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Nov 18, 2018







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Sampling wines at last year’s Winter Wine Spectacular. Courtesy photo.




Seacoast Winter Wine Festival

Can’t get enough of Wine Week? The Seacoast’s annual Winter Wine Festival runs Friday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 15, at Wentworth by the Sea (588 Wentworth Road, New Castle, 422-7322, winterwinefestival.com). New events have been added to the 2015 program after last year’s events all sold out. Visit winterwinefestival.com.
A Big Tasting: Friday, Jan. 16, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., in the Grand Ballroom with Master Sommelier candidate Tom Gannon, and Friday, Feb. 6, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom with an array of Old World and New World wine tasting in a walk-around environment with pairings from SALT chefs. Tickets for either tasting cost $65.33 (includes service charge and tax). 
Grand Vintner’s Dinner: Four-course dinners with winemakers and sommeliers in the Grand Ballroom. Reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Dates include: Saturday, Jan. 17, with Jackson Family Wines and winemaker Laura Diaz Munoz of Galerie by Jackson Family Wines and Wentworth by the Sea’s Chef Ken Lingle; Saturday, Jan. 24, with Master Sommelier Michael Jordan and guest chef Ryan Phillips of La Bella Vita Restaurants; Friday, Jan. 30, with Castello Banfi CEO Christina Mariani-May and guest chef Truman Jones of Lake Placid Lodge; Saturday, Jan. 31, with winemaker Carol Shelton and Wentworth by the Sea’s chef Ken Lingle; Saturday, Feb. 7, with J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Director of Winemaking, Jeff Meier and Wentworth by the Sea’s Chef Ken Lingle. Tickets cost $137.27 (includes service charge and tax). 
Bubbles & Jazz Sunday Brunch: Brunch specials in the Grand Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, including Sunday, Jan. 18, with Rotari Brut and Rose of Italy; Sunday, Jan. 25, with La Marca Prosecco; Sunday, Feb. 1, with Carpené Malvoti Prosecco and Rose of Italy; Sunday, Feb. 15, with Sofia Blanc de Blanc. Tickets cost $58.79 (includes service charge and tax).
Flight Nights: Special wine flights at SALT Lounge held Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. from Monday, Jan. 19, through Thursday, Feb. 12. Each evening features a flight of three wines (with different wines each night) with antipasto and small chef’s plates. Prices range from $12 to $16. Tickets and reservations are not required for Flight Nights.
• Shell-Shocked: Oyster and wine tastings in SALT Lounge, from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, and Thursday, Feb. 5. Reservations and tickets are not required for Shell-Shocked tastings. Oysters served a la carte at $3 each. 
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere: The only spirit tasting at the Winter Wine Festival is on Friday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. at Latitudes Restaurant with guest mixologist Ben Lord of Black Birch Restaurant, Kittery, Maine. Includes spirits and four courses from chef Ken Lingle, his spin on “beach shack food.” Tickets cost $65.33 (includes service charge and tax).
 
2015 Wine Trends
It appears that what was hot in the wine world in 2014 will continue to trend into 2015. Currently, wine consumption in the United States has grown two-fold, said Brassard Jordan. 
“It’s a fun time to be in the wine business,” she said. “What seems to be happening is there’s varietals that are still hot, of course malbec being one. … Blends are pretty hot right now. Every winery seems to be coming out with them.”
As a winemaker, Rossbach has recently been observing the rise of one trend and the end of another.
“The No. 1 wine trend that I see happening — and it’s a global trend — balance is returning,” he said. “For many years people were looking for the biggest, most intense, most powerful wine, and those wines are fascinating and interesting, but they don’t stand the test of time.”
Those intense “supercharged, high-alcohol, fruit-bomb wines,” he said, don’t tend to work well with a wide variety of food. He’s been noticing that balanced wines with intensity in fruit acidity (but modesty in alcohol) are all the talk of wine writers, restaurateurs and sommeliers.
“Another category that is still extremely small but is taking hold is sake,” Brassard Jordan said. “We actually have a sake producer coming to Wine Week. … It’s still a relatively small category, but people seem to be wanting more selections.”
Also on Brassard Jordan’s radar are rosé wines, which she said were popular in 2014 here in New Hampshire, and she’s predicting another hot year. 
“Typically, rosé is a small-production wine from most wineries,” Brassard Jordan said. “They basically put them together for a release in spring for Easter and then going into the summer. … We’re seeing that a lot of consumers want rosé all year round.”
Rosé is known for its pink colors, with hues ranging from a pale blush to deep reds. Variety in the grapes used to produce rosé wines allows for a wide array of flavors, from very fruity to very dry.
“It’s actually very exciting because there are a lot of rosés out there,” Brassard Jordan said. “This is not your white zinfandel. … They are stunning. They have complexity — they’re dry, they’re quaffable, they’re just really, really nice to have chilled and sipping in the summer time. I actually like them around the holidays because they go well with spicy food, too. And they’re beautiful, that pretty pink color.”
 
