By Sue Shelden   |   Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 8:06 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

This is my final blog. I want to thank Kathryn Gardiner for the opportunity to write for the Hoosier Wine Cellar. This assignment encouraged me to learn more about wine than I ever would have otherwise.

I’m especially grateful for the mentoring and influence of our local treasure, Ole “Pontiff of Palate” Olson. His years of experience and depth of knowledge are “mellowed” by his humility and generosity of spirit.

I also want to thank the Oliver family for setting the stage for the nearly 100 Indiana wineries. Without Bill Oliver, Sr.’s legal wrangling and the historic roadside stand selling Camelot Mead, well, let’s just say he paved the way for other wineries and provided the launching pad for many of our other vintners. Too bad we still can’t buy alcohol on Sundays at grocery stores!

Thanks, also, for all the input and encouragement from friends and strangers. I leave with this advice: Do as the Romans do–in other words, drink in local wines and beverages, pairing it with local favorite delicacies. Do your homework–Google everything! Travel, enjoy life and love your friends and family! Best wishes and much love! Sue

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Friday, February 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

In spite of earlier optimism, we give way to disappointment in the Indiana General Assembly fear of Sunday wine sales. So great was its fear, that it didn’t even vote on the issue. That fear means that Indiana will remain the nation’s only state denying its citizens the right to buy wine on Sunday. Guns and ammunition, yes. The beverage recognized as “the first miracle” ┬áin John 2:1-11 in the village of Cana, absolutely not.

Even though Sunday sales had been supported by the Assembly’s Public Policy Committee and debate in the House showed agreement that Indiana lags behind the times and that Sunday sales will eventually happen, the lawmakers were loathe to let their feelings be known on the issue.

Hoosiers for Sunday Sales, a wine advocacy group, put blame for the bill’s failure squarely on the liquor store lobby by amending “in anti-consumer, anti-competition, and anti-business language that changed the focus of debate.”

Be that as it may, Indiana wine lovers who shop on Sundays will have to leave the state at least for another year.

 

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Monday, February 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm   |   1 Comment »

Lately I’ve taken to sampling red wines from the Columbia Valley, about which, I confess, I am overly uninformed. I have looked them over on shelves in the big stores — Total Wine, Costco — the upscale stores — Whole Foods and the almost upscale Trader Joe’s — and in neighborhood retail stores. It’s been a good experience, because my lack of information allows me to approach these wines like most consumers — with interest, curiosity, and, yes, caution. I look at reviews in the Big Magazines and in travel guides. But still, until I have done total immersion, including a visit to a region, I am just as insecure in selecting samples within my budget as the average person who never writes about wine.

I have been twice to Walla Walla. Once as a teenager before either I or Western Washington knew of the rich wine potential of the region; and a decade ago on a time-constrained car trip which left only an overnight stop without a winery opportunity. These past few weeks, then, are for me like visiting Paris for the first time, exciting, whimsical, and being sure to touch as many bases as possible.

In the mixed case I brought home last weekend, were six Cabernets, three Merlots, a red blend, and two Rieslings. I wanted to see if a climate I think more suitable for white wines could really produce red wines normally associated with warmer climates. The short answer, of course, is they can and do. The Columbia River, like the Rhine, the Rhone, the Loire, and the Napa, does wonderful things to and for grapes.

I bought one of the Cabernets just because of the label. Yes, I do take labels seriously, but with the traditional grain of salt. Back labels are especially interesting, because, as a writer, I am curious to see how other writers are crafting their words, but I never forget they are writing with a favorable bias to the wonders within the bottle.

The science-lab label got my attention with a catch phrase: “What’s great in theory tastes better in reality.” The wine is Red Theory, a Cabernet from Walla Walla which is home to about 100 wineries. The 2012 Red Theory Cabernet, at about $12.00 convinced me that Cabernets in the Northwest are for real. Cabernet fruit, Napa-like finish, and an altogether pleasant drink. For those just starting to learn Cabernets, it is a perfect beginning. Though the catch phrase may not really make sense, the wine maker does. It’s a very good value wine.

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