Dwight Casimere

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Wine of the Week: Eroica Riesling 2015 - $19 from Washington State’s Chateau St. Michelle

Eroica Riesling ($19) combines Old World technique with modern American attitude. The product of the combined efforts of two winemaking legends, Dr. Ernst Loosen and Washington State's oldest winery, Chateau St. Michelle, the wine has all the finesse and sophistication of a European Riesling with the added dimension of bright, Washington State fruit. The wine is crisp, clean and flavorful with an abundance of ripe pears, fragrant white flowers and hints of tarragon and subtle notes of mandarin orange slices. This is the perfect wine for summer meals on the patio or outdoor cafe.

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Wine of the Week: Spring into Loire Valley Wines of France

A welcome sign of spring is the arrival of new releases of the magnificent wines of the Loire Valley, France. They’re light, flavorful and refreshing. Perfect for spring, with just the right ripe fruit, melon and apple and pear flavors that are perfect with the soft cheeses, salads, seafood and charcuterie spreads that make dining al fresco this time of year so much fun. Ever tasted an Anjou pear? Well, this is where those delicious beauties originated, and there are plenty of wines that share its delightfully crisp, unctuous flavor. Love ripe melons or ripe wild strawberries? There are a number of wines from the Loire valley that embody those luscious flavors. Loire Valley's place in fable and in history is secure. This is where Joan of Arc led French troops to victory in there Hundred Years War and where the French language was born. It is the birthplace of the French Renaissance writer Rabelais. The hillsides are dotted with some of the most magnificent castles to be found in all of France.

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Faure's Requiem Soars with CSO and Charles Dutoit On Easter Weekend

Conductor Charles Dutoit and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of Gabriel Faure's Requiem, Op. 48, Richard Wagner's Good Friday Music from the opera Parsifal and Arthur Honegger's Symphony N

There could not have been a more perfect Easter Weekend program than that which was presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with the esteemed conductor Charles Dutoit at the podium with the superb Chicago Symphony Chorus under the direction of Duain Wolfe. Wagner's Good Friday Music from Parsifal brought forth a finely crafted reading of Wagner's superlative music that charts the emotive spiritual journey of a young knight grown to maturity in his search for the Holy Grail. The more restless and war-torn Symphony No. 3 (Liturgique) from 20th century French composer Arthur Honegger seemed stripped right from the weekend's headlines, with North Korea's threatened nuclear tests and the possibility of war-like retaliation from the U.S. and the barely settled fumes of U.S. bombs over Syria still lingering in the air. Dutoit's handling of this epic piece was a testament to his use of restraint in building tension through use of tonal color and texture to create a heightened sense of drama. The long, slow second movement, De proudness clamavi: Adagio, became the central heartbeat of this absorbing piece and set the stage for the finale, which begins with the unrelenting march of war and ends in a peaceful benediction.This was Charles Dutoit and the CSO at their best with their masterful display of contrast.

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Austerity Wines: Exceptional California wines for under $20

Austerity Wines of California is partnering with FeedFeed, a unique online community that connects home cooks, chefs and wine and food bloggers reflecting the latest kitchen trends, to host and series of Chef and Winemaking dinners in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The dinners all featured high-quality, locally sourced ingredients prepared by innovative local chefs, all paired with Austerity Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet, all priced from $13.99 to $16.97 at you local wine shop. The Chicago edition of the FeedFeed/Austerity Wine Dinner featured Chef Joanna Stachon of Ada St. 1664 American Bistro in Chicago. A native of Chicago's South Side, Chef Stachon cut her culinary teeth as a chef at Chicago's Greek diners and as a butcher at Artisanal and Publican Quality Meats following graduation from the culinary school at the Illinois Institute of Art. She joined the Ada St. team immediately after its opening in March 2012 and rose from Sous Chef to Executive Chef after two years under Executive Chef Zoe Schor.

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Wine of the Week: Chateau Miravel Cotes de Provence Rose 2015 - $19.98

Spring is the perfect time of year to image yourself walking along banks of the Loire River and heading to a little, out of the way chateau to enjoy a glass of the crisp, cool elegant dry Rose wines that the French have been enjoying in this storied region in the South of France for centuries. Millennials have been driving the wine market toward these delightful 'blush' wines for almost the past decade because of their versatility, easy drinkability and affordability. Perfect with exotic and ethnic foods, vegetarian dishes, spicy foods or a myriad of soft, creamy cheeses, they are the perfect wines to pair with a spring buffet or light brunch. On the outdoor grill, get adventurous with some grilled giant asparagus or char grilled Romaine lettuce spears. Chateau Miravel Cotes de Provence Rose 2015 ($19.98).

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Wine of the Week: Celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Dry Creek Vineyards 2014 Cabernet and Merlot $26

Dry Creek Valley on northern California's Sonoma Valley has a wine making history that goes all the way back to the days of the California Gold Rush California Gold Rush of 1849. By the late 1880s, the valley had nine wineries and 883 acres of vineyards. Prohibition ended the wine boom and the area became known as primarily a growing region for prunes and pears. Enter David Stare. With a degree from MIT and a background of working B and O railroad, Stare quickly realized that his passion was for wine. He made his way west, and with a degree from the famed winemaking program at UC Davis, he spent his weekends searching for the perfect place to plant grapes, specifically Sauvignon Blanc, like the storied vineyards of the Loire Valley, which he coveted.

