Taste Georgian Wines with Sarah Grunwald of Taste Georgia

We are excited to be hosting a few tasting events with Sarah Grunwald, founder of Taste Georgia, over the next few weeks in California. Sarah is a sommelier and Georgia enthusiast. Hopefully you can join us at one of the events listed at the end of the post! Allow Sarah to introduce herself and her company: “I am absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Blue Danube this summer to co-host three Georgian wine tastings in California with the support of the Georgian National Wine Agency. Blue Danube is a leader in the emerging Eastern European wine markets which includes the Republic of Georgia, the oldest known wine region in the world. We’ll taste a variety of wines, which both represents the ancient techniques and also showcases the way Georgians are embracing modernity. I contacted Blue Danube a few months ago about this then potential collaboration in California that will be held while I am visiting. Though I live in Rome, Italy, I am from California, a state that nursed my passion for wine until I moved to the old world. I studied for and passed the sommelier exam and eventually started teaching a University level class at the Instituto Lorenzo … Continue reading Taste Georgian Wines with Sarah Grunwald of Taste Georgia

Croatian Wine Tasting at Bistro SF Grill

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you must go visit Bistro SF Grill! It is a cozy, intimate spot in San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. Co-owners Gino, Hasim, and Seni make you feel right at home with their slightly Balkan influenced menu and wine list; all three are originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had the pleasure of spending an evening with them this week to celebrate our latest arrival of Croatian wine. The guys put together a flight of 5 wines for guests to choose which included: Bibich Debit, Šipun Žlahtina, Bibich G6 Grenache, Miloš Plavac Mali, and Dubrovački Crljenak Kaštelanski (aka Croatian Zinfandel). It was a fun night of exploration, good conversation, and wine! The experience is not complete without one of their fabulous burgers. I highly recommend the Balkan Burger, which is a lamb patty between pita bread with mint yogurt sauce.

Hungarian Wine Tasting Review by Christine Havens

Recently Frank Dietrich led an in depth tasting of Hungarian wines at Soif wine bar in Santa Cruz, CA. The wines represented many of the major appellations and indigenous grapes of the regions. Wine writer Christine Havens attended this event and has graciously permitted us to share her blog post, in which she provides detailed notes of the wines tasted as well as a little of her own connection to Hungary. You can view the original post, and all of Christine’s other reviews on her site. Hungarian Wine Tasting at Soif Wine Bar & Merchants by Christine Havens. My mother is Hungarian. My father was mostly English with some other nationalities thrown in, like most Americans, his family tree included a pinch of German and a nip of Irish. My dad never talked about his heritage, but my mother has always been fiercely proud of her ancestry. I suppose that’s why I’ve always identified as Hungarian, the country with some of the world’s most beautiful women and a famously high rate of depression, pessimism and overall gloominess. After my grandparents had passed, photos of my great grandparents emerged from dusty albums stored and long forgotten in their basement. My predecessors … Continue reading Hungarian Wine Tasting Review by Christine Havens

Visit a Winery: BIBICh in Dalmatia, Croatia

The Region Šibenik is an idyllic port city along the Dalmatian Coast, about an hour and a half from Split to the south, and Zadar to the north. Set against a backdrop of shimmering blue sea, the town is also an important access point to the Krka National Park and the Kornati Islands. The Winery The BIBICh Winery is located in the hills of Skradin, about 5 miles east of of Šibenik. Alen Bibić has really put the region on the map with consistently high-quality wines. Although Alen takes pride in indigenous varieties like the Zinfandel-related grapes Babić, Lasin, and Plavina, and the white Debit, he also enjoys working with international ones like Merlot and Syrah (Shiraz). Things to do and see The BIBICh winery offers special wine tasting menus that you will need to arrange ahead of time. Each wine is paired with a gourmet bite utilizing local products, thoughtfully put together by Alen’s wife, Vesna. While there is no onsite hotel, the nearby Villa Barbara hotel comes highly recommended. Located right by River Krka and the Skradin marina, Villa Barbara offers spacious apartments within walking distance of the local bus station. A trip to the Krka National Park … Continue reading Visit a Winery: BIBICh in Dalmatia, Croatia

