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President’s Column December 2017

by Averill Shepps—

 

December for the Wine Society means that elections will be held for Officers and Directors to serve on the Board for the coming year, 2018. Some of you may not know that our By Laws allow for members to vote. The elections will take place during the monthly meeting to be held at 6:30 PM on Monday, December 13th at the Harrisburg Hilton.  If you wish to vote, you are welcome to attend. In fact you are welcome to attend any of our meetings. They are normally held at the Hilton on the 2nd Monday of each month. The upcoming meeting dates are announced in the Newsletter. Rarely we may have weather issues or other problems so that a meeting may be postponed. You may always call the Hilton to check on the date, as we are listed on the events for the evening.

 

A nominating committee appointed by the Board has announced the slate of names of those who have agreed to run for the various positions. They are exactly the same as the officers and directors listed on the 2nd page of this Newsletter so that I do not need to repeat that information here. But most importantly, having the same Board members willing to serve again means that everyone is happy with their jobs and willing to continue contributing their efforts for PWS. This is an unusual situation, but what it means is that stability is assured for the coming year, and perhaps will extend beyond 2018. Your Board is filled with dedicated individuals who want to assure that PWS continues and thrives. We all want to keep learning about wine and to share our passion with others.

 

BYOB Himalayan fusion

by Bill Beeson

Himalayan fusion in Patton Place off Linglestown Road – 2308 Patton Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110

Web: www.himalayanfusiononline.com Phone: 717-412-4907

Hours: Tu-Th 11A-2:30P/ 4P-9P; Fr 11A-2:30P / 4P-10P; Sa: 11:30A-3P/4P-10P Su:11:30A-3P/ 4PM-9P. Lunch buffet daily during regular hours.

A new international cuisine venue with friendly and attentive service, reasonable pricing, and great food just emerged on the East Shore! Offering Indian and Nepalese dishes, Himalayan fusion opened two weeks ago. Seeing the signs for this specialty restaurant “coming soon”, we drove by almost daily until finally, on a Tuesday, we heard from a neighbor – “It’s open, and food’s great!” The first Friday evening, we were there! We found it delightful. Vegetables were exceptionally fresh and crisp; nothing exhibited the soggy texture of food prepared and held in the kitchen. My entrée took a bit longer than others’ but these short minutes were worth the wait, as we quickly realized upon presentation, that the dumplings were being prepared to order on site, real time.

The traditional samosas (no nuts) were delicious, as were the Chili Mo-Mo (beware if you don’t well-tolerate hot peppers). The garlic naan was light, airy, and well… perfect – not over garlicky. The bhagan bharta (slow cooked eggplant) and shrimp pakora (made with chick pea flour) were favorably reviewed by their consumer. The mango chicken ordered by another was also rated thumbs up. Our spicier dishes paired well with a 2008 Allegro Cadenza (Bordeaux style blend) and the lighter dishes nicely with a 2016 Fabre Rosé from Provence. Riesling would also be a good varietal to grab on your way to dinner here. Wine glasses available if you forget to pack your Riedel.

This establishment seems VERY allergy-aware and careful – menu items are coded (V) vegan; (N) contains nuts; and (GF) gluten free – very much appreciated by our team! There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly entrees. Any dish can be prepared to your preferred level of heat as well. We plan to catch Sunday brunch there at our next opportunity!

Presidents Column November 2017

by Averill Shepps—

People send me emails, news articles, etc., all about wine. They keep me fairly well-informed. If I wanted to stop reading about wine and just drink it, I would not able to. A recent email forwarded by Dave Williams referenced an article from the renowned British publication, Punch. Author Jon Bonne writes of areas in France outside of Beaujolais, where the Gamay grape is being grown. He claims that “The world is currently in love with Gamay – soulful and passionate love, not the   tawdry one-night stand that is Beaujolais Nouveau.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, he goes on, “…while I adore the recent intellectualism, Gamay remains a wine of pleasure: it can be both meditated upon and, unlike Burgundy, drunk – actually drunk – with abandon. Pinot wants to be loved, Gamay wants to f—. It is the quintessential object of alt-desire, a sex toy for grape nerds. And that lust means we’re going to need a lot more good Gamay in the world.” And now I suppose I have your attention!

