Sunday, December 28, 2008

Break out the Champagne!

Happy New Year everybody!

If part of your new years celebration includes raising a glass of champagne with your friends here are a few brief things you might find interesting about this celebratory wine.

  • Champagne is produced in the region in France that bears its name. Generally champagne grapes are either chardonnay grapes, which are white, or pinot noir or pinot meunier grapes, which are red (the process using the red grapes produces white champagne wine).
  • The bubbles and "pop" in champagne is traditionally produced by a process of double fermentation. After the initial fermentation, at which time the wine looks and acts like regular white wine, a little sugar and yeast are added to the bottles for a second fermentation. The bottles rest for at least a year before they are given another little dose of sugar and wine, corked and then rested again for months or even years. This process creates the long lasting tiny bubbles that look so cool in your glass.
  • If it's not made the traditional way or is produced outside of Champagne, France it's not true champagne; it's called sparkling wine.
  • To properly open a bottle of champagne, and avoid wasting wine and possibly hurting someone or something with a flying cork, hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, hold the cork tightly, and rotate the bottle rather than the cork as you separate the two.
  • Champagne should be served chilled, at around 45 degrees, and in a champagne flute, the tall stemmed glass that highlights those beautiful tiny bubbles so well.
  • Bottle sizes vary greatly with champagne. Many bottles larger than a magnum are named after biblical figures, with the Nebuchadnezzar sized bottle being the equivalent of around 20 regular bottles.
  • Dom PĂ©rignon, the famous Benedictine monk, didn't invent champagne, although he was born in Champagne, France and did have much to do with further development in the method of producing champagne. An English physician by the name Merret is credited with being the fellow to first document the process of making champagne or sparkling wine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday wines, mmm...mmm...good

I can't believe how quickly this month is going by. It seems like it was just a day or two ago that we had the Holiday Wines & Tapas event. Attendance was sparse, with only five or six people joining the fun because of the weather, but fun it surely was. I can honestly say that whether the group is large or small I fully enjoy these events. We always have a good time and always come away learning something new and tasting something delicious.
The mulled wine was a huge hit with everyone. We used a delicious Von Stiehl apple wine for the mulled wine. The recipe we used is in the previous post on this blog, and this is surely going to be a regular holiday wine for us from now on. Of the regular, "un-doctored" wines, again it was two Von Stiehl wines that were the clear favorites: their Naughty Girl red and their Christmas Blush (you might say that Von Stiehl winery was the star of the night).

Naughty Girl is a red grape wine with 20% raspberry wine, with an extra kick from the addition of a grape brandy. Christmas Blush is a semi-dry white, blushed wine made from Door County Montmorency cherries, very smooth with just the right amount of mellow sweetness. If you're looking for a delicious holiday wine, something that everyone will find delightful, you can't go wrong with these. And to make them even more appropriately Christmasy the labels on their Christmas Blush and Christmas Wine show wonderful vintage holiday scenes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today's Special & Mulled Wine

Check out today's "12 Days of Christmas" special over on our main Stumpjack Coffee get $5 off Thursday night's Holiday Wines tasting. BTW, it's a today-only-special so you have to be quick.

What a wonderfully frosty evening (the thermometer says 1 degree right now) for some mulled wine. Here's one recipe:
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 bottle wine
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 6 to 8 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • orange peel from 1/2 orange
  1. Pour wine (non-oak barrel aged wine) into a pan and heat on low.
  2. Cut the zest off half an orange - remove the bitter white pith part.
  3. Lightly pound the pieces of zest to release the aromatic oils. Add the zest and a little juice to the wine.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Stir occasionally, but don't bring to a boil.
  6. It's ready to serve once it gets hot. Ladle into a mug but strain all the spices out first.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Intimidated By Wine?

Do you enjoy wine but find it all a bit intimidating? should not be intimidating or pretentious! One of our goals at Stumpjack is to be a wine bar without the intimidation. Wine should be something you enjoy for your own personal taste preferences. If you don't know much about wine, not to worry, you've come to the right place. Learning about wine can be quite pleasant and fun. As you try more and more wines, your awareness of flavors and personal preferences will develop. With a little experience (the fun kind, like you get at a Stumpjack wine tasting) you can start down the road to being a true wine aficionado!

Holiday Wines & Tapas

Join us for
Holiday Wines & Tapas Tasting
Thursday, Dec. 18th

members $15
non-members $20

Friday, December 12, 2008

Anytime Fitness party

Last Saturday we had the pleasure of hosting a wine tasting party for the gang of Anytime Fitness. Thank you Mike Langley from Anytime Fitness.