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Wine of the Week: Chateau Cambon La Pelouse 2012 – Haut – Medoc $17

Imagine a Bordeaux from the Haut Medoc on Bordeaux's coveted Left Bank for under $20 that reflects all of the skill and laborious work in the vineyards and much of the complexity, roundness and fruity aromas and the allure of wines costing far more and you have the essential components and drawing cards to Chateau Cambon La Pelouse Haut Medoc 2012. A steal at a mere $17.99, this is a wine worthy of your best dry aged Porterhouse, cooked over hot coals, laced with chunks of hickory or, even better, apple or cherry wood and a few branches of fresh thyme or rosemary thrown on for aromatic good measure. Add a touch of crushed garlic, a dab of butter or a slab of fresh Gorgonzola to melt down into the sizzling meat as it rests off the grill. Grill a couple of spears of romaine brushed with garlic and lemon infused olive oil or pair it with a nice arugula and walnut salad drizzled with balsamic and you have a match made in heaven.

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Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV - $49.95

Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier ($49.95) is a shining example of why people who love French Champagne, do so because of its distinct flavor, power and elegance. Roederer Brut Premier has all three qualities in abundance. Family owned since 1776, The sparkling wine is proof positive of the family motto that 'good wine takes time." This Pinot-dominated wine is a perfect example of how 'terrtor', that elusive term that refers to the specific time and place of a wine's production, influences the final outcome. According to Champagne Louis Roederer Group President and CEO Frederic Rouzaud, the story of the champagne starts in the vineyards. "It starts in the vineyards," he told a Wine Spectator Seminar at the recent South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami Beach. "The wine is the product of a specific terroir, composed of chalk soil, a specific climate with a continental influence. It starts with a specific history and a sophistication of the grapes. This is an example of a winery that is coming back to its roots. There are no chemicals used in the making of Champagne Roederer.

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New York Philharmonic Celebrates Composer John Adam's 70th Birthday

NEW YORK--Composer John Adams gave a virtual Master Class at the New York Philharmonic's recent regular subscription program of his Absolute Jest for String Quartet and Orchestra, which featured the New York Philharmonic String Quartet, comprised of four Principal musicians from the Orchestra, in their orchestra debut as a solo ensemble. He opened the concert by taking center stage to make remarks before Music Director Alan Gilbert conducted the performance, which marked the work's Philharmonic premiere. "This is coming full circle for me," the composer began. "I can recall playing clarinet in a concert marking the 70th birthday of my favorite composer, Aaron Copland. Now its my own turn to have my compositions presented by this great orchestra which is celebrating my 70th birthday this season." The composer went on to explain how the work, Absolute Jest. is a takeoff on the later string quartets composed by Beethoven. He then had the New York Philharmonic String Quartet play excerpts from the Beethoven, and spoke of the parallels between the two. "What we hear in the Beethoven is the element of emphasis, which was new at the time. I took that emphasis and filtered it through the 'black box' of my own modernist, minimalist compositional style and arrived at Absolute Jest. I'll let you rock out on the New York Philharmonic playing it," he joked to the audience.

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Met Live HD Verdi's La Traviata in Movie Theaters Saturday, March 11, 12:55PM


One of the world's most popular operas will be transmitted live in select movie theaters around the globe. Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata will be transmitted live from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House on Saturday, March 11 at 12:55pm with an Encore Performance in theaters Wednesday, March 15 at 6:30pm local time. The opera is sung in Italian with English subtitles. Visit metopera.org or fathomevents.com for theater locations and tickets. Starring Met soprana Sonya Yoncheva, reprising her hit role as Violetta, the doomed heroine of Verdi's most treasured masterpiece. Popular Met tenor Michael Fabiano is her frustrated lover Alfredo and ever-popular veteran Met baritone Thomas Hampson is his disapproving father. Nicola Luisotti conducts the sterling Metropolitan Opera orchestra from the pit in an eye-popping minimalist production by Willy Decker. which created a sensation at Salzburg in 2005. The story of La Traviata is based on a French play adapted from the novel Camille by the great Alexandre Dumas. It tells of the famous courtesan Violetta Valery, who, in the opening scene, gives a party to celebrate her recovery from an illness. Gaston, a viscount, brings to the party a good friend, Alfredo Germont (Michael Faviano), who as long admired her from afar. Violetta's current lover, Baron Douphol, is asked to give a toast, but declines. The crowd turns to Alfredo, who agrees to sing a brindisi – a drinking song (Alfredo, Violetta, chorus: Libiamo ne' lieti calici – "Drink from the joyful cup"). Before the first plaintive strains of music are heard in Verdi's "La Traviata," a gentleman with long white hair and beard to match takes his seat next to a giant clock at the side of the Metropolitan Opera stage. This is the character, Doctor Grenvil, performed by veteran Met bass-baritone James Courtney. The character sits silently throughout the opera, as if an ominous precursor for the tragedy to come. His character, and the giant clock, loom over Violetta as her story of feigned gaiety devolves into tragedy. Doctor Grenvil is the specter of fate.

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