The ‘RED’ Monster

A 5 varietal wine during Christmas turned wine for this winter season and what has been making these chilly days and nights somewhat tolerable!90+

The Monster Red Blend from Ninety+ Cellars is the most heavenly Monster I have ever encountered. This impeccable red wine is made with 5 classic grapes; 30% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, and 10% Malbec.  Is that not the most incredible Monster you’ve ever seen (and tasted)!  The gorgeous dark ruby color of this wine sets the scene for a beautifully plated and very indulgent night.  Flavors of coffee, dark fruits, dark chocolate with very nice tannins at the finish make this wine a very powerful monster yet ‘impressively well poised’ (could not have said it better)! I was introduced to this wine by Mr. 90+ himself and my first try was at the Christmas dinner table where we all were with ‘mouths dropped’ when pairing the wine with a juicy rib roast (and saved what was left for dessert ;)).

90+ Lot 100

90+ Rib Roast

Desserts

Since then I have been using this wine to get me through these snow storms and relive that incredible moment when this wine first hit my lips.  Pure genius!  Now, if only we knew what winery in Columbia Valley, WA this came from???

This is a must for the wine fridge and I have already stocked up. A staple for a spectacular dinner party and good to have on hand!

A few stores that carry Lot 100:

Boston 
Clarendon Wine and Spirits (Back Bay)
Jobi Liquors (Beacon Hill/West End)

New York City
Landmark Wine and Spirits (167 West 23rd Street)
Gramercy Wine Cellars (236 3rd Ave)
42nd Street Wine Loft
Mark’s Wine & Spirits (53 Mott Street)
Fulton Wine and Spirits (110 Fulton Street)

Red Wine and Cheese Please!

NYE-Red-Wine-and-Cheese

Whenever I go out in the cold all I can ever think about and want to do is snuggle up on the couch, light candles and drink lots of red wine.  Luckily, we are heading to the Bahamas to meet our dear friends tomorrow and could not be happier to be escaping NYC to get some sunshine.  Actually, it’s a good thing we are heading out tomorrow – the weather looks to take a turn to the cold side - high of 34° to a low of 26° YIKES! However, although I will be gone and most likely will not be drinking red wine, I would never leave you empty handed on selections, especially on New Years Eve party ideas. Drumroll please…… Keeping in mind it will be a bit chilly, I have partnered with THE BEST cheese shop in NYC, Murray’s Cheese to bring warmth to you and your guests with a fabulous red wine and cheese pairing guide for your perfect New Years Eve soirée.  So tell your guests to bundle up for a short cab ride, because YOU are HOSTING the warmest and best affair in all of NYC or wherever you are for that matter! Cheers and wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy 2014!

Wine & Cheese Pairings (cheese pairings graciously provided by Murray’s Cheese, YUM)

  • Albarino -> Soft-Ripened, Cavemaster Reserve Torus $10.99/ea
  • Pinot Noir -> Washed Rind, Jasper Hill Harbison $23.99
  • Chianti -> Firm, Pecorino Ginepro $32.99/LB
  • Rioja -> Semi-Firm/Firm, Ewephoria $19.99/LB
  • Zinfandel  -> Firm, Challerhocker  $31.99/LB
  • Cabernet Sauvignon -> Soft-Ripened, Cavemaster Reserve Hudson Flower $34.99/ea
  • Amarone -> Blue, Rogue River Blue $39.99/LB

BONUS (and not listed)

  • Merlot -> Firm, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar $24.99/LB
  • Champagne  -> Soft-Ripened, Vermont Creamery Cremont  $11.99/ea
  • Port -> Blue, Colston Bassett Stilton $30.99/ea

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!

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!

#WW – What’s Your PoiZin w/ @ArmidaWinery

We recently visited the West Coast over Memorial Day weekend where we went to explore the wine treasures of Santa Cruz – a true hidden gem for great wineries with amazing views.  A little more casual than your big boy Sonoma and Napa estates however, nonetheless still treasures on the vine.

We brought back this wonderful red drinking wine perfect for a Sunday BBQ in the city.  Poizin, made in Sonoma at Armida Winery, but has a tasting room in Capitola overlooks the beach and water and is this week’s wine of choice for Winepug Wednesday!  Such a true Zinfandel (don’t you love the play on words) driven by loads of fruit, spice, and a smooth yet soft finish makes this wine the “wine to die for”.  Not only can you sip on this for hours, it’s also a great conversation starter from the skull artwork on the bottle to the fun anecdotal tale on the back.  So, what’s your Poizin? 