Enjoying wine and friends

Anytime Fitness pals

Kim talking about the wine and tasting notes

Tim Hand "Rising Star Award", Jolynn Jones "2008 Club of the Year - Manitowoc",
Mike Langley Owner

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pastry and Coffee = sooooo good

Here's Brian Powell's thoughtful review of tonight's tasting:

"It was fun to meet Jennifer and taste her treats. I'm not a big sweets fan, but hers are more natural with the organic ingredients and extra effort she puts into them. She has many subtle flavors and textures that make each bite fulfilling and adventurous at the same time.

There were a couple of items (such as the raspberry topped cherry cream mini-cheesecake cup) where I just closed my eyes to avoid being distracted so I could concentrate on the senses that were being tantalized, namely my taste buds. The apple crumble was also one of my favorites, but the raspberries that were precisely placed on top of this treat looked too perfect to be real, so before you bit into it you had to admire its natural beauty.

The coffee made for a natural balance or contrast of flavors. We enjoyed the whole experience..."

Click the image above to enlarge and get a closer look at some of Jennifer's creations. Click here to visit her tantalizing blog.

A couple spots still open

It's almost 11:30 at this post. Tonight's tasting of holiday flavored coffees and Uniquely Yours pastries kicks off at 6:30 and we have four spots open yet. If you want to partake just give us a call to reserve your spot (553-5282) before 6:30.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday pastry and coffee tasting

Thursday Night Tasting
Join us for a
Holiday Event...
Stumpjack Coffee &
Uniquely Yours Pastry
Thursday, Dec. 4...6:30-8:00pm
members $10*
nonmembers $15*

Sample decadently delicious seasonal coffees and out-of-this-world pastries specially made by Jennifer of Uniquely Yours Pastry Shoppe. Let us know if you are planning on coming.

Becky Markvart will be serenading us with beautiful Christmas music.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Pairing Tips

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's a time to celebrate and give thanks with family and friends. Unfortunately, with all the stress of menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking, one thing that may be forgotten is the wine. With so many different dishes on the table it is often difficult to choose just one wine. Luckily, white wines are quite versatile and pair well with a variety of foods.

Sauvignon Blanc pairs with everything from shrimp to butternut squash to roast turkey. Chardonnay (the less oak the better) has similar versatility and it's full body make it appropriate for creamed dishes. However, if your preference is red wine, Pinot Noir will subtly support most dishes on your Thanksgiving table without overpowering them.

More robust than white wines, Pinot Noir has very little tannin and will likely blend well with the entire holiday meal. Then there's dessert. Well-chilled late harvest Rieslings, Ice Wines, Gewurztraminer and Ports pair well with sweet desserts as long as the wine is as sweet or sweeter than the confection. Whatever your choice of wine, everything tastes better in the company of loved ones. Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good Wine, Good Food, Good Friends...

Andy Hilliard educating the Stumpjack masses on South African wine.
Image by Jaslyn Gilbert of the HTR.

What else could you ask for? Andrew Hilliard delighted us with both his smooth South African wines and tales of life at Beau Joubert. It was one of the most enjoyable and edifying wine tastings we've experienced. Outstanding wines (every single wine in their line was a thumbs up winner); a passionate and knowledgable presenter; a bunch of good friends; some tasty cheeses, bacon/scallops and prosciutto wrapped shrimp hors d'oeuvres...made for a very nice evening. Jaslyn Gilbert from the Herald Times Reporter was on hand snapping photos for an upcoming feature on the Beau Joubert Winery in the HTR's Lakeshore Living magazine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

South African Wines of Beau Joubert

BEAU JOUBERT's rich viticultural history spans back to 1695 when the governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, allocated the property, Veelverjaagt to Coenraed Visser. One hundred years later, the farm was sold to a French Huguenot descendant, named Dirk Daniel Joubert. He in turn, divided the farm between his two sons; the one retained the Veelverjaagt name while the other named his portion La Provence, to honour the birthplace of his forefathers... from the Beau Joubert website.

I encourage you to check out the website of Beau Joubert vineyards of South Africa. It is quite beautiful! And their wines are wonderful! Meet Andrew Hilliard, Managing Director/Owner, this Thursday evening for a wine tasting event. We hope you can join us!

South African Wines of Beau Joubert

Thursday, Nov. 20th
Members: $15.00
Non-members: $20.00

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm full!

Image from last night's tasting, courtesy of Brian Powell.

Last night's Beer & Salami Tasting was very enjoyable. A handful of good microbrew beers, an equal measure of tasty Italian meats, a half-dozen friends sitting around shooting the breeze...makes for a fun and gastronomically satisfying evening. The majority consensus seemed to be that Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale was the surprise beer of the night (a truly great beer from that brewery's line of excellent products). I think the favorites of the meats were the pastrami and the capicola (or capicollo). While we followed a format of pairing specific beers with specific cuts of meat, no specific pairing jumped out as the overwhelming favorite.

