Sunday, December 11, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is...

'Tis the season to be jolly! Fa la la la laaaaaaaaa la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! 

This is MY photograph. It is copyrighted. Please don't try to steal it. 

I've said it before... I'm a simple woman (eyeroll, snicker). And because I know you are just dying to find out what I want for Christmas (and my birthday, which is Tuesday the 13th ... hint hint!!) Here you go! 

I also happen to think these would make fabulous gifts for ANYONE! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Luce & Hawkins - Pinot & Burger

I cannot believe I forgot to publish this... sigh...

Better late than never.

I need to preface my tale with the fact that I hadn't planned on going to Luce & Hawkins tonight. But I was in a bit of a foul mood after what turned into an emotionally rather trying day. I'm human. I have those sometimes. And I JUST WANTED A @%^K&*) BURGER! On the North Fork, that means Luce & Hawkins. It is by far the best burger out here. They have ruined me for sure. 

La Torricella - Food, Wine and Comfort with a Spectacular View of the Langhe

A brief apology for the long hiatus! Sorry. I've been packing and moving and storing and packing and traveling! I've finally landed in the GORGEOUS Piemonte region of Italy and am living in Dogliani until December. Don't hate me.


As my incredible good luck (aka very hard work and careful planning) would have it, I was on a three-day educational tour of the Langhe for my budding culinary/wine tour business (WARNING! Shameless plug alert!)  SAVOR - Food | Travel | Wine  (site still under contstruction...please be patient and gentle with me!) when I first had the opportunity and pleasure to visit lovely La Torricella, a beautiful small agriturismo, a working winery with guest rooms and a restaurant, in the heart of the Langhe run by the equally charming Pressenda family, the whole family: mother, father, 2 sisters (chef and winemaker), brother and son-in-law!

I was first greeted by this spectacular view of the Alps in the distance. This is really what it is all about here in Piemonte --- Family, friends and the table...fantastic food, great wine, all in a gorgeous setting.

Really, I could just stop right there and be perfectly happy, but I won't! It just keeps getting better and better and BETTER! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

An evening at Luce & Hawkins - Smoke, Fire and Acid

Prelude: The ambiance at Luce & Hawkins is the perfect balance of elegance and comfort, a style that permeates the entire experience here. Attention is paid to every last detail, right down to the music selection. Overheard chef Keith Luce who was walking through, "This isn't right." And he changed the music to low key techno/funk fabulousness. I asked about this later and he told me that he doesn't like to use vocal music much because it distracts the guests from their experience with their meal and with each other. I love it that he thinks about this kind of thing. 


I walked into a busy Luce's Landing and prowled around for a seat for a few minutes, ending up in one of the massive cushy wingback chairs near the bar, now praying for a cocktail. (I can quit whenever I want) Heh. I wind up sidling up to the bar to get a drink. I look at the new beverage director Sarah (Who is fantastic by the way. Go meet her.) So she looks me in the eye knowingly and says to me, "You need a beverage." To which I reply smiling, "I NEED A BEVERAGE!" Very happy we are on the same page. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wine Bloggers' Conference 2011 - Part II - The Novel



The 2011 Wine Blogger's Conference held in beautiful Charlottesville, VA was, for me, a fun-filled, thought-provoking, even inspiring weekend. 


I have to admit that when I first arrived at WBC11 I was feeling a little, shall we say...

found on google search. not mine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wine Bloggers' Conference Part I - THANK YOU!

I have to start by saying Thank You for the millionth time (and it wouldn't be enough!) to the generous donors who made my scholarship to WBC 2011 possible.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wine Ophelia goes (BACK) to Virginia! 2011 Wine Blogger's Conference!

A Prelude to a Conference.

I got a scholarship! I got a scholarship!! Yay! Yay! YAY!

Whew... ok.  (fans self.) I'm ok. Really. But DUDE! I'm GOING TO WBC11!! THIS WEEKEND!

Ok, ok.  I'll stop shouting. But seriously. I couldn't be more excited to meet up with some people who have become dear friends, to meet people whose work I admire so very much, and to learn a TON about how to make my blog the best it can be for you, my dear readers! All 5 of you ;o)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Perfect Summer Red - Lieb Cellars - 2008 Bridge Lane Cabernet Franc



Ok. I feel better now, don't you?

