Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

ORSO Restaurant has weekly specials based on the owner’s philosophy, “a great bottle of wine doesn’t need to cost more than a dinner.” Each week they offer one case of wine at an incredible value that won’t break the bank. But like any great promotion, there’s a catch: There’s only one case – 12 bottles – and it’s first come, first served.

This week’s the Case of the Week takes you to Tuscany, quite fitting given ORSO’s culinary influences from the region.

Ruffino Chianti Superiore

The Sangiovese notes are dominated by violets and ripe cherries which are well integrated with the spicy scents of vanilla and, lightly, of cloves. On the finish the fruity sensations become riper and reveal elegantly toasted sentors of plum jam. Tasting profile: Very smooth, yet fresh and lively. The mature tannins are sustained by the harmonious fruity structure, where alcohol and acidity reach an ideal balance. The long aftertaste leaves notes of mature cherries.

Recommended ORSO Menu Pairings:
Antipasto, Grilled Ribeye, Osso Buco, Alaskan Salmon, or ORSO’s Traditional Chicken Parmesan
75% Sangiovese and 25% other red varieties admitted by Chianti Superiore code production (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Canaiolo).
Please visit ORSO soon to claim your wine special!

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Views from Seven Glaciers Restaurant are superb, as is the cuisine, so when you add fantastic wines from Kenwood Vineyards the result is a trifecta that is certain to create a memorable evening.

Seven Glaciers is the premiere restaurant at the Alyeska Resort, located just south of Anchorage in the skiing mecca of Girdwood. A tram whisks diners to the top of the mountain where a well known restaurant myth is shattered — here the quality of the dining experience is NOT inversely proportional to the view.

The next Seven Glaciers wine dinner will be held February 27, 2011. It features Kenwood Vineyards along with their fantastic Jack London collection, with wines paired with a special tasting menu prepared by Seven Glaciers Executive Chef Jason Porter.

Kenwood Vineyards creates wines from the very best vineyards in Sonoma County and they are also the exclusive producer of wines from the lava-terraced vineyards of the historic Jack London Ranch. Award-winning wines from these vineyards, first planted in the late 1800’s, have a unique character. It is quite fitting that Jack London’s wolf head bookplate logo graces the label of these fine wines — and these wines will be perfect for a wine dinner in Alaska.


February 27, 2011, 7:00 PM

Crab Cake
Lime Cream, Cilantro Pesto
Valley of the Moon, Pinot Blanc, 2009 (more…)

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My early experience with Italian wines left more than a little to be desired. Thirty-something years ago, in the Heartland of the Midwest, Italian wine translated only as Chianti – and that Chianti came in bottles wrapped in little straw baskets. Astringent and watery, the wine did little to inspire thoughts of travel to Italy. It did, however, provide bottles that were wonderful candleholders that were perfect for decorating cheap, college-era apartments.

I grew out of the decorative wine bottle stage of my life decades ago. It took a bit longer for me to discover that there are wonderful Italian wines that are enjoyable to drink, and which pair well with food — both Italian cuisine and cuisine from other regions of the world. In particular, the wines of Tuscany are approachable, affordable, and – with proper selection – absolutely amazing.

This week you can sample a selection of fine Italian wines from Tuscany at the Gambardella’s Thursday Tasting, February 10th, starting at 7 PM, in Fairbanks. Gambardella’s Restaurant will provide an appetizer spread for nibbling, and Bruce Abbott, CWS, will present the wines. (Trust me, at only $20 per person, this tasting is an absolute steal.)

Think you don’t like Italian wine? That’s what Bruce thought, too, until he had the opportunity to sample a Super Tuscan that is deemed to be one of Italy’s national treasures. Read his rendition of how his Italian wine opinion morphed from “insipid” to “incredible” …. Frozen Grapes Blog

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Many people asked for more information about the wines mentioned in our recent “90 Points or Better” post. The 2008 Les Chevaux from Horse Heaven Hills, served at the recent Wine Guild Tasting, is the focus of this week’s Wine of the Week column by Bruce Abbott. Mr. Abbott holds credentials as a “Certified Specialist of Wine” and resides in Fairbanks. Here is his take on Les Chevaux:

“An unassuming show-stopper. Horse Heaven Hills … hits the sweet spot of price and quality that makes it [Les Chevaux] a fantastic buy. The wine itself is a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc from Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills region, which is inside the huge Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area. The Horse Heaven Hills vineyards are noted for their high winds, which decreases foliage on the vines – which results in … ”  (link to the full article)

Horse Heaven Hills, Washington State

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Changes are afoot at Gambardella’s, the family-owned establishment that has served Fairbanks since 1987. This Saturday they are hosting a party to show off their new dessert and wine bar. A new appetizer menu will debut, along with revamped lunch and dinner selections including a savory stuffed flank steak. Don’t worry – the “Mother of All Lasagnas” (Gambardella’s signature dish) will still be around to satisfy cravings for home-style comfort food.

Join the Italian Party Saturday, January 22, from 5 to 9 PM, to sample free appetizers and gelato. Between 7 and 9 PM, wine guru Bruce Abbott will be on hand to pour tastes from the new and expanded Italian wine list. He’ll share some of his extensive knowledge so you can make an informed wine selection that will pair well with your favorite Gambardella’s dish.

Gambardella's Pasta Bella, Fairbanks Alaska

Looking for another Italian fix to help chase away these Golden Heart City winter blues? Beginning Thursday, January 27, you can learn even more about Italian wine at the first of a new series of tasting events that will be held in the wine bar. “Italian Wine 101” will kick off


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What could be better than sampling a wide variety of wines rated 90 points or above by Wine Spectator? An opportunity to sample them with food and friends at Lavelle’s Bistro in Fairbanks! This week’s “Tuesday Tasting” will feature some superb wines from around the world and, as always, education about wine, growing regions, and wineries. Some of the evening’s highlights will be Les Chevaux from Horse Heaven Hills (rated 91 points), The Prisoner from Orin Swift Cellars (rated 92 points), and the Royal Tokaji Red Label dessert wine (rated 94 points).


In French, Les Chevaux translates to The Horses, a reference to the wild horses that once roamed in the Columbia River Valley of Washington State. Horse Heaven Hills (AKA “H3”) was formally established as a Washington AVA in 2005. Hot, windy conditions and sandy-loam soil provide character to grapes grown in the vineyards of this region. Columbia Crest, parent to the Horse Heaven Hills label, was one of the first wineries to recognize the special characteristics of this area over two decades ago.

Napa’s Rutherford is home to Orin Swift Cellars. The Prisoner red blend emerged from the founder’s early obsession with Zinfandel. What began as a catchy name and a boutique – almost cult – project has, over the years, evolved into a phenomena. Each year there is anticipation as the release date for the new vintage approaches. The intriguing bottle with Francisco Goya’s The Little Prisoner on the label will catch your eye, but it’s what is in the bottle (more…)

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Kinley’s Restaurant will be featuring a Hedges Wine Maker’s Dinner on Wednesday, March 24. They will be pouring some of the best wines Hedges Vineyard has to offer. You can view the terrific five-course menu and wine pairings below. Seating is limited, so please contact the restaurant to make your reservation.

Hedges Wine Dinner
6pm Wednesday, March 24, 2010   (more…)

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