Wine for the Holidays

It’s that time of year – A time for entertaining and holiday cheer!

New York City

I recently attended Food Network’s Holiday wine tasting where I gained inspiration on some really cute and out of the box entertaining ideas!  All incorporate wine somehow, of course.  Take a look and let your creative energy explode with these great hosting ideas, cheers!

Adding edible gold baker’s dust {here} to any rim of a champagne glass adds a fun holiday kick for your guests! Use Freixenet Cava for this treat {more info on this bubbly in black, here}.

Freixenet

Use Food Network’s wine, entwine {here} and create mini wine shots paired with mini cupcakes and dessert

EntiwineEntiwine

Set up a ‘make your own’ cocktail bar with fresh fruit and other treats to challenge guests to unleash their inner Mixologist with Seven Daughters Wine!

Seven Daughters

Il Postino Recipe
- Handful of fresh raspberries
- 1 oz. light rum
- 1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 oz. honey syrup
- Fill with Seven Daughters Moscato
Muddle raspberries in a glass; Shake, Strain, Pour and Top with Seven Daughters Moscato.

2012 Thanksgiving Day Wine Picks!

Here it is! Our Annual Thanksgiving/Shopping Spree wines {previous post} that are ‘musts’ this year (plus a few extras)!  As you will notice sparklings and reds fill the list but that won’t stop us from finding the perfect whites for your Thanksgiving Day table!

So take a peek while you wait for the outcome of the Presidential Election… It might make time go by faster!

Apéritif/Sparkling

  • J Vineyards ‘Cuvée 20’: Spotted, the last 25th Anniversary bottle of J Cuvée sold to and sipped by 4 wonderfully shopped out ladies at Glenmere Mansion. After our trip to Woodbury it was so refreshing to see J Vineyards on the menu in the tavern at Glenmere.  Anything J is truly a must serve as an aperitif while enjoying your homemade hors d’oeuvres before the turkey carving.  This Cuvée has a rustic mouth feel all around with its toasty almond like hints then ventures over to the honeysuckle and grapefruit flavors which give it life and zest!  Buy online now to enjoy in time for Thanksgiving! {here} 

 

  • Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Sipped and tried a few months ago {here}.  Had to pick a full bottle up to taste while the ‘hostess with the mostest’ prepared!  Not to mention it was her birthday celebration and this of course did the trick for that as well! Surprise!

Red Wine

  • Bonterra 2010 Merlot, Mendocino County : This spectacular Merlot is crafted from certified organically grown grapes and it is one of the better Merlot’s I have tried.  I received this wine for a twitter tasting with Thirsty Girl and Bonterra Organic Vineyards and we were all blown away by the wine’s dark berry flavors of cherry and plum and it’s smoothness in it’s finish filled with lovely tannins.  We are calling it a “Merlot for non-merlot lovers” and we are sticking to it! I highly recommend this wine with your main dish this Thanksgiving as it’s pleasant balance will put a smile on everyone’s faces! {still interested}?
  • Swanson Vineyards, 101 Points Red Wine; Add a little fun to the Thanksgiving day table with this predominately Syrah with Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  A very rich and sweet wine with hints of exotic spice, raspberry and black cherry makes this a great match with your juicier dark meat of the turkey. Not to mention, this wine adds a delicate yet elegant red color to your Tgiving table; $25 per bottle online.
  • Mark West Pinot Noir: Makes the list again as it is a staple on the Thanksgiving day table! Everyone loves it! {more Mark West and last year’s wine picks}

I will be trying more holiday wines and reporting back from the Food Network Magazine’s Holiday Tasting in NYC next week so stay tuned on more fun holiday wines! Hopefully I’ll have luck finding some more white wines for all of you white lovers!

Stay tuned and happy prepping!

You Know Fall Has Officially Arrived When…

As we embrace the sudden fall ‘chills’ and plunge into October, I am happy to say that it is that time of year again. The time when my dearest friends and I travel upstate for a massive Thanksgiving, Woodbury Commons, and Red Wine fest to celebrate the official arrival of Fall and we ‘sip’ it in with great pleasure.  Last year it was Mark West and Bogle Pinot Noirs {here} that took hold of our taste buds and warmed us up inside.  What wine will we be obsessed with this weekend?  Well, all I can say is that we will do the tasting for you!  There are some surprises and I hope they will be extra intriguing, so much to inspire you to purchase a bottle for your Thanksgiving Day Table this year.  So now, grab a bottle of red, take in the Fall colors and stay tuned! :)

Happy weekend everyone!

Twitter Tasting with Columbia Crest and Thirsty Girl!

Weddings, and planning, and working oh my!  Now it’s back to my therapy and my passion – wine!

