Category Archives: Budget

Wine Pairing with Tailgating Menu

 

 

Fall brings Football, sweaters, and comfort foods. Its also marks the time when many of us will begin to pair our comfort foods with red wines. We’ll leave behind the fruitful white wines for a rich and full bodied red wines. But what wine will go best with your tailgating buffet of food during this cooling off season? After all beer is usually what is being served with burgers, chilli, and wings. Well I’m here to tell you that you can have your buffalos wings and enjoy the taste of a good red wine. So gather around and see which of your favorite football foods will be complimented by red wine that are out of this world!

Buffalo Wings + Pinot Noir

Pinot Noirs are known for their light to medium bodied flavors. They really balance out the heat of the spicy wing with hints of sweetness capped off with a earthy notes. You’ll find that this balance brings out the flavors of not only the spicy but also the flavor of the chicken.

***If you like only white wine: wings I’d suggest a Brut Sparkling White Wine or a Cava.

Chili + Grenache

Chili dishes have both heat and smoke to them and Grenache its juiciness and lush fruit mingle work beautifuly with the complexity of a good Chilli. Note if your chili is coming out of a can you might as well break out the wine in a box. But if you’re doing a traditional slow cooked chili pick up a Grenache, they sell for reasonable prices.

***If you like only white wine: Try a Rose its still light and crispy to compliment the smokiness of the Chilli. But stay away from sweet Roses. It’ll ruin the flavor of your Chilli

Brats, Burgers, Hot Dogs + Malbec or Vacqueyras

Meats and Malbecs or Vacqueyras are a match made in heaven. Malbecs are Full Bodied with rich flavors that end in a minerally note. Vacqueyras is another full rich wine that tannic, peppery and bold. You can’t go wrong with either a Malbec or Vacqueyras for your grilled meat dishes.

***If you like only white wine: Viognier is a great heavy white wine with hints of melon, this isn’t a sweet wine. Its bold to compliment the meat but it won’t take over the flavor of your dish like richer Chardonnay.

Happy Tailgating to everyone!

GO O-H-I-O! And LETS GO CHICAGO BEARS!

Lissette

Sutter Home: A Surprise in Napa

Sutter Home…well when you think about Sutter Home you think $7.99 bottle at the local supermarket. And to be honest with you I’m right there with you. During a recent trip to Napa I stopped by Sutter Home. Now let me clarify this stop was not one that I had planned on and took some time to talk me into but I went to really please the person I was with on the trip. I was unsure of what I would find. But I thought…Korbel is known for lower end sparkling wines perhaps so the same will happen with Sutter.

Well…I wasn’t as please with Sutter Home as I was with Korbel but I wasn’t disappointed. In fact they did have a few items that I purchased. Let me start off by saying that these items are NOT at your local supermarket. In fact these wines are exclusive to Sutter Home’s tasting room in Napa. And the price while still not expensive wasn’t as cheap as you’d think but $20 for a ___ wasn’t bad and the taste was delightful. This is the kind of wine you’d drink with friends who know a lot about wine or very little about wine. Both novice and experts alike will enjoy this bottle.

I will admit that I was unsure of the tasting room and its certainly not fancy but I gave it a shot. Glad I did however, I still won’t buy the wine you find at the local supermarket. In fact the only wine I’ll have is the one I found in Napa. Try not to judge a book by its cover…at least when it comes to actually going to Sutter Home’s Tasting Room

Cheers!

Halloween Wine Suggestions-Don’t Be Scared!

Halloween Wine Suggestions-Don’t Be Scared!

Nothing can be scarier then paying over a $100 for a bottle of wine. No worries you won’t have to buy wine that expense during this Halloween season at least we won’t be suggesting any wine that expensive. Wine With Me wanted to give you just a couple of wine suggestions for you party planners and party goers. Wines that aren’t always in season but you can certainly go to your local Sam’s Wine and Spirits, Binny’s, or neighborhood wine shop. Ask questions like “do you have any seasonal wine?” If you need more specifics here are some suggestions.

Pumpkin Wine: I can hear you asking “WHAT! THEY MAKE THAT!” Yes they do actually. Prairie State Winery makes a Pumpkin Wine that may surprise you but remember this is a sweeter wine so if you aren’t into sweet you may want to stay away from this one.  If you’re having a party  and you really want this wine you can order online from any number of wineries. Just Google it!

