By Maria McKinley   |   Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 11:34 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

When I began writing this column a year ago, I didn’t want it to be necessarily about what I knew or what I liked, although that’s happened on some occasions. Instead, I wanted to answer questions, explore topics, and look for “believe it or not” wine topics that someone might want to read. Like England’s Prince Charles using wine to fuel his sports car. Who knew!

Looking at my own wine experiences, I wondered if I had become close-minded. When my friends wanted to order a bottle of semi-sweet wine at a restaurant, I would turn up my nose, beg off, and order a glass of something dry. When I offered to bring wine to a dinner party, the host often said, “now you like Red, right?” As if there’s something wrong with that. It reminded me of those who only drink Coca-Cola products vs. those who cling to Pepsi. Ya can’t get um to budge.

I examined my wine choices and here’s what I learned. I enjoy certain varietals from particular vineyards. I am a seasonal snob. More whites in warm weather, more reds in cooler temps. Some wines are better for drinking on their own, others belong with food.  Food should match up with the characteristics of the wine and I need to get off my high-horse of only drinking dry wines! There’s no way a dry Cabernet Sauvignon is going to pair well with sweet and sour chicken.

I know it can be daunting when you enter a wine shop. But hey, when you only prefer certain colors, particular grapes, and a few countries, it really narrows down your choices. And I learned I’ve been missing out. Here are three wines I recently tried and  liked, all available locally for purchase.

2012 Monteagrelo Bressia, Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina
I love the cabernet franc grape (when it’s from France), and I love Argentinian wines. A great combination that is reasonably priced.

2013 Les Moulins de Turquant, Chenin Blanc, Saumur, France
I never drink chenin blanc. Until now. This particular white wine is dry but the thing about the chenin blanc grape is that, depending on the wine making process, it can be either sweet or dry which makes it perfect for sweet and sour chicken.

2014 Altitudes, Cotes du Roussillon, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
A meritage that is 45% Carignan, 30% Grenache, 25% Syrah
What the heck is Carignan? Wine Folly calls it the perfect grape for food and I agree.

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By Maria McKinley   |   Friday, April 29, 2016 at 4:55 pm   |   Leave a Comment »

Summer-time and the food and wine festivals abound. Here are a few suggestions you might consider putting on your calendar.

The 17th annual Vintage Food and Wine Festival takes place in downtown Indianapolis, Military Park, on June 4th from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Twenty-five Indiana wineries are signed up to attend with such favorites as Traders Point, French Lick, Ertel, and Butler. Participating restaurants will include Bazbeaux Pizza, Port-a-Pit of Indy, Blue Lagoon, and The Flying Cupcake.  Live musical entertainment is scheduled throughout the afternoon and arts and craft booths round out the venue. Tickets in advance are $25, $35 at the gate. This is a 21 years of age and older event. Check out their website for more information at vintageindiana.com.

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, head west to the Hermann Wine Trail in central Missouri. The Berries & BarBQ wine event will be July 30-31 and covers seven wineries which you may visit at your leisure, in any order, on any or both of those two days. Each winery will have food pairings with their wines that meld into the theme of berries and/or barbecue. If last year’s menus are an indication of what’s in store for 2016, it should be amazing! Add in the quaint vineyard settings and the beautiful countryside meandering along the Missouri River, and you’ve got a great weekend ahead. Advance ticket purchase is required online at hermannwinetrail.com.

Vevay, Indiana is located in Switzerland County on the Ohio River. The 44th Swiss Wine Festival will be held August 25-28 and will offer live bands, Ohio River paddle boat rides and dinner cruises, grape stomps, a Grand Parade, fireworks, a wine pavilion (Indiana wines) and beer garden. The food booths have been rated the fourth best food festival in Best of Indiana. If you’re a foodie, you gotta check out the list of vendors on the website. Nothing short of awesomely delicious!  Ticket prices vary, depending on the activities and there’s plenty of free activities for the kids. Browse the website to plan your trip at swisswinefestival.com.

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By Maria McKinley   |   Friday, April 29, 2016 at 11:10 am   |   Leave a Comment »

A.J. Foyt, four-time winner Indy 500. Larry J. Foyt, three-time qualifier Indy 500. A.J. (Anthony) Foyt IV, six-time qualifier Indy 500. Recently, patriarch A.J. Foyt purchased an old bank building in Speedway to open a race shop. Larry and Anthony had merged their interest in wine after both left racing and decided the bank vault location would be the perfect place for a tasting room.

Although the vineyards and wine production are located in California, the Foyt family consider Indianapolis their second home, according to Larry’s YouTube video. At the Foyt Wine Vault, Larry says they have created a unique space that “pays tribute to A.J. and all that he has accomplished. It’s the perfect venue to showcase A.J.’s racing career and it’s become a little bit of a museum,” as well as a bar, tasting room, and lounge area.

Foyt Family Wines honor A.J.’s legacy by assigning a meaningful number from his career to each varietal. No. 39 is a Riesling grown in the Borden Ranch area of Lodi, California. It is a sweet but light wine that pairs well with smoked salmon or sushi or served with a dessert course, according to the company’s website. The number 39 refers to the year 1939 when A.J. Foyt was just four years old and his father built him his first race car. The No.39 bottle label displays the photograph of A.J. sitting in that car.

No.14, their debut wine, was a Cabernet Sauvignon from the St. Helena area of Napa Valley. This is A.J.’s favorite number for his many racing cars. His 3rd and 4th wins at Indy were in a #14 race car. When asked about the significance #14, A.J. replied, “I liked the way it looked on the car.”  The last car Foyt raced at Indy in 1992, #14, is on display in the tasting room. Other wines offered are No.61 Pinot Noir, No.67 Chardonnay, No.72 a red Meritage, and No.77 Cabernet Sauvignon. Each label tells the story of A.J. and the number’s significance.

In an interview last year, Detroit Free Press reporter Mike Brudenell asked A.J. if his wines were better than those from Andretti Winery. “I told the boys, it had better be better,” he replied.

The Foyt Wine Vault is located at 1182 Main Street, Speedway, Indiana. The bar serves Foyt wines, craft beers, appetizers, dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, and Saturday lunch. The Vault is open Thursday through Saturday but call 317-672-4246 for current hours.

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