Qorkz.com – For Hidden Wine Gems

Do you wish you were in Napa or Sonoma right now? (Don ‘t we all?)

Want to find that winery that is a hidden gem that is off the beaten path? The ones that have such a small production you have the upper hand with your friends and family? Especially when they rave about the wine you are serving?

Well, I, your VinoVerve Editrix has been working secretly to bring these kinds of wines to you. Welcome to Qorkz Wine.

These wines are made by passionate winemakers who want to share their craft with you.

We are scouring California (for now and eventually around the country and maybe even the world) to find these treats for you!

You all know how much I enjoy looking for these treats… so please, enjoy!

We will have more choices to come!



Lists for Locapours – Browntrout

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Ever go into restaurant and look over the menu and see the Chef proudly proclaim that they are sourcing their proteins and veg from local farms? I see it alot here in Chicago.

Then I take a look at the winelist and there is nothing, I mean NOTHING local on it. When I have asked, I asked I get answers that relate to the economics of distribution (which is complex and a pain to figure out) or I get comments about the quality of the local wines as discussed in the comments of this Huffington Post piece.

So, when I see a wine list that has anything local on it, I want to cheer them on.

Kevin, I and the girls stopped for brunch recently at such a place. Browntrout.

The restaurant bills itself as serving sustainable, locally farmed, and organic products whenever possible. For most restaurants this has meant a trip to the Chicago Green Market. Browntrout grows its own herbs in their rooftop garden as well as establishing relationships with local farmers. Local and artisanal beers are also on the list as is locally roasted coffee and house made gingerale and Gale Gand’s Root Beer. But it is the wine list that interested me most.

Tasty!Most of the options were labels that I have previously seen and know to be sustainably produced. Ironically, many wine makers use sustainable practices but shy away from using in their advertising so that the focus is on the quality of their wine, not the method of production. I was pleased to see a couple of options on the list from local vineyards, specifically, the Pinot Grigio and Blaufrankisch from the Circa Vineyards in Leelanau Michigan. I was doubly delighted by the Blaufrankisch as it is a varietal that is largely only see in Germany and Austria. Unfortunately, I was eating brunch, so I skipped red wine and enjoyed the Pinot Grigio instead. It was a nice crisp wine with a lot of flavor. Kevin and I are certainly looking forward to trying the red at another point as the food at Browntrout was wonderful. Even the ever world-weary, Celia couldn’t find anything bad to say. That is high praise indeed.No mean featBrowntrout puts its "Loca" cred to the test and wins!

So get out there and support your Locapour restaurants. They aren’t just talking the local, green talk; they are walking the walk too!

4111 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 472-4111
Good food+Happy Teens+Good Wine=Happy Parents!

Firelands Wines

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

So after all that discussion of the Ohio and the Firelands, did I finally get around to tasting any wine? Of course I did!

Firelands Tasting RoomI began with the Pinot Grigio, currently the most popular wine according to the ladies in the tasting room. I could taste green apple and grass. It was a little less crisp than some of the pinot grigios than I have had in the past, but this is a good thing… Sometimes, those wines get too bitey and for some reason that makes the hinge of my jaw hurt. (I never said that logic was my strong suit).

Next up was the Riesling. This was advertised as tasting of apples but I thought it had more of a honeyed flavor that reminded me of pears. This is made in what I consider a more traditional style, in that it was semi-sweet. I love the new modern dry Rieslings as well, but there is something to be said for the full, fruity and floral tones of the traditional method.

I even sampled the Gewurztraminer which I had tasted with Henry Bishop, Rory and Kevin (albeit not the same vintage). It is still an excellent blend of tropical fruits and rose petals. The best of two different worlds.

Home Wine Making at FirelandsAdditionally, I tasted both the Pinot Noir (a wine that I have enjoyed from Great Lakes regions, i.e., Niagara Escarpment) and the Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet was herbal and lightly spicy and nicely dry. The Pinot Noir was smoke with anise and cherry.