Wine Week Events
Visit nhwineweek.com to learn more about New Hampshire Wine Week programming. Reservations are required for wine dinners.
 
Monday, Jan. 26
Bottle signings and tastings 
Maria Helm-Sinskey of Robert Sinskey Vineyards from 4 to 6 p.m. at NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, Manchester North End location, 1100 Bicentennial Drive, Manchester.
 
Tuesday, Jan. 27
Bottle signings and tastings 
Howard Rossback of Firesteed Cellars from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet Store at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, 500 Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth.
 
Wine dinners 
• With Guillaume Touton from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at bluAqua Restaurant (292 Route 101, Amherst, 673-4321, bluaquanh.com). Five-course wine dinner with the president of winemaking and co-founder of Monsieur Touton Selection.
• With Carol Shelton from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bedford Village Inn (2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford, 472-2001, bedfordvillageinn.com). 
• With Michael Honig from 6 to 8 p.m. at Orchard Street Chop Shop (1 Orchard St., Dover, 749-0006, orchardstreetchopshop.com). Napa Valley wines paired with chef creations.
• With Howard Rossbach from 6 to 8 p.m. at Stages at One Washington (1 Washington St., Dover, 842-4077, stages-dining.com) dinner with Firesteed Cellars wines. Tickets cost $125.
• With Daniel Moore from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mombo (66 Macy St., Portsmouth, 433-2340, momborestaurant.com) featuring Peter Paul wines. Tickets cost $75. 
• With Duck Pond Cellars & Desert Wine from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hancock Inn (33 Main St., Hancock, 525-3318). Tickets cost $75. 
 
Wednesday, Jan. 28
Oregon Pioneers “Mini Pinot Camp” Seminar from 4:30 to 6:45 p.m. at LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst, 672-9898, labellewinerynh.com) seminar on pinot noir with four winemakers from four Oregon wineries. Tickets cost $40. Registration required.
 
Bottle signings and tastings 
Geoff Whitman of Michael Mondavi Family Estate from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, Manchester North End location, 1100 Bicentennial Drive, Manchester; and from 2 to 4 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 9 Leavy Drive, Bedford.
Scott Anderson of J Vineyard from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet at the Market Basket plaza in Plaistow, 32 Plaistow Road, Plaistow; from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 417 S. Broadway, Salem; and from 5 to 7 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 25 Coliseum Ave., Nashua. 
Jessica Tomei from Cupcake from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 80 Storrs St., Concord; and from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, at the Market Basket Plaza, 34 Nashua Road, Londonderry; and from 5 to 7 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 25 Coliseum Ave., Nashua.
• Marco Fizialetti of Castello di Querceto from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, located at the Southgate Mall, 269 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua; and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 25 Coliseum Ave., Nashua.
Kat McDonald of Art + Farm Wine from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, at the Powerhouse Plaza, 10 Benning Drive, Route 12A, West Lebanon.
Maria Helm-Sinskey of Robert Sinskey Vineyards from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, 500 Woodbury Ave.
Guillaume Bousquet of Domaine Bousquet from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, located at the Globe Plaza Route 302, 68 Meadow St., Littleton.
Gianni Abate of Morgan Winery from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 25 Coliseum Ave., Nashua. 
Jennifer Wall of Barefoot from 5 to 7 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 25 Coliseum Ave., Nashua. 
 
