Vinkara wine

Vinkara Wines: Indigenous Grapes from Turkey

Love Old World wines and looking for something new? Try the wines from Vinkara Winery in Turkey, a place where winemaking started some 15,000 years ago.

Vinkara is a leader in the production of indigenous Anatolian grape varietals. They are now introducing their wines to the United States.

Vinkara Winery is located in Kalecik, in the Ankara Province in north-central Turkey. The village gives its name to Kalecik Karasi, a red wine grape that originated there.

Vinkara Narince Reserve 2012Vinkara’s 135 acres of vineyards are planted at an altitude of 2,000 feet, and are influenced by a continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. The grapes for all their wines are harvested by hand, and grow in a mix of sand, clay and limestone soils with high mineral content.

I had a chance to taste two of Vinkara’s wines – the Narince Reserve 2012 and the Kalecik Karasi Reserve 2012.

Narince, pronounced nah-rin-djeh and meaning ‘delicately’ in Turkish, is a white wine grape. The 2012 Narince Reserve is a dry white wine that is reminiscent of Chardonnay or a fuller boded Sauvignon Blanc. It opens with citrus, tropical and floral aromas. On the palate are flavors of pear, grapefruit, pineapple and white flowers, with a touch of vanilla and well-balanced acidity. $25, 13.5% abv

Vinkara Kalecik Karasi Reserve 2012The Kalecik Karasi Reserve 2012, pronounced kah-le-djic car-ah-ser (with ‘er’ as in ‘father’), immediately brought to mind a spicy Pinot Noir or Gamay. This dry red wine is medium-bodied with aromas of red fruits, spice and smoke. Plum, red cherry and blackberry flavors are layered with black pepper, nutmeg and subtle notes of smoked meat. Smooth tannins and a lingering finish make it a really pleasing sip. The wine was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels.
$27, 13.5% abv

Though the wine producing region may be unfamiliar and the names may be a bit awkward to pronounce, all you need to know is that the wines of Vinkara are easy to drink and approachable, and well worth seeking out.

For more information on Vinkara Winery visit www.vinkarawines.com.

Vinkara wines are imported by The Winebow Group.

>> Connect:
Facebook: vinkara.wines
Twitter: @vinkarawines
Instagram: @vinkarawines

Toast to #LanguedocDay on May 27

Back in 2013 I said the Languedoc region in France was one to watch. I still feel that way, if not more so.

It’s really the best of all worlds. The weather is ideal, the villages are beautiful, and seemingly every grape does well there. Plus you’ll find an abundance of great values.

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Looking for a sparkling wine? There’s Blanquette and Crémant de Limoux, made using the same traditional method as Champagne (and the second most imported French sparkler after Champagne).

How about the perfect summer white? Picpoul de Pinet is the wine that goes from poolside sip to nighttime aperitif, and is made for shellfish and seafood.

And the de rigeur rosé? Mais oui! Though Provence, its neighbor to the east is best known for its rosés, Languedoc comes in a close second. The climate and grapes make for wines that are very similar in style to Provence rosés.

For the red wines there is just about anything you could want — Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and beyond.

This #LanguedocDay I invite you to join me on Twitter and Instagram and share what Languedoc wines you are sipping.

For more information visit languedocadventure.com.

#LanguedocDay is sponsored by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc.

Cheers and santé!

Nando's PERi-PERi Sauce

Nando’s PERi-PERi Sauce Makes Atlanta Debut

It’s the most famous sauce you’ve never heard of.

So the saying goes for Nando’s PERi-PERi, the South African sauce that made its debut in Atlanta this month. But you’re in luck, we’ll let you in on the tasty secret.

We got to try the hot sauce at Braai on the BeltLine, a South African barbecue-themed pop-up party on the Atlanta BeltLine. Nando’s teamed up with Justin Anthony, the South African restaurateur behind Cape Dutch, 10 Degrees South, Yebo Beach Haus and Biltong Bar to serve the PERi-PERi sauce along with Nando’s famous PERi-PERi chicken, which was marinated for 24 hours and flame grilled.

Braai on the BeltLine

One taste of Nando’s PERi-PERi and you’ll realize it’s more than a hot sauce. It is hot – the medium, my favorite, has much more heat than most medium hot sauces.

Nando's PERi-PERi chiliThe flavor is what makes Nando’s PERi-PERi unique. It gets this flavor from African Bird’s Eye Chili, grown in southern Africa. The chili is handpicked, then dried and crushed. Swahili for “pepper pepper,” the PERi-PERi is enhanced with sun-ripened lemons and a dash of garlic. It does not contain artificial preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors or added MSG. It is also gluten-free, kosher and suitable for vegetarians.

