Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"After Dark" Sips for the Summer Eclipse


The Great American Eclipse takes place this Monday, August 21. During the afternoon, the sun, moon and earth will line up to give some of us a rare glimpse at a total eclipse – in other places, we’ll see a partial eclipse, which still means a great show!

A total solar eclipse is a unique visual occurrence and not only is North America in the path, Western Europe, Northern and Eastern Asia, Northern and Western Africa, a large section of South America and the Arctic along with islands in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans will experience the eclipse in some form.

Solar eclipse parties are planned around the world and Frontera saw the perfect opportunity to celebrate with their After Dark wines. Parent company Concha y Toro is Chile’s best-selling wine brand, and the company is now targeting directly to millennials with a new look on the shelf. The classy black and gold label is appealing and stands out in a sea of typical wine labels. In fact, the dark trend has registered an almost 30% sales increase over traditional white and cream labels, so look for store shelves to become more intriguingly mysterious with those darker labels. The new Frontera tag line says it all: “The day starts to come alive at night!”
My tasting panel, which included two millennials, sampled two of these newly released wines, both bearing names that befit the coming lunar event. 
After Midnight
This wine is a blend of Cabernet (55%) and Syrah (40%) with a hint of Merlot (5%), and is very approachable for the new wine drinker.
True to the name, the grapes are harvested after midnight when temperatures are lower to preserve the flavors of the grapes. The juice is aged in stainless steel and then put into oak barrels.
The wine is dark purple in the glass with berry and cherry on the nose. This medium-bodied vino was a bit sweeter than I expected, but appealed to my millennial tasters and that’s the market its targeting, so kudos. Dark berries on the nose with a flavor profile of cerise and elderberry along with a hint of vanilla and spice. A lingering taste of strawberry rounded out the experience. Great with burgers or pizza. Or plan to enjoy a glass during the darkest part of the eclipse.
Moonlight
This white blend is comprised of mainly Moscato with a small amount of other white grapes. (Possibly Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris?) Again, the grapes are picked at night when temperatures are cool.
Moonlight is a straw-colored semi-sweet wine with a fruity, floral aroma. The palate consists of ripe fruit in the mouth with a touch of honey and a citrusy finish. This was a bit too sweet for me, but the younger crowd loved the wine. Serve with a nice curried chicken to balance out the sweetness, or revel in it and enjoy with pork chops.
Another idea, pour a glass as the eclipse starts and watch the show unfold.
Both wines are very budget-friendly and retail around $6 a bottle, and are available at wine shops across the country.
~ Joy

And a note: My new book The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide will be shipping out next Tuesday for early orders. Click here for more.
(Editor’s note: Both wines were received for media review.)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hotcha Summer Nights with a Glass of Red Wine


August is a month that sizzles, thanks to high temperatures, lots of greenery, a healthy dose of sunshine, and long, languid nights. But if you’d like to ignite a lustful late summer rendezvous then pop open a bottle of red wine and see what develops.

Hands down, red wine is said to be the drink of seduction. A study performed at the University of Florence discovered that red vino may actually increase sexual desire in women. The report indicates that by heightening blood flow to erogenous areas, women may become more amorous. And the study reported that red wine tends to stimulate desire in women in their forties, fifties and sixties more than those who are younger.
Red wine also affects men by increasing blood flow and escalating testosterone levels. But keep in mind, too many glasses of red wine and the libido takes a nosedive.

Your Brain on Wine
Another explanation for the erotic kick red wine supplies may be linked to the stimulation of your brain’s hypothalamus, which controls body temperature, hormone levels and basic human functions including your sex drive. Either way, this aphrodisiac works best in moderation with a max of two drinks, which works out perfectly if you’re sharing that bottle of red wine. 

Something else to consider, sniffing red wine might be considered foreplay. Wine aromas stimulate that hypothalamus and certain smells trigger the libido. For women, it’s the aromas of earth, wood, cherry and licorice that can fuel desire, so serve her a rustic Zinfandel, an earthy Barbera or a musky Pinot Noir. For men, it’s more baking aromas (seriously) like caramel, butter, orange and vanilla that prove to be arousing. Pour him a glass of Syrah, Moscato or Tawny Port to sip and savor for a provocative August evening.
Cheers!
Joy