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)

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Somehow the holidays are HERE and I still have a few people left to shop for.  Yikes!  As always, I love finding and giving gifts that bring the world of wine to life for the receiver.  If you are still … Continue reading 

New York City Wine Expo #callingallwinelovers

NY Wine Expo

Calling all wine lovers!  It’s the 6th annual New York City Wine Expo and we are patiently awaiting it’s arrival on March 1st – 3rd at the Javits Center to try some of the best wines from all around the world!  I am partnering up with the NYC Wine Expo and am able to extend $15 off tickets for Friday or Saturday (offer below).  I will also be reporting back to you LIVE from the expo to share the experience if you are unable to attend.  Please be sure to check out the fun and watch out for more communication this week on the exciting events and seminars surrounding the Expo!

Winepug Offer
$15 off Friday or Saturday when you use “WineBlog” when buying tickets here: http://newyorkwineexpotickets.eventbrite.com/

Social Media Links for New York Wine Expo
Website: NewYorkWineExpo.com
Blog: newyorkwineexpo.tumblr.com/
Pinterest: pinterest.com/newyorkwineexpo/
Twitter: twitter.com/newyorkwineexpo
Facebook: facebook.com/newyorkwineexpo

Spanish Wines for Championship Weekend +

Much entertaining over the weekends in January through February 3rd are Saturdays and Sundays filled with futbol americano.

In December, I was sent 3 different varietals of the Spanish wine brand Tapeña.  This was my first time trying this wine and after the first pop of the cork, I immediately felt my taste buds grow more potent after each sip.  I am declaring that these wines and varietals be your drink of choice for your Championship weekend festivities and beyond, and here’s why!

Tepena

Tapeña combines ‘tapas’ – small plates and ‘peña’ – slang for a group of close friends, to create the perfect package for your perfect evening of food and conversation amongst your close friends.  Since you are most likely gathering today for the NFL’s Championship weekend lineup, these wines are the perfect pairing to your perfect Sunday Funday party, and I suggest stepping it up from beer to this festive Spanish wine!

Here is a deep dive into three key and notable Spanish varietals and wines that will spice up your day with just one sip!  Oh, and not to mention a few fun ‘cheat day’ recipes to try!  Suggestion: bookmark this page for your Superbowl party February 3rd!

2010 Tapeña Tempranillo

Tempranillo (temp-rah-NEE-yo) “is Spain’s indelible stamp on the world of wine. The heart of Tapeña Tempranillo can be found at night in the winding, noisy, old streets of Madrid. Bars and peñas (clubs), filled to standing room only, serve local wines and tapas, and everyone has a fork.” – From the bottle

Winepug’s tasting notes: A gorgeous purple color shines from the glass and tastes as good as it looks!  This Tempranillo has a very rich flavor with ripe black and red fruits of cherry, blackberry, and plum.  Hints of dark chocolate and cracked pepper brighten up the fruit and makes for a very smooth and lingering finish with silky tannins. This literally feels like sleeping in a bed of silk. It is heavenly and certainly a luxurious and luscious red drinking wine!

2010 Tapeña Garnacha

Garnacha (gar-NA-chah) “originated in Spain centuries ago and now mostly travels the world as Garnache. The soul of Tapeña Garnacha can be found in cafés that line the sun-washed plazas of Barcelona. Warmed by the afternoon sun, they’re aglow with tapas, life and laughter.  Perhaps it’s because everyone has a glass and a fork” – From the bottle

Winepug’s tasting notes: A beautiful garnet color makes this Garnacha a huge conversation starter at any table. A luscious red bursting at the bottleneck has a vibrant cherry and blackberry flavor with a spicy finish. Lots of great pepper gives the wine a final ‘oomph’ in your mouth. This wine reminds me of the Phil Collin’s song ‘In the Air Tonight’ as both start smooth and slow and then end vibrantly with a BOOM of a finish!

