms DOCG, DOC, and IGT.

Brunello di Montalcino earned a reputation as one of Italy’s rarest wines. At the end of WWII, the only commercial producer recorded in government documents was the Biondi-Santi. The high price and prestige of there Brunello de Montalcino encouraged other producers to emulate Biondi-Santi’s success. By the 1960s, there were 11 producers making Brunello. By 1980 there were 53 producers in Montalcino. In 1980, the Montalcino region was the first Italian wine region to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation.

Português: Garrafa de vinho Brunello di Montal...

Português: Garrafa de vinho Brunello di Montalcino de Biondi Santi – 1985 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG designation means  “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita” (the most prestigious/elite Italian wines).  This means that the wine has the following characteristics:

The location is certified and guaranteed

Provides more stringent government regulations

Requires longer aging periods and lower yields per vine

montalcino fortress

montalcino fortress (Photo credit: tonyduckles)

Brunello is Tuscany’s rarest and most expensive wine. It is produced in the walled medieval village of Montalcino, south of the Chianti Classico zone. The climate is warmer and the hills are steeper. The wine is aged longer and it must be aged in oak barrels to enhance the character of the wines.

Tuscany

The Banfi Winery was the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility. It won the 2009 VinItaly International Award and has been designated Italy’s Premier Vineyard estate for 11 consecutive years.

Tuscany

The winery is nestled on 7100 acres of land and it is owned by two wine-making brothers from Long Island, New York.

Tuscany

They have a state of the art winery with a glass museum.

Tuscany

Taste their Brunello di Montalcino at the Winery’s Enoteca.

Tuscany

Tuscany

 Dine at their Tuscan Taverna Tuscany

The restaurant is located in the vaulted cellars of the Castello. Enjoy three and five-course tasting menus of traditional Tuscan cooking on rustic wooden tables situated under gorgeous brick arches.

Tuscany

 You can even stay in the restored rooms and suites of the Castello Il Borgo.

Montalcino

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy andVino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about wine tasting in Tuscany visit www.vino-con-vista.com. Florence and Tuscany now available for iPad. Salute!!

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: Un ragazzo chiamato Bi)

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: littlestar19)

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Have a Feast in Fiesole Italy near Florence

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Florence as seen from Fiesole.

Florence as seen from Fiesole. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View to Fiesole in Florence, Italy
Image via Wikipedia
Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of...

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of Tuscany, home of the Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. The photo also demonstrates the viticultural technique of clear (or bare) cultivation that leaves bare soil between the vines and rows with no cover crops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bistecca alla fiorentina

Bistecca alla fiorentina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Theater. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Temples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Temples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole is in the province of Florence in Tuscany. It was a former Etruscan settlement. It is nestled on a hilly ridge 30 minutes north of Florence. It’s position offers a breath-taking view of Florence.

Head for tranquil Fiesole for lunch or dinner at Trattoria Le Cave de Maiano. Order a veal chop or the famous “Bistecca alla Fiorentina” (Florentine T-Bone) from Tuscany’s famed Chianina beef and a bottle of Bolgheri Rosso, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Brunello di Montalcino.  Dine at La Reggia degli ‘Etrusci‘s terrace for a fabulous “Vino con Vista”.

Visit the Piazza Mino de Fiesole, the main square, and have an expresso at the Caffe Aurora in the bougainvillea shaded terrace with a fabulous view of Florence.  Take a picture with the bronze statue of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel II.

Roman theater in Fiesole, Italy

Roman theater in Fiesole, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Explore the 14th century Franciscan Friary of San Francesco with a presepi on display all year long. Visit the Archeological area in the first century BC Roman theater,  public baths and a 4th century Etruscan temple.  The temple is dedicated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and healing.

Stay at Villa San Michele in Fiesole and ask for the Michelangelo Suite. This Orient Express property was a former 15th century monastery that was designed by Michelangelo. Fabulous cooking classes are only available to hotel guests with “Guest Chefs” from many other world-class hotels www.villasanmichele.com. Another option is Italy’s Top Spa (19 miles northwest of Florence) www.termemontecatini.it.  After your spa treatment, take the Funicular to Montecatini Alto for a panoramic vista all the way to Florence.

see above

see above (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

see above

see above (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides and

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Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour: Spring 2015

Wine Spectator Grand Tour

Wine Spectator

Image via Wikipedia

Experience the World’s Finest Wines! Wine Spectator will be hosting Grand Tour events in the Spring of 2015 in three cities.

Attend the Chicago event on Thursday April 30, 2015 at Navy Pier located at 600 E. Grand Ave.

Follow this link for more information:

http://grandtour.winespectator.com/

http://assets.winespectator.com/wso/html/grandtour.html

More than two hundred of the world’s finest wineries will pour one of their best wines at each stop.

Select one of WINE SPECTATOR’s Grand Tour cities near you and enjoy a wine tasting you will remember for a long time to come!

Friday, May 8, 2015                 Washington D.C. at the Dallas Hyatt Regency              300 East Reunion Blvd.              7-10 pm

Saturday, May 2, 2015                 Las Vegas at The Mirage                 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South                 7-10 pm

Here’s a list of participating wineries: http://grandtour.winespectator.com/wineries.html

 

Lake Michigan

Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Image via Wikipedia

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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