So. I've been hanging out in the tasting room lately so I can meet as many of my FABULOUS!! wine club members as possible and to show off our yummy wines to our throngs (and I mean throngs) of admirers. I've been pouring a LOT of our wine. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Forlorn Hope Wine - Spring Releases

My dear readers,

I'm pleased to be able to share with you some of my all-time favorite wines from winemaker Matthew Rorick. Below are his spring releases.


Wine Ophelia

aka Raelinn Doty

Welcome to the Forlorn Hope 2011 Spring Release.

In a verdant explosion, the vineyards of northern California have launched themselves into the 2011 growing season. With all of the excitement that accompanies the shedding of winter's grey for the green of spring we offer up a trio of Rare Creatures for your enjoyment: the 2010 La Gitana, 2009 Ost-Intrigen, and 2009 D'Anconia. Read on...

Aromatic glories: 2010 Forlorn Hope La Gitana Torrontés

This, our third vintage of Torrontés, is quite possibly the best yet. Arrestingly aromatic and bearing a remarkable degree of elegance and refinement as a result of the cool 2010 growing season and an ultra-gentle press regimen in the winery, this Gitana's cante jondo is seductively sinuous and delicate but as laconically defiant as ever. And though it is brilliantly clear in the glass, just like its slightly cloudy predecessors it has seen no filtration or fining. Moving in a stylistic space all its own, it is redolent of the promise of spring.

87 cases produced. $20/bottle, $240/case.

Click here to order your 2010 Forlorn Hope La Gitana Torrontés

A passion for the exotic: 2009 Forlorn Hope Ost-Intrigen

What would you do if you came across the only 90 vines of St. Laurent planted in California? Why, you'd probably make vanishingly small quantities of wine out of it, wouldn't you! With its feet deep in decomposed volcanic rock and Carneros clay, the St. Laurent of the Ricci Vineyard continues to produce a tiny amount of supply textured and exotically scented wine: in 2008, we were only able to release 10 cases. Due to the unexpected bounty of the '09 growing season, we're pleased to be able to offer nearly double that -- but if you're keen to enjoy the Intrigues of the East, don't wait too long.

17 cases produced. $22/bottle, $264/case.

Click here to order your 2009 Forlorn Hope Ost-Intrigen St. Laurent

A deep, dark swan song: 2009 Forlorn Hope D'Anconia Malbec

From high atop Mt. Vaca comes this swarthy, complex and irreverent interpretation of Malbec. At once fierce and tender, it is proof positive that passion lives in the blood and bones of those bold enough to follow their dreams and plant vineyards in the most unfashionable yet viticulturally compelling locales. The rewards are great for those who dare, as this densely layered ultimate offering from 2900 feet above sea level will readily attest.

13 cases produced. $24/bottle, $288/case.

Click here to order your 2009 Forlorn Hope D'Anconia Malbec

And a nice note from Matthew:

If Tallulah were here she'd point out that this will be the first release of Forlorn Hope Wines featuring our new packaging: specifically, sans capsule. The reasons for eschewing the foil top for our corks are many but may be summed up by saying that we're moving toward a more ecologically friendly package in general, and reducing the amount of waste that our bottles generate puts a smile on our faces here at FH-HQ. There are still vintages yet to be released which have foils on them so there will be some overlap of foiled and unfoiled bottles for a year or so yet, but this release is something of a novelty in being the first to feature all naked necks.

More information about the direction of our new package, the wines of the Spring Release, vineyard and cellar updates, and other FH news can always be found at the Forlorn Hope blog:

We're very pleased with the three Rare Creatures of the Spring Release and look forward to getting them into your hands right away!

All best,


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ode to a Wire-Haired Dachshund - For Thierry Puzelat

After my first taste of Le Telquel I was inspired to write a silly poem!

Ode to a Wire-Haired Dachshund
by Raelinn Doty

O mon cher tekel du poil dur,
O comme je t’aime avec ton ame pure.
“Rouge, beau, et meme mieux que beau…
Tu as du chien”* telquel, sur.

in honor of
Thierry Puzelat’s Touraine VDT gamay, and sometimes cot and pineau d’aunis

*borrowed and changed a little Yourcenar

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Barone Fini and Wine Twits Taste Challenge!

Wine friends... we are gonna have some serious FUN!

Taking the Barone Fini Pinot Grigio Taste Challenge is as easy as 1-2-3!
1. Sign up to take the taste challenge and you'll be automatically entered into the sweepstakes.
2. Order your Taste Challenge Tasting Kit via (If you are tasting with me in Chattanooga, I'm providing the wines! You just show up! see RSVP below)
3. Join producer Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini live on March 24, 2011 at 8PM EST to blind taste and to share your preference during a Twitter powered virtual tasting.