Thank you to Lee Brocher of Maretti's Italian Deli in Manitowoc for setting us up with an excellent variety of cured meats. After the tasting we went over to the Strand theater for a private screening of the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, which opens tonight. Big thumbs up on this gritty, action-packed flick. Thanks Gretchen and John!

Next week: Andrew Hilliard of the Beau Jobert South African Winery will be doing the tasting at Stumpjack. Details to follow.

post by David

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And The Winner Is...

I was so pleased that everyone enjoyed the wine and cheese tasting. After pairing seven different wines and cheeses, the unanimous winner was the pairing of the Rheinhessen 2006er Morio-Muskat and the Saxon Green Fields cheese. The rich body of the Morio-Muskat featuring rose hips and pear was a great combination with Saxon Green Fields cheese created by Saxon Homestead Creamery in Cleveland Wisconsin, a semi-soft washed rind cheese from raw cow's milk, carefully tended for 70 days. Stumpjack Wine Bar carries both. Wine can be purchased by the glass or bottle. So even if you missed the tasting, you can sample this delectable pairing on your own.
Did you know that Stumpjack also carries a variety of hand-crafted microbrew beers?
Join us for a
Beer and Sausage Tasting
Thursday, Nov. 13th
Members: $15.00
Nonmembers: $20.00
Please call 553-5282 to register or email

Friday, November 7, 2008

Last night's tasting

We had a really lovely time last night at the first Thursday night Stumpjack Wine Bar tasting. It was fun, relaxed and easy. Thank you, everyone who came, for making this such a nice evening. Be sure to keep abreast of what will be regular Thursday night tastings at the Stumpjack Wine Bar. The current calendar is on the right.

Becky, Maria, Kim, Darla, Lucy, Brian, Donna...and David taking the picture.

I'll give Kim props for a job well done! The wines and cheeses that she chose to pair made for a very interesting evening. The combinations ranged from subtle, sophisticated and creamy to powerful, rich
and tangy. Individual tastes being what they are, I don't think there was a clear consensus on any particular pairing. Although while everyone expressed their enjoyment with the variety of tastes, aromas and textures, we all seemed to have at least one or two pairings that we wanted to remember for future reference. This turned out to be such an enjoyable couple of hours...wonderful food and drink, good people and lively conversation. And as an added bonus I think we all learned something too. I'm giving it a big thumbs up. Next week is my turn, with beer and sausage on the agenda. I hope it goes as nicely as last night's. ---David

We had an awesome time at the tasting last night. Kim did a great job hosting this. Thanks for the cheese gift that we won as well. See you next tasting and several times in between.
What a great, fun, social mecca you've created in downtown TR.

That was fun last night. That was my first wine tasting. Kim did a very good job. ---Donna

That was fun last night. I learned something, and that's always nice.
...tell Kim how much I enjoyed the wine/cheese ---Lucy

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A New Taste in Town...

The grand opening of Stumpjack Wine Bar was held on Sunday, September 28th. Guests sampled several varietals of wine, in addition to artisan cheese and tapas. Stumpjack Wine Bar is proud to offer both locally produced wines and selections from around the world.

Thursday evenings feature special events such as wine tastings and pairings. Live entertainment is offered most Friday and Saturday evenings. The Stumpjack Wine Bar was created to offer an alternative to the typical bar scene by creating a relaxing, yet stimulating environment. It all adds up to a great night out! Private parties are available by reservation. Join us for our next event.

Wine and Cheese Tasting

Thursday, November 6th
Members: $15.00
Non-members: $20.00
Please either call (920-553-5282)or email ( to reserve your tickets or to receive information on scheduled events.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Greetings Wine Lovers:

Happy Halloween! Yes, I know I'm a day late, but we are celebrating the season with our annual costume party this evening. Hope you can join us! We are featuring this tasty Pinot Noir directly from Vampire Vineyards tonight. Happy haunting...

Powerful forest fruit and wild strawberry aromas persist on the nose, balanced by hints of fine French oak. The vibrant ruby red colors hint at a young wine, but the taste reveals a remarkable maturity. Elegant soft fruit flavors are already finely integrated into the structure of the wine, as is the oak, adding a subtle but powerful complexity to the flavor. This is a light smooth wine, easy to drink at any time of the year and exhibiting typical character of a young Pinot Noir. This wine has been made for early drinking using advance cold macceration techniques, but will age well for several years to come. It has a 100% malolactic fermentation - allowing the perfect integration of the natural acides into the structure of the wine.

Vampire Pinot Noir
is well suited to Venison and game dishes, and is equally well adapted to pasta dishes featuring basil and tomato sauces. It can also be enjoyed as an aperitif or as an after dinner wine with snacks and blue cheeses.

Friday, October 31, 2008

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