Category Archives: Party Ideas

Let’s Talk Turkey (and Wine Pairings)

Thanksgiving Image

Its almost here! Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate family, friends, and food. Of course wine is always something I’m thankful for, in fact I usually thank the wine gods at almost every meal. However, the Thanksgiving meal is different. Hard work has been put in by moms, dads (maybe), or your local caterer. What wines should you pair with turkey and all the trimmings?

Well don’t assume a dry white wine will bring an extra something to the holiday table. If you like red wines you should bring that along. Here are some wines that will go beautifully with your turkey this Thanksgiving.

Iron Horse 2007 Classic Vintage Brut
This will be a crowd pleaser because its a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Its a beautiful taste of apple and pear with just a hint yeast. Amazing with a turkey dinner

North Valley 2009 Pinot Noir
Pinot Noirs are my favorite but this particular bottle has a beautiful flavor of cherry and raspberry and ends with some amazing spice.

Navarro Vineyards 2011 Dry Gewürztraminer
Normally a Riesling is the wine people confuse with Gewürztraminer. But Gewürztraminer actually has more floral aromas and citrus. When you have a cranberry and turkey combination this wine will make everyone at the table smile.

Northstar 2008 Columbia Valley Merlot
The movie Sideway gave Merlot a bad name. Who would have known one line could give such a bad connotation to Merlot. But no worries this Merlot has a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot which gives a great fruit forward taste and ends soft tannins.

Mostly importantly remember to enjoy time with your family and friends this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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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

Not Your Mama’s Champagne: Fun bubbles for the New Year

Bellini & Rosa RegaleNew Years Eve is just around the corner and that means champagne! But if you are bored with the traditional champagne toast at midnight or looking for something a bit more interesting to sip all night here are a few of my favorite alternatives.

The Bellini:

Tradition in my family on New Years Eve has always been champagne with a splash of peach schnapps and a slice of peach for garnish. When I was little, my parents always had this on New Years Eve and they would make me the kiddy version with sparkling grape juice and the syrup from the can of peaches.

Until I spent time in Italy, I didn’t know that this was actually a play on a famous Venation sparkling cocktail called the Bellini. A traditional Bellini is made with Italian Prosecco and white peach Purée.  For those who don’t want the hassle of mixing drinks, Canella sells a bottled version of the traditional Bellini aptly named “Bellini”. It’s very good and perfect for New Years Eve. Read the rest of this entry

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

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!

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!!!!!

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!

On a Budget: Wine with Your Dinner Party?

Well its safe to say that few of us are made out of money. Does that mean that we should cut ourselves off from having dinner parties? Of course not! This past Sunday I had a dinner party to celebrate my nephew’s christening. This was NOT a kids party. We had three kids and sixteen adults. Its traditional to have a dinner or some sort of party after a child is baptized but its never a party were there are clowns or balloons. I co-hosted the dinner party at a local Cuban restaurant. The price per person was great. This restaurant is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer). Which doesn’t have to be beer but its sounds nicer then saying Bring Your Own Booze! Anyway…we had  great pre-ordered selection. It was fun when it came down to picking good wines to pair with the food. However I don’t have Donald Trump’s bank account so I had to do this on a budget.

I picked one of my favorite white wines to start off the dinner. As you may know I do love Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling. I was lucky to find it on sale at Target for $5.99. I,of course bought several bottles. At those prices who wouldn’t! This fruity wine went with the salty fried plantains and the Cuban dumplings filled with tender chicken and guava fruit, and ground beef. The fruit/tart intensity of the wine with the dumpling dipping sauce brought the appetizer portion together .  I wanted to avoid a fulled bodied wine that would take away from the light starters. And the Riesling went well with the salad for any guest who wanted to stick to non fried food or their diet.

No worries I did not forget my red wine drinkers in all of this Cuban food madness. I saved the red wine for our main course. As Dana has explained in her Go to Wine  post she loves Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel. I needed a good red, it was 9.99, to bring the taste and feel of the meal. The food I pre-ordered for the dinner party were traditional Cuban dishes. One is called Ropa Vieja (literal meaning is Old Clothes), but its really a tender shredded beef stew dish with potatoes and its tomato based. With a hint of salt and just a slight heat. With the light fruity and long finish of the Gnarly Head its was a great combination and the flavors complimented each other. The other dish we had was a chicken dish. The cut  up chicken is cooked in a tomato chicken stock broth with potatoes. Again the flavors of the light chicken dish played off to the French and American Oak with the hint of spice. Depending on what dish you consumed it changed the flavor of the wine to compliment your meal.

My entire wine purchase was $65.00 and I have to admit I did have one bottle of each wine left over. (4 bottles each). You don’t have to go to a restaurant with BYOB of course but you can make a great meal at home and invite your friends.

If you don’t like a Riesling and its too sweet for your taste try a Viognier and if you aren’t big on Zinfandel and like something a little lighter for a red try a nice Pinot Noir.

At the end of the day its really about you enjoying a great meal with friends and family but it doesn’t mean you have to spend your life savings to create an amazing atmosphere.

Drink up!

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