Monday, March 11, 2013

Wines from Tuscany deliver delight in Wake Forest

Wine 101 and Piedmont Wine Imports hosted wines from Tuscany.

By Dathan Kazsuk | March 11, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

Some of you might know this already, but Wine 101 in Wake Forest is pretty much my home away from home. My wife and I enjoy the atmosphere at this wine and beer shop, and are good friends with store owner Joe O’Keefe. Shoot, Joe even calls my wife “sis,” and, no, they aren’t related.

On March 7, we stopped in again for a wine tasting featuring Piedmont Wine Imports’ Jay Murrie. The last time Jay was at the store he poured a selection of wines from the Piemonte region of Italy. This time he was back with wines from the Tuscany region of Italy.

If you know, of have met Jay, you know he can be a great storyteller when he talks about all the different wineries he’s visited overseas. From driving a compact car up a steep and dangerous mountain pass to trying to get 60-bottles of wines through customs, Jay can paint a great picture.

This time Jay brought the party of around 35 people 7 great wines to sample. The selection consisted of 2 whites and 5 reds. Each wine had a great story about the people involved in making the wine, or how that winery operates its “organic” vineyard.

Jay will be the first to tell you that drinking wine is a “social activity,” but I just wished some of the attendees at the tasting would have not listened to that advice. Around half way through the tasting, a handful of guests might have enjoyed the wine a little too much, and started to become less connected with Jay’s stories and more so their own little conversations. It was actually difficult to hear Jay speak from the back of the room at times.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the organic wines of Italy. We ended up buying 4 bottles that night, and will be back again next time Jay visits Wine 101.

Below are the 7 wines we tried that evening.

Pietralta Bianco Toscano
Il Corzanello Toscana Bianco 2011 
Chianti Montalbano 
Ipogeo Fattoria Castellina
Il Corzanello Toscana Rosso 2011
Terre di Corzano Chianti 2009
Pietralta Chianti

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Stout tasting featuring Sexual Chocolate and Big Bad Baptist!

Four great stouts at Wake Forest's Wine 101.

By Dathan Kazsuk | March 3, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown


If you are a fan of stout beers, you probably should have been at Wine 101’s Stout Tasting in the Beer Library on March 1.

For only $10 per person, you could have been introduced to a flight of 4 great stout beers.

Wine 101’s James Wood was in the Beer Library hard at work pouring out all the beer for the flights, while Joe O’Keefe was busy greeting all his loyal customers, including yours truly. It was really a jam-packed event as both rooms of Wine 101 contained around 70-100 people drinking beer or wine that evening.

The first beer on the flight was Terrapin Beer Company’s Wake-n-Bake. This coffee stout was a perfect start to the tasting, and with its special blend of beans from around the World, you really can’t go wrong here.

I had to explain to my friends the true definition of “wake and bake” as someone who gets out of bed and jumps straight to their pre-packed bong first thing in the morning. You got to love some of these beer names!

Second on the flight was one of my favorite stouts, Sexual Chocolate. And just like Wake-n-Bake this beers name derives from something else. Yes, the name Sexual Chocolate comes from the 1988 Eddie Murphy flick, Coming to America. 

The beer, it comes from Winston-Salem’s Foothills Brewing and is a great stout – a cocoa infused Imperial Stout, with a Pam Greer-esque looking woman as the beers label. Again, you can’t go wrong here.

The third beer on the flight was Coronado Brewing Company’s Blue Bridge Coffee Stout. This California-based beer was OK, but out of the 4 in the flight, this my least favorite that night. To me it tasted more like just a “flat” chilled coffee. 

The final beer, and by far my favorite that night was Epic Brewing’s Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout. This creamy stout with a blend of cocoa nibs and coffee beans really hit the spot. After my taste, I had to go order up a pint of the beer to have some more.

While checking online, I saw that each release number of Big Bad Baptist uses a different dark roast coffee. I’m not sure what number I had that night (1-11), but it really didn’t matter, because it was great regardless.

Now I can’t forget to mention the pizza that Wine 101 was kind enough to purchase for it’s patrons from Grandma’s Pizza that night. Great pizza, and I enjoyed that it was all cheese, because being a Catholic on a Friday night during lent, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy anything else.

I can’t wait for Wine 101’s upcoming events. Stay tuned for more blogs.

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