Wine dinners 
• With Antonio Zaccheo from 6 to 8 p.m. at Patty B’s (34 Dover Point Road, Dover, 749-4181, pattybs.com) dinner featuring Carpineto wines from Tuscany. Tickets $60.
• With Marco Fizialetti from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cucina Toscana (427 Amherst St., Nashua, 821-7356, cucinatoscananashua.com) five-course dinner with wine pairings from Castello Di Querceto wines. Tickets $75. 
• With Mick Schroeter from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mombo (66 Macy St., Portsmouth, 433-2340, momborestaurant.com) dinner with Sonoma-Cutrer wines. Tickets cost $65. 
• With Tatiana Nessier from 6 to 8 p.m. at The New London Inn (353 Main St., New London, 626-2971, thenewlondoninn.com) five-course dinner with Alamos and Gascon Wineries of Argentina.
• With Maria Helm-Sinskey from 6 to 8 p.m. at Black Trumpet (29 Ceres St., Portsmouth, 431-0887, blacktrumpetbistro.com). 
• With Allessandro Palumbo from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Café Mediterráneo (119 Congress St., Portsmouth, 427-5563, cafe-mediterraneo.com) four-course dinner with Luiano Winery wines. Tickets cost $50.
• With Duck Pond Cellars & Desert Wine from 6:30 to 8 p.m. with Lisa (Fries) & Scott Jenkins at Mile Away Restaurant (52 Federal Hill Road, Milford, 673-3904, mileawayrestaurant.com). Tickets $79.
• With Kat McDonald from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Bistro Nouveau (6 Clubhouse Lane, Grantham, 863-8000, bistronouveau.com) with Art + Farm Wines. Tickets cost $65.
• With Marc Mondavi at 6:30 p.m. at PINE at The Hanover Inn Dartmouth (2 E. Wheelock St., Hanover, 646-8000, pineathanoverinn.com) featuring Charles Krug wines. Tickets cost $85.
• With Tiffany Erickson from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Epoch Restaurant and Bar at the Exeter Inn (2 Pine St., Exeter, 778-3762, epochrestaurant.com) featuring Geyser Peak wines.
• With Tondi Bolkan from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Sky Meadow Country Club (6 Mountain Laurels Drive, Nashua, 888-9000, skymeadow.com) featuring Francis Ford Coppola wines.
• With Guillaume Bousquet from 7 to 9 p.m. at Omni Mount Washington Hotel (310 Mt. Washington Hotel Road, Bretton Woods, 278-1000, omnihotels.com). 
Oregon Pioneers from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst, 672-9898, labellewinerynh.com). Five-course wine dinner with five wineries represented. Tickets cost $100.
• With Jed Steele, reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:15 p.m., at O Steak & Seafood (11 S. Main St., Concord, 856-7925). Tickets cost $55. 
• With Jon Emmerich at 6 p.m. at Hanover Street Chophouse (149 Hanover St., Manchester, 644-2467, hanoverstreetchophouse.com) six-course wine dinner with Silverado Vineyards wines. Tickets $95.
• With Jay Turnipseed at 6 p.m. at Manchester Country Club (180 S. River Road, Bedford, 792-6917). Tickets cost $85.
• With Steve & Lori Felten at 6 p.m. at TekNique (170 Route 101, Bedford, 488-5629). Tickets cost $85.
• With Pablo Piccolo at 7 p.m. at Granite Restaurant at the Centennial Inn (96 Pleasant St., Concord, 227-9000). Tickets cost $55.
 