“As she stands in the clearing the cold wind dances through the trees, swirling her golden mane over her diaphanous silken black gown.  The full moon melts into the paleness of her skin.  As she stirs the cauldron of Zinfandel she chants an other worldly incantation.  From vials as old as the echoes of time she adds minute pinches of her ancestry.  Her slender fingers rub together as the grains fall, releasing their magic as they touch the fermenting must.  On her face is the look of both good and evil, of love and hate, of life and sex and all that stirs you.  What is this unearthly potion?  It is Poizin, the wine to die for.”

#WW – A Bold Blend w/ @ChalkHillEstate

Straight from the winery, last Memorial Day weekend  2011, we transported this extremely special bottle of wine from Russian River Valley’s renowned and unique winery Chalk Hill.  This wine was the inaugural release of their Estate Red that was inspired by the proprietor, Frederick, P. Furth’s vision of a wine authentic to Chalk Hill, as it blends and represents the lay of the land that Chalk Hill resides on. Made with 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Malbec, 13% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, and 1% Carmenere makes this beautifully smooth red wine full of vibrant fruit.  By looking at the varietals and the burgundy color and ‘young’ looking wine in the glass, my first thought was, “this is a heavy wine that absolutely needs a meaty meal to pair with.”  However, after pouring two glasses in 80 degree weather in NYC, in these wonderful Italian wine glasses from Fishs Eddy {here} I might add, my fiancé and I enjoyed this outside (perfectly chilled for a red wine) with light salads and were blown away.  With beautiful tannins that aren’t overbearing and amazing blackberry flavors with many other fruits bursting on our taste buds, the 2007 Chalk Hill Estate Red {here} was an experience and recommended for all red wine lovers to enjoy.  

To my fiancé’s point – “For such a bold looking wine, this really hit the spot on a hot day.  It wasn’t chalky and the fruit really came out in the hot weather…” Oh how I’ve taught him well… Just kidding!

Overall, definitely worth the splurge ($70) to bring to a wonderful dinner party outside on the terrace!  Enjoy!

For more on Chalk HIll
Sunday Sips {here}
Off-Roading In Sonoma {here}

Winepug Wednesday – Masseria Cavallo, Puglia

Masseria Cavallo Negroamaro Puglia 2009

Tonight’s Winepug Wednesday Wine comes from my fiancé!  It was a crazy day at work and lo and behold a bottle of red was popped open and decanting on the table waiting for us to indulge in that first ‘sigh of relief’ sip.

Coming from our Zagat Wine Club {here} stash, is a still red wine (or table wine) from Italia. It is my first experience with the Negroamaro grape and it is simply divine.  Lots of spice, plum and blackberry flavors, tannic but not too overbearing with a smooth finish makes this wine… yup, you guessed it… a drinking wine! This wine has a flirty finish loaded with prunes and sweet fruit leaving you begging for more (looking like a great Wednesday night)!  An awesome value (~$10) and a great wine to drink NOW, no need to let it sit in your wine cellar.

Where to buy in NYC:  Unfortunately, another wine I couldn’t find in NYC however, if you find it… Let me know! Definitely available through Zagat!

For more and fun facts on the Negroamaro grape {here}

Salud to YOU and Wednesday!

A Vow to Winepug Wednesday’s!

On this rainy Wednesday while I had a TINY bit of downtime at work (aka was walking to grab a quick coffee), I got to thinking that I need to manage my time better between my day job and night job.  As a marketer by day and wine blogger by night (well every free minute I have), I know that consistency and routine matters however, it’s a hard thing to do when you are juggling jobs, hobbies, friends, fiancés etc., especially in the city that never sleeps (which it really doesn’t).  So today, on this rainy Wednesday (I repeat) I am making a pledge to start Winepug Wednesday’s where I am dedicating Wednesday night’s to review one bottle of wine in various price ranges for those casual bbq’s and outdoor picnics to the fancy dinner parties and fabulous dates.   This way, you can rely on a recommendation for your parties, gatherings etc. that are coming up in the week/weekend ahead.  And please, if you need help picking the perfect wine for the perfect occasion, just shout it out!

