Time for pink wine

Our much deserved June has arrived! The flowers are out and the butterflies seem in multitudes this year. On these nice afternoons of throwing baseballs in the yard and flying Kites on the beach, a perfect wine to sip on is the Rose’. Many times when I feature a Rose at an event, people automatically think that it is going to be a sweet wine confusing it with pink zinfandel. Rose’ is a light pink wine which is very dry with a wisp of strawberry. It is also a bit lower in alcohol content, about 12% as opposed to a big chardonnay at 14%. And these alcohol percentages do make a difference in an afternoon sipper. Just something lighter that can be enjoyed with crudite and cheese. Rose’ is also a quite affordable wine with prices generally ranging from 8-14 dollars. Traditionally you would always think of Rose’ as coming from the south of France. And in  southern France thier passion for Rose’ keeps the bottles flowing all day into the night! Ahhh, St Tropez, Club 55 in a great bathing suit and sarong, top on of course, sipping Rose’ at the beach… But back to reality. Now you can find Rose’ being produced in America, Australia, Spain, and almost everywhere else. It’s dry mineral crispness is perfect for hot days, cool salads, and seafood as well.

Here are a few that I really enjoy:

Nine Vines Rose 11.99, deeper pink color and nice berry flavor from Australia

Triennes Vin de Pays du Var Rose 15.99 a classic French example.

Le Petie Rouviere Rose 11.99 Light and crisp with medium pink color from France

Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah 10.00 From Chile and simply delicious!

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Club Wine List

We held our monthly Women’s Wine Club the other night and I wanted to share the wine list with you. You’ll recognise the first wine. It’s the Gruner I mentioned in my last post. I loved it so much I had to share it with the group! I particularly enjoyed the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. It’s the fourth wine on the list. What a nice fruity wine, and great value. A good one to bring to a summer dinner party. Il Divo and I enjoyed a bottle of it last night with simple ravioli and sauce. And make sure you give it a nice chill before serving.

Here is the Wine list. Hope you try a few on here.:

Fred Lois Gruner Vetliner: You’ll notice how this wine dances on your tongue! The name of the grape is Gruner Vetliner and is from from Austria. It has a vibrant acidity with hues of yellow and light green. A terrific wine to pair with Sushi and salads. I enjoyed this wine last night in my backyard while my boys ran through the sprinkler. price 13.49

La Cana Alberino: There is a fair amount of acidity to this white wine from Spain as well.  But taste the pineapple and touch of almond that makes gives this a it more body than the Gruner. A wonderful summer dinner wine to enjoy grilled shrimp and veggies.price 16.99

Louis Max Pouilly Fuisse: For you Chardonnay lovers, this 100% Chardonnay from Burgandy France is soft and floral. Full bodied with out being over oaked. You can taste the fruit and warm hazelnut. A perfect wine for salmon and chicken. Price 16.99

Monticello Guidi del Carmine: Sounds like it belongs with the Jersey Shore gang! But it is far more elegant and earthy. Made from the Montepulciano grape, it is a dependable wine that is food friendly. Tastes of cherry and a touch or earthy spice. Price 14.99

Alta Vista Atemporal: Dark Purple and full of plum and cocoa flavors. Enjoy this big red blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petite Verdot. A gorgeous blend that lingers in your mouth. Remember this wine to have with some great steaks. Price 18.99

Spring is here! Cheers!

Alta Vista Atemporal Blend 2007Here  is the last bottle we tasted. So rich and yummy. A great bottle to enjoy with a grilled steak.