2010 Tapeña Verdejo

Verdejo (ver-DAY-ho) “until recently was one of the wine world’s forgotten treasures.  The spirit of Tapeña Verdejo lives in seaside chiringuitos that line the white sandy shore of Marbella.  Fresh fish, caught that very morning, is served with wine glasses of chilled Verdejo.  Sun-tanned locals and tourists dine side by side, no shoes required – just  fork.” – From the bottle

Winepug’s tasting notes: With a glistening color of gold in the glass, I could totally picture sipping this wine somewhere in the middle of the ocean on a beautiful sailboat, crew included!  Immediate honey flavors burst from the glass, along with a slightly bitter taste of pear. A hint of acidity and a smooth lingering finish gives this wine a balanced structure in the mouth. A true treat for a Sunday afternoon!

Tapena 1

Who would think that these wines would pair well with our NFL Championship fare!

The Menu

Championship Fare

Fresh carrots and celery with store bought hummus paired well with the Verdejo or you can drink the Verdejo as a preview before the main event!

Homemade potato chips & kale chips with Lemon May0 Dip {here} paired surprising well with the Granacha!  Such a ‘football’ app.

Homemade slow cooker Turkey chili {here} paired to perfection with the Tempranillo and is perfect for football! Spices from the chili and the wine will ease the intensity of the games!

Homemade Peanut Butter Blossoms {here} (with dark chocolate kisses) paired with the Tempranillo and is simply divine!

photo 4.PNG

Where to find? You can find Tapeña in most wine stores in New York City. See {here} for restaurants that carry the brand in your area!

Enjoy watching the games, and go Patriots!

**For more fun recipes and pairing for your Superbowl party {here}, {here}!

Your 2013 (Wino)vation!

2007 Alexis CabernetTo go along with the ‘New Year’ kick I am on, cleaning up and sharpening your bar carts {here} etc., I came across a relevant article while I was reading my monthly Wine Spectator.  One of my favorite wine writers, Matt Kramer wrote an inviting one pager on expanding your horizons in 2013 through trying new things in the world of wine and entertaining and I couldn’t agree with him more. I smiled, was stimulated and felt the immediate need to share highlights from “Is This the Year That You…?” to inspire you to make a vow and make things happen!

The Motivation

“…Decide that higher cost doesn’t equal better wine?”

There are so many wine deals out in the market today that still maintain the same quality in taste as higher priced wines.  Kramer suggests that these wines are the “game-changers” in the wine industry as technology, diversity, and abundance are key descriptors when in search for that perfect ‘game-changer’ wine.  In summary:

Technology “now ensures that pretty much every wine from everywhere else is well-made.”

Diversity “means that wines now come from every imaginable country, district and climate – and often they’re really good.”

Abundance shows that “more producers keep emerging!”

It sounds so easy to find quality wines at affordable prices, just do your research!

“…Finally start a wine cellar?”

How timely, as Kramer suggests scoring a quality/affordable wine is possible!  Compile wines from your trips to Napa, Italy, Oregon, Washington and start that much sought after wine cellar!

“…Raise your wine game from “comfort” to “challenge”?”

I couldn’t agree with this more!  Through my wine blog I have had the opportunity to meet winemakers and try a plethora of wines from around the world.  I’ve gone from having a “Go-To Wine” {here} to forgoing my ‘go-to’ (even when I’m lazy) and popping open an Oregon Pinot Noir or a Tempranillo from Spain.  That’s the beauty of wine, isn’t it?  Stretch your knowledge in wine and try something new and different in 2013.  Kramer suggests to “look to grower Champagnes, unusual grape varieties and emerging wine areas such as Hungary, Ontario, Tasmania, and newly revived spots such as Spain’s Ribeira Sacra, France’s Languedoc, and Sicily.” Of course it’s easy for me to challenge my wine instincts and move outside of my comfort zone because it is my passion, however, for some, the effort to branch out is just not there. Thus, I urge you to think of the possibilities before you buy! You are able to explore a new country, state, region through one single bottle of wine and share that experience with friends.  I say, why not!

 “…Dine at home just a tiny bit more formally?”

