Sunday, June 30, 2013

Virtual wine tasting with Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyards

Chuck Wagner, Caymus, Total Wine, Virtual Tasting
Caymus Vineyards' Chuck Wagner talked to the crowd of around
30 people at Total Wine on June 29.
Photo by Dathan Kazsuk

By Dathan Kazsuk | June 30, 2013
Twitter: @TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: @trianglearoundtown

All I need to say to you is – you missed out!

Yes, you! If you weren’t at the Wagner Family of Wines Virtual Tasting & Caymus 2011 Napa Cabernet Release, well, I don’t know what to say.

On June 29, we made our way to our local Total Wine store to experience this one-of-a-kind tasting event. For just $20 per person, we were introduced to 5 Wagner family wines, with a live feed from Caymus owner Chuck Wagner himself.

Each of the wines Wagner told the history about making the wine, the complexity of each wine, and what to pair the wines with – so now I feel like I’m there for you to explain each one of these great wines – if you ever need my assistance.

Be sure to Follow us on Twitter at @TriangleAT or @TriBizDesign for more of my personal and work blogs!

Caymus Vineyards, Napa, Cabernet, Total Wine
It wasn't only Wagner Family wines that were poured that night.
Others included Baldacci IV Sons Fraternity, Meyers Cabernet and
Pina Cabernet D'Adamo.
Photo by Dathan Kazsuk

Total Wine employees Alex and Michael poured generous portions of each Wagner family wine, which started with the infamous Caymus Conundrum.

At $19.99 a bottle, this unique blend of Viognier, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay is a bottle that can never go wrong at a dinner party. Chuck told us the best pairings for Conundrum is with turkey, seafood or spicy dishes.

Next we tried the Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay Ceramic. Retailing at $19.99 a bottle, the grapes for this wine were grown at the Santa Lucia Highlands in California, near the coast of Monterey – an incredible place if you haven’t been there. 

The Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay is kept in concrete silos until bottled, and then bottled in nice ceramic bottles. Jen and I aren’t big fans of Chardonnay, but this one was good enough to buy a bottle.

Total Wine had twelve different cheeses available to
sample, which paired will with the wines that night.
Photo by Dathan Kazsuk

Next was the Belle Glos Pinot Noir Meiomi. Wow! That was my first reaction to the toasty taste of this Pinot Noir. Chuck told the crowd of around 30 that his son, Joseph, has become a master at creating Pinot Noir, so Chuck had his son come out and tell us about the process of making Belle Glos Pinot Noir. This bottle, for all it’s complexity, only cost $19.99 a bottle. We picked up two bottles of this fabulous wine.
Each person attending the Caymus tasting received this
free wine tote.  And we needed it that night to hold
the wines we purchased.

Photo by Dathan Kazsuk

We then started to get into their high priced wines, which included the Belle Glos Pinot Noir Las Alturas ($39.99) and the premier of the Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($64.99). Both wines were great, but I really enjoyed the flavor and classy balance of the Cabernet.

So, that was the end of the Caymus tasting. For the generous pours, seconds of a couple, and over a dozen different cheeses to snack on during the hour long event, I think $20 was worth it. But wait, there’s more. Total Wine’s wine manager, Alex, tells us all, “We’re Total Wine … and MORE … so we’re going to let you sample 4 other wines we selected that we feel fit in with the Wagner family wines.”

The group was excited about the news, and we delved into tasting 4 more great wines. We tried the Alouette Pinot Noir Sonoma County 2011 ($24.99); Baldacci IV Sons Fraternity Napa 2008 ($44.99); Meyer Cabernet Napa 2007 ($49.99) and the Pina Cabernet D’Adamo Napa 2007 ($79.99)

So in the end, I sampled 10 great wines for $20. So, putting it another way, I sampled a total of $364.91 in wine for $20. Not to mention the wonderful people at Total Wine gave us $15 off if we spent $100 or more. Which we did. So thanks for the discount, Total Wine.

Wagner Family Wines, Caymus Vineyard, Chuck Wagner, Total Wine, wine, tasting
New to our wine collection – a nice selection of Wagner family wines.
Photo by Dathan Kazsuk

Monday, June 3, 2013

Animazement Hits Downtown Raleigh

Animazement fan poses at the Raleigh Convention Center.

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

If someone asked me if I ever heard of Kyle Hebert, Sean Schemmel or Toshifumi Yoshida ... I’m afraid my answer would be “No.”

My first guess would be a couple of minor-league baseball players and some Japanese pitching phenom that the Los Angeles Dodgers will overpay for.

But I’d be wrong.

These are just three names of the many guests who will be at the Animazement festival held at the Raleigh Convention Center from May 24-26. I tried to get in to cover this event, but unfortunately, this is one of those “events” where credentials need to be sent a month in advance so they can pick-and-choose who gets to mingle with the patrons, and who sits outside the lobby snapping photos of fans getting ready to go inside.

The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pose for a photo.

Now you are probably asking yourself, ‘Dathan, I don’t know what Animazement is suppose to be.’ If you think about it for just a couple minutes, it might finally come to you. Did I give you enough time? Well, time to move on. Animazement is a all-volunteer, fan-run anime convention here in Raleigh that celebrates Japanese visual culture.

And since I’ve never been to this before, I’m not sure what I’m about to accomplish by leaving work right after our weekly meeting and heading downtown with my friend, Dave. Whatever it is, it goes on all day, and all night. Friday and Saturday hours are from 9:00 am - 2:30 am! 

It was a little shocking to see that parts of downtown Raleigh around the Marriott and the convention center were filled with costume-clad fans. But I was thinking to myself while taking photos of a handful of Marvel characters – that half of these people dressed up aren’t dressed like “Japanese” animation characters like the name of the festival suggests. 

We saw dozens of Marvel Universe characters running amok in the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Tony Stark and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There were a lot of people dresses up as comic/video characters that I had no idea who they were, but my friend Dave was like, “There is so-and-so.” and “Oh man, you should take a picture of them, they’re the blankety blank.”

It was fun, but odd seeing this many grown adults dressed up as a fictitious character, but then I thought about it – this is the only time other than halloween that adults can get dressed up and not get laughed at in public.