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Dancing on my tongue

A miracle happened. Not only were we all left here upon this earth after judgement day. But yesterday, after 3 weeks of gloom, the sun came out! I picked my boys up from school and they started running with the other children like a pack of wild horses! To see the sun, feel it’s warmth and hear the birds with their happiness is a gift. When Mother Nature finally decides to give us a break and feed us some nice weather, everything changes. Your clothes, your food cravings and even your toe nail polish!  My mother was visiting so we decided that of course we had to grill our dinner. As we started assembling our chicken Shish Kabobs, the kids dragged the sprinkler out in the yard. Once Kabobs were assembled, it was time to pick a fresh happy wine to toast the sun with. I had the perfect one that I wanted to share with my Chardonnay loving Mother. As anyone who comes to my house, I like introducing people to something out of their ordinary wine routine. And my Mom has been my guniea pig for many years! I opened a white wine called a Gruner Vetliner. That is the name of the grape and it is from Austria. I chose the Fred Loimer Lois Gruner Vetliner, price 13.49.  It has refreshing acidity that dances on your tongue! A light yellow and greenish color with a wisp of  citrus flavor. A great wine to enjoy with Sushi and salads too. Delightful, and a perfect wine to watch the kids joyously jump and laugh getting soaked in the sprinkler. My Chardonnay loving Mother enjoyed how different and bright and fresh this wine is compared to the big full oaky Chardonnay. What a way to finally welcome the sun.

 

Fred Loimer, Gruner Veltliner, Lois 2009 750ML

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Priceless Wine

A question I get asked all the time is: Does how much a wine cost really make a difference? And the lame answer is: Welllllll, sometimes, kinda yes and kinda no. And the reason it’s such a lame answer is because everyone has different taste. An expensive old wine to one person may seem smooth and rich, and to another it may seem musty and mild. The cost of a wine can have to do with it’s availability, case production, growing conditions, popularity and reputation. Did anyone else happen to notice when Santa Margarita’s Pinot Grigio price seemed to triple in a matter of two years? I can assure you they did not change the wine. It’s just when everyone discovered it, they chose to raise the price. Then you hear that the growing conditions were perfect for a particular year and the stores sell out immediately. But in general the wines that we all drink regularly are not the vintage Bordeaux bottles that are traded and sold like precious jewels. We drink wine that fits our budget. And within that price range we taste around and try to find bottles we like. In a recent article in my beloved New York Post, they revealed results from blind taste tests with all different factors thrown in. In some of the tests they told the people the prices of the wine, and some they didn’t. In most cases the less expensive wines were rated higher from the people who were not told the price. The ones who were told the prices rated the more expensive ones higher. In some cases they even told false prices and not knowing they were drinking all inexpensive wines, they rated the higher priced ones better. In the end of this survey the conclusion was basically, we enjoy wine when it’s part of an experience. You can have a reasonably priced wine and it will enjoyed if it is served in a nice glass and sharing it with people you are happy to be with.  I think of all the times when a glass of wine has been perfect and it makes me think of my surroundings with it. By the pool with my mom, In front of a fire with my husband, out to dinner with friends, or watching the day end over the Long Island sound. Drink what you like. Be brave and try new wines from new regions or countries in your price range. Be sure to share it with someone you love and the wine is priceless.

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Business Dinner Wine

I’m so happy spring is here with the beautiful flowering trees and perennials bursting from the ground. But between the allergies, asthma, and spring colds with my kids, I am ready for summer! We have been swamped here. So I’m ready to talk wine again.

I went on a business trip with Il Divo. I travel often with him for his company and handle his client services. We travel all around North America. And each city we go to, we host dinners for our Board members the night before the event. Always in lovely restaurants with wonderful wine lists. So of course it’s my job to select the wines for each of these dinners. Last week we were in Toronto and hosted our dinner at Toula, a fantastic restaurant on top of the Harbor Castle on the water. The view and service was outstanding. The wine list was great too. For many of us who are entertaining out at restaurants it can be quite a challenge to feel that your selecting the right wines for your table. So I want to share with you a few good tips to follow when your selecting wine for dinners that include a range of different entree’s.