Thursday, Jan. 29
12th Annual Easter Seals Winter Wine Spectacular from 6 to 9 p.m. at Radisson Hotel Downtown Manchester (700 Elm St., Manchester). Wine tastings from over 1,500 wines, plus winemakers and food from area restaurants. Tickets cost $65, or $125 for access to both the Grand Tasting and Bellman’s Cellar Select. Visit easterseals.com/nh or call 888-368-8880.
 
Bottle signings and tastings 
Geoff Whitman of Michael Mondavi Family Estate from 11 a.m. to to 12:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, located at the Market Basket plaza in Plaistow, 32 Plaistow Road, Plaistow; and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 417 S. Broadway, Salem.
Marco Fizialetti of Castello di Querceto from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 9 Leavy Drive, Bedford.
Antonio Zaccheo Jr. of Carpineto from 1 to 3 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 68 Elm St., Manchester.
Michael Schroeter from Sonoma-Cutrer from 1 to 3 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, 500 Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth.
Scott Anderson of J Vineyard from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 80 Storrs St., Concord.
Cristina Mariani-May from Castello Banfi from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, Manchester North End location, 1100 Bicentennial Drive, Manchester.
Jessica Tomei from Cupcake from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 9 Leavy Drive, Bedford.
 
Friday, Jan. 30
Wine tastings
Castello Banfi with Cristina Mariani-May from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet on Interstate 95-North, North Hampton. 
 
Bottle signings and tastings 
Cristina Mariani-May from Castello Banfi from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, 500 Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth.
• Carol Shelton from 4 to 6 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet, 25 Coliseum Ave., Nashua.
Eleanor and Albert Leger of Eden Ice Cider from 4 to 6 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, 500 Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth.
 
Wine dinners
• With Nadia Zenato from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bedford Village Inn (2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford, 472-2001, bedfordvillageinn.com) dinner featuring pairings of Zenato wines. 
 
Saturday, Jan. 31
Bottle signings and tastings 
Carol Shelton from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, 500 Woodbury Ave., Portsmouth.
 
Wine dinners
• With Carol Shelton from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wentworth by the Sea (588 Wentworth Road, New Castle, 422-7322, wentworth.com). Tickets cost $137.27. 




Experience a world of wine
Wine week returns to New Hampshire

01/15/15



 Bottle signings, meet-and-greets with wine celebrities, tastings, wine dinners and more — you’ll find it all at New Hampshire Wine Week, which runs from Monday, Jan. 26, through Sunday, Feb. 1.