Apple Wine: This wine can usually be found year round but nothing says Fall like Apples. Of course I don’t have to tell you this is a sweet wine. But would taste great with Brie Cheese and Crackers. It’ll be smooth and sweet certainly a great addition to any Halloween party.

TIP: IF YOU HAVE AN OVERLY SWEET WINE MIX WITH A DRY CHAMPAGNE TO CUT THE SWEETNESS

Both wines are not expensive and are pretty tasty. I wouldn’t just have one kind of wine at your party. Your guests need variety but if you’re looking to add a good wine with a scary label look no further then 2009 Poizin.  This gem comes from Armida Winery. Now don’t let the fact that this bottle has a skull scary you its actually good. It has notes of plum, blackberries, vanilla make it a really nice compliment to the filet mignon. Add a little red to your night by serving this to your guests.

If you don’t feel like trying to find bottles with skulls or even pumpkin wine you can just DIY it. Purchase your favorite bottles and slap on a fun scary label that you can make on your own or buy at these Esty stores: Halloween Wine Labels, The Printing Shop and Pbleu. I personally bought the Pbleu label for this year’s Halloween party and they look amazing.

Happy Haunting! Cheers!

Trader Joe’s: Wine Picks

Trader Joe’s is a place that many of us go grocery shopping. We find that they have a great selection of almost everything. You like fruit they have it and usually for a good price. You like cheese, they have that too, and its pretty good cheese. What about crackers you like those? Yep they have a wide assortment. These are items you may snack on while drinking wine. BUT does Trader Joe’s have a good selection of wine???

Well like any store that sells wine you’ll find that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. However Dana and I have made our picks on wines that you should look into and buy on your next trip to Trader Joe’s

 

Lissette’s Picks:

Purple Moon Shiraz

Now let me just start off by saying this little gem is $5.99. And if you’re on a budget this is the wine you want to take to your friend’s house. Its fruity but not sweet and like many Shiraz it has a nice peppery finish but it certainly doesn’t overtake the fruit you taste at the beginning. Its smooth. This wine maybe something you may have with Pizza or a nice pasta with meat sauce. Or you can be just like me and drink it while watching a good TV show. Either way you can’t go wrong for the price. Read the rest of this entry

Hosting a Wine Party-Happy Hour

It doesn’t matter if you are throwing a party in the summer or winter as long as you have the right drinks and food to nibble on your guest will be happy. Recently a couple of our friends (Dana and I) have been throwing some fun happy hours on Friday evenings and inviting friends over. Its a great time to unwind and relax with friends after a long work week. This inspired me to write a post for our readers who want to have a happy hour of their own or perhaps just a causal get together.

Here is the beauty of throwing a happy hour or just a quick get together you don’t actually have to cook anything. All items can be purchased at the store, wine shop, or cheese shop.

Tip #1-This isn’t a dinner party. Set a time for your friends on the invite if you must. If you are hosting a happy hour its important to note that the party will happen between 5pm-7pm, you know before dinner time.

Tip #2-Get a nice combo of high end and not so high end wine. Lets face it not all of your friends know good wine. However if they don’t tell them to read this blog we can help! But don’t feel obligated to supply the party with all of the beverage options tell your friends to bring some wine over too.

Tip #3-Have some food to nibble on for your guest. This doesn’t mean go out and get them food but snacks only. Dana has already given you the skinny on cheese and wine pairings. If you haven’t read it now is a good time..click here. But I’ll make it easier for you by providing a list

  • Cheese
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Veggies
  • Crackers-Water Cracker, Whole Grain
  • Fruit

Totally optional but I love a nice plate of Prosciutto. If you’re feeling a little fancier cut up a nice melon and wrap the Prosciutto around it. Its tasty.

Tip #4-Have fun! The beauty of wine is that you sip it and enjoy the company of your friends. Remember to relax and enjoy yourself.

If you want to make your party/happy hour a little fancier light some candles around. It’ll look beautiful.

Enjoy your happy hour or casual get together!

Cheers!

Fourth of July-Food Recipes

 

Happy Fourth everyone!!!

While this normally isn’t a food site I thought it would be a nice idea to give you all some recipes for your upcoming BBQs.

