Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

"It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one's present or future thirst, the excellence of wine, or any other reason." 

Latin Proverb

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Malbec Blues

During a trip to Argentina, I developed a fondness for Malbec. The peppery taste complemented so many Argentinian foods especially the wonderfully seasoned beef served in their restaurants. Now known as an Argentine varietal, Malbec is one of the six grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine. It is becoming increasingly common in U.S. wine stores but during my visit, the exchange rate was so favorable, I wanted to buy the whole store. To give you an idea, the prices in the photo are in Argentine Pesos. The exchange rate for 7 Pesos equals about $1.75 US. Can you spell "sea container?" Unfortunately, I only managed about 3 bottles in my suitcase.

Sadly, this was a business trip with no opportunity to visit the growing areas for these wonderful grapes. Perhaps in another life.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Favorite Napa Valley Winery

People often ask me if I have a favorite Napa Valley winery. I have quite a few that are "must visits" for anyone on their first tour. But, one of my favorites is V. Sattui in St. Helena. I like the winery for several reasons. First, the wine is only available for purchase at the winery. My thought is, "Why visit a winery whose wine you have tasted on numerous occasions and can buy at any large wine store?" Second, V. Sattui has a wonderful gourmet deli and picnic area. It is one of the few in Napa Valley with that distinction. It is also up Highway 29 far enough to warrant a rest after visiting a few other wineries. There are better wines to be had in the valley but, if you are like me, the experience enhances the flavor of the wine. Plan on this place being really busy and be willing to fight for a picnic spot (bring a blanket because there is lots of grass). It's busy for a reason!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Burgers Here and There

My daughter sent me a link to this site authored by the daughter of another dad who could be more adventurous in his culinary experiences. Burgers Here and There is a project to illustrate the flavors and possibilities of the "burger" one country at a time....All 192 countries. This is a very creative and ambitious project, especially since USA is so far at the other end of the alphabet!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Leelanau Peninsula Taste the Passion 2011

After a really busy January - February, it's  time to catch up on the world of Sipping and Savoring. One big event I attended in February was the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association's Taste the Passion celebration on February 5 & 6. As is the case with all LP Wine events, the weekend was a pure joy. LP Wines spokesperson, Andy McFarlane was kind enough to invite me to photograph the weekend's events. The photos are posted at:

LP Wines Taste the Passion 2011

My wife and I visited 17 wineries on during the weekend and sampled wonderful Leelanau Peninsula wines and food pairings. Each winery had a small plate of food accompanied by a wine pairing. Guests were also encouraged to sample other wines provided by the wineries. Our trips to the Leelanau Peninsula continue to be our favorites because of the wine, hospitality, and relaxed pace.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Best Hamburger in Minnesota - So Far

When I visit any city, I am always interested in the "burger scene." On a recent trip to Minneapolis, I tried burgers at two popular establishments, The Uptown Cafeteria and Burger Jones. In terms of pure variety and quality, Burger Jones won hands down. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise. When you you have "burger" in your name, the product better be good! The restaurant offers a variety of burger toppings. I opted for the Cheeseburger Jones special which included a burger with cheddar cheese accompanied by maple bacon sweet potato fries and August Schell Brewing Company's Grain Belt Nordeast beer. An outstanding combination. The burger was perfectly cooked, the fries were great and the beer refreshing.

Burger Jones is a fun place to go and all burger palates are welcome. My brother-in-law ordered the White Trash Burger which consisted of a 7 oz burger patty topped with chicken fried bacon, Velveeta cheese, and cheese curds. Definitely a more tasty option than injecting the cholesterol directly into your veins.

One of the restaurant's fan favorites is the the Tri-Fry Tower which consists of a combo of regular fries, the maple bacon sweet potato fries, and parmesan waffle fries. Outstanding for a group sharing experience. Next time for me will be deep fried cheese curds. Just have to try it for research purposes.

Burger Jones is located on Lake Street in Minneapolis. Try it!

Fenn Valley Winery Annual Chili Cookoff 2011

On January 22nd, Fenn Valley Winery in Fennville, MI held its annual Chili Cookoff and Wine Lovers Pot Luck. The snowy weather kept many people away but a bit of Michigan snow couldn't keep hundreds of people from attending this annual event. I'm not sure of the exact number but I believe it was over 300. About 70 chili contestants vied for the title of chili in four categories; 4 legs (beef and pork), two legs (turkey and chicken), no legs (vegetarian) and exotic (pick your animal). Fenn Valley wines were generously poured for patron and provided a perfect accompaniment for the chili. Non-chili contestants brought a dish to pass as their "entry fee." Music by Natchez Trace was terrific. This was our third time at this event and it continues to be one of the more interesting and enjoyable ones on our calendar.