Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wine Wednesday - Noboleis Vignoles

Noboleis Vineyards 2012 Dry Vignoles

This 2012 Dry Vignoles is an excellent example of what can be done with this malleable varietal. With natural fruit characteristics that are not lost via the fermentation process, do not hesitate to indulge (especially at $20 a bottle) when you dine and drink at Prasino in St. Charles, MO. 

With Hints of green apple, pineapple, and pear, this Noboleis wine is intoxicatingly fragrant. The kissable initial tartness smooths out as you are left thirsting for more. 

Prasino is one of our favorite local St. Charles spots for delicious eats, and they do their best to stay as local as possible when it comes to food, wine, beer and liquor. They also have a chic atmosphere and one of the best brunches in St. Louis. 

This Vignoles tames anything of spice and pairs well with the Short Rib Nachos or the Wood-Fired Wings. Enjoy your wine with a mountain of nachos or 8-12 wings for the happy hour price of only $6. Prasino's whole menu focuses on farm-free ingredients that really come through in their dishes. 

Want to support local, but are feeling a sip for the suds?  Prasino continues to show off its support for anything regional including $4 happy hour drafts from area breweries including: Charleville Microbrewery, Schlafly Bottleworks, Urban Chestnut Brewery Company, Civil Life Brewing Co., 4 Hands Brewery, Broadway Brewery, Excel Brewery and O'Fallon Brewery.  By the way, take note of their taps next time you're in, let us know if you see anything interesting!

If you want something harder, try Pickney Bend Distillery's Whiskey! (HINT: It's completely worth the trip to visit this distillery in New Haven, take the tour, and sample one of their phenomenal gin and tonics.)  Prasino also offers Chandler Hill Vineyard's Chambourcin Rosé with hints of strawberry and rhubarb leading the way in this delightfully, pleasant springtime reminder.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Missouri Wine Lover's Bucket List

There are a few things I believe every Missouri wine lover should experience in his or her lifetime. Get out there and experience all Missouri Wine Country has to offer!

1. Go on a Missouri Wine Trail Event
With over 125 wineries in Missouri, you may feel a little overwhelmed when you start to plan your excursion. Luckily, there are 9 very different wine trails that make planning a winery hop fun and easy, including The Hermann Wine Trail, Route du Vin, The Great Northwest Missouri Wine Trail, Missouri River Wine Trail, Kansas City Wine Trail, Missouri Weinstrasse, Ozark Mountain Trail, Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail, and Aux Arcs Wine Road. These trails host fun events throughout the year that usually involve theme wine and food pairing. It’s barhopping, winery style!

2. Visit Wineries Off the Beaten Trail

Trails may make planning a winery outing easy, but don’t limit yourself to only trail wineries. Some of the state’s hidden gems will take some hunting to find, but they are well worth the effort. Visiting these lone wineries will give you a chance to take in the Missouri country side and possibly discover new and exciting sites. Plan a road trip to Frankfurt, MO, and you’ll be delighted to find one of the state’s smallest wineries, Claymalnay Vineyard & Winery. It may be tiny, but the friendly owners and distinctive wines will leave a lasting impact.

3. Step Outside your Tasting Comfort Zone

My favorite part of visiting Missouri wineries is the chance to sample new wines. This isn't something you can do at the grocery store or even most restaurants, so you should take full advantage of tastings opportunities. Don’t be afraid to challenge your palate and indulge in a wine you don’t usually drink. Each winery leaves its own special characteristics on different varietals. Taste outside your comfort zone and discover how your preferences may change over time. Ask questions and engage with the person pouring your samples. They just might be the wine maker, like at Horst Vineyards.

4. Take Part in a Grape Stomp
This is your chance to become part of the winemaking process and all you need is a clean pair of feet! After harvest many wineries throw grape stomp celebrations and invite people to actively participate. You haven’t lived until you've had your feet dyed purple from Missouri grown grapes! Many of these events are free or the proceeds are donated to charity. Les Bourgeois Vineyards and Cave Hollow West Winery are just two of the wineries that throw large crush festivals.

5. Plan a Winery Weekend Getaway
Many wineries in this state have much more to offer than just wine. For example, a weekend at Chaumette Winery can be complete by renting out one of their classy villas, pampering yourself at the spa, sun bathing by the pool, dining at the Grapevine Grill, and of course sampling their wines in the tasting room. Don’t be afraid to book a room at a B&B, and explore what all a winery town has to offer. Your trip may start with wine, but it will end with an adventure!

6. Tour a Wine Cellar or Vineyard
Vineyards offer a spectacular view and perfect backdrop for a romantic picnic date. Take the time to experience where the wine you are drinking started its long journey to your glass. Most wineries that have vineyards are open to giving tours or allowing visitors to wander through their rows of vines. Historic wine cellars also give you an intimate glimpse into the wine making process as it dates back to pre-Prohibition times. Stone Hill Winery, Hermanhoff Vineyards, and Mount Pleasant Estates each have captivating cellars and offer tours. You may even get lucky and receive a barrel sample.

7. Join a Wine Club
If you love Missouri wine, the best way to capitalize on it is by joining a wine club. Wine clubs help you ensure your wine cabinet is always stocked with your favorite Missouri varietals. They come with great discounts, special offers and exclusive events. Many clubs offer the option for home delivery in case you don’t live near your beloved winery and who wouldn't love seeing a package of wine show up at their doorstep on a monthly or quarterly basis?

If you're looking for a club that offers a more hands on experience, I suggest Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard's "Grape Friends" Wine Club.  Members are given the opportunity to volunteer and work in the vineyard alongside the owners and wine maker. The club also always access to wine making tutorials, opportunitiers to purchase grapes or juice (as available),  complimentary wine tastings, and many other perks.

Feel free to use my Bucket List as a jumping off point or create your own. Cheers!