With that, on to my first Winepug Wednesday! Salud!

 

Winepug Wednesday – Drakenskloof, South Africa

Don’t be fooled by the “dracula-esque” look and feel of this bottle because this is a mighty fine drinking wine that should be passed around the table (if you’re willing to share). On this rainy Wednesday we opened up a bottle from South Africa’s finest, The Western Cape which was a pleasant surprise in my most recent Zagat Wine Club delivery.  Have you heard of Pinotage?  I hadn’t, until I sipped this beautiful wine that is filled with dark berry flavors (blackberries, blueberries – YUM) with a hint of spice that offers a bit of relief on the heavy berry flavor that transitions nicely to an elegantly smooth finish.  Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape, has spice like a Shiraz and/or Malbec, and deep fruit like a Cabernet to give you an idea of what you are dealing with.  It’s light enough to think of it as a ‘drinking’ wine yet heavy enough to bring to a fancy dinner party but not spend $50 for a bottle. Another great wine for a great value – retails $16.99.  So where to buy in NYC?  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it in NYC but can order online {here} or if Out of Stock try Zagat Wine {here}.

Hope you enjoy!  Cheers!

Nostalgia with Tin Barn

I always love when a bottle of wine has a nostalgic memory behind it.  This bottle of Red Zinfandel is from our first trip to the Russian River Valley together as you may remember from {here}.  Tin Barn was my first time (probably will be the only time)  climbing into a steel barrel with a 4 year old {here}!  Sipping on this bottle with close friends and reminiscing about our time in the RRV, I think we enjoyed this wine right per it’s instruction on the bottle.

Tin Barn Vineyards 2008 Zinfandel Russian River Valley, Gilsson Vineyard

On the bottle: “Tin Barn is the fruit of five friends’ passion for the grape.  Our wines are crafted from vineyards specifically chosen for their unique soils and optimal growing locations.  Please drink with pleasure this quality wine we have produced.”

Winepug’s Tasting:  A lighter red with hints of vanilla and raspberry’s.  This wine is a great drinking wine that truly speak to it’s roots! A must with dark chocolate.  A casual yet seductive wine! – Try it and you’ll understand!

Mysterious Ways with Phantom Gourmet & 90+ Cellars

Since I am spending the holidays in Boston, I figured it would be ‘tastefully’ appropriate to blog about a great wine I stumbled upon at a wine tasting last night at my hometown’s local grocery store! 90+ Cellars was the tasting brand for the night, offering a lovely selection of reds and whites (great addition to simple grocery shopping)!  However, before going ahead I would suggest reading up on the background behind this remarkable concept 90+ Cellars {here}! You can also see what stores carry this brand in Boston!

Now, onto the good stuff.  One particular bottle that overpowered the rest was a 2010 bottle of Phantom Gourmet 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast.   Not only is it named after the famed NE restaurant critic, but with it’s great taste and value ($14.99) this Pinot intrigued me in mysterious ways, in a good way!  This Pinot Noir rolls across your taste buds smoothly and is a slightly sweeter and heavier Pinot Noir than other’s I’ve tried, which was perfect to warm up with in this 35 degree weather! It had bits of sour cherry bursts that complimented the sweeter tastes nicely! And icing on the cake? It even pairs well with a Fenway Frank … No brainer!

On the Bottle

Story: 90 Cellars has teamed up with New England’s #1 restaurant critic to bring you this Pinot Noir whose origin is as mysterious as the Phantom himself. Together, we searched every hill and valley of Sonoma to unearth this Pinot Noir that’s got more swagger than Jagger. Handpicked from hillside vineyards and aged for 10 months in new oak barrels, this is Pinot for pondering and partying.

Taste: Radiant purple in color with layered aromas of cherry and pomegranate along with a dose of sweet wood spice. You could say it’s like eating cherry pie next to a blazing campfire. Perfectly unpretentious, this wine will pair equally as well with a Fenway Frank as it will with Filet Mignon. Food, fun and now wine, that’s all the Phantom serves.

So there you have it.  Will you be slipping this into Fenway Park to try it out with the infamous Fenway Frank?  If you do, let me know!

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