Now in its 10th year, Wine Week brings the stars of the wine world to the Granite State. There will be winemakers from Washington and Oregon, vintners from Napa Valley and Sonoma and wines made in Italy, Argentina, France and even New Hampshire and Vermont.
In its annual round-up of all things Wine Week, Hippo spoke with winemakers about what they’re looking forward to this year, from the 12th annual Winter Wine Spectacular — Wine Week’s largest event, a sell-out each year — and Bellman’s Cellar Select to the wine seminars and dinners, plus what’s trending in the wine world now.
Spectacular pours
The highlight of New Hampshire Wine Week is the Easter Seals Winter Wine Spectacular, happening this year on Thursday, Jan. 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester. The Grand Tasting event features over 1,500 quality wines — and just as many people in attendance. 
“It’s crazy the amount of people coming in to support the Winter Wine Spectacular,” NH Liquor Commission’s Wine Marketing and Sales Specialist Nicole Brassard Jordan said. “The list just keeps growing.”
It’s a popular event in the wine world too, as winemakers from all over the globe participate in the annual tasting, including a large group of wineries from Italy, Oregon and southern California.
“The word just keeps spreading, and of course it sells out,” Brassard Jordan said. 
Some of the personalities in attendance this year that Brassard Jordan is looking forward to seeing include Gianni Abate of Morgan Winery, Antonio Zaccheo Jr. from Carpineto Grandi Vini di Toscana, and Jed Steele from Steele Winery.
“We’re welcoming some people we’ve never had come into the state before,” Brassard Jordan said. “Really just about all these wineries are household names.”
California winemaker Jay Turnipseed of Franciscan Estate is one of the personalities attending for the first time, as is Howard Rossbach, president and founder of Firesteed Cellars in Oregon.
“I’m excited because I’ve ... learned about it from meeting members of the New Hampshire wine industry over the past several years,” Rossbach said. “What New Hampshire does is what I think is really unique amongst controlled states.”
Castello Banfi has participated in Wine Week several times, and this year will be co-CEO Cristina Mariani-May’s second trip. As a member of the third generation of family leadership of Italian vintners, she says it’s exciting to come to the Granite State.
“It’s a fabulous opportunity to get in front of the customer and talk, to tell our story and get some good wine in people’s hands,” Mariani-May said. “To get that feedback, to get that reaction and to hear the comments back is always truly inspiring. … That, I think, is something that is very rewarding compared to other events.”
Rossbach, too, said the event helps make wine less intimidating to consumers.
“I think the industry over the years has made it too intimidating, and it shouldn’t be,” Rossbach said. “I think that’s one of the great things New Hampshire has done with Wine Week is to break down the barriers. … That is totally unique. I think New Hampshire is in a tremendous leadership position in this.”
“We’re giving them [winemakers] really the frontlines to be able to reach consumers and talk to them during Wine Week,” Brassard Jordan said. 
With so many wines from all over the world, it can be a little daunting to walk into the Grand Tasting without a plan. To navigate the varietals and vintners, try to make a list of the specific wines you want to try, whether you’re waiting in line with your program or if you browse the personalities in advance on nhwineweek.com.
Brassard Jordan recommends thinking ahead and narrowing down wines by varietal or by which personalities you’d like to meet. 
“I would prioritize the things that you really like and what you’d really like to experience at the Winter Wine Spectacular, because there’s a bit of everything,” she said. 
She also encourages guests to “sip and spit” (“It’s absolutely the professional thing to do,” she said). Sipping each wine — instead of drinking the wines — is the best way to taste the most. Even though winemakers will pour more than a sip into your tasting glass, guests are encouraged to dump the remaining wine (and even spit out any wine) into the buckets placed at each table. 
The Easter Seals Winter Wine Spectacular is one of the nonprofit’s largest fundraising events all year. Ticket sales help benefit the work of Easter Seals New Hampshire, and over the past decade, the event has raised well over $1 million for the organization.
“We help an awful lot of people through the proceeds of that event,” Brassard Jordan said. “It’s a feel-good thing all the way around. … It’s helping a charity that does so much in the state of New Hampshire.”
 
VIP access
Separate from the Grand Tasting — which is held in the ballroom and armory of the Radisson — is the Bellman’s Cellar Select tasting room. There, ticket-holders to the room can find exclusive wines at higher price points, more wine personalities and restaurants, too. 
“What’s funny about the Cellar Select room is that the people who buy the tickets, because they’re limited, they don’t leave,” said David Bellman of Bellman’s Jewelers, which sponsors the event. “You just have such a good time trying to taste all the wine in that area and the food there.”
Tickets cost extra for access to the Bellman’s Cellar Select room ($125 for access to both the Grand Tasting and Bellman’s Cellar Select and $65 for access to just the Grand Tasting). The VIP price comes with exclusive access in a more intimate setting than the Grand Tasting. Bellman’s Cellar Select is located in the restaurant next to the lobby of the Raddison. 
“The area is nice because it’s very comfortable, it’s closed in, it’s not wide open like the other area,” Bellman said. 
This year, attendees will be able to taste wines from Oregon like Domaine Serene and Beaux Frères, Italian wines like Masi and Damilano, and others like Inniskillin and Joseph Phelps. The wines poured in this room are unique, high-end and often hand-crafted wines. Price points for these wines are typically $30 and up.
“This is the chance to try all the fun stuff,” Bellman said. “It’s one thing when you’re going to spend $50 or $100 on a bottle of wine and you’re just going off somebody’s [opinion].”
Bellman likened the experience to walking into the liquor store and looking at the wines in the high-end section, except here, you can taste the wines and meet the winemaker who produced them.
“When I go, I try things that either are new or are something I’ve never seen before,” Bellman said. “That’s when you got your list with you and take down your notes.”
Local chefs will offer samples of high-end eats, too, from restaurants like XO on Elm, Buckley’s Great Steaks, Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries & Deli, Hanover Street Chophouse, O Steaks & Seafood, Republic and Campo Enoteca.
Bellman’s Cellar Select ticket-holders also qualify to win a piece of jewelry selected by Bellman’s Jewelers as a door prize. 
“It’s kind of another bonus to buying that ticket,” Bellman said. “You get the wines, the higher-end food and the raffle ticket.”
Bellman’s Jewelers also selects the diamond piece raffled off during the Winter Wine Spectacular. Raffle ticket proceeds go to Easter Seals.
 