First I’ll tell you what not to do. Don’t order your “go-to” bottles of  California Chardonnay and Cabernet. Both of these wines are on the larger scale of flavor and finish. Each of these varietals could overpower your appetizers and meal. What you  want to order are more food friendly and people pleasing wines such as: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Gavi for white wines. And consider Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and red varietal blends. Pinot Noir as I have always said, is the easiest “go-to” wine to remember. If your in a situation where the heat is on and the wine list is in your hand to order for the table. Ordering Pinot Noir is the safest food friendly choice. It goes with almost everything. Salmon, chicken, beef, roasted veggies. And all Pinot Noir should be served nicely chilled. It really is the best “Business Dinner” wine to rely on.

Here are the wines I ordered in Toronto:

Pinot Grigio: Villa Sandi, Veneto Italy.  Nice  and fruity with good acidity and pale straw color that complimented our antipasto. You can find this bottle in many restuarants and wine shops. A steady easy wine that you can rely on.

Sangiovese: Castello Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino. This smooth Sangiovese wine is from one of the most famous winemakers of the region. It’s soft smooth quality went beautifully with the veal saltimbocca and beef dish. It also had the right balance of plum and spice that complimented the roasted salmon dish that was served.  Anytime you can order a Brunello on an expense account is a good time to order. They can be very pricey!





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Spring Holiday Dinner Wine

Living in New England can be quite a rewarding experience. But it can also be an arduous task as well. We enjoy the winter through the holidays. Then the trick to get through the winter is to have a fun winter sport to fill your weekends with. Then just as you have had enough. And this winter made many of us feel as if we had enough! The buds start popping and the flowers awaken out of the ground. It’s hopeful and promising of warmer days and less layers to wear. I say all this hopeful prose as I am encamped in the hills of New Hampshire visiting my parents for Easter. I woke this morning to snow pouring down from the sky. My car covered in 2 inches of slushy snow. It’s spring!

With the Easter Holiday here it’s a wonderful feast to celebrate fresh spring vegetables, ham and scalloped potatoes with herbs.  Here are a few suggestions for your dinner that you can pick up today. I will tell you that I enjoy making suggestions of either varietal or region. I will always reccomend a bottle or two in my blogs, but be brave and try another bottle of the same varietal that is either in your price range or availability for your area.

The first wine I suggest is Sauvignon Blanc. It is the very essence of spring! Bright with lemon, grapefruit and herbal flavors. Wonderful to enjoy with spring veggies and salads. One that I have always enjoyed is the Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. Just a lovely wine with tropical flavors and a touch of spicy acidity that is so pleasant. Price about 22.00

Now for wine to go with ham which can be salty and sweet at the same time. For you white wine lovers, this is a nice opportunity to crack open the big California Chardonnays. With either mustard glazes or brown sugary glazes this wine will stand up to the rich flavors of the ham and it also is a great accompiniment to creamy scallop potatoes. I brought my mothers favorite bottle to her house for dinner. It’s Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay. The beautiful light gold color, the flavors of warm apple and toast, along with the wisp of citrus makes this wine perfect for your dinner. Price about 23.00

Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2009

 

 

 

 

I’ve always called Pinot Noir the “Fools Wine” basically because it’s fool proof. It goes with pretty much everything. And it will be a smart selecetion for your family dinner. The Pinots from Washinton State and Oregon are quite famous. And California has fantastic ones as well. The David Bruce vineyard specializes in Pinot Noir, and thier wine is elegant with bright cherry flavor and a  nice muskiness. Price about 21.00

David Bruce Russian River Pinot Noir 2006

 

Happy Spring to you! Enjoy your friends and family, the sun, blooming flowers and hope.