See why people from England to Australia are going gaga for PERi-PERi by picking up one or several of the Nando’s sauces. They’re now available in Georgia at Kroger, Publix and Walmart.

For more information, visit www.nandosperiperi.com/sauces.

Braai on the BeltLine

Dine at Moe’s in June to Support Bert’s Big Adventure

Wednesday’s welcome at Moe’s Southwest Grill will be more magical this June. The 70 plus metro Atlanta locations of the fast-casual southwestern restaurant will be supporting Bert’s Big Adventure.

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On the first four Wednesdays in June — June 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd — Moe’s restaurants will be donating 10% of net sales to the nonprofit organization that provides all-expenses-paid trips to Walt Disney World for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families.

To find a Moe’s near you click here.

Bert’s Big Adventure is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in 2002 by Bert Weiss, morning radio show host for the nationally syndicated The Bert Show. For more information visit bertsbigadventure.org.

>> Connect:
#Moes4BBA

Bert’s Big Adventure:
Facebook: Bert’sBigAdventure
Twitter: @bertsbigadv
Instagram: @bertsbigadv

Moe’s:
Facebook: Moe’sSouthwestGrill
Twitter: @Moes_HQ
Instagram: @moessouthwestgrill

Vinogram: Anaba Pinot Noir 2013

For more information visit anabawines.com.

Barnsley Resort

Barnsley Resort Holds Blue Rock Wine Weekend

A  scenic and easy car ride from Atlanta, Barnsley Resort is the perfect weekend getaway. Whether it’s strolling the grounds, exploring the manor house ruins, relaxing by the pool or at the spa, or just enjoying a glass of wine on the porch of your private cottage, there’s something for every guest.

This June Barnsley Resort is offering a special wine weekend package celebrating the wines of Blue Rock Vineyard.

Blue Rock Vineyard is located in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. It is known for its high quality, limited production red wines that express a real sense of place. The 46 acres of mainly Bordeaux varietals are planted on a hillside with blue rocks, pebbles and boulders. If you haven’t tasted Blue Rock’s wines perhaps you have tasted some from their neighbor, Silver Oak Winery.

At the Blue Rock Wine Dinner on Saturday, June 11th, Executive Chef Roberto Guzman will serve a four-course dinner paired with Blue Rock Vineyard wines in the Rice House. Winemaker Kenny Kahn will share insights on the featured wines. The dinner is $185 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity.

Barnsley GardensStay the weekend with Barnsley Resort’s Blue Rock Wine Weekend Package. Your two nights in the luxurious cottage accommodations include a welcome gift Friday evening, breakfast on Saturday morning in the Woodlands Grill, the Blue Rock Wine Dinner Saturday evening and breakfast on Sunday morning in the Ruins at the Vintner’s Sunrise Breakfast. You’ll also enjoy a $150 credit toward horseback riding, clay shooting, golf or other activities.

To book your reservation online click here. You may also book by phone at 770.773.7480 or toll free at 877.773.2447. The cost of the wine  weekend package varies based on room type.

For more information on Barnsley Resort visit barnsleyresort.com.

The wine weekend is June 10 and 11, 2016. Package prices are quoted per night, are based on two adults per room and include all applicable taxes and resort fees. Meals include service charge but do not include alcoholic beverages (except the accompanying wine during Saturday’s wine dinner) or additional gratuities. Activity credits may not be applied toward room charges or meals and must be used during the stay.  Advance activity reservations are recommended, no credit will be given for unused portions. Two night minimum stay required.

images courtesy Barnsley Resort

Food That Rocks Debuts in Sandy Springs

Get your tickets to a brand new food and music festival in Sandy Springs that is sure to rock!

Food That Rocks Sandy Springs
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Food That Rocks will be held from 7 pm to 11 pm on Saturday, May 14 at Hammond Park. More than 20 of the city’s favorite restaurants will be offering bites along with wine, beer and cocktails from Three Sheets and sponsors Tito’s Vodka, Corralejo Tequila, Citadelle Gin and Old New Orleans Louisiana Rum.

Taking the stage under the tents will be Collective Soul’s Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project, Tony Levitas and Friends and the Tommy Dean Trio.

The event benefits three Sandy Springs-based charities: Second Helpings, Ian’s Friends Foundation and the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

Tickets to Food That Rocks are $55 in advance and $65 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets online.

UBER is recommended as parking is limited. New riders can get $20 free with the code: SSFOODTHATROCKS.

For more information, visit foodthatrocks.org.

Food That Rocks, Saturday, May 14, 2016, 7 pm – 11 pm. Hammond Park, 705 Hammond Dr NE, Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328.