1. Sign-up now
2. Order a tasting kit <<< I already did it for you if you live in Chattanooga!!
3. Taste, tweet, share

Meet The Winemaker

Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini has lived most of his life with one foot on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. He was born in MA but lived on his family’s farm on the shores of the beautiful Northern Italy’s Lake Garda, facing the Alps where he now makes wine.

Learn more here from Wine Twits

Chattanooga friends JOIN US IN THE FUN!! Please click on my Facebook Event to RSVP so I know how many people, how much wine and food and the size of the venue! I can't wait to see you and taste these wines together!

Sponsored by Barone Fini and Wine Twits

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Foillard 2008 Morgon "Côte du Py"

One of the only decent importers I can get my hands on here in Chattanooga, TN is Kermit Lynch. So I go searching back labels when I am looking for reliability when looking for a wine I haven't tried. This one, however, I've had the great pleasure of drinking in the past and I love it! I am an enormous fan of Cru Beaujolais in general and Morgon is probably top 3 for me. This 2008 Foillard is showing very nicely.

I'd give it about 15 minutes of air before really attempting to enjoy it or run it through a decent aerator. I like the Soirée aerator for both beauty and functionality.

The wine has a beautiful translucent, nearly transparent light violet-red color. On the nose it shows a lot of spice...white pepper, nice earthy, funky barnyard aromas, raw beef and herbs. At first I thought I caught a whiff of brett but changed my mind after a few sips. On the palate, it has a vibrant acidity and continues the spice theme with a definite white pepper nuance along with gorgeous ripe strawberry, thyme and chervil, and after a few tries my beloved violets made their appearance on the very front end. The finish is long and pleasant with a tingling acidity, pepper, herbs and subtle, delicate fruit that lingers.

After my initial tasting, I paired this wine with truffle popcorn and a beautiful local raw milk cheese. Cumberland from the Sequatchie Cove Creamery.

It was perfect.

Hope you enjoy! Cheers!!

Wine Ophelia

aka Raelinn Doty

a woman who loves wine

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine's Day Wishes. It's just not that complicated.

It's almost Valentine's Day. I don't know about you, but I have always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day. I find it a ridiculously contrived holiday. Part of me hates this, but part of me just adores it! So cheesy. So silly and over the top. I confess that Valentine's Day has not normally gone all that well for me with a couple of rare exceptions. But I think it was my own fault for not being REALLY REALLY clear about what I would love. This year, since there is no one in particular to tell, I figured I'd just tell EVERYONE! Heh. Maybe I'll actually get some of it this time! Ok. I'm a bit of a paradox when it comes to what I like. Most of the time I am rather unconventional in my tastes. But on Valentine's Day, I'm all about the traditions. Really, I'm a simple woman at heart. I swear!

I'd love to wake up to a box of Hot Chocolatier chocolates,

a bottle of Larmandier-Bernier Terre-de-Vertus,

and some confection from La Pelrla.

Yeah, I did. I put knickers on my blog. And?

Once that's all be put to its best uses, I confess that a dozen red roses would be FABULOUS! Hell, I'd settle for tulips! (I actually prefer them anyway.)

Dinner would be just lovely too. A little pan seared foie gras with crostini topped with evoo and toasted pistachios. Ok, who needs dinner. Just the foies gras and some more champagne!

Dessert is an absolute necessity. And because no one can (well, I can't anyway) have enough chocolate...

This chocolate chestnut cake covered in Nutella makes me swoon. This ought to be fabulous with champagne too! How convenient!


Now, here's the part I like best... I'd like to do all this from the comfort of one of these chairs in Turks and Caicos:

That about covers it. See. Simple.

Happy Valentine's Day from Wine Ophelia


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gin variation of a French 75

I have not found another recipe that is the equivalent of this. If you do, please let me know...

So it's not exactly wine. But it IS a Champagne cocktail that I absolutely LOVE.

Here's how I make it:

1 cube of sugar or a splash of simple

2 shakes of bitters

squeeze in the juice of half an orange

1 oz of gin

shake over ice and strain into martini glass

top off with champagne

twist of orange

The cocktail is aptly named after this big, bad boy and you are apt to suffer its consequences if you don't imbibe in moderation.

Check out the original French 75 cocktail as seen in Savoy Cocktail book
photo credit