 

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Wine Chick Pick : Pouch

The other week I saw a new display of wine in “pouches” in my local wine shop. I am all for new and inventive environmentally ways to enjoy vino. And this company has a terrific approach that also makes the wine very portable. It’s in a big pouch with a spout that keeps oxygen out of the pouch. It contains the equivalent of two bottles of wine inside.  You can drink this wine for up to 30 days after your first pour. I love that it even has a handy handle on top and with no glass involved, it’s lighter in weight and safer then potential broken glass.  So I’m thinking now that the nice weather is here there are many more opportunities to enjoy wine outside of home. Picnics, boat trips, beach afternoons.  I of course had to buy it and try it. I chilled it up and opened the spicket. My first impression was that it was very bright and fruity. Not bad! Not the best Pinot Noir in the world, but that being said, Pinot noir is not my first choice of red wine anyways.  But this is easily drinkable and fresh tasting. It went well with our dinner of Chicken Marsala. And then came the test. I left it in the fridge for a week to see if it was different. And just as it claimed. It was not oxidized at all. Still bright and cherry flavored with a hint of spice. So at the price of 18.99 its a terrific value  that is convenient for travel and environmentally friendly. I am hapy to make this a “Wine Chick Pick” for this week. I heard that they are also coming out with a Pinot Grigio soon so that should make you white wine lovers happy.

I found this link about the wine. Has a fun video explaining it all:

http://www.drinkbluebird.com/pouch

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Cool Mom

Friday morning at breakfast I became one of the coolest Mom’s in history. I announced to my kids that they were skipping school and we were heading to Vermont to enjoy some spring skiing. So there were  kisses and screams of happiness! Then the rush to pack and escape southern Connecticut before Friday traffic, and get on the mountain by lunch time. It was a great day for me and my boys. I did smash a finger on a tree trying to keep up with them in the woods. But just another injury to add to my ski season list. We were the last ones off the mountain that day.  The  spring snow was like cream cheese and the sky was cobalt blue. A day I hope they remember.

But in my rush to pack I forgot a very important item. Wine! Shame on me. It’s usually the first thing I pack! So off to the local Killington Market for all our important things like Hershey Kisses, US Weekly, and vino. It’s always interesting to shop for wine in another state. You’ll notice  bottles that you never see at home. Or old favorites that have seemed to disappear from your local shelves.  As I was browsing I realized that I needed to make sure I bought a few bottles because back in CT we cannot buy wine on Sunday. And what a tragedy to not have wine with Sunday dinner. I know your thinking why don’t I have a full wine cellar at home. I mean I’m in the wine business, it only makes sense that I have cases and cases laying around. But it never seems to last at my house! I’m always bringing wine to other people’s homes, having drop in guests, and it vanishes. And if I have any nice bottles that I try to save, not matter where I hide them, Il Divo will sniff them out and crack them open on a Wednesday night with our spaghetti. Then of course play dumb that he didn’t know what it was he was opening. Infuriating!

As I browsed the market, it seemed heavily supplied with California Cabernets. Which of course is all Il Divo ever wants to drink. So I decided to indulge him and get a few. The one bottle that I saw that I had not seen in a long time was the Haymen Hill Cabernet 2007. Priced about 18.00. Full and lots of cherry and blackberry. But I also noticed a smokiness that was enjoyable. Il Divo arrived later that night and was happy to enjoy his Cabernet.

After the wonderful weekend of spring skiing and the drive home, then unpacking. It was time for dinner with the other bottle I bought. It was one that I had not had in a long time, Paso Creek Cabernet. Priced at about 19.00 I have wonderful memories of visiting the  beautiful and rustic Paso Robles region.  And I quickly remembered how smooth and nicely fruity  this Cabernet  is. It went really well with my bolognese sauce I whipped up.  After the bedtime routine of bath, books, bed, for the boys. I poured the rest of the Paso Creek Cab in a glass, grabbed a handfull of Hershy Kisses and sank into a hot bath. I can tell you I learned two things this weekend. Il Divo’s obsession with California Cabs is not so bad. And that red wine, cheap sugary chocolate and a hot bath, makes me a pretty simple girl to please. Or a very cheap date.

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Gotta have some Gavi….

