Category Events

Champagne venture is a layup for NBA legend Thomas

Cheurlin Brut Speciale is the winery’s flagship champagne.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Is that former NBA Hall of Fame great Isiah Thomas now wearing the Cheurlin Champagne polo jersey?

Yes, it is. And why not?

Isiah Thomas with Lisa Marie-Booth, owner of Fortitude Health and Training, and Manchester (N.N.) Mayor Joyce Craig.

Thomas, 57, is no stranger to the French bubbly – even if in an odd way.

For years during his illustrious career with the Detroit Pistons (1981-94), Thomas said he enjoyed his share of wet, wild and elegant championship celebrations when “champagne was poured all over my head” – even if he didn’t drink it back them.

Later, however, Thomas learned to appreciate the refined, exquisite taste of champagne, as well as where it comes from, the people farming t...

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Make a sensation with a holiday gift of wine

A wine basket creation by the Wine Goddess combines elegance and wine.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Wine makes a great gift for the holidays, and how you present it can make a significant statement to the recipient.

Do you want to be regarded highly? Do you want to become a special friend? Do you want to firm up a so-so relationship?

There’s nothing wrong with giving someone a bottle of wine. It shows appreciation, love and respect in many ways. But what if you were to spruce up that bottle a bit, adding a nice festive holiday wrap and a simple red, silver or gold ribbon bow?

Ruffino Il Ducale Toscana red is fresh and expressive.

It’s very easy to go a little extra and got a whole lot more in return for your caring generosity...

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Star-studded match: Isiah Thomas and Cheurlin Champagne

Cheurlin Brut Speciale is the winery’s flagship champagne.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Is that former NBA Hall of Fame great Isiah Thomas now wearing the Cheurlin Champagne polo jersey?

Yes, it is. And why not?

Isiah Thomas with Lisa Marie-Booth, owner of Fortitude Health and Training, and Manchester (N.N.) Mayor Joyce Craig.

Thomas, 57, is no stranger to the French bubbly – even if in an odd way.

For years during his illustrious career with the Detroit Pistons (1981-94), Thomas said he enjoyed his share of wet, wild and elegant championship celebrations when “champagne was poured all over my head” – even if he didn’t drink it back them.

Later, however, Thomas learned to appreciate the refined, exquisite taste of champagne, as well as where it comes from, the people farming the...

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Zoning in on Bobby Zohn’s 90-point wine specials

    Bobby ‘BZ’ Zohn pours from his 90-point wine list at the Wine ConneXtion.

By Jim Campanini

jcampanini@comcast.net

Bobby “BZ” Zohn was back in North Andover last weekend at the Wine ConneXtion, pouring from his list of “90 points and above” wines based on ratings received from Wine Enthusiast and Decanter magazines and top-flight reviewers James Suckling and Robert Parker.

Like snowflakes, Zohn’s events are never two the same. They’re filled with lively, intelligent banter, fun facts on wine trends, delivered in Zohn’s unassuming and friendly manner.For years he’s been a great ambassador for Martignetti Companies, where his title is listed as “Connoisseur Sales Representative”...

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Taste your way to an education in Italian wines (like I did)

By Jim Campanini
If you are truly interested in developing your global wine acumen, there’s no better way to start than with the Wine Scholar Guild’s Italian Wine Scholar program that begins Saturday, Oct. 13.
My mentor , Jo-Ann Ross, will be teaching Unit 1 on Northern Italian wines, which covers Piedmont, Trentino, Alto Adige and Val
D’Aosta.
I began my Italian studies with this class two years ago, and it was exceptional. I met wonderful people in the wine trade, restaurant owners and chefs, sommeliers, and young and older professionals who love wine.
We studied the different Italian regions — their customs and history — and learned about the unique native grapes and distinctive wine-making styles that have given Italy top-tier status with other global producers ...
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Grapes can’t talk — so the Wine Novice will

By Jim Campanini, The Wine Novice

If grapes could talk – some winemakers insist they can whisper to them – Italy’s more than 1,000 varieties could tell stories of how they fueled papal conquests, Roman legions on the move, and even the seductions of emperors and kings.

