About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Florida Fruit makes for some Sweet Wines!

The Wine Guy at Keel and Curley Winery
in Plant City Florida

Between spending two months in Ecuador and a current one month trip to Thailand, The Wine Guy took a sojurn to visit family in Florida. While there, my son and his girlfriend joined and the entire family took a day off from helping my stepmother downsize her home to visit the beach.

Never missing the opportunity to visit a new winery or to sample new wines, we stopped on our return from the Gulf Coast in Plant City and visited Keel and Curley Winery. This is one of
about a dozen viable wineries now in the state of Florida. While not reknown for its wines, Florida is one of two states that lays claim to having the first winery in what is now the
United States. It's a very close call between the Spanish missionaries in southwest Texas and the French Huegenots in St. Augustine, Florida.
In any case, Florida wines are distinctively fruit driven and indeed, many are based on fruits
other than grapes. at Keel and Curley however, the wines are grape fermented but nearly all
have fruit juice added. The winery is very matter of fact and forward on declaring that these are, indeed, fruit driven and fruit "enhanced" wines. They make no apology what-so-ever about the fruitiness of their wines but don't feel like you can call them " fruit bombs" while
you're in the tasting room.
In several cases, the grapes, or at least the juice of the grapes utilized in making their wine is sourced from outside Florida. They have bottled one wine based on adding Florida
fruit juices a fermented Symphony, that unique grape developed by the University of California ag department. The tasting room steward informed me however that due to availability of juice issues, the current vintage inventory would be their last.

Their absolute best effort is a rose of Zinfandel enhanced with strawberry juice from local fields. it's a refreshing killer. They also have a fairly unique Cabernet Sauvignon infused with blackberry juice.

If you occasionally enjoy a fresh, fruit forward and fruit driven wine (and they are somewhat
suited to south Florida's heat and humidity!), you may want to sample Keel & Curley from Plant
city, Florida. You'll find the brand not only at the winery, but at many reailers in central Florida, as well as Publix stores statewide.


The accessory table at the Keel & Curley Tasting Room

Monday, September 12, 2011

Good wine, great tapas in Quito, Ecuador!

Mrs. Wine Guy at the corner of
Regina Victoria and Marshal Foch in Quito,
location of one of our favorite Ecuadorian wine bars.

As we departured Ecuador for our return to the U.S., I spent a couple of days with fetching Mrs. Wine Guy in the capital city of Quito.  It was in the Mariscal sector of new town that we discovered the Latitud Tapas and Wine Bar.  One of the features of this establishment is an assortment of price fixe selections that offer unlimited Spanish tapas accompanied by unlimited glasses of wine.  The variation in the prices resulted from the list of wines that qualified for your selection during your meal.  We opted for a mid range price that featured a number of reserve selections of wine from the Concha y Toro winery in Chile.   This brand is one of the most popular in Ecuador and throughout Latin America mostly due to the affordable quality of the wines they produce.  It is a brand that will be familiar to many consumers in the U.S. as well and for the same reason.  Our wine selection began with a reserve Carmenere and then progressed to a reserve select vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Concha y Toro is a featured wine brand
at the Latitud Tapas and Wine Bar!

 As for the tapas, I can hardly begin to describe the variety of meat, vegetable and cheese delights that kept crossing our table.  It seemed those delightful little plates of delicious delicacies would continue to impress and amaze us. Only one platter out of the score or more that we tried failed to elicit an audible WOW and it wasn't bad at all...just not something you would normally find in an iron chef competition.  Several of our platters fell into that category. We simply stopped counting when we were well past the dozen mark of different, appetizing selections. They continued to come until our capacity to consume this assortment of Spanish delights had been sorely tested. We pushed that limit slightly higher when we requested a revisit to one or two of our favorites to enjoy with our final glass of wine (we lost count on those as well...don't drive if you visit this place!).   We left wishing we could return for one more evening just to discover if we exhausted the kitchen staff's ability to wow and impress us.  It will definitely be a must stop for us on any return trip to Quito!  We can't wait to try their authentic Spanish paella!

Latitud Tapas and Wine Bar in Quito
If you're in Quito, you'll want to explore this delighful neighborhood of  restaurants, night spots, hostels and shops. Most cab drivers will be familiar with the nearby main traffic arteries of Calle Colon y Avenida Amazonas. 
If you wander into Latitud,  you'll also get to enjoy some good wine with quality food.