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Florida wines win

By CHRIS SHERMAN
Published August 24, 2005


Almost a dozen Florida wines got the checkered flag at the Indiana State Fair this year. The fair hosts the second-largest U.S. wine competition and the biggest for wineries across the South and Midwest that use hybrid grapes and fruit.

The biggest winner was South Pasadena's Florida Orange Groves, with eight medals: pineapple, mango and Coco Polada (Valencia oranges and coconut), gold; key lime and Orange Blossom Honey, silver; and passionfruit, bronze.

Florida Orange Groves also won a silver and a bronze for wines made with muscadine and Noble grapes. For retail locations, call toll-free 1-800-338-7923.

San Sebastian Winery in St. Augustine won gold for a red muscadine, silver for a cream sherry and bronzes for a red muscadine port and a white muscadine wine. Its sister winery, Lakeridge in Clermont, claimed silvers for Blanc du Bois and Southern White muscadine plus a bronze for its Chablis muscadine.

Sea Breeze in Panama City won bronzes for Palmetto White, a blend of muscadine and Carlos grapes, and Palmetto Red, of muscadine and Noble. Among vinifera grapes, Lazy Dog Red, a cabernet franc made by Ridgeback Winery in Longwood, took a bronze.

REALITY: WINE

Is there any topic that can't be made into a reality series? The San Luis Obispo Tribune, reporting from Sideways territory on California's central coast, says production on The Wine Makers will start there soon. The six-part show, expected to air on PBS next spring, will follow five people competing for a chance to start their own wine label. Watch for online casting calls at www.wine.com plus ads in upcoming Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Conde Nast Traveler magazines. The show will also be shot in Australia.

COCKTAILS 2005

Want to make some of the hippest cocktails from the coolest restaurants and bars throughout the country? Pick up Food & Wine Cocktails 2005 (American Express Publishing, $14.95). The magazine's first cocktail book is filled with more than 200 drink recipes, along with a nightlife guide to the newest bars, restaurants and lounges in more than 35 cities.

The "Cocktail Clinic" chapter includes details on glassware, garnishes, tools and a conversion chart (ounces to tablespoons and cups).

STREAK OF YELLOW

The No. 1 wine brand in dollar volume isn't Kendall-Jackson, Beringer or any of the other domestic top names; it's an Australian label called Yellow Tail.

With sales of 6.6-million cases, Yellow Tail makes eight regular wines (chardonnay, pinot grigio, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz-cabernet, cabernet-merlot and shiraz-grenache) that sell for $7 or less and five reserve varietals (chardonnay, pinot grigio, shiraz, merlot and cabernet sauvignon) priced at around $11.

ON THE BLOCK

Hey collectors, are you ready to spend really big bucks on wine?

Some of the greatest wines of the 20th century and a couple of 19th century Chateau Haut-Brions (1881 and 1899) will highlight the upcoming Hart Davis Hart fall auction in Chicago on Sept. 17.

Prized Chateaux bottles of '47 and '82 Cheval Blanc, '59 Haut-Brion, '82 Latour, '49 and '82 Mouton-Rothschild and '61, '75 and '82 Petrus will be among the 11,000 offered.

Absentee bidding can be done by phone, fax or through the auctioneer's Web site.

Catalogs are available for $25. For information, call 312 482-9996 or see www.hdhwine.com

- Compiled from staff reports and the Los Angeles Daily News

WINE OF THE WEEK

Prosecco di Valdobbiadene frizzante, Mionetto, 2004

The Mionetto family must love bubbles, they make so many of them. At last count they made nine, seven of them squeezed from the prosecco grape that stars in the small vineyard area north of Venice.

The frizzante is among the lightest; Mionetto categorizes it as "lively." Yet it is still proud and traditional, witnessed by the string hanging from the stopper, which at one time helped keep the pop inside.

Prosecco has caught on as a distinctive alternative to French Champagne and can be as tart and powerful. The frizz in this one is softer, the bubbles are friendly, and so is the dry taste and aroma of ripe apples, peaches and lightly toasted nuts.

It's best chilled, a terrific refresher when Florida is in the August doldrums.

Availability: Better wine stores, $12.

- CHRIS SHERMAN

[Last modified August 23, 2005, 17:32:03]


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