To pick up wine blogging again, I am participating in a twitter tasting with Thirsty Girl {here} and Columbia Crest {here} tonight @ 5 pm PT/ 8 pm ET.  Winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca and Head Thirsty Girl Leslie Sbrocco will also be joining in on the fun so be sure to follow #TGTASTE and come tweet!

We will be tasting the following wines:

  • Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay
  • Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Les Chevaux Red Blend

Twitter User names to follow! 
Wine: @ColumbiaCrest (http://twitter.com/columbiacrest)
Moderating: @beathirstygirl (https://twitter.com/#!/beathirstygirl)
Special Guest: @lesliesb for Leslie Sbrocco (https://twitter.com/lesliesb)
Yours truly: @winepugnyc.com (https://twitter.com/winepugnyc)

**This twitter tasting is a promotion and I received these wines in order to participatehttp://cmp.ly/2

Happy Friday… From Portugal!

Well not really more like from NYC but it is a Portuguese kind of Friday for me and i’m loving it (and not just because I am 1/3rd)!  It’s a region that I do not drink often, yet when I do adventure into a bottle I just can’t get enough.  Lying between Lisbon and the small harbor of Porto Côvo, are beautiful vineyards that harvested the 2009 Portinho Do Côvo.  A bit of jammy-ness with ripened black fruits and hints of spice make for  a succulent wine with lovely tannins that are not too hard.  Time to take out the cheese and enjoy this perfect August night!  You should do the same .

Now Saude (to your health, in Portuguese)  and to the weekend! 

The 10 Commandments of Wine (From the Portuguese) 

1. Love wine above all things

2. Swear to drink it either in the summer or winter

3. Santificate bars and cellars

4. Honour either white and red

5. Start the day at least with one glass

6. Never mix water and wine

7. Never rob an empty bottle

8. Do not lie without being drunk

9. Just envy or desire a full bottle of good wine

10. Always drink it slowly but surely 

Thank you Lauren for this special gift from your journey to Portugal!

Calling All Bubble Lovers! (Quality and Won’t Break the Bank)!

Oh, the joy of bubbles brightens everyone’s day, especially a delicious Cava from Spain! 

I received samples of the Freixenet (“fresh-eh-net”) Cordon Negro Brut a.k.a. “the black bottle bubbly” from their PR agency a few weeks ago and my oh my, I was not surprised to taste the most elegant (inside and out) sparkling wine that I have tried thus far in my wine journey; it’s the world’s #1 imported sparkling wine, to say the least (screw top included!).

When I was getting ready to pour a glass, I had to find the chicest glass I had available to keep up with the quality of this Cava. This champagne coup did the trick!

Sipping this sparkling Cava could be considered an art in itself as the pungent bubbles, crisp style, and sleek black bottle are a masterpiece. Very much a show-stopper at any party.  Did I mention a great pairing and aperitif  with raw almonds?

A nice blend of Cavaare Macabeo (35%), Xarel-lo (25%) and Parellada (40%) was crisp with tastes of pear, apple, and citrus yet a tinge of smoky flavor came out of the bottle for me.  A dry sparkling (not too overbearing) and fluttery in the mouth could be considered a good middle-man between a prosecco and a champagne.

And of course, it’s all about the bubbles, you can actually feel the bubbles run down your esophagus and brighten up your whole body.  The best part is, the bubbles never die.  I was sipping on this and taking in all of its flavors for over 20 minutes and it still had just as many bubbles when poured (maybe a hint less, but still!).  One word – QUALITY. Case and point, it feels good all around drinking this Cava and I’m hoping it’s at your ‘End of Summer Soiree’ or at an event outside in your cocktail dress or suit (skinny tie included).

Can be found in the majority of wines stores and numerous restaurants around NYC!  Retails for around $10.95.

Also, want some fun cocktails using this delicious Cava?  {here}

Salud!

#WW– A Taste of Madrid with Malvar

I shared this interesting wine that I received from Olé Imports a few weeks ago with a dear friend of mine and we were automatically obsessed!  We sat down for a cheese and hummus plate and sipped the fabulous 2010 Zestos Vinos de Madrid Blanco, 100% Malvar and indigenous to the Madrid (so awesome!). My first try at Malvar, we found it to be such an easy drinking white wine and a cross between a grassy Sauvignon Blanc and an unoaked Chardonnay.  The graceful acidity paired well with the lighter cheese we had and even just drinking by itself was a treat and very easy to do! We were so caught up in the moment that I forgot to take a picture!

Like we were, were you perplexed by the design on the bottle also? Olé in their tasting notes explains that ‘Zestos’ means ‘basket’ in English.  ‘Not too many years ago, baskets like the one on the label were placed on donkeys to transport the just-picked grapes from the vineyard to the winery.”  This intricate design represents the heritage and process that was once used to harvest the grapes in the past.  A wonderful representation of tradition both inside and out!

