If the same old Chardonnay, Riesling or Pinot Grigio is getting you down, try something different.
Italian Vermentino, Argentina’s Torontos and Spain’s Macabeo are great whites with different flavor profiles. Grenache Blanc is the fourth-most-planted white wine grape in France and becoming more popular each year as a single varietal wine. It’s often used in traditional Rhone and Southern France blends. It’s also a great alternative to the usual suspects.
Tablas Creek, Paso Robles, has championed Rhone whites for years. Oregon’s Joe Dobbes has become a huge fan and terrific producer more recently.
“I was making a Rhone blend for one of my Southern Oregon customers,” Dobbes explained during a Chicago marketing event. “It was Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. Lo and behold, they had two tons of Grenache Blanc left over and said ‘Hey Joe, do you want it?’”
That’s been a few years ago, and now Dobbe’s Family Estate Grenache Blanc sells out each year. “I wanted to be first one to say let’s hang our hat on this grape. As a winemaker, I’m always trying to do something new and different, right? Oregon is known for Pinot Noir, and we have some beautiful wines in Southern Oregon. But the Grenache Blanc came along and I thought ‘what’s the risk for a couple of tons of grapes?
“I want rich, full-flavored varietal fruit in my whites. I started in Germany in 1985, and those white aromatics really helped formulate me. The Grenache Blanc is made “with no new barrels, no malolactic fermentation and no filtration. The wine has great clarity and great richness in the mouth.
“The quintessential wine has great mouth feel, specifically whites, and beautiful fruit with great acidity. I think this wine has all three.”
Dobbes looked at the landscape and saw Oregon winemakers selling Pinot Noir, most with a Pinot Gris but not many other choices. “I got tired of having to sell my Dobbes luxury label at a discount and thought we were going in the wrong direction. We decided to hang our hat a bit on Grenache Blanc, a specialty wine for a high-end retailer or restaurant. You’re not going to see this everywhere.”
The wine retails from Dobbes’ tasting room at $26.
The veteran winemaker acknowledged people are always looking for something different. “So we offer them some unique, fruity, esoteric whites. We’re also about Pinot Noir. Now Oregon winemakers are asking me where they can get Grenache Blanc, and I say … ‘well, you can’t.’”
Dobbes buys all of the Grenache Blanc available from the one producer who has six acres in Southern Oregon — the state’s entire production! Dobbes most popular label, “Wines by Joe,” is widely available.
It might be easier to find Grenache Blanc from a California producer; still there are only 159 acres in the country’s biggest wine-producing state. The wine is characterized by its crisp acidity and often hints of green apple, orange, peach and minerality.
Besides Dobbes and Tablas Creek, try a Domaine Virgile Joly Grenache Blanc widely available in the Midwest and East Coast. Price points range from mid-teens to mid-$20 for these dynamic white wines.
Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about value wine every other week for 22 Midwestern newspapers. Read his wine blog at: www.howardhewitt.net.
If the same old Chardonnay, Riesling or Pinot Grigio is getting you down, try something different.
Author visits birthplace of Calvin Coolidge
Editor’s Note: Today, in this seventh and final installment of Mike Lunsford’s “New England Journal,” the writer visits a small town in south central Vermont, birthplace of the nation’s 30th President, Calvin Coolidge. Be sure to look for Mike’s regular column in Monday’s edition of the Tribune-Star.
GRAPE SENSE: Unoaked Chard the perfect complement to a dish like Chicken Lyon
Everyone has heard the old wine/food pairing advice of red wine with red meat and white wine with fish or chicken.
For the most part, that’s not a bad guideline which will work more often than not. But as you really get into wine and start referring to yourself as a “foodie,” the simplistic advice just won’t work.
TRIED ’N’ TRUE: A recipe for a family who loves onions
In our family, we love onions. My sister, Pam, sent me this recipe.
When Gene and I were first married I made everything with onions (his mother didn’t flavor her meals). They were good old country meals — meat, potatoes, gravy and desserts.