Those of you who attended the June Beaujolais event have already enjoyed some of the pleasures that Gamay has to offer. We are talking (no specific plans yet, but research is continuing) of having another Beaujolais tasting so that if you didn’t attend in June, you will have another chance to taste what is happening with Gamay. Meanwhile I will be looking into some of the areas where Gamay is still being grown – Cote Roannaise in the upper reaches of the Loire Valley as well as other parts of the Loire, namely Montlouis and Vouvray. There is such a thing as Sparkling Gamay made there. Imagine, 2 pleasures at once – the effervescence of the bubbles combined with the above mentioned qualities of Gamay. It must be tried!!

 

BYOB Moonlight Cafe

by Jacy Hammacher—

Moonlight Café, 4140 Carlisle Road; Dover, PA 17315   (717) 292-5643

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover!  When we pulled up to this particular BYOB, to celebrate being married for 10 years, my husband and I noticed the ordinary façade and later discovered it was not an indication of the top-quality food we were about to experience. There wasn’t an empty parking spot and it was a full house of around twelve tables, full of wine-loving foodies. We were seated fairly quickly; and, as we pulled our wine selections out, our server brought two wine glasses and a corkscrew so as to not keep our thirst unquenched.

My husband (or date should I say?) and I chose to start our evening with the Moonlight Crab Dip appetizer. The crab itself was so rewarding that I could have stopped there, but it also left me wondering what else could be on the menu that would satisfy my palate. As I perused the choices, I noticed that they offer a nice selection of categories that would complement a variety of wines.

We brought a 2009 Lingenfelder Shoy, made from the Scheurebe grape, which was full bodied, yet refreshing with a slight peach nose. Therefore, I was in the mood for some more seafood to pair with it. I ordered the Shrimp Champagne, which is raspberry cream sauce, tomato, mushroom, and spinach over fettuccine noodles and shrimp. The mix of flavors between food and wine made my taste buds dance!

Chris, on the other hand, was looking to have something that would accompany this big, bold, California Cab that had rich backing spices, and a smidgen of espresso bean. He made the only logical decision he could and ordered the Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon over a mountain of mashed potatoes and broccoli with balsamic glaze.  Needless to say, we will be eating there again soon.

 

President’s Column October 2017

by Averill Shepps—

Those of you who frequent the Lemoyne Fine Wine and Spirits Store get Kirt’s weekly email telling you what wines will be tasted on Friday and Saturday (I call it “the pub” because it has that same feel. You meet your friends there). This week he has sent a link to information and statistics relating to the US Wine Industry in 2016 that I found very interesting. Most important is that revenues for US wine sales estimated at $39.8 billion, show a 5% increase. Total US Wine Sales Revenue including imports is estimated at $60 billion. The number of US wineries in 2017 = 9019, up 4% from 2016. The 5 largest states by number of wineries: California – 4202; Washington = 747; Oregon = 713; New York = 385; Texas = 287.

Consumer information reveals that 120 million or approximately 36%, drink wine. 57% are female and 43% are male. (You go, girls!). 38% drink wine weekly (No comment there..). The largest wine consuming generations are Millennials and Baby Boomers. The 5 most popular wine varietals are: 1) Chardonnay; 2) Cabernet Sauvignon; 3) Red Varietals; 4) Pinot Grigio; 5) Pinot Noir. Some hot varietals and trends for 2017: Sparkling Wines are continuing to show double digit growth. Consumers are expected to crave more bubbles in 2017. (I intend to do my part). Rose is still all the rage. (We will have a tasting featuring them next Spring). Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand, shows strong increases. Finally, it is expected that consumers will continue to trade up to more expensive wines. That is where PWS is important to you. We feature fine wines at our tastings so that consumers can learn what they like, and buy, knowing they will enjoy their wine purchase.

Our Wine Tour of Tuscany by Scott Casper

Some of our favorite wines come from Tuscany so we wanted to take a wine tour of the region. The appellations we visited were: Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico. The appellation we looked forward to visiting is one of the most prestigious in the world, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. Of the wineries we visited in the Brunello zone, our favorites were Altesino and Val di Suga.

We wanted to visit Altesino because we drank more of their Brunello than any other and really liked it. Altesino has a good working relationship with the PLCB that over the years has benefited the winery and Pennsylvania wine consumers. The winery staff was pleased to hear that we were from PA. We had their 2012 Brunello that was very good AND it is currently available in the state system. But the “show stopper” at the tasting was their Montesoli, their single vineyard, estate flagship wine. That was excellent! It should be. It costs over $100 a bottle!