When I open a bottle of Italian wine, I often wonder who trod the ancient soil of the vineyard where the grapes were grown. The great Caesar? Augustine? Or maybe a Bendictine monk who would later become pope.

The history, culture and cuisine of Italy remain fascinating to this day.

That said, if you enjoy Italian wines or want to learn more about them, I’ll be holding another fun night of vino viniferous education on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 7-9 p.m. at the gorgeous Nesmith House in Lowell...

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5 wines to cure your spring fever

I’ve got spring fever for rosé and lighter white and red wines.

Lately, I’ve been sampling a bunch with the Wine Goddess, my wife Mary Lee, and here are five you should consider for your patio drinking pleasure. Most of these wines can be found in fine wine stores throughout the area and Greater Boston.

Ruffino Sparkling RosNV, Italy, $15

Ruffino Sparkling RosNV, Italy, $15

Ruffino Sparkling Rosé NV, Italy, $15 — This is one of the most exciting sparklers I’ve tasted so far this year (of course, it’s still early in the season). It combines the Glera grape, the foundation for the Veneto’s famous Prosecco wine, and small amounts of Pinot Noir. Both grapes are fermented separately as still wines and then combined in pressurized steel tanks...

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Six wines get stamp of approval from Club tasters

The panel, from left, Rick Sobey, Kori Tuitt, Chris Lisinski, Alana Melanson, Grant Welker, Richard Rourke, Jim Campanini

The panel, from left, Rick Sobey, Kori Tuitt, Chris Lisinski, Alana Melanson, Grant Welker, Richard Rourke, Jim Campanini

‘Tis the season for picking out a special wine for the connoiseur on your list.

The Mill City Oenophile Club, comprised of Sun reporters and editors, met recently at Ricardo’s Trattoria in Lowell for a splendid evening of food and wine tasting. The panel, which included Richard “Ricardo” Rourke himself, blind-tasted six wines in three varietal categories.

The goal was to evaluate the wines individually and assign each a score (5-point system, with “5” being the best) in five categories — appearance, aroma, body, taste and finish.

The beauty of the exercise proved there is a wine to fit every palate preference and price point.

In the end, club members gave all six wines ...

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Hospitality, holiday cheer overflow at Four Oaks’ Doubleback wine dinner

Doubleback Winery's Drew Bledsoe had a fun night talking about his wines and raising money for local charities at Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut. The auction of Bledsoe wines raised more than $48,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Lowell and the Salvation Army.

Doubleback Winery’s Drew Bledsoe had a fun night talking about his wines and raising money for local charities at Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut. The auction of Bledsoe wines raised more than $48,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Lowell and the Salvation Army.

Cindy and Michael Kuenzler know how to throw a party.

A week ago (Dec. 1), the Dracut couple co-hosted a spectacular wine dinner at their Four Oaks Country Club with Doubleback winery owners Drew and Maura Bledsoe.

More than 125 guests packed the soldout event, where they dined on Chef Beni’s superb four-course cuisine and drank three equally elegant Doubleback wines.

Drew Bledsoe — trim, fit and sporting a diamond-cluster New England Patriots Hall of Fame ring — wowed the crowd with his neighborly banter (“I grew up in a town that...

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Bledsoe hits new peak with Doubleback wines

bledsoe wines

Drew Bledsoe has spent as many years (9) being a farmer of vines as he spent quarterbacking the New England Patriots (1993-2001).

Boy, how time flies!

Today, at age 44 (he’ll be 45 on Feb. 14, 2017) the Patriots’ Hall of Famer is still turning out winning seasons but on a different turf — the sloping, mountainous vineyards of eastern Washington State where he’s become one of Walla Walla Valley’s leading wine producers.

Each new vintage of his highly acclaimed Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon ($99 in stores, $89 from the winery) just keeps getting better.

Tonight, Drew Bledsoe and his wife Maura will co-host a private wine dinner with Cindy and Michael Kuenzler, at the Kuenzlers’ Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut. The event is sold out.

The Bledsoes founded Doubleback Winery in 200...

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