Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Six Wines to Celebrate the End of Summer

The ‘unofficial’ end of summer is almost here. We still have a few more weeks of warm (OK – hot) weather, but school has started and those lazy days are drawing to a close. Time to plan one more picnic, cookout, or great all-out get-together and bid summer a final adieu. 

Great parties call for great food and great wine.  White wines have been the mainstay of summer, crisp, light, and mainly chilled. So let’s send off the season with an eye toward those moody autumnal red wines. Fire up the grill and let’s start pairing!

Burgers and Zin   

Try a full-bodied Zinfandel. The Zin’s fruity and spicy flavors will go well with a burger, or ribs and a Zin is wonderful with other grilled red meats.

Steak and Malbec

You won’t fail by serving a Cabernet Sauvignon with steak, but another great wine that’s often overlooked is Malbec. The tannins are hearty, the aroma can have hints of plum or tobacco, and the flavor should be fruity.  

Pork and Barbera

Although I won’t hesitate to pair a red with pork, many still feel more comfortable pairing a white wine with ‘the other white meat,’ especially when entertaining. If so, then grab a chilled bottle of Gewurztraminer for a nice alternative. Otherwise, get adventurous and try a Barbera with grilled pork.

Brats/Dogs and Options

A Zinfandel will work well with grilled hot-dogs. If you’re adding a chili sauce, go for a Beaujolais. For grilled brats, try a Pinot Noir.

Chicken and Merlot

Yes, I know, Chardonnay is the natural answer, but if you adhere to the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) rule, then pour a Merlot with robust berry flavors for a tasty white wine alternative.


Seafood and Pinot

Pinot Grigio’s crispness goes well with plain, grilled fish or shrimp. If you’re grilling salmon, tuna or mackerel then pull out a Pinot Noir.

Of course, sauces and sides will affect your pairing, so take a bite of the food and a sip of the wine to see what you like. Remember, wine is subjective; the main point is to celebrate the end of summer with the food, the wines, and the people you love - so go enjoy!

~ Joy

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

16 Catchy Wine Sayings

It doesn’t matter what your interest, there are always some catchy sayings on the internet. For my fellow wine lovers, here are just a few that have more than a "sip of truth" to them … 

For a Bad Day:

Or Bad Week ....

For a Bad Wine: 

For Dining:


For Health:

For the Holidays:

For the Best of Times:

And Just Because:

'Nough said ...
~ Joy

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Caposaldo Wine Review

Caposaldo Vineyard
Two sample bottles of wine arrived from Caposaldo Winery the other day making it the perfect time to do some Italian wine tasting.

Caposaldo is an Italian artisan winery that focuses on style. All of the grapes are harvested by hand and the wines are carefully crafted to bring out the best of the fruit.

I began with the Pinot Grigio, with grapes grown in northern Italy’s Delle Venezie region, well known for its volcanic rock and chalky clay soils. The Caposaldo whites go through a cold fermentation in stainless tanks, in order to bring out the wine’s true flavors. This Pinot Grig had the essence of peaches and pears with a hint of minerals, and the aroma of apples enveloped in crisp acidity. Hints of almonds led to a clean finish. My overall opinion: this is a nice, “classic Italian Pinot Grig” and should be served with seafood, poultry or pork.

The Chianti is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot and Malvasia grapes grown in the Chianti region of Tuscany. These grapes are also handpicked and undergo traditional vinification, including being pumped over at least four times a day. One-third of the wine is then aged in oak before bottling. Nice berry aromas with an undercurrent of herbs on the nose led to an outstanding cherry flavor; good body. My overall opinion: Nice berry/cherry flavors but the finish is a bit astringent and minerally.  Pair this wine with grilled or roasted meats, pizza, or red sauce pasta meals: this wine would go well with any classic Italian meal.

Caposaldo also offers several other wines including a Prosecco D.O.C from Veneto region of northern Italy, a Sweet Moscato, Sweet Peach Moscato, Sparkling Sweet Red and Sweet Pink Merlot Moscato. It's definitely worth trying a few well chilled bottles during these “dog days of August.”
~ Joy

(If you have a wine you’d like me to sample and review, message me for an address.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mobile Tasting – Wine To Go (Really!)