Guiding Star: Inspired by family, Terre Haute native rallies famous names to fund cancer research
Famous people filled the Riviera Country Club, a scenic golf resort in affluent Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A city block away, Sunset Boulevard runs toward the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Monica Mountains overlook it all. Inside the Riviera, during a 2009 fundraising dinner, Terre Haute attorney Tony Tanoos found himself surrounded by a who’s who of celebrities — actors such as Ray Romano, Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle and others, and golfing greats like Gary Player, Johnny Miller and Rocco Mediate. Soon, the crowd of notables heard the words of main speaker Lisa Paulsen, the president of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
MIKE LUNSFORD: The long goodbye to winter
I have no idea what the weather is to bring to us on the morning this story runs, but on the day I write most of it, the sun is shining, and we have just come off a weekend of pleasant warmth and cloudless skies.
Making Waves: Woman devotes part of rural Vigo County home to museum on hairstyling
Some studies show that women spend more than $50,000 in a lifetime and more than one month of their entire life at a beauty salon, trying to get and keep their hair just the right style. How they have accomplished this through the ages has been a fascination for local hairstylist Brenda Ellis for more than 50 years.
Heaven on Earth: Writer gets lost — both figuratively and literally — at Acadia National Park
Editor’s Note: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of a day hiking the Atlantic shoreline and the trails of Maine’s Acadia National Park.
Rock of Ages: Hulman Center stage has been entertaining crowds since 1974
As the stage lights came on, Sam Wellington and his cohorts gazed out at an audience of 8,060 Midwesterners.
The scene was familiar for him. Wellington and his country music quartet, The Four Guys, opened shows night after night for fellow RCA Records artists Ronnie Millsap and headliner Charley Pride on tours across North America.
Wearing a Legacy: Inspired by Debs, a variety of places and things beyond Terre Haute — from a town to beers — bear his name
A town and a school. Two styles of beer. A radio station, a street, a township, and a house for college students. Even a parade.
Any of those places or things named in honor of legendary labor and social activist Eugene V. Debs could theoretically exist in Terre Haute. Alas, none do.
Flowing forward: As Riverscape leader retires, he sees great things ahead for the Wabash River
An iconic photo of Harry Truman hangs in John Mutchner’s office.
The walls of that room and others inside Mutchner’s scenic eastside home offer glimpses of his interests, from auto racing to basketball to political history. The famous picture of a triumphant Truman, hoisting an erroneous “Dewey Defeats Truman” Chicago Tribune headline, rests neatly framed alongside a 1952 campaign button and an autographed notecard from the former president.
Hope Awakened: On a floating hospital, Terre Haute nurse sees lives of needy transformed
The woman was 24 years old. She weighed 70 pounds.
She had young children and, for a long time, a heavy burden. A tumor, large as her head, engulfed her jaw. Eating and breathing became all but impossible for her. Undoubtedly, she’d been ostracized because of it, too. Such cases are rare in the Western world, but they occur frequently in the Republic of Congo. The coastal African nation has just one doctor for every 20,000 people.
Rock Collector: Indiana Coal Council president loves rocks, fossils and 4-H
You might say Bruce Stevens grew up with lots of pet rocks.
Scavenging for rocks and fossils as a boy near his home at Coalmont launched Stevens’ fascination with geology. His love of all things sedimentary led him to a successful career in hydrology, reclamation and the coal industry.
‘Afternoon on a Hill’: The formal poet who led an informal life — Edna St. Vincent Millay
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of an afternoon exploring the rural gardens and home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay near Austerlitz, N.Y. Join Lunsford in February for the sixth installment of this series as he wanders along the wooded shorelines of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.
No Intermission: Character meets demise on ‘Walking Dead,’ but lively acting career continues for Terre Haute’s Jose Pablo Cantillo
Characters often make dramatic exits from television shows.
Few could top Terre Haute-raised actor Jose Pablo Cantillo’s departure last month from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
The scene occurred in the fourth season of cable TV’s most popular drama series ever.
Telling stories in song
Pieces of Terre Haute’s infamous past gather dust in the town’s metaphorical attic. Closed-up, old baggage — forever linked, like it or not, to the historical record.
Real people lived through those times, but as generations pass, memories of those characters fade and disappear.
Effort under way to restore Civil War monument to original grandeur; ‘Soldier of the West’ unique in state of Indiana
“How sleep the brave, who sink to rest with all their country’s wishes blest.”
