Category Archives: Wine Tasting

Sonoma: Part Three of My California Wine Adventure

Wine room at Joseph Swan

After our morning of wine tasting at Iron Horse we went to Mary Edwards, Joseph Swan and Cline.

Mary Edwards was the first stop after Iron Horse. While it’s always fun to go tasting I was not a huge fan of Mary Edwards. It was by far the least attractive of all the wineries we went to. It felt very corporate. My other issue was that it just felt pretentious. I’m all for hearing why the wine maker did things the way they did and what you might get from this wine but I hate being told how I should feel about a wine. Give me the tasting notes and then let me determine if I agree or not. Read the rest of this entry

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Iron Horse: Part Two of My California Wine Adventure

While on my trip to the bay area my family and I spent a day wine tasting in Sonoma. We went to 4 wineries and tasted a lot of wine! The first winery we went to was Iron Horse. Iron Horse does manly sparkling wines and has a gorgeous outdoor tasting room that overlooks the vineyards. We were actually doing a tour here so we got to hear about how they grow their grapes and actually got to see part of the sparkling wine making process.

On the tour they took us down into the production area and we actually got see how the sparkling process works. There are several different ways to get the fizz into sparkling wine. One way is simply injecting CO2 like they do in soda, this produces larger bubbles that fizz out pretty quickly. Iron Horse uses the traditional method in which the wine goes through a second fermentation process. Read the rest of this entry

Napa Valley: Part One of My California Wine Adventure

Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena

I finally made it out to the Bay Area to visit my sister. Now obviously the most important part of the trip was spending time with my sister but wine tasting was definitely an added bonus! It was a pretty great trip not only did I get to see my sister but my parents came out at the same time. We went to a couple wineries in Napa and a few more in Sonoma. We also spent a day at Alcatraz and a day drinking wine and eating fresh oysters on the beach. All and all a pretty fabulous trip!

So let get down to the important stuff, wine! I’m going to split this into multiple post since there is some much to cover. Let’s start with Napa. Read the rest of this entry

Wine Century Club

I’m starting a new wine endeavor. My parents recently told me about the Wine Century Club, it’s a challenge to try 100 different varietals of wine. My dad and some of his wine friends are doing it and I figured why not. With my initial look at the list I was able to check 26 wine varietals off the list immediately. I know i’ve had more varietals on the list but I’m not counting it if i can’t name a specific wine I’ve had the varietal in. The application asks you to check off the varietal and then right down the name and vintage of the wine. Read the rest of this entry

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!

Swing on Over to Olympia, WA

Just 40-50 minutes outside of Seattle you’ll find the city of Olympia. And in this quiet capital city of Washington you’ll find Swing Wine Bar. What makes this place unique is the location. It sits on top of a hill over looking Capitol Lake.  You’ll find that the wine is outstanding and that you can’t seem to go wrong with their flights. The presentation (see picture) is differently and I personally loved it.

Why was I in Olympia? Turns out one of my best friends was getting married and she wanted to have her “last supper” at Swing Wine Bar. Well this would be a great place to have a last supper. The food was outstanding.  We started our meal with Gorgonzola Stuffed Mushrooms and Charcuterie and Cheese Platter. Anyone who loves wine knows that a good meet and cheese combo can really make your wine stand out in flavor. I picked a great red flight called “Let’s Be Franc”. Most of you will be surprised that I didn’t get a Pinot Noir but I have to change it up once in a while.

The “Let’s Be Franc” flight consisted of:

  • Chinook Cabernet Franc 2008, Yakima Valley, WA
  • Whidbey Island Winery Cabernet Franc 2008, Yakima Valley, WA
  • Corvidae The Keeper Cabernet Franc 2009, Columbia Valley, WA

The Chinook Cabernet Franc 2008 was lighter then I expected. Lots of cherries and  raspberries flavor with hints of licorice to end the taste. Certainly a wine to have on a daily basis with friends or at home after a long day at work.

Whidbey Island Winery Cabernet Franc 2008 had hints of cranberry and was a medium bodied. I paired this great wine with my dinner, Cedar Plank Salmon. Certainly a great idea if I may say so myself. I was happy with the combo and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have red wine with fish.

Finally the Corvidae The Keeper Cabernet Franc 2009 was full bodied but extremely tasty. I capped my night with a nice fruity flavor and hints of violet. Certainly a great way to toast the new bride and her new life.

The moral of this post is to give you some more insight on Washington Wines and also let you in on the adorable wine bars outside of Seattle. If you find yourself there you should go and enjoy.

Cheers!

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!

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!

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