Category Archives: How to

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

Keeping it Healthy: Organic Wines

 

Organic seems to be the trend these days. We want to consume foods that are pesticide free and all natural. This is the case with wine as well. But what are the benefits of drinking Organic wines?

sulfites-If you’re a newbie to wine I’m sure you’re asking what are sulfites? Well sulfites are a salt or an acid that happens to wine naturally. However added sulfites are used for the preservation of wines. The less sulfites a wine contains, the healthier it will be for your body.

No Chemicals and Pesticides-Organic wines are not sprayed with chemicals and pesticides which means its better for you. The USDA says,”Organic wine is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations”

Organic Grapes-All organic foods are grown with very strict regulations. Wineries that create organic wines do not add flavors such as oak chips to their wine. Addtionally these wineries use very basic wine making techniques. Keep it all natural.

If you’re going the Organic Wine way remember to read the label. Some wines may be labeled “made with organic grapes”, this means that 70% of their grapes come from organic sources.

If you are looking for some great organic wine you should look at Frog Leap. And of course Whole Foods always has a great selection of Organic Wines.

Cheers!
Lissette

Holiday Wine Gift Ideas 2011

Its that time of the year when we start to shop for our loved ones. But with all of this shopping we forget about other people we have to get gifts for…like your doorman or a co-worker who went above and beyond to help you out this year. What can you get them that won’t break the bank and still make you look like you appreciate what they do?

Well wine is a great gift, its easy and you stick a bow on it and you have an instant gift! The only issue is you don’t want to look cheap and giving someone the 3 Buck Chuck is out of the question. You still want to look like you care and that you’re not a cheapskate.

Here are some suggestions that may work for you. We are giving you choices with different prices points. The best part is you can pick some of this up while you’re out shopping for your family gifts or maybe grocery shopping.

$50 and under

Champagne: Veuve Clicquot
There is a reason this tasty champagne is worth the $40-50 dollars. Its amazingly tasting, smooth, and just a hint of sweetness. Even people who don’t like sweet will love this. Best of all its a classic and sold everywhere!

$40 and under
2005 – Allegrini Amarone
Dana had a great post about Amarone. This particular is a medium-bodied Amarone but full of dark fruits and spices. Any wine lover or wine novice will enjoy this present.

2008 – Walter Hansel Chardonnay Cuvee Alyce
This white wine will be a hit. Its a full bodied white with hints of lychee nuts and honeysuckle. Tasty with any holiday turkey.

$30 and under
2008 – Anne Amie Pinot Noir
Its not secret I love Pinot Noir BIG FAN! What I love about this wine is that it taste good with Steak or a nice shrimp dish. This wine has a good berry, fruit flavor with a hit of smokiness.

2010 – Mas de la Rouviere Bandol Rose
Rose is a beautiful color but if you get a good one like this you’ll love the taste. Dried Fruit with a hint of citrus you’ll enjoy an amazing seafood meal.

$20 and under
2008 – Airfield Cabernet Sauvignon
Spices with blackberries make this medium bodied wine heaven. The balance of fruit helps make this a very special gift.

2008 – Becker Riesling Laisser Faire
Say hello to peach and grapefruit flavors. This wine will open your palette and help you enjoy the beauty of the holidays

$10 and under
2010 – A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris
This is a sweeter wine…perhaps a gift for someone who enjoys spicy foods. This will help balance the pear, peach and tobacco flavors with the heat of the food. It maybe $10 dollars but it’ll taste like a million bucks!

2010 – Beso de Vino Garnacha
Black cherries and violets bring in a warm taste to the holiday. And this bottle while not pricey at all can be aged for a year or two.

Try not to give someone Barefoot Wine or anything out of a box. Make the effort to at least try and get something that someone will enjoy. The taste of the wine can speak volumes. Just like you put thought and care into gift wrapping a present do the same when it comes to wine. These are just a few suggestions. Buying wine shouldn’t take you longer then finding a gift at the mall but certainly ask a few questions and remember always give your price point. If you like a certain bottle buy a few of them and give them to everyone who you feels deserve the gift of wine.

Happy Holidays from your favorite wine girls!
Lissette, Dana, and Rio

Did Somebody Say Wine? -Costume Ideas

Recently I was in Baltimore visiting friends from college and with Halloween just around the corner we started talking about costumes.  My friend brought of when he dressed as Franzia boxed wine in college and it got me thinking about fun wine related costumes you could do this Halloween.

Boxed Wine:

This costume is going to take a little creativity and artistic talent but is a totally fun inexpensive costume idea. When my friend was boxed wine he had artistic friend paint the franzia label onto his box and a spot cut out for the franzia wine spout so he could really serve people some boxed wine!  Read the rest of this entry

Cooking with Wine

Pasta with Cherry Tomatos, Fresh Herbs and White Wine Sause

When I was little, I would watch my mom cook lasagna or meatballs.   There was never a recipe, and there was never any measuring. It was always a little of this and a little of that until it looked and tasted just right. Often when my mom cooks, whatever is in the house and needs to be used up is added to what she’s making.  This is my theory on cooking too. I’m never really sure what I’m making until it’s done, but usually whatever I come up with is pretty good. I won’t lie though — there have been some misses!