Val di Suga produces three single vineyard, estate Brunellos. Each vineyard has a very different type of soil; therefore, the three Brunellos taste and smell completely different. That made for a very special tasting. I particularly looked forward to this winery visit because I have a 1999 Spuntali Vineyard Brunello. The Spuntali soil is very interesting because it’s ocean floor with lots of seashells. It’s not something you would expect in southcentral Tuscany but the ocean receded from this area millions of years ago.

The gracious and knowledgeable woman who conducted the cellar tour and tasting was astounded that I had a Spuntali from 1999. She asked, “where did you ever find it?” I told her I found it in a “magical place” called the West Shore Plaza Wine and Spirits Store in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania back in 2007. I said, “They even had a special name for it. They called it a Chairman’s Selection.”

The first appellation we went to in Tuscany was Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG. The famous winery Poliziano was our first stop. The winery secured a reputation for consistently producing fine wines for many years. After the cellar tour, we went to their modern tasting room where the winery manager conducted the tasting. We had five of their wines. All of their wines were spectacular! Our next stop in the appellation was at Gattevecchi. Instead of having their wines in a tasting room, we had them with lunch on their small outside deck high up in the mountains. We had four of their wines with as many courses and they were all perfect pairings. The view, the wines and the food were “trifecta” winners!

The last appellation we visited in Tuscany was Chianti Classico DOCG. The Classico region is different from Chianti DOCG. Chianti Classico produces the best wines overall compared to Chianti, Chianti Rufina or Colli Senesi. You can easily identify the Classico wines with the symbol of their DOCG, a black rooster, on the upper label of every bottle produced there. We went to five wineries in the Chianti Classico zone. Our favorite was Vecchie Terre di Montefili. This is a small production winery that makes fine artisan wines. It was formerly a monastery high up in the mountains. The monks planted the vineyards and started to make the first wines here. They later sold the estate and it became a commercial winery.

Vecchie Terre di Montefili is a beautiful place. The views were breathtaking due to its elevation. It has two ponds among its vineyards with tall, full shade trees at the winery building. Both the winery and house had abundant plantings of beautiful flowers in full bloom. We had five wines including a thirteen-year old Super Tuscan. They were all stellar. Tuscany is remarkably scenic and the wines of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino (see last month’s newsletter) and Chianti Classico are among the best in Italy and the world!

President’s Column September 2017

by Averill Shepps—

The PWS Board met in July for its annual planning meeting. We have found that taking time away from monthly meetings to reflect on our purpose and direction and then framing a schedule of events for the year is very constructive. Staying on after the meeting to share wine and food helped to bond the group as well. We want to continue to offer you events at different levels of wine experience; from entry level for those starting out on their wine journey, to events that will appeal to the more experienced.

We also affirmed our goal of having some events that are more social in nature so that members can get to know each other in an informal setting. We want to offer you a variety of speakers and presenters, striving to make the tastings educational and entertaining.

Some of the subjects we hope to cover in 2018: South African wines (they continue to improve and be more available); New Zealand wines (increasingly popular); Alsace wines (a seldom covered area yet one with extraordinary wines); Wines from Italy (always popular).

Exploring the subject of grape variety, we want to offer you tastings on Cabernet Franc (no longer just a blending grape); Chardonnay (one of the most widely grown grapes in the world); Rose (more and more popular) and High-End Burgundy (no further explanation needed). We would also like to offer you a Vertical tasting (though this presents unique problems because of the PA wine laws); a social event at Waltz Winery; a presentation of Blair wines (Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir!); and never forget that in January we will have the 16th year of PA Wine Excellence. Happy 2018 everyone!!