A lone soldier sits atop Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle. He is seated with his foot on a cannon of long ago, looking westward, perhaps toward the future he fought for. “He” is a stone memorial, rising nearly 30 feet in the historic cemetery. He represents all the men, young and old, from Putnam County who fought and died in the Civil War, and he is aptly titled “Soldier of the West.”
Walk of a Lifetime: Writer discovers views fit for a painting while walking the cliffs of Prout’s Neck, home to famous artist Winslow Homer’s seaside studio
Editor’s Note: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of a day walking the Maine seacoast in search of the great artist, Winslow Homer. Join Mike in January for the fifth installment of this series as he visits Edna St. Vincent Millay’s rural New York farm, Steepletop.
Heightened Sense of Place: Educators’ efforts helped put geography back on map in schools
Geography transcends dots on a map.
Teachers traveling abroad alongside Terre Haute geographer Dorothy Drummond have experienced the real-life cultures, atmosphere and people existing within those dots. An educator herself, Drummond has organized affordable geography tours of foreign lands for Wabash Valley schoolteachers for many years. The journeys involved more than sight-seeing.
Fade to Black: A few local theaters among last to part with century-old 35-mm film
The projectionist behind the first movie shown in the Indiana Theatre nearly 92 years ago would likely feel right at home in that same booth today.
HEALING WATERS: Team River Runner offers inspiration, opens doors for wounded veterans
Some people say the fun of boating on the Wabash is dealing with unexpected challenges such a big body of water can present on certain days; others delight in the wild beauty at Terre Haute’s doorstep, from bald eagles soaring above trees lining the banks of the Wabash to the panorama of the river itself as it curls through woodland in many places reminiscent of primeval splendor seen hundreds of years ago.
The night it rained tears
March fuels college basketball teams. Fun, glory, buzzer-beater shots and storybook endings in the NCAA Tournament await there.
Community Theatre to bring Tony Award-winning play to stage
Some call it a comedy, while others call it a drama. “God of Carnage” was the 2009 Tony Award winner for Best Play, and Community Theatre of Terre Haute will present it this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as March 21-23.
New Leo Baxter Orchestra to entertain at Big Read Party
A Terre Haute tradition will be reborn when the New Leo Baxter Society Orchestra performs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Indiana Theatre as part of the Big Party for the Wabash Valley Big Read.
With new Americana album, Chicago artist to play Verve
For years, Kevin Presbrey toured the country as the front man of Painkiller Hotel, a modern rock group inspired by guitar-fueled bands like Pearl Jam and Live. Now, he’s dialing back the clock with his solo debut, an Americana album that takes its cues from Jim Croce’s folk music, the Eagles’ country-tinged rock and Fleetwood Mac’s 1970s pop.
Country singer/songwriter from Illinois to perform at The Verve
Up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Troy Stone of Paris, Ill., will perform from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. March 14 in The Verve at 677 Wabash Ave.
Gallery presents ‘Halcyon Days’ exhibit
Halcyon Art Gallery is presenting the regional juried exhibition, “Halcyon Days 2014,” on view from Friday until March 28. The opening reception will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday. This is the ninth in a series of juried exhibitions showcasing the best of contemporary art in all media.
See dinosaurs, Dr. Seuss characters at Children's Museum
On Sunday, March 9, Terre Haute Children’s Museum guests will be in for a special treat. Prehistoric creatures from Erth’s “Dinosaur Zoo” will be roving the museum, and Dr. Seuss characters will come to life when the Children’s Theatre of Terre Haute presents “Seussical Jr.”
GRAPE SENSE: News from the world’s wine regions can affect future prices
News from the world’s wine regions can affect even the average wine drinker. There is a lot going on, particularly in California, which can affect future wine prices.
TRIED ’N’ TRUE: The easiest ham loaf I’ve ever made
I have been asked for a good ham loaf recipe. This is really good. It comes from a friend of mine in Morton, Ill. Eileen Knapp makes this for her kids and grandkids — we all enjoyed it.
Party New Orleans-style at Swope Mardi Gras celebration
The Swope Art Museum’s fifth annual Mardi Gras celebration is this weekend. Enjoy a visit to the Big Easy on the museum’s third floor from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday.
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