Friday, May 24, 2013

Missouri Wine Passport

Living in Missouri has its perks for wine lovers. Not only are there over 100 wineries in the state, the Missouri Wine Passport Program actually rewards you for visiting them. Each winery is so unique and has many reason to visit, but this extra incentive program may encourage you to get out to more wineries than you had planned. Last year, we participated in this program and visited 62 wineries and got our passport stamped at each. This year, our goal is to visit ALL of the Missouri wineries. At the moment, we have been to 17 which isn't terrible considering the bad weather that keep us stuck at home on so many weekends this Spring.

Now that the warm weather has broken, we are going to kick it into overdrive. I am a big fan of the new smart phone app version of the Missouri Wine Passport Program. Last year, we had over 50 paper-booklet passports laying around the house. Each book only held about 8 stamps, so this app really cuts back on paper waste and is convenient. If you're going to be visiting Missouri wineries this summer, you might as well get on board with this incentive program. There are less prizes this year, but they are still really great!

NEW Passport Levels and Rewards for 2013:
Level 1—10 winery visits
Reward: Official certificate

Level 2—30 winery visits
Reward: Private/VIP tour and wine tasting for 8 people at a participating winery

Level 3—60 winery visits
Reward: Wine and Food Experience for 10 people at a participating winery

Level 4—100 winery visits
Reward: Exclusive Century Club Dinner; includes VIP, red carpet event for passport participants (and one guest per participant) with winemakers and industry experts in attendance. To be held on a pre-determined date in early 2014.

Wish us luck as we thrive to make it to over 100 wineries this year! CHEERS.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MicroFest 2013

Though we do love our wines, we also love craft beer.  Every year we seek out events that feature some of the best craft brews in the land.  MicroFest is just one of those events that we enjoy attending.  Why?  Because they have over 60 different breweries, each with their own distinct flavor and fun.

This year we volunteered to help out St. Louis Wine and Beer Making, a shop dedicated to helping the amateur and pro make their own brew/wine.  It was a privilege to be standing next to Dave, the President of the shop and getting to know his customers more (including ourselves).

While the rain on Friday May 3, 2013 kept us cold and wet, Saturday's weather proved to be far more enjoyable and dry.  We got the chance to try many, many beers and here are some of our favorites from the day's debacle!

Destihl Brewery was from Iowa and they featured a few of their beers, most notably their Strawberry Blonde. Admittedly, we went back for more than one sample of this delicious beer.  This fruit beer is made by adding generous quantities of strawberries to a blonde ale base beer, providing harmonious fruit qualities, golden-strawberry blonde color, crisp/dry palate, light body, low hop characters & bitterness and light malt & fruit sweetness.  World Beer Championships Award: Bronze Medal 2012. 

We just happened come upon the Samuel Adams table and almost shied away from it, but then the Porch Rocker caught our eye.  Perfect for any summer day, Samuel Adams® Porch Rocker™ is bright and citrusy with a fresh-squeezed lemon effervescence and a refreshing finish.  Crisp & tangy, with its combination of lager & tart lemonade this unique summer quencher is their take on the Bavarian Radler, named for cyclists that originated this drink.  Though there were not many lemony beers at this event, the Porch Rocker is one that we are definitely considering for our kegerator.

It was very nice to see Charleville at this event.  We love visiting their winery/brewery when we hit up the Southeast Missouri region, especially the Route Du Vin trail that we've created on our blog, but it was nice that they came close to us this time!  For some reason we had our tastes set on fruit beers today, perhaps it was because of the terribly, uncooperative weather or the hopes of summer, but Charleville aimed to please with this one.  It was definitely a rival to the previously mentioned Destihl's Strawberry Blonde.

We got a chance to interact with the bar manager of the new brewery in St. Louis, Alpha Brewing Company.  Their beers were very impressive and even more so their trophy!  Head downtown to check out this new brew spot close to the City Museum.  A beer we liked that they were offering was their Rye Indian Pale Ale.

Blue Moon is a pretty mainstream, good beer, but they had these amazing Vintage Ales and they were absolutely incredible.  They used the juices from Savignon Blanc and the Cabernet Savignon grapes to create these complex, very winey beers!  Curious were we can find a bottle of each for a celebration we're having soon.

Wine Review - St. James Winery: Pioneer White

Wine Review - St. James Winery: Pioneer White

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wine Bars in St. Charles County

It sure is fun to go out and explore the Missouri wine regions and see the countryside when the temperatures start rising, but what about all the possibilities that are right here in St. Louis?

Within the confines of St. Charles County one can find a plethora of wine bars to choose from.  Each with their own distinct flare and wine selections that will please even the most specific of pallets.

St. Charles County

If you're coming from St. Louis and you have to cross the river into St. Charles County, you'd better make a stop at one of these awesome wine bars!

Unkorked Wine Garden - Wentzville, MO

Unkorked is a pleasant house turned wine bar affair.  The place is owned by a mother/daughter duo, and they know their wine.  They've converted the old garage into a sweet place to hang out.  They've got live music often and their patio is perfect for relaxing.  Right in the old part of Wentzville, Unkorked is most definitely a place to "chill".  We recommend the Allegro Moscato and Spinach Artichoke Dip.

Domain Street Wine Bar - St. Charles, MO in "New Town" 

Domain is a wonderful place to experience New Town first hand if you've never been.  Equipped with TVs, a pool table, darts, and a modern yet laid back feel, Domain will keep you coming back for more.  Check out a game of sand volleyball right out the front door or take a stroll along one of New Town's many avenues or waterways.  We recommend Heavenly Retreat Riesling paired with Shakespeare's Pizza.

The Vine - St. Charles, MO on "Main"

Main street in St. Charles offers plenty of shopping, dining, and of course drinking.  You've got your pick of a couple places that will definitely please.  The Vine is one of them!  The restaurant/wine bar is very intimate and only seats a select few, lucky guests.  Be sure to call ahead to reserve your spot.  This is a great place to take a date if you really want to impress. We recommend anything from their reds selection.  Be sure to check out Grandma's Cookies down the street for dessert!

Picasso's Coffee House - St. Charles, MO on "Main"

Though we never get "down" from wine indulgence sometimes we need a little pick-me-up.  Picasso's offers the best of both worlds with their delicious, uniquely styled coffees and a wine selection to boot!  Pick up a cup of joe or grab a glass of vino because this charming place is filled to the brim with hip.  We recommend the Vanilla Bean Frappuccino for a break from wine.

Don't get confused! Even though it is called St. Charles Coffee Cafe & Wine Bar, it is in St. Peters.  Regardless of location, this place is worth the trek down 94 from I-70.  Why?  They have an awesome atmosphere, complete with a patio and wine slushies!  It is definitely one of our favorites for cooling off after some yard work.  Swing on by for a piece of cake/pie or relax to the tunes of a local artist.  We recommend Wine Slushies.

Rendezvous Cafe and Wine Bar - O'Fallon, MO

Schedule some time to make a rendezvous with wines from around the world at Revdenzous Café and Wine Bar. They offer over 400 different wines and each month they highlight new wines and offer wine flights. They also have wine tastings and classes such as "Merlots from Around the World" and  "Paint Your Own Wine Glass." Come in for some live music, stay for their large menu which includes tapas, pizzas, and much more, and explore wines from around the globe. We recommend sampling the Monthly Featured Wines.