Visit a Winery: Kabaj in Goriška Brda, Slovenia

The Region The border between Northeast Italy, and Western Slovenia runs from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea, dividing a terroir important to both. Known as ‘Collio’ in Italy, and ‘Brda’ in Slovenia, their shared meaning is ‘hills’. Due to its proximity to both the Alps and the Adriatic sea, Brda enjoys climate conditions most favorable for growing vines as well as cherries, peaches, apricots, pears, apples, figs, plums, and olives. Winters are mild and summers can be hot. Cool northeast winds help remove humidity and mildew in the vineyards. The region is known for white varieties such as Rebula, Sauvignonasse (formerly Tocai Fruilano), Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc as well as international reds like Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Winery Winemaker Jean-Michel Morel is originally from France but after meeting his wife Katja Kabaj in a nearby Italian winery, decided to relocate to Slovenia and rebuild the Kabaj family estate. Jean-Michel, a Wine & Spirits Magazine 100 Wineries winner in 2013, makes world-class wines using local varieties and winemaking techniques. His skin-macerated white wines including Rebula (known as ‘the queen of Brda’), Ravan (an old local name for the grape formerly known as Tocai Friullano) and Sivi … Continue reading Visit a Winery: Kabaj in Goriška Brda, Slovenia

Visit a Winery: Schuchmann Wines Chateau in Kakheti, Georgia

The Region Kakheti is Georgia’s largest and premier wine region. Located in the eastern part of the country, sharing borders with Russia to the northeast and Azerbaijan to the southeast. Kakheti is also culturally rich with many historic monasteries, castles, and small hilltop towns. Although Georgia is home to over 500 indigenous grape varieties, the two most popular are Saperavi (red) and Rkatsiteli (white), which thrive especially well in the region. The Winery German-born Burkhard Schuchmann founded his eponymous winery in 2008 after falling in love with Georgian wines and feeling compelled to share them on a global scale. Burkhard was always a wine connoisseur and discovered Georgia, one of the oldest wine producing regions, through his travels. The winery is located in the village of Kisiskhevi within the Kakheti wine district. It produces wines out of three vineyard sites: Napareuli, Tsinandali, and Kindzmarauli, and mostly uses native Georgian grape varieties: Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane, Kisi, and Saperavi. Things to do and see The Schuchmann team can help coordinate accommodations at their chateau, wine pairing with local delicacies at the onsite restaurant, and custom wine tasting experiences. Offsite excursions are also available such as horseback riding through Kakheti and touring historical monasteries. … Continue reading Visit a Winery: Schuchmann Wines Chateau in Kakheti, Georgia

Visit a Winery: Gere in Villány, Hungary

The Region Located in southern Hungary near the Croatian border, Villány is one of Hungary’s top wine regions. About a 1,5 hour drive from Budapest, it has a well-developed tourism infrastructure and is known for its quality red and rosé wines. The region’s warm, sunny climate is ideal for the indigenous red variety Portugieser. “Bordeaux” varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc have also found a home here. The Winery Gere winery may be one of the largest in the region, but careful attention is still paid to every wine. The organically grown grapes are hand-harvested and sorted. The combination of tradition and modern technology give as result fresh, easy drinking wines such as Olaszrizling, Rosé and Portugieser, all the way to rich, full bodied, age-worthy cuvees and single-varietal wines from Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or even from Tempranillo, Syrah and Pinot Noir. To utilize natural antioxidants, the winery has also its own production of health care products from grapes, such as 100% grape seed oil, and grape seed micro extract. Things to do and see Create a complete experience at Gere Winery including accommodations, gourmet restaurant, and wine tasting! Crocus Gere Wine Hotel is Villány’s 1st … Continue reading Visit a Winery: Gere in Villány, Hungary