Additional offerings under the Firelands label include:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Barrel Select Chardonnay
Rose de St. George
Country Estate Red
Walleye White and
Ice Wine

Additional wines from the other Lonz, Inc. labels were available including the Mantey, Dover, Mon Ami and Lonz (from grapes produced on Middle Bass Island). I picked up a Mantey Cream Sherry for my father. He has always been a fan of Ohio sherries and am looking forward to tasting it with it in the near future (most likely Thanksgiving).

Additionally, the winery is a source for homewine makers and sells juice in the autumn (until it runs out).

Win(e)ding Roads: Highlights from the Sun Winefest 1.17.09


Marguerite Barrett

Contributing Writer
In addition to just being at the Winefest for the experience, Christy and I also were looking to discover some new wines.  Some of the highlights among the whites included:
Grgich Hills 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Estate Grown) Napa Valley Pale yellow color, floral nose, crisp, light with hints of fruit.  Very nice wine.
Grgich Hills 2006 Chardonnay (Estate Grown) Napa Valley  Smooth, crisp wine with notes of citrus.  According to the Grgich Hills representatives, this is the first vintage of their Chardonnay vineyards to be certified organic and biodynamic.
Villa Giulia Pinot Grigio  Italy Dry with notes of citrus.  A bit acidic on its own; it would pair nicely with food.

Ponte Vecchio Pinot Grigio  Italy This is a crisp, refreshing wine; fruity with notes of citrus – perhaps grapefruit, but not strongly acidic.  This was one of the wines I starred for later purchasing.  I also really liked the label, which was what first caught my eye.
Terrazas de los Andes 2007 Chardonnay Vin Blanc Argentina  Earthy, dry Chardonnay with strong fruit notes.  Strong notes of Oak as well.  Interesting wine.

Chauteau d’Aussieres Vin de Pays Aussieres D’Oc Blanc 2006  Languedoc-Roussillon  Crisp, fruity wine, with a delicate nose.  Made from Chardonnay grapes, a nice table white.
2 Friends Chardonnay  Sonoma This was one of the standouts among the whites I tasted that day.   A light yellow color, with a delicate fruity nose, the wine is smooth and  buttery.   Really nice wine; definitely one of my favorites.
Next up: highlights among the Reds.

Venetian Moon

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Someday I hope I will get to see the moonrise over Venice (please let me see it over Santorini first!)

This is another of my wine choices from Trader Joe’s!

Cost $3.99. Not all of my wine choices are extravegant! And these days, not many of them are… although I did get some lovely wines for Christmas that will be discussed later…

Flavor? Fuller bodied. Most descriptions say medium bodied, but I thought it was a bit fuller than just medium.

I taste grapefruit, but more like a ruby red, sweeter and fruitier.

It was made in California.. perhaps that is why there is the extra emphasis on the fruit.

Still, all in all a delight and a bargain!

Happy Frugal New Year to you!

Oh! That is What the Label Meant!

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

They say that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

And the same principal works with wine as well… except….

Sometimes the little circles on the wine label mean something….

That happened to Kevin and I recently when we were attempting to open a bottle of 2007 Contadino Pinot Grigio. We noticed that the wine was particularly light in color… and noticed the circles on the label.

We started the comedy of errors thusly:

Kevin reaches for bottle.

Kevin reaches for corkscrew.

Kevin inserts corkscrew into bottle illiciting a big WHISH’ing sound.

Upon further observation, I sagely note: “Gee, that is awfully effervescent.”

Kevin removes corkscrew and then removes screwcap from bottle (I like to stay Stelvin Closure to look in the know).

We enjoy wine which is crisp and light tasting of green apples and kiwi. And it is bubbly.

So, there you go… The moral of the story is this: make sure you read the entire label.. like the part that says Vivace… That coupled with the circles on the label probably meant “LIVELY” or as we would call it… bubbly.

Ooops. But like every good story… alls well that ends well…