President’s Column August 2017

by Averill Shepps___

A subject I could barely touch on when presenting the Beaujolais tasting last month was the amazing life and contribution of Georges DuBoeuf. He was born in 1933 into a peasant family who did subsistence farming to survive in a village near Pouilly Fuisse in the Maconnais region. His father died when he was very young and he was raised by his uncle and older brother. When 16 years old, he got on his bicycle with a few bottles of wine and took them to a nearby restaurant to sell them. The restaurants were pleased with the wines and continued to buy. He gradually built up a clientele but was careful to handle the best wines from the best producers he could find, knowing that the restaurants would then depend on him for quality He bought an old van, and even fitted it with a bottling machine so that he could bottle wine for the farmer/winemakers who could not afford to buy their own equipment. Gradually his business grew and grew as he provided a way for all the small producers to market their wines. At the same time the whole area was benefitting from the influx of cash. Subsistence farming evolved into a healthy economy. Is it any surprise that Georges is now known as the “King of Beaujolais” or “Ambassador for Beaujolais. There are a couple of books that I can recommend, “Man on a Bicycle”, the best known and which I have not read but will, and “I’ll Drink to That”, by Rudolph Chelminsky, which I have read and from which I learned a great deal, especially of how DuBoeuf, with a very humble but hard-working start to life, was able to accomplish so much not only for himself, but for the whole area from which he came.

President’s Column July 2017

by Averill Shepps

 

Once a year the PWS Board gets together for a planning meeting where we discuss the goals of the Society and look at possible events to be held in the coming year. Our meeting this year, hosted by Cathy Boyd, will be held July 8th.  If you have any ideas for tastings that you would like us to consider, please contact me or any Board member before that date.

Another Board announcement, we accepted the resignations of Marc Perrone and Natalie Scavo, and have appointed Brett Kern to complete Natalie’s Director term.

One of the joys of working on the PWS Board is being able to plan and host events. Some are planned by the speaker, often a representative for a winery or an importer, or someone from another part of the wine business. Other events we do ourselves, researching the subject, selecting the wines, making arrangements with the Hilton, preparing a budget, writing Newsletter articles, and presenting finally the wines at the event. What I enjoy most is the research, and I’m not only talking about trying the wines with wine-loving friends to decide which should be presented, but also reading about the grapes, the wineries, the area, and of course the terroir.

I study in depth about a wine that I already enjoy and plan how best to present it to you, so that you can share my passion. I try to order the tasting so that you leave having gained valuable knowledge. I am doing all of that planning and thinking about the Beaujolais tasting coming up in June. One of the greatest benefits is that I learn more about the subject, in this case the Gamay grape, about the wines and how they have improved in quality, and even about the area they come from. I read that it is one of the most delightful to visit because it is so picturesque – rounded hills, quiet roads, small towns and villages, and not overrun with tourists. It is on my bucket list.

 

Healthy BYOB Mellow Minded Cafe

by Lynne Beeson

 

Mellow Minded Café – Living, Loving, Local  at 5943 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17112  717-412-7120

Hours: M-Tu 11-4; W-Th  11-8; F-Sa 9 -9; Su 9-3

 

This is our frequent go-to when we want to avoid the Friday interstate traffic snarls, and still want a good meal!   This place is family friendly, reasonably priced, and the best we’ve found among local ‘vegetarian-or-not’ places.   It’s casual, with counter walk-up service, but food is brought piping hot to your table when ready…so you can order, then sit back, pop a cork, and settle in a bit and chat before your food arrives.

Great care is taken with allergens, food restrictions, and preferences – including gluten free, dairy free, and vegan notations on the menus – the people behind the counter know what’s in each recipe, or will check with the chef if they don’t.  There’s something for everyone from small plates (prosciutto wrapped asparagus with balsamic) to large plates (fajitas your way) and from salads (add fish, shellfish or steak) to smoothies (from a fruit cornucopia – whatever you wish), But on to the fabulous FRESH food we enjoyed last visit, and the local wines we paired!

This visit, our dining trio started with the tomato bisque, which is gluten free, thick yet creamy, and oh so good. We paired soup with Allegro Brut Rosé.   Moving on to entrees, we sampled the crab cake dinner – one humongous lump crab cake on creamy parmesan risotto with grilled asparagus; the specially marinated, then BBQ tofu sandwich on brioche with very fresh, organic mixed greens on the side; and “the burger” (no roll this time to really savor the burger) made with locally raised, grass fed beef, topped with garlic aioli, lettuce and tomato also with a side of lightly dressed organic greens. With these we paired Allegro 2014 Skin Chardonnay, and the awesome, drinking-at-its-best right now, Allegro 2002 Reserve Merlot – every weekend should start this way!   You must check out this place.   Mellow Minded also serves breakfast – we keep planning to do that – it just hasn’t yet happened – but it will as we keep coming back and have yet to be disappointed.