Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Make Mine with Wine

You already know what happens when Mel and I go into the lab....mayhem!  And sometimes, something good comes out of it.  Last summer, we did just that!  Our mission:  to make our favorite cocktails with wine.  And today, we want to share another one of our creations with you.

Who doesn't love a Margarita?  And in this weather, few cocktails are more refreshing.  Lots of citrus with a touch of sweetness, nothing says "welcome to summer" quite like a Margarita.  So when we started our quest to create our own Margarita without using Tequila, I automatically thought of Sauvignon Blanc.  The citrusy notes in Sauvignon Blanc always remind me of warm temperatures (and I don't know why).  In my typical recipe, I use a lime, half a lemon, and half an orange with one and a half ounce of Tequila, and an ounce of Grand Marnier.  Depending on my company, I may squeeze in a half ounce Agave Nectar or simple syrup.  So with the intense grapefruit notes in the Sauvignon Blanc, I immediately knew that I would have to retrieve the Agave from the cupboard.  I must admit that this was one of the toughest and most challenging cocktails that we've attempted to duplicate.  The balance of the wine and the limes had to be just right to keep the flavors that we love.  So after a few versions and the okay from our mystery taster, here is our recipe!  We invite you to try it, and tell us how you like it.

1 1/2 oz. Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 lime
1/2 lemon
1/2 orange
1 oz Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 oz Agave Nectar (if you need more sweetness)

Shake over ice and served in your favorite chilled glass.  Cheers!

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wine Pairs Well with Everything!

When I was a child, I would cringe when I saw my grandfather put ketchup on his eggs.  I am not sure if it was due to my bias that ketchup only belonged on cheeseburgers and french fries or my dislike of eggs.  Although I will never try my grandfather's combination, I've learned to appreciate that maybe it is similar to an omelette that features tomatoes.  In my house, ketchup is a staple.  My son likes it on almost everything.  When I commented that to him, he replied that ketchup is to him as wine is to me...I like it with everything.  As much as I hate to admit it, he is right.

Champagne with brunch, something crisp and white in the evening with my fruit salad, and a little Tawny Port as my dessert; wine is so versatile.  We enjoy it with many of our activities such as paint parties, wine and cheese receptions, and book club meetings.  Wine has become a staple at Ladies' Nights and just the simple excuse needed to have a party.  Wine is a great connector.  I have met so many people over wine and many have become my friends.  We've laughed, cried, traveled, and solved problems.  It is a great conversation starter as well as a favorite night cap. In wine bars, I've never seen a bar fight.  It is the beverage of the peacemakers and the elixir of the "cool". Some of us in the industry get caught up in wine pairings but the smartest among us know that wine is best paired with friends.

In honor of summer, enjoy a glass with me today.  Cheers!!!

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

When Was The Last Time You Had Viognier?

It’s been years ago but I remember this story well.  We always remember the stories that make us feel some kinda way.  It was in 2006.  I was in Charlotte taking my intro Sommelier course.  The four instructors were all Master Sommeliers.  During the breaks, they engaged the class and asked the common question, “Where are you from?”  My ears perked up when I overheard one of the other students reply that he was from Virginia.  The instructor had a slight smile on his face.  My thought was that it was a good smile since Virginia was finally on the map as a serious wine making state. So I was waiting for him to say some good things about the wines that were being produced in VA.  “Viognier is the only noteworthy wine that comes out of Virginia.”  Those words stung.  Not that I had enough knowledge to argue what he said with anything other than affinity and loyalty to my home state.  Heck, I didn’t even drink a lot of Virginia wine myself.  But I wanted to hear that Virginia was making wines that could rank against some of the finest in the world.  I never heard those words that day.

So, when I got home, I wanted to pay attention to Viognier.  Before I heard the commentary between the instructor and fellow student, I had drank Viognier several times but had never paid any real attention to it.  I liked it well enough but I really couldn’t share any distinguishing characteristics if my life depended on it.  I had to change that.  In Virginia, it was easy to find Viognier.  What I like about Viognier is that it reminds me of spring.  With hints of honeysuckle, the grape produces a wine that is round, well-balanced, and perfect with a mixed green salad, chicken, fish or simply chilled in a glass.  Popular in the Rhone region (France), it is growing in popularity in the United States.  The grape benefits from a long, warm growing season and can sustain in drier or drought conditions. 

If you haven’t tried Viognier, don’t let the season so by without doing so.  If you are fortunate enough to be in Virginia, get a bottle of something local.  It is delicious with fruit, light cheese, and white fish dishes.  A great beverage to beat the summer heat, try Viognier today.

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