We were up in Killington Vermont for spring skiing this weekend. Surprisingly the conditions were fantastic! My crazy boys enjoyed the fresh powder for tree skiing. And I of course had an enormous wipeout. I seriously think I have whiplash from the force of the fall! So at the end of the day, when we dragged ourselves into the house. After a long hot soak, I opened a bottle of fresh, cool, mineral crisp Gavi. What a reward! Green grapes, and Gouda cheese by the fire. Heaven. I drank enough of it that my neck hurt a lot less. Ahhh, wine and it’s amazing healing properties. And I’m sure Il Divo was happy to not have me complain about it. And yes, he drank his usual California Cabernet. I wonder if I’ll ever bring him over to the otherside of the winedrinking world. The world outside California Cabs…

I have become enchanted with the Italian Gavi wines. They are from the Piedmont region of Italy from the town of Gavi. Made with the Cortese grape. But enough of the geographical details! The real deal is that it is a wine with a nice bright acidity that goes well with a ton of food pairings. Great with fish, cheese, salads, chicken and light pasta dishes. Not an oaky wine at all. You’ll taste the fresh, dry mineral flavor with a hint of honeydew melon. Sounds yummy right? The bottle I opened this weekend is one I often purchase. It is the La Luciana Gavi. And you know I love bang for the buck in a bottle of wine. It’s 14.99. And I would suggest that you consider this a nice wine to bring to a dinner party or to serve as well. It will be a crowd pleaser, and make sure its nice and cold.

Araldica La Luciana Gavi 2009 / 750 ml.

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March Wine Club

Every month I have the pleasure of hosting a wine club for women. It is something I started 4 years ago  and I have made some great friends and we always have a terrific time together. We meet once a month and every month I introduce a different theme for the wine. The themes are  inspired by the season or holiday. So Last night our theme was spring. Well, we poor New Englanders are hoping spring shows up soon! I left the gym this morning to a mix of rain, snow and sleet. But in the good faith that warmer days are coming, we drank some  spring wines that I want to share with you.

Here is the list and descriptions from last night. The white wines were all really a big hit with everyone. Even got a die hard California Chardonnay fan to surprise herself with enjoying them. The Pinot Noir was also enjoyed, it was served nicely chilled.

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MARCH WINE CLUB LIST

Hang in there girls! The warmer days of “Spring” are on their way. And think of those wonderful spring vegetables, peas, carrots, beans and lettuce. Gardens waking up, birds singing in the morning and festivals for the kids. Tonight’s wines are inspired by Spring.

 

Sauvignon  Blanc Comparison: This varietal is perfect to go with all the spring vegetables and salads. And it is always interesting to see the same grape, grown in different parts of the world and how unique they become.

 

THE GIRLS IN THE VINEYARD: Besides  the great name, this vineyard has great purpose. Sustainability. They believe in the golden rule: Do unto future generations as  you would have them do unto you. Eco friendly farming.

Sauvignon Blanc price 15.99

VEGAS DEL PAS: From Rueda Spain, this wine will reflect the crispness of aromatics of  asparagus and herbs. A terrific spring wine to enjoy.

Sauvignon Blanc price 13.99

FONTANABIANCA ARNEIS: A new varietal for us to explore! This is from the Piedmont region of Italy and has the flavors of apricot and peach and the right amount of acidity. A wonderful wine to accompany your Easter Ham dinner.

Arneis price 14.99

BYRON PINOT NOIR: I’ve been to this winery and it is such a beautiful region of California. North of Santa Barbara in Santa Maria, the cool nights are perfect for Pinot Noir. A suitable red wine for your Easter Dinner of Ham and scalloped potatoes as well.

Pinot Noir price 17.99

THE GIRLS IN THE VINEYARD: Said perfectly from their own website ”Like a classic cashmere sweater, our girls go with everything. In your dining room, poolside, or perched on a cafe table downtown, the girls in the vineyard, animate any occasion. Pairing them with food? They go uptown, downtown and even barbecue town with ease. Some successful matches include the classics like steak, or less conventional red wine fare like spicy Thai prawns and grilled Italian sausage.”

Cabernet Sauvignon price18.99

Cheers! Sandra

 

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