Olé suggests: ‘If you like litchi fruit, Zestos Blanco!’

The best part, the price – $8

Have you tried any obscure grapes that you had never heard of before and LOVED?

**All photos are from Olé Imports

Perfect Summer Wines for the Shorely Bon Vivant!

Finally, I have a free minute for WINEPUG!  Oh how I’ve missed you all!  With the day job, celebrating my favorite holiday (the 4th of July) and many engagements/wedding festivities of my dearest friends and family, I’ve yet to find time to blog about my wine adventures! Nonetheless, while I have been sipping and toasting to happiness and celebration, I subconsciously watched my PERFECT Summer Wine list transform before me! I’m calling it “Perfect Summer Wines for the Shorely Bon Vivant!”  I’ve tried these out in many situations (along the water) and all grab guest’s attention through their delicious taste and impeccable design.  Have a peek!

Andre Balazs ‘Sunset Beach’ Reserve
Exquisite pink rose that embodies New York City and Sunset Beach!  Found only at Andre Balazs’ properties {here} and one of my favorite wine stores in NYC, Sherry-Lehman {here}, Sunset Beach Reserve SCREAMS Summer and has turned non-rose lovers into fanatics (I’ve seen it happen).  Enjoy this on the beach with a Lobster dinner (we did in Martha’s Vineyard) or anywhere by the water.  A very light rose filled with light strawberry and a tiny bit of dryness, just superb!

Limited Edition Chandon
Imagine Fourth of July Party on the boat or engagement toasting with this bottle – All of this did actually happen over the past few weeks! – This is my champs of the summer!  A simple crisp champagne with hints of pear and full of great bubbles.  Who wouldn’t want to be seen with this bottle outside on the water!

2009 ‘Surf Zin’ from Armida Winery
I tried this wine at the tasting room in Capitola, a supple fruit bomb great for summer. It’s perfect for an outdoor BBQ in the Hamptons or anywhere by the water.  It even has a little surfer dude on it to keep reminding you that it’s summer and its surf time!

Pink Flamingo NV Gris de Gris “Pink Wine”, Vin de Pays des Sables 2011
I actually found this bottle at my local wine store right around the corner from my apartment!  It was one of the rose’s that was featured and its description was too good to pass up.  Plus the peach color from the onset reeled me in! Another extremely light rose with loads of minerality and cherry/raspberry flavors serves as a light treat with any summer fare.

Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs from Francis Ford Coppola Winery
I’ve ran around Manhattan with them before {here}, now try taking them to the beach with you or even on the train or bus ride if you are too eager to wait!  A blend of 82% Pinot Blanc, 10% Riesling, 8% Muscat makes this a very vibrant white wine with zest and honeycomb and pear flavors.  Delish for a BBQ or for your summer party!  PS – each can comes with a straw – even better!

Go with Godello!

I was feeling inspired one night when I received two bottles of Godello from Ole Imports.  I have never tasted the Godello varietal before so I decided to open both bottles simultaneously to get the full effect of this grape type.  Godello is grown in northwestern Spain mostly in Valdeorras and northern Portugal.  It’s a fine white grape that at first, reminded me of a Chard then transformed into a burst of something more unique!  These wines really reflect its place of origin and the soils where the vines are grown. Both wines were farmed in slate and granite giving the wines earthy and ‘stony’ flavors showing how specific climate and immaculate precision is used in growing these remarkable grapes.  Now… onto the wines.

2010 Castelo do Papa Godello
100% Godello (of course) had such youthful minerality with hints of pear, green apple and a hint of grapefruit.  I tasted a bit of acidity as well which to me, made this wine extremely well balanced and smooth.  Definitely a wine that can be paired with a heavier meal, such as sausage, heavier cheeses, and really any seafood.

2010 Estate Bottle Rogo Godello
Another 100% Godello.  This wine had a floral and vibrant nose and loads of minerality and stone fruit in taste.  it had a bit of honey, a tiny bit of sweetness and is a little more ‘zest’ than the Papa.  A great refreshing wine with energy!  I would stay with lighter cheeses, fish dishes, oysters, and pasta as pairings.

All in all, my Godello experience was a very pleasant one and gives a true adventure into the world of the Valdeorras region through the taste of each wine – a mineral and fruitful experience!

I highly recommend you try to brighten your taste buds and grow out of your comfort zone with wine.  Try something new and grow your palate!  I can now say I am a huge fan of Godello and will seek them out when I’m at my wine store next!

For more on the wine region check out this great article from Good Food Revolution !  

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