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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

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

Cheese Please: A Guide to Pairing Wine and Cheese

 

Wine and Cheese

Last Friday, Lissette and I went to In Fine Spirits to use a Groupon I had. We got a bottle of 2010 Chateau Mourgues Du Gres Les Galets Rose, Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates and a cheese flight that consisted of Fresh Ricotta with Truffle & Honey,Chatham Camembert (a sheep and cow blend) and aged Manchego Gran Valle. The dates and the cheese were amazing with the wine and it got me thinking about wine and cheese pairings.

A good wine paired with the perfect cheese is amazing, but with so many options, how do you choose the right kind of cheese to go with your wine? When it comes down to it, it is all about your own personal preference, but here are a few suggestions: Read the rest of this entry

Wine With Me Tackles Wine Riot

Wine Riot- Chicago  2011

This past weekend, Lissette and I went to a wine tasting event called Wine Riot. There were over 250 wines to taste. This may seem like an outrageous number of wines and it is true that it would be very difficult to taste them all, but events like this are a great opportunity to try a lot of wine and really figure out what you like in a wine and what you don’t. You’ll probably leave with a pretty good list of wines you now know you like. Plus these events are really fun!

If you go in prepared to just have a small taste of a lot of different wines, you can work your way through a good portion of the wines. Lissette and I tried approximately 50 wines at Wine Riot and no, we were not drunk by the end! The way to get the most out of an event like this is to just have a sip of each wine you try and dump the rest. The goal is to taste the wine, see if the nuances and flavors are what you are looking for and then move on to the next wine. If there is one you really love, by all means drink it up. Just remember the more pours you finish, the less wines you will be able to taste. (For tips on tasting wine read our post How to Taste Wine)

Wine Riot had something for everyone; sweet, dry, red, white, rose, dessert, sparkling- you name it. With an event that has so much going on, it is important to have a game plan. Lissette and I decided we would start off tasting whites and then move on to reds. We had no illusions that we would make it through every wine at the event, so we decided to pick out regions in which we were interested and hit up those tables. We spent time at the Italian, French, German, Spanish, South African, Michigan, and Illinois booths.  We also tried a few California, South American and Australian wines. We even tried a Croatian wine and a Bosnian Wine.  Second Glass, the sponsors of Wine Riot, had a handy iPhone app that made checking off the wine you liked and taking notes on them very fast and easy. Nice work Second Glass! Read the rest of this entry

10 Under $20

Let’s be honest most of us can’t afford to spend a lot of money on wine. Here are 10 wines Lissette and I like that won’t break the bank. We’ve got a good variety here so there should be something for everyone

Dana’s picks

Santa Barbra Crossing  Chardonnay $9.99

This crisp white wine with hints of citrus and green apple is one of my favorite whites. Believe it or not it pairs well with sushi.

Villa Des Anges Old Vine Rose $9.99-

I’m a huge fan of rose is the spring this one has a light, crisp flavor. It is a dry rose and great on its own, but would pair well with salads, seafood and other light dishes. Read the rest of this entry

Champagne is wine too…sort of

Is champagne wine? Let the great debate begin. Here’s the low down on Champagne. Its sparkling wine but champagne is not considered champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France. Everything  else is considered sparkling wine. Confusing right?

I know what you’re saying “What do you mean? I bought Barefoot Champagne. Does it mean what I was drinking was sparkling carbonated wine?” My answer to that is yes..you’re drinking sparkling wine. Its only considered champagne if it was made in the Champagne region of France. I think I just drove the point home. But what is considered Champagne. Here is a list of few real champagnes.

There are more of course and you can find a complete list by clicking here. And believe it or not there is an Office of Champagne, USA. Feel free to look over their site and if you have questions write in.

Most of the champagnes listed above are not cheap but they are all well worth it. Some places like Cost Plus World Market sell half bottles for about $30 dollars.

In the mean time drink your Barefoot Champagne and you can call it Sparkling Wine or Champagne. Lets face it you bought it and you’ll be the one enjoying it.

Cheers to champagne wishes and caviar dreams!

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