Try this Chipotle-Corn Salad


2 cans of corn-drained
1/2 an onion thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce-seeded and chopped
1 scallion thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper

1.) Sautee your corn and opinion with the olive oil until the corn is lightly brown
2.) Let cool and put into a bowl
3) Mix, sour cream with lime juice, chopped chipotle chiles, sliced scallion.
3.) Season the corn with salt and pepper

Serves 4-6 people. Great with a grilled chicken and a glass of Rose. Try Shady Lane 2008 Coop de Rouge or Dr Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett

Lets not forget it is the 4th and what’s more American then a cheeseburger. He is a great recipe for you to enjoy
All American Burger

1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Hamburger Seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 slices Cheddar or American cheese (optional)
4 hamburger rolls
8 slices cooked bacon (optional)
Lettuce, tomato and condiments (optional)

1.)Mix ground beef, ketchup, Hamburger Seasoning and Worcestershire sauce in medium bowl until well blended. Shape into 4 patties.
2.) Grill over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes per side or until burgers are cooked through (internal temperature of 160°F). Add cheese slices to burgers 1 minute before cooking is completed. Toast rolls on the grill, open-side down, about 30 seconds or until golden.
3.) Serve burgers on toasted rolls with bacon slices, if desired. Garnish with desired toppings and condiments.

Serves 4. Enjoy your all American burger with a great glass of red like Gnarly Head Zinfandel Old Vine, Tilia Malbec

Try heading over to Binny’s or BevMo for some suggestions. Don’t have any of those big guys around you? Don’t forget to support your Local Wine Shops.

If you’re not in the mood for wine  try one of Dana’s Sangria recipes or try this new recipe we found

Watermelon Sangria

2 pounds seedless watermelon, peeled and cubed, plus 1/2 pound watermelon cut into balls with a melon baller and skewered on picks
1 bottle dry white wine
6 ounces vodka
4 ounces Cointreau or other triple sec
4 ounces Citrus Syrup
In a blender, puree the watermelon cubes. Pour through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Add the white wine, vodka, Cointreau and Citrus Syrup. Stir and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir again, then pour the sangria into ice-filled white wine glasses and garnish with the skewered watermelon balls.

Remember to Drink Responsibly this Holiday Weekend!

Cheers and Happy 4th from Dana, Rio, and I!!!!!

Lynfred Winery-Perhaps Not


This past weekend Dana and I deceided to take a trip to Lynfred Winery in Roselle, IL. We came upon this winery during Wine Riot and enjoyed the three wines (they had five we only tasted three) we tasted during the event. We were excited to see what other wines this place would have on hand for us to enjoy. I must admit that we were disappointed by the winery. The wine tasting was $9, which I won’t complain about but perhaps a $5 dollars fee would have been more reasonable. The tasting wasn’t really a tasting the pours were generous, a first for us when it somes to tastings.  People weren’t tasting they were actually drinking. Don’t call it a wine tasting if its more of a wine flight. Also the layout was odd. You’d paid at the front bar and then you’d head toward the back through the gift soft to a small bar were you’d get a pour and then walk away, finish, then go back for the next one. Doesn’t make sense right? Yea it didn’t make sense to us either.

Other then the odd layout we found it strange that Lynfred Winery didn’t have on their tasting list the wines they do best. They didn’t showcase the wines that clearly did very well at Wine Riot. Additionally, the majority of there grapes came from Califorina, Michigan, and Washington and some from Illinois.

All was not lost. We loved the Malbec but it wasn’t worth paying $25 dollars for it. We did get the wine we enjoyed at Wine Riot which was the Lynfred Winery Vin de City Red and their Plum wine. Overall we didn’t walk away empty handed. The drive was long so a reward was in order.

The other thing that makes Lynfred  unique is they’ll dip your favorite bottle in chocolate for $25 dollars plus the cost of the wine. It makes a nice gift. My advice if you’re going to do the chocolate dipped bottle go with the Lynfred Winery Vin de City Red, its $10 dollars so playing $35 for a nice gift seems reasonable.

Our favorite wines were:
Lynfred Winery Plum
Lynfred Winery Vin de City Red
2010 Lynfred Winery Seyval Blanc

Is it worth the drive? I guess if you have nothing to do all day but you may want to check with Binny’s. If don’t live in Illinois don’t worry plenty of good wines out there.

Cheers!

Michigan’s Best Kept Secret

I’m a city girl through and through but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy getting out into the relaxing atmosphere. On our trip to Michigan I learned some pretty essential things..1.) Road Kill in Michigan is a way of Life 2.) Never go feet first into a Jacuzzi if your intention was only to put your feet in, you might find yourself 3 feet underwater 3.) And the most important lesson…Michigan Wines are impressive and the state’s best kept secret.