Dinner with a winemaker
For foodies, the wine dinners are the best part of Wine Week, and with so many events, meet-and-greets, bottle signings and tastings, there’s no way you can do it all. If you do want to take advantage of the week and get to know a particular wine or winemaker, make a reservation for one of the wine dinners being held that week (see event listings).
“It really is worth taking the time to go have an intimate dinner with these winemakers,” Brassard Jordan said. “You get to see the crossover of wine and food and how they [winemakers] do what they do.”
Dinners are held at local New Hampshire restaurants with a guest winemaker or sommelier, with dishes prepared by the restaurant’s chef. The multi-course meals are paired with the wine of the guest winemaker or producer, who talks about the wines and answers questions. Rossbach will be participating in two dinners during wine week: one at Stages at One Washington in Dover and another at LaBelle Winery in Amherst. 
“I have one rule: there’s never a stupid question,” Rossbach said. “For the diner, it’s the opportunity to really delve into one winery’s wines over the course of a meal — and also the exquisite cuisine of the restaurant — and to see how well the different flavors work together.”
Wine dinners are also the only type of event (other than the Winter Wine Spectacular) where food meets wine.
“It’s going to make the pinot noir taste even better and even the food. You’ll really see that marriage of the two elements coming together,” said winemaker Amy LaBelle. “Wine is transformed by food. It can taste one way to you, but when you pair it with the right food — some wine is meant to have with food.”
“As a wine producer … I love to see how our wines pair with different foods with different regions around the world. I know that our riesling pairs particularly good with lobster,” Rossbach said. “To see how the regional chefs take their ingredients and ingredients from around the world in creating their cuisine — I love that. I’m a wine/food geek.”
Unlike a typical night out at a restaurant, wine dinners are by nature more social and open. The winemaker walks around, the chef usually comes out of the kitchen to speak to the whole dining room about a dish, and you may find yourself interacting with other diners around you.
“You get to sit down, enjoy the wine with a delicious meal ... and get to truly connect with other people around the table, because you’re not rushed,” said Mariani-May, who will be at Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle for a dinner during Wine Week.
Wine dinners are also an opportunity for anyone new to wine to see how it pairs with food. There’s no pressure; since the menu is prix fixe, all the choices have been made for you. 
“For a first timer, pay attention to how the food tastes by itself and how it tastes with wine [and] how wine tastes by itself [and] how wine tastes with food,” Rossbach said. “Also, you don’t have to drink every drop. It’s to be enjoyed, but it is alcohol, so pace yourself.”
 