My two secret weapons of flavor are garlic and wine. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong throwing some wine into the mix. Whether you add a little red wine into a marinade or sauté some veggies with white wine and pour them over pasta, it usually is yummy!  As a bonus, whenever you cook with the wine you drink, you know the wine is going to go well with the food you’ve made because the same flavors are already in the cuisine.

Tuesday I had no idea what to make for dinner. I really didn’t have much in the fridge. No veggies or fresh herbs, but I did have a cheap bottle of chardonnay and some frozen shrimp in the freezer.  I decided I would make a shrimp scampi type meal. The entire meal, including boiling water and cooking pasta, took about 20 minutes. It was simple, fast and delicious!  The finished dish consisted of 6 ingredients — shrimp, wine, garlic, a little butter, olive oil and pasta — plus some salt and pepper.   I couldn’t ask for a simpler meal, but without my trusty wine, it wouldn’t have been possible!  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!!!!!

Wine With Your BBQ

BBQ with Wine

For many people the 4th of July and barbequing go hand in hand. With the 4th just around the corner, I got to thinking about pairing wine with BBQ. Your wine pairing really depends on what you are throwing on the Grill. A good rule of thumb is bold goes with bold; strong flavored food needs a bolder, richer wine. Delicate goes with delicate; a more delicate, lighter flavored food usually pairs well with a softer, more delicate wine.

For a lot of BBQ items you want a pretty bold wine. The smokiness and spice of BBQ can overpower lighter wines. You also don’t need an extremely complex wine. The nuances of a complex wine can get lost among the spices of grilled meats, especially if you are using a lot of spice (think BBQ sauce or dry rubs). This means that a lot of wines in the $10 range will work well with your meal.

If you want to play it safe, Zinfandel, Merlot or Rose go well with almost all BBQ items. Reds are easier to pair with BBQ than whites and almost any red will work with hamburgers and hot dogs. It is usually a good idea to steer clear of Chardonnay because it is harder to pair with grilled items. Read the rest of this entry

Sangria: The Adult Version of Fruit Punch

Sangria

Now that summer has hit and my apartment temperature resides right around 75 degrees on a normal day and between 80 and 90 on a hot day, I’m finding my normal wine habits just aren’t cutting it. I love red wine, but in the summer heat, it just isn’t that refreshing. Roses and whites are perfect for this type of weather, but often I find myself craving Sangria. For those of you that are not familiar with Sangria it is kind of like the adult version of Fruit Punch. Sounds amazing right?

On a hot day Sangria can be incredibly refreshing. So what exactly is Sangria? Simply put, it is wine punch. It is usually made with a light, dry wine high in acidity, chopped fruit, and some sort of spirit like Brandy or Triple Sec. Sometimes a sweetener like honey, simple syrup or orange juice is added and some recipes call for seltzer water or lemon lime soda. Like all kinds of punch, there are a billion different recipes.

Sangria is derived from the Spanish word sangre, meaning blood.  Traditionally, Sangria is made from red wine, but there are many white Sangrias as well. I recommend making your own or ordering it in a restaurant rather than buying a bottle of pre-made Sangria.  I’ve tried a few bottled Sangrias and have never been impressed. Read the rest of this entry

10 Tips for Enjoying Wine Festivals

Summer is officially here and with summer comes festival many of which are wine related. So Wine With Me wanted to give you 10 tips to help you maneuver your way around these big wine outdoor festivals.

  1. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes-You’ll be walking around and it’ll be hot out. Think cotton clothing and comfortable shoes.
  2. Eat before going to the event-Almost everyone goes right to wine tastings and food is an after thought so having something to help you absorb the alcohol will allow you to pace yourself and truly enjoy the wine and not get drunk.
  3. Pace yourself-Remember most of these festivals will have 10-50 wineries and each of them will have 4-6 wines to taste. Drink water 2-4 ounces in between tastings.
  4. Take a break-Enjoy your time at the festival and the outdoors. If you’re with friends take the time to just people watch and talk about what you already tasted and what you look forward to tasting.
  5. Keep it moving-Get your tasting and move on don’t linger. You’ll cause a backup for everyone else. If you have a question ask the wine rep but don’t make chit chat about the non-wine related things. (Unless they’re good looking and you plan on flirting).
  6. Don’t like it..DUMP IT-If you don’t like a wine dump it in the bucket. No need to waste your time on something you don’t enjoy.
  7. Best is always Better-Every winery has a wine they are proud to serve. Ask the wine rep for the best.
  8. Write it Down-Keep a pen and paper on hand and write down the wines you liked and 2-3 words on what you loved about it. Ask the wine rep where you can find it locally.
  9. Snacking-Yes you ate before you headed to the festival but if the wine tasting has taken a 1-2 hours stop and get a snack and drink some water.
  10. Don’t Drink and Drive-Chances are you may get a little tipsy. Don’t get behind the wheel of a car and if you can have a designated driver, take a cab, or arrange for someone to pick you up.

The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself!

If you’re looking to find local wine festivals just Google-Wine Festival + (City you live in). You’ll get a list of what is around you.

Cheers!

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