Buckhead Restaurant Week 2014

Make your reservations now for the fifth annual Buckhead Restaurant Week!

Buckhead RWFrom Saturday, May 17th through Sunday, May 25th, more than 30 restaurants will be offering three course prix-fixe lunch, brunch and dinner menus. The menus, which will highlight signature dishes, will cost $15, $25 or $35. The price is per person and exclusive of beverages, tax and gratuity.

Current participating restaurants include 1 Kept, 10 Degrees South, Anis Café + Bistro, Aria, Atlanta Fish Market, Basils, Bistro Niko, Bricktop’s, Buckhead Diner, Capital Grille, Cook Hall, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Grille, Divan, Eclipse de Luna, Establishment, F&B, FLIP Buckhead, Horseradish Grill, KR SteakBar, Kyma, Neiman Marcus Café, Ocean Prime, Paul’s, Portofino, Pricci, Saltyard, Season’s 52, Shula’s 347 Grill, Southern Art, Ted’s Montana Grill, The Big Ketch, The Café & Bar at the Mandarin Oriental, Watershed and YEBO.

To see the restaurants’ menus visit www.brwatlanta.com.

Reservations are highly suggested and can be made by calling the restaurant or by clicking here to book online at Open Table.

Not only will you enjoy delicious meals at Buckhead’s top restaurants, you could win a cruise. Celebrity Cruises is giving away a $1,000 gift card to be used towards a cruise vacation for two. Click here for more information and to enter.

Buckhead Restaurant Week, May 17 through May 25, 2014.

Earth-Friendly Wines from Chile

Looking for a planet-friendly wine for Earth Day? It’s as easy as a trip to your local grocery store.

Concha y Toro is not just a maker of widely available white and red wines from Chile – they are also committed to sustainable and earth-friendly practices. In December 2013 they were named a “Leading Company in Climate Change Management” by non-profit organization Fundación Chile.

Conchay Toro vineyardAs the second largest winery in the world as measured by vineyard ownership, Concha y Toro realizes the importance of mitigating their environmental impact.

Through water footprint and carbon footprint management Concha y Toro has lessened their use of both. The winery estimates it uses 25% less water to produce a glass of wine than the estimated global average. They also use lighter weight glass bottles that further reduce their carbon usage, which is important as they ship wines to more than 135 countries.

Concha y Toro vineyardsAdditionally, Concha y Toro selected their newest vineyards in areas that can withstand the impact of global climate change. The wines in the Serie Riberas (Riverbank Series) Gran Reserva line benefit from natural elements like elevation and proximity to water, while highlighting unique terroirs in Chile.

Here are a couple of wines to try:

Concha y Toro WinesSerie Riberas Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2012
Part of the Riverbank Series, this wine is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes that come from a vineyard near the Rapel river in Litueche, in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. Aromas of tropical fruits lead to flavors of golden apple, pear, pineapple and vanilla with gentle minerality and a touch of toasted hazelnut on the finish.


Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
From Chile’s Central Valley, this red wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The name, “cellar of the devil,” comes from a rumor started in the 19th century by founder Don Melchor about the cellar that held his best wines, to dissuade his vineyard workers from entering and sampling them. The medium-bodied wine opens with berry and spice aromas. Flavors of cherry, plum and red and black currant mingle with black pepper and toasted oak. Easy to drink and at a wallet-friendly price, it’s no surprise this is a popular Cabernet Sauvignon.

Earth Day may only come once a year, but the wines of Concha y Toro can be enjoyed all year round.

For more on Concha y Toro visit www.conchaytoro.com.

vineyard photos courtesy Concha y Toro

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Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Announces 2014-15 Season

In an announcement led by President and CEO Stanley E. Romanstein, Ph.D., Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2014–15 season.

ASOThe season marks the 70th anniversary of the ASO and the 40th anniversary of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. It is also Mr. Spano’s and Mr. Runnicles’s 14th season as artistic partners.

The 24-week subscription season will feature world-class music of past centuries while paving the way for great music of the future with performances by today’s leading composers, soloists and conductors.

Among the highlights of the 2014-15 season:

• Three world premieres composed by Michael Gandolfi, Jonathan Leshnoff and Christopher Theofanidis

• Eleven Atlanta premieres

• A mini Beethoven festival led by Donald Runnicles

• Robert Spano to lead the Orchestra in Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila

• Guest artists and conductors including John Adams, Marin Alsop, Emanuel Ax, Cameron Carpenter, Jeremy Denk, Lynn Harrell, Leila Josefowicz, Miloš Karadaglic, Lang Lang, Midori, Marc Piollet, Jessica Rivera and Jean-Yves Thibaudet

• Robert Spano and the Orchestra will release a fifth recording on ASO media

• ASO will expand residencies with Kennesaw State University and the University of Georgia, visiting each university three times during the season

• ASO musicians will take center stage as soloists including principal clarinet Laura Ardan, concertmaster David Coucheron, principal percussion Thomas Sherwood and percussionist Charles Settle

• Free pre-concert chamber music series with ASO musicians will continue

• “First Friday” one-hour concerts will continue at 6:30 pm

Click here to view the 2014-15 season chronological listing (PDF)

For more on the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra visit www.atlantasymphony.org.

