Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heat extends season for Missouri white wines

There's still three more weeks of summer and 100 still pops up occasionally in the forecast. So, there's still plenty of time and opportunity to pour white wine from Missouri. Here are some suggestions, in no particular order, from a great year of winery hopping.

Summit Lake Lewis & Clark: It's a dry, sophisticated blend of Vidal, Chardonel and Vignoles.

Native Stone Louis & Clark's Sweet Discovery: The explorer team covered a lot of ground, so it's no surprise that they'd leave inspiration for multiple wines in their path. Don't be fooled by the mention of "sweet" on the label. Yes, there's a little sugar, but it's mainly to balance the delicate floral notes.

Three Squirrels Acorn White: A crisp, dry blend of Chardonel and Vidal.

7C's Round Up White:
A blend of Vignoles and Traminette with a touch of sweetness. The winery's tasting notes mention floral and crisp, but I tasted a citrus effect with a more substantial mouth feel.

Whispering Oaks Catawba: The smoothest Catawba you will find anywhere.

Heinrichhaus Traminette: The best Traminette in Missouri.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to the Oldfield Opry

My most-read blog post, as well as my most-viewed YouTube video, is based on my visit to the Oldfield Opry in March 2010. I am heading back to the Oldfield Opry on Saturday evening for a story for the News-Leader. If any of you who have consumed my media about this place (along with those who haven't) happen to see this post, please let me know what you'd like to see from this story in the making. I will happily review and thoughts you may have. I'm told there will be a pre-show of some people playing old-time music, with the regular show following. That's all I know so far. At this point, I will simply hear what I shall hear.

Most social media gurus and "thought leaders" would say that I have been foolish to avoid this subject after discovering its huge popularity, and they're probably right. But avoid no more — Oldfield Opry, ho!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oovvda Winery: Intense fruit flavors

The winery's mural illustrates its Scandinavian theme.

A return visit to Oovvda, just north of Springfield, after several years reveals vast improvements that demonstrate the winery’s growth and also indicate a greater readiness on my part to enjoy the fruit wines in which the business specializes.

Brian and Fran Overboe make a gentle apple wine that looks like white wine and can be substituted for it with light salads and meals.

Fran Overboe behind the tasting bar.
For the other fruit wines, you need a different mindset. Forget about grape wines and focus on the intense flavor of each fruit wine, a flavor that usually comes into tighter focus with a little additional sweetness (Oovvda offers most of its fruit wines in semi-dry and sweet — but never excessively sweet). I found enjoyment in a slower rate of consumption and smaller overall quantity.

I liked the red raspberry semi-dry because it maintained the hint of tart that you taste when you pluck a berry off a bush and munch.

Blackberry and Blueberry seemed to work well at either level of sweetness. The sweet option for cherry veered toward pie filling, though.

Oovvda’s red plum wine, offered only as semi-dry, would be more drinkable with Asian foods than the heavily sweetened plumb wine that Asian restaurants typically serve.

For a yet-more-concentrated, super-intense experience, try the dessert wines. And don't forget the tomato, offered dry only.

Oovvda also offers two grape wines, Chambourcin and Norton. Both are presented with the force of their varietal flavors brought forward and smoothed out just a little in a manner similar to the way they make fruit wines.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

JJ Grey and Mofro — Whoa!

JJ Grey and Mofro: Further testament to the utter stupidity
of taking cell-phone photos at a concert.

JJ Grey and Mofro's sweeping performance at the Gillioz last night really blew me away. I expected the emotional intensity, but I was surprised at his congenial, generous stage presence — surprised only because many of his tunes are kinda scary. 

I especially loved the treatment of "Georgia Warhorse," delivered with earth-shattering profundity of unison base-guitar and bass-drum thuds. In contrast, the gleefully jaunty "Air" (We've been walking on air, y'all) beats all forms of therapy and pharmacology for mood elevation.

And the entire Mofro unit is great — horn players even showed their free-jazz chops on the last encore tune. 

As a hard-core jazz listener, I have sheltered myself from most rock music, and therefore had never heard Speakeasy until last night. Loved the speed and the noise — not enough to leave jazz behind, of course.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vines showing a little heat stress; any thoughts?

Like everything else, my vines have been suffering in this summer's three-figure heat. The leaves on top of the vines are turning brown, some of the grapes have shriveled (above), and a few have fallen off their clusters.

I understand that in the face of weather stress, vines concentrate their resources to support the grapes. So, when I see the grapes deteriorating, I wonder whether this shriveling has to do with the heat or some other problem. Further, all the experts within my earshot say NEVER water the grapes because that will dilute the sugars and, at this time of year, risk the grapes splitting due to sudden excess water.

Any thoughts? Please use the comment feature.