One-on-one with pinot noir
New to this year’s Wine Week is an in-depth look at one varietal in particular: pinot noir.
“Comparing or contrasting a single varietal is the best way to talk about that varietal,” LaBelle said. 
LaBelle Winery will be hosting a “Mini Pinot Camp” seminar with four featured winemakers from Oregon, including David Adelsheim, founder of Adelsheim Vineyards; Wendy Lane, co-founder of Lane Estate Winery and Vineyards; Gary Horner, senior winemaker at Erath Winery; and Howard Rossbach, founder and president of Firesteed Cellars.
“I think that that event is just going to be truly an experience,” Brassard Jordan said. “Collectively, those winemakers promote the whole state of Oregon together. … It’s absolutely the New World growing area for pinot noir.”
The four Oregon winemakers will speak about pinot noir and their own wines during the intimate seminar. Guests will be able to taste and learn all about the varietal, how it’s made, how to pair it and all the nuances of the grape.
“And you’ve got the winemaker right there, so you can ask any question you want,” LaBelle said. 
The idea of the mini camp came when 50 Oregon wineries hosted a trade-only pinot camp last summer. Brassard Jordan attended and came up with the idea of bringing a smaller version of the varietal intensive to Wine Week, Rossbach said.
“Oregon is a totally unique wine producing area,” Rossbach said. “We’re actually further north than New Hampshire.”
In the summer, Oregon’s average temps range from 70 to 90 degrees with little humidity and rain from late fall to early spring.
“In the middle of summer, we get wonderful bright sunshine. It’s great for growing things, and we have those long summer days [that] become shorter days with long colder nights as our [fruit ripens],” Rossbach said. 
Like New Hampshire wines, Oregon wines develop a natural acidity because of those long cold nights as the fruit ripens. The similarities in the two states’ wines make for the perfect opportunity to dissect a specific varietal like pinot noir here in New Hampshire — and also to enjoy a wine dinner paired with four of the Oregon winemakers’ wines as well as a LaBelle Winery wine.
Oregon’s wine industry began about 50 years ago, and like New Hampshire, it wasn’t an area where wine was grown.
“The people that first planted there were considered pretty crazy and wild, but they persevered,” Rossbach said. “I think this will be maybe something that can help with the New Hampshire wine industry, too. We had to establish Oregon as a reputable producer of great wines where we could grow fabulous fruit and make world-class wines, and we’re now seeing the fruits of those labors.”
The seminar ends with a bottle-signing and is followed by a wine dinner. Guests can attend the seminar or the wine dinner, or both if they choose.
 
Wine in the digital age
Yes, there’s an app for that. In fact, there’s an app designed just for Wine Week events.
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission and wedü, a Web development and marketing company with offices in Manchester and New York City, collaborated on a design to make wine shopping and tasting even more user-friendly than last year. The app launched during last year’s Winter Wine Spectacular, allowing users to access a Web page through a browser on a mobile device, smartphone or tablet. An attendee could take notes on wines he liked and then select which wines he’d like to purchase. The order would be placed and the wines sent to a local New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet of the user’s choice for in-store purchase and pick-up.
The app returns this year with more features and more opportunities for a digital interface with wine.
“We’ve had the opportunity to refine things as we’ve gone,” said Loren Foxx of wedü. “We’re currently working on a number of enhancements to it.”
 It’s not an app that you can download or find on the app store; instead, New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet events and tastings that use the app will have a different URL code customized to that event.
One reason why the app is particularly helpful, Foxx said, is that when you’re at an event like the Winter Wine Spectacular, there are a lot of wines, a lot of information, and also a lot of things to carry — handouts and swag from winemakers, your bag and of course, your wine glass for tasting.
“The sheer number of tables and rooms — it can be overwhelming,” Foxx said. “It’s not easy to figure out what you actually want to take home unless you have a specific idea beforehand.”
“It’s also a really great way to take notes,” Brassard Jordan said. “If there are wines that you like, if you take notes on the wines on the app, we will email you your notes so even if you don't purchase wines that evening, you’ll get your notes as a shopping list.”
The app also applies discounts for you. 
Users can browse the app for certain winemakers and types of wine, too. Say you remember trying a cabernet sauvignon that you really liked, but you’re not sure of the name. Search for the cabs, and you’ll be able to browse the wines. Or if you remember meeting a winemaker but forgot the wine, you can search that way, too. 
“When you talk to [the wine celebs and winemakers] over the course of the night, this gives you the opportunity to record as you go,” Foxx said. 
 
As seen in the January 15, 2015 issue.





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