The Michigan Tourism Board should really add in some marketing copy for Tim Allen to talk about the wines that are created in Michigan. I bet they’ll see a pickup in tourism.

Before I begin telling you about the wines I loved and bought I’d like to give a shout out to Mr and Mrs Clark. Thanks for letting us staying at your place while we ventured out into the Michigan Wineries. And thanks Dana for driving and Rio thanks for just being adorable.

Let’s get this party started shall we? Read the rest of this entry

How to Taste Wines

I’ve been noticing that more and more wine shops and even big box stores are having wine tastings. Most of these places have an agenda to push. Wine Shops carry wines that you can’t find in stores like like  Binny’s, BevMo, Safeway, or Whole Foods. These smaller shops want you to buy what you can’t find anywhere else.  And bigger stores like Binny’s bring in a distributor who only wants you to buy from the selection they carry and are putting out for you to taste. I’m not against agenda pushing but remember you have to buy wine that you like and just because the wine rep says its the best thing you’ll taste doesn’t mean it is. But how will you know if something is good if you don’t know how to properly taste a wine. Here are a few steps to help you.

First things first. Hold you glass by the stem. Your hand can warm the liquid. It happens all the time with beer but with wine you have a choice.

Sight: Look at the wine. Slightly tilt your glass (by the stem) toward the light if possible and if possible against something white or pale. Is the wine clear or cloudy?

White wine: The older the wine the more golden in color it’ll be. The  younger the wine the pale yellow almost green.

Red Wine: These vary in color but a younger wine is usually a bright red color. You may even notice a reddish-brown around the edges. If its an older wine you’ll notice more brown color. Think of the color of a brick (has red in it).

Swirl: Its not just to make you look snotty. There is a purpose to this. I promise. Take your glass by its stem and gently swirl for a few seconds.

Doing this will allow oxygen into the wine. Swirling will release the aroma.

Notice how quickly the movement of the wine. If the wine is easy to swirl it means you have less alcohol and if it moves slowly it means it has more alcohol.

Notice the streaks also called legs of the wine has left on the glass. This will help you determine the body of the wine and alcohol as well. More legs left behind more alcohol.

This happens with red wine. If you notice that you have a red coating that means more alcohol is present as well.

Smell: The isn’t an exact science to this so my best advice is to tip your glass by the stem and inhale. What do you smell? Fruit, floral, woody, spicy?

Taste: My favorite part is the taste of course! Now some people make the mistake of sipping right away. What you should do let the wine sit in your mouth. I usually roll my tongue to ensure it coats my tongue to get range of flavor.

The tip of your tongue will pick up the sweetness, the inner side will pick up the acidity, the outer sides will pick up saltiness, and the back will pick up the bitterness and alcohol.

Some people will spit the wine out especially if you have several wines or wineries to go to. Some drink it but do yourself a favor after don’t drink all of it or you’ll get drunk too quickly and then wines will just blend together.

If you like the wine sip it again and then dump the rest in the bucket. You can buy a bottle if you love it. If you don’t’ like it just dump it. In both cases move on the other wines and repeat the process. Side note you don’t need a new glass for every wine. As long as you move from light to dark the one glass that is given to you is what should be used.

Remember: Don’t buy the wine unless you love it. It’ll be a waste of your time and money if you buy it to appease the rep or the wine shop.

Check our your local wine shop sites or big box stores for wine tastings.

Cheers!

Online Wine Deals. Are They Really a Deal?

Lately you may have noticed a lot of deals on sites like Groupon and Living Social for online wine shops. These deals seem too good to be true. $30 for $60 worth of fine wine? Yes please!  But as great as these deals sound, are they really good deals?

After looking a little closer at some of these “deals” I’ve noticed a few things to pay attention to.

1.)   What is the wine selection like?

I’ve noticed that a lot of times, these sites have a very limited selection of wine and often, I have not heard of one wine on the site. Always check out the website before you purchase a deal for an online wine retailer. If it’s all wine you could buy at the local grocery store, then it’s probably not a good deal. If you’ve never heard of any of the wines, you might want to do a little more research on the wines to make sure they are wines you would want to purchase.

 2.)    Is Shipping included? How much does shipping cost?

Often the value of your coupon can NOT be used towards shipping. Shipping can be extremely expensive on these sites so make sure you know what additional money you’ll have to shell out to use your coupon. Read the rest of this entry

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