Wrapping Up "Jazz on the Vine" 2011

Last week, we regaled (or perhaps bored) you with tales from our annual trip to the wine-and-music weekend known as Jazz on the Vine, hosted by the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Here’s hoping “regaled” is correct, because we’re about to finish our Jazz on the Vine report right here, right now.

First, in answer to several queries from folks who just couldn’t wait (they apparently were regaled as opposed to bored), yes, we did have an opportunity to sample “The El” from the Off the Rail Cafe.

This “toasty,” named for the famed public transit line in downtown Chicago, consisted of a grilled chicken breast, Gouda cheese and sauteed onions on grilled sourdough bread, with ranch dressing on the side for dipping.

Yes, it was very good…and yes, it matched beautifully with the Pinot Grigio that was served by the glass.

Was the wine world-class? No. But not every glass of wine has to provide a “mind-blowing” experience. Sometimes, just something that tastes good with a “toasty” at an out-of-the-way cafe is all you need.

Okay, back to the much more regal Osthoff and the big wine tasting under the tent of the jazz festival. Wines were sold by the glass or bottle, and since my goal was to sample a number of wines, I stuck to the glasses. In two days, I tried six wines and really liked five of them. They were (in no particular order):

  • Paluzzi Moscato d’Asti
  • Furst Gewurztraminer
  • Quady Electra
  • Concannon Petite Sirah
  • Seghesio Zinfandel


Unfortunately, the tasting list provided did not include vintages, and I did not notice this faux pas until I had returned home. Sorry!

While all five wines were quite tasty, I think I had the most fun just trying to say, “Furst Gewurtz,” after drinking a glass of the Moscato.

As for the music, two sax players stole the show: Mindi Abair (who you may have seen playing on “American Idol” this season) on Friday night, and Boney James on Saturday evening.

James’ performance was so compelling and energy draining that the musician who followed him to close the festival, guitarist Norman Brown, seemed old and tired by comparison. The organizers really should have reversed the appearances of James and Brown, and everyone–performers and fans–would have been better off for it.

Among the other performers, I found Hiroshima “challenging” to listen to, Steve Oliver to be quite engaging, and Dotsero to be a very pleasant surprise. You can Google any of the aforementioned artists to learn more about them, and there also are numerous videos available on YouTube.

All in all, it was another great weekend of music, wine and food in Elkhart Lake. I’m already looking forward to next year, when I’ll be able to regale…or bore…you once again.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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