Provence Rosé Continues to Impress

By Maxine Howard

Two years after a grand tasting of Provençal rosés prompted me to write “Rethink Rosé,” apparently many Americans have done just that. In 2013, U.S. imports of rosé wines from Provence increased by 40% over the previous year. Not only are we drinking more rosés from France, but we are also discovering new rosés by a number of California winemakers in the Provençal style using grapes traditionally blended by the French vintners.

And why wouldn’t we relish drinking these wines? They grab your attention with their gorgeous color, ranging from pale pink to salmon blush; they tantalize with aromas of flowers and tropical fruits; and they quench a summer thirst with their dry yet flavorful taste and a hint of minerality.

In their return to San Francisco for another tour in March, the Vins de Provence reinforced their stature as serious purveyors of rosé wines in the fragrant yet lean style. Twenty-one producers sampled their wines, showing a range of styles and flavors. Some of the differences reflected varying combinations of the traditional grapes use in Provence rosé: Grenach, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Tibouren, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other differences resulted from the varying soil and climate conditions. And the final differences came from the sensibilities of the individual winemakers.

Here are some favorites from the tasting:

Chateau de PampelonneChateau de Pampelonne Rosé 2012
This wine from Les Maîtres Vignerons de Saint Tropez in Gassin is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Tibouren and Mourvedre. The grapes grow in sandy soil on the St. Tropez peninsula next to the beaches. They are harvested early in the morning while they are still cool. They are macerated for just two hours before being pressed, and remain on sediment for two months.

The wine is pale pink and has floral aromas. The taste is well balanced with hints of tropical and citrus fruit and has a pleasant minerality on the finish. It would go well with fish and simple chicken dishes. But would taste just fine sipped by itself on the deck watching the sun go down. $19.99

Première de FiguièrePremière de Figuière Rosé 2013
Saint André de Figuière is a family-run producer located in La Londe-les-Maures. It is between the Mediterranean Sea and the hills of Provence. Beneath the top soil the ground consists of mica and schist, which the winemaker describes as fragile yet capable of producing wines with finesse. This rosé is composed of 50% Mourvedre, 30% Cinsault and 20% Grenache. That is a stark contrast with most of the area rosés in which Grenache predominates. Each variety is harvested and vinified separately before being blended.

This wine has a bit more blush than the Chateau de Pamplonne that I would describe as a pale salmon. The bouquet has more citrus than floral notes. On the palate one tastes peach and citrus as well as a little earthiness from the Mourvedre. The overall impression is of an extremely well-balanced, delicious wine. Because it is a little heartier, it should stand up well to seafood and fowl dishes.

Chateau La MascaronneAnother wine I enjoyed at the tasting was Quat’ Saisons 2013 from Chateau La Mascaronne in Le Luc. Unfortunately, the winery did not have an importer at the time of the tasting. But the fascinating thing about the owner, an American from Indiana, is that he formerly owned and produced wine at the property now owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Readers will remember the Amateur Gastronomer’s review of Brad and Angelina’s Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé last summer. Apparently, the couple were flying over the Miraval estate in a helicopter and were stunned by its beauty. They made a generous offer to buy, and the proprietor had to agree. Already owning a second property, he moved all of his wine-making operations to Chateau La Mascaronne and has continued producing wines under its label.

The rosé is a blend of Cinsault and Grenache. It has a wonderful floral aroma and controlled fruits with both a touch of citrus and a pleasant minerality on the finish. Robert Parker gave the 2012 a 91-point rating. The suggested retail price is $22. Let’s hope it finds an importer soon.

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AG Pick: Elizabeth Chambers Cellar Winemaker’s Cuvée 2011 Pinot Noir

Are you a fan of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir? Then you’ll want to pick up a bottle of Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2011 Winemaker’s Cuvée, now available in Georgia.

The boutique winery in McMinnville is owned by Liz Chambers, a third generation Oregonian who specializes in high-end Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.

Elizabeth Chambers Pinot NoirWorking with winemaker Michael Stevenson, Liz sources grapes from top growers in the region who use environmentally friendly farming techniques. Grapes for the 2011 cuvée were largely from Freedom Hill and Lazy River vineyards, which benefitted from warm days and cool nights.

It’s not just fans of Willamette Valley Pinot who will enjoy this wine. Bright and lively with fresh fruit and floral notes, the Winemaker’s Cuvée has that nuance and elegance you look for in Pinot Noir.

The wine opens with fresh aromas of cherry, raspberry and rose. These are further expressed on the palate, layered with ripe strawberry, cola, subtle cigar tobacco and a lingering hint of oak. It’s silky in texture, with well-balanced acidity and soft tannins.

The Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2011 Winemaker’s Cuvée Pinot Noir is available in the northwest, Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Washington, DC.

For more information visit elizabethchamberscellar.com.

$32, 13.3% alcohol by volume

photo credit: Marc Weisberg Photography

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