Mobile tasting – what a catchy phrase. As a wine drinker, I like the convenience it suggests. As a former winery owner I love the concept; no tents, no tables, just roll right up, throw open the window and serve.

The idea of trying a wine on the go has always been appealing – the chance to sip and savor in an unusual location may get you to actually enjoy the flavors more. After all, wine lovers have been hopping aboard wine trains for years.

 Napa Valley is famous for their wine train, which rolls through wine country on a 3-hour round trip eating and tasting adventure aboard a restored antique train. Definitely a nice way to spend the day.

Another on-track tasting takes place on the Historic Grapevine Railroad in Grapevine, Texas. Enjoy wines from nine of the city’s wineries along with a box dinner aboard “vintage” train cars from the Roaring 20’s.

Union Wine Company of Portland, Oregon has a show-stopping mobile wine option – a 1972 restored Citroen H. Van. Decked out with lights around the windows and a full wine bar inside, the roving wine truck can roll up to festivals and events, ready to pour. It can also be rented out for weddings and parties.

“See Indy From Your Bar Stool!” Really? Yes, now you can drink and exercise in Indianapolis, thanks to the Handle Bar. This 16 passenger Pedal Pub can be rented out for groups on an hourly basis, or single seat tours allow individuals to purchase a ticket to ride along. The catch is that you bring the wine or beer, but still, what a novel way to spend the day and enjoy a glass of wine.

Heard of other mobile wine options? Let me know!

~ Joy

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Celebrate Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day

Time for another wine celebration! Saturday, July 18th is National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day. We’ve enjoyed the pairing of these sweet yet biting flavors for centuries, in desserts and wines.

Strawberries date back to ancient Roman times, while the first garden strawberries were grown in France in the late 1700s. Early Americans found a surplus of wild strawberry plants in the New World and began using them in simple pioneer foods.

The rhubarb plant has been cultivated for thousands of years. According to legend, a gardener carried the rootstock to New England in the early 1800s, but housewives didn’t accept the plant until it proved to make a good pie filling, hence its nickname “pie plant.”  In the 1940s, rhubarb was ruled to be a fruit for the purposes of regulations and taxes since American cooks used it mainly to make into desserts

Strawberries, which come from the rose family, provide sweet, juicy flavors wrapped in a berry aroma. Mix that with the oh-so-tart taste of rhubarb, and a strawberry rhubarb wine should offer up sweetness with a burst of refreshing tartness.

This is a “drink when ready” wine; aging does it no favors. If you’re looking to pair it with food, opt for spicy pork or roasted chicken, spinach salad, and flan or shortcake for dessert.  Or just chill a bottle and enjoy on a hot summer afternoon.

~ Joy

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

5 Wines Ready To-Go For National Picnic Month

July is National Picnic Month and a wine to-go seems the way to go as we head outside with blankets, baskets of food and best buds in tow to soak up the summer sun.

Stack Wine offers an interesting option for vino to go. Each “bottle” of wine is made up of four individually stacked glasses, each holding a single serving. Wines in the "stack" include Cabernet, Chardonnay, Red Blend, and Pinot Grigio. Check for a store near you.

Wine in a pouch is another easy way to transport your favorite beverage to the park. Eco-Vino is an economical, and green, way to enjoy the Helibiker red table wine or a chilled Chardonnay on a hot day. Sold at select Trader Joe’s.

Borrowing from the beer industry just made sense and now wine in a can is another option for a picnic vino. Union Wine Company offers Underwood Wine in a 375 ml can, about half a bottle, available in Rose, Pinot Noir and Pinto Gris.
Juice comes in a carton, so why not wine? Bota Box wine is in a 500ml carton, which is the equivalent of three glasses. Select from 12 wines including Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot, Old Vine Zin, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Grig, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato and Redvolution, a red blend. The cartons (and boxes) are available at various wine shops and liquor stores around the country.

I know, boxed wine is so '70s. But wait, Black Box is not your daddy’s vino. These wines have won over 40 gold medals and 27 Wine Enthusiast Best Buys. Available in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinto Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Red Elegance, one 3 liter box contains four bottles of wine that will last for at least four weeks after opening.Look for them at your local grocers.

With the Fourth coming up, and plenty of burgers and potato salad on the menu, grab a wine that’s perfect for a picnic, and enjoy the fireworks this weekend!

~ Joy