Living in a New York City apartment, I am most definitely a culprit of keeping china and crystal we’ve received as engagement gifts in their gift boxes in the cabinet until we have a house where we can gracefully display things. I feel awful about it.  I am dying to use our Waterford red wine glasses like no other but for some reason, I too am saving them, for a special occasion, when we have a house and entertain. But what’s the point! Why not treat yourself once a week and take the time to have a meal on your finest china and your heaviest crystal to enjoy what you have  – a beautiful home-cooked meal and an exquisite glass of wine.  Kramer suggests, “There is something to be said for just a skooch of dining formality in today’s rushed, crushed, gotta-go world.  It’s good for us, and surely so for our wines.”  So true, cheers to bringing out the new crystal!

“…Stop fretting about when a wine is ready to drink”

I too, have many bottles just sitting in our wine fridge, waiting for the right ‘year’ to be pulled out and ‘decantered’.  But let’s face it; no ‘year’ will ever be the right year to pull out the right bottle at the right time.  So why wait? To Kramer’s point, “Buy interesting wines.  Store them in a cool space for up to five years. Then pop and pour.” I may just go pull out our 2007 Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon from my favorite winery Swanson Vineyards {here}!

“…Start pulling the corks on all those special-occasion bottles?”

My parents still have their champagne from when they were married in 1971 and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from when my brother was born in 1981! That says it all right there. The more we “wait around” to open those ‘special’ bottles, the more time passes by where we rarely find that special occasion to open them. Even we, still have a few bottles of excellent champagne that were gifted to us for our engagement about a year ago unopened, waiting for the right occasion.  I love this theory Kramer puts out there! Come Friday night, I’m reaching for our gold rimmed champagne glasses and popping the bubbly to celebrate…… well, LIFE!

Thank you Wine Spectator {here} and Matt Kramer {here}for a thoughtful and inspiring read on this wonderful evening.  Time to get the bone china out!

Essentials for a ‘Tasteful’ Bar Cart!

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are over, but it’s so exciting that we have entered into a new year!  Now is the time to recharge to full energy and check off all the boxes that you’ve wanted to do for some time now.  It’s the time of year to really get motivated to start new exhilarating projects and actually finish them.

After much holiday entertaining and being entertained in 2012, I’ve noticed that nothing makes more of a statement at an intimate gathering than the hosts ‘bar’.  This is because it’s not just a place to make a cocktail or pour a glass of wine, but yet it’s a time when you are interacting with other guests and can ‘make a drink’ and even a friend at the bar.  How many times have you said,  “Want to make another drink”?  I’m sure plenty.   Your bar is your chance to show your guests your personal style and since it is the center focus of your party, wouldn’t you want it to be a masterpiece?

As we enter into 2013 it is time.  Time to clean up your ‘bar’, get rid of the clutter and start with a clean slate filled with fabulous wines going into 2013. So wipe off the lingering champagne drops from your NYE party, get ride of those half full bottles and start fresh with a stylish yet tidy bar (get rid of clutter!).

Lauren, one of my dearest friends in the world and amazing celebrity fashion stylist with a passion for interior décor, has shared with us a few ideas on prepping your bar for an amazing year!

Essentials for creating a ‘Tasteful’ bar!

  1. Always have Pellegrino glass bottles
  2. 2 bottles of nice champs (Veuve Cliquot, Ruinart, Moet etc.)
  3. Add fake limes in a nice dish
  4. A pop of color can add a nice touch to your bar. Try adding a colorful flower in a vase
  5. Incorporate some sort of interesting glassware
  6. Throw a few fab crystal wine stoppers on for decoration or slices of geode coasters {here} in a fun color to go with flowers
  7. Come up with a theme and make sure everything complements each other. I love working with metallics, such as gold with a bright pop of color of fuchsia or cobalt blue
  8. Keep out Clutter!!

Bar Cart

What fabulous ideas, thanks Lauren! Be sure to check out Lauren’s website {here} for more stylish ideas and services!

To get started, Elle Decor {here} has an amazing list of unique and inspiring bar carts you can use as a blank canvas!  Let your creativity flow and your personal style shine!

Let the 2013 entertaining begin! Cheers!

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.

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