Showing posts with label Wine Wednesdays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wine Wednesdays. Show all posts


Wine Wednesday
[Yellow Tail] Wines

Last week, in the rush of a busy day, I came home and was surprised by a thoughtful package from Yellow Tail Wines. The gift was fully equipped with Summer essentials; beach towel, flip flops, a cute fedora, adorable colored plastic wine glasses, wayfarer sunglasses and 2 bottles of Yellow Tail's newest wines: Pink Moscato and Sweet Wine Roo.  Who doesn't like to come home after a stressful week to some door to door vino delivery?{Um... yes, please!}.  Now, normally I am not a fan of sweet wines but given that it was 88 degrees at 8 pm, I needed a double dose of these wines served ice cold and let me tell you, they did not disappoint.  The great thing about dessert wines is that they satisfy that sweet craving, not to mention that it went quite well with my spontaneous evening dip in the pool!  I started with a glass of the Pink Moscato and then decided to try the Sweet White Roo {both new additions to the Yellow Tail family I later found out}. The Pink Moscato was a little sweeter and had hints of watermelon and strawberry and a touch of bubbly that went just perfectly with the other flavors. The Sweet White Roo was a blend of Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc and had hints of fruits and a slight lemon flavor to it; both are perfect to add in a Summer sangria!  Check out some of Yellow Tails recipe suggestions with these two wines and others, here
{ The generous package, excluding the towel and flip flops :) }


{Wine Wednesday}
Cornell Winery & Tasting Room

{Bodegas Gomez de Malibu 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon}
One of the best hidden gems in Agoura is the Cornell Winery & Tasting Room.  As I write this,  I am fantasizing about my next trip down there. Nestled in the Santa Monica Hills, the Cornell Winery is situated conveniently next to a delicious restaurant, The Old Place. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that you are welcome to purchase a bottle of wine from the Cornell Winery and bring it over with you to enjoy while dining at The Old Place. There are over 50 independent vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains and Cornell Winery is able to offer their customers the emerging vintage wines from local growers and wineries. We chose a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bodegas Gomez de Malibu. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and eager to help us with our selection. They suggested pairing the wine with scrumptious coffee flavored Mexican dark chocolate by Taza. Talk about decadent! We were in heaven! If you're ever in the area, this place is a MUST.
{Pictured above: Process of Double Decanting (have never seen this process before!) The double decanting wine method adds more air to the wine because the wine was exposed to oxygen twice, on the way out of the bottle and on the way back in. This will help aerate and soften a wine.}


{ Wine Wednesday }

It's been a while since we've posted a Wine Wednesday feature, and although we increased the "Vogue" aspect of the blog and snoozed on the "Vino, " we're happy to break the silence to introduce this weeks Wine Wednesday feature; talk about wine with a cause: ONEHOPE Wines.  ONEHOPE is a social enterprise company that has integrated philanthropy through their products and services to make a global impact.  What started as a personal mission to help a friend fight cancer evolved into a thriving business priding themselves on the simple principle of "giving back." With top wine connoisseur, Rob Mondavi, Jr., as a partner, ONEHOPE's wines will be sure to not only make a tasty impact, but also a charitable one.  With every bottle sold,  portions of the proceeds are then donated to partnering causes such as, fighting the battle against cancer, AIDS, Autism, supporting Children's Hospitals and many more {see below}.  So why not support your chronic wine fix by also helping the world one cork at a time? As they said "The more we do together, the more change the world sees. That’s our mission and our dream, and we’re going to keep working until we make it a reality."  Be sure to check out ONEHOPE wines, as well as their other awesome products: ONEHOPE Coffee & TeaHope at Home, and ONEHOPE Weddings. 


{ Wine Wednesday }
bubbly basics

Ah, Champagne.  Who doesn't like that bubbly smoothness?  The term "Champagne" is actually a region in France, and only wines from this region can properly be deemed "Champagne."  All other drinks with similar champagne-y fizz must be called "sparkling wines."  What's so special about France? Well aside from Paris ... it's a culmination of the region's climate, soil and strict regulations that govern the production process of Champagne, that coin this exclusivity. It's accidental invention is also quite interesting.  Sparkling wine is a result of second fermentation, but the trick that birthed the second fermentation was the accidental addition of sugar.  The French have a tall-tale PR gimmick that includes a monk named  Dom Pérignon getting into trouble with wines and coincidentally creating this elite drink. Would be quite the story, but it's not true.  Soon after it's fortuitous birth, the drink was coined as "the devil's wine," since the corks exploded upon opening.  But, Champagne was also regarded as an aristocratic drink.  It was very customary for Champagne to be used in the anointment and rite of passage for French kings. Royalty throughout Europe spread the news of the glamorous drink and its association with high luxury, class and power in the 17th, 18th and 19th century.  The rest is history.

Interestingly enough, Champagne is made from four different grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris. Usually it's the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that are used in most volume.  After all, Chardonnay is a white wine grape; but Pinot Noir is red wine grape.  How puzzling, right? Well, all grapes are white on the inside, so depending on the amount of tint required for certain wines, the skin remains on the grapes or is completely taken off.  Same with Champagne.  To achieve that beautiful blush color in pink Champagne, the skins stay in the liquid for a bit and voila!

So what about all these various brands?  Some of the best Champagnes, only from France, of course, are:  Champagne Krug, Champagne Dom Pérignon by the powerhouse Moët & Chandon, Champagne Perrier-Jouët , Champagne Tattinger, Champagne Veuve Clicquot & Champagne Bolinger.  I still have yet to try these various types.  A Champagne testing should be in order! Ladies?

Cocktails anyone?  Champagne cocktails are probably my absolute favorite. Kir Royales are always a staple, pretty in hand, and so easy to make even for a dinner party. Simply add 3/4 Champagne and 1/4 Chambord, drop raspberry on top and enjoy!  Another absolute favorite to mix with a Brut Champagne is St- Germain and club soda.  For more Champagne cocktails, click here

What are some of your favorites?


{ Wine Wednesday }
Wine Cask

Since moving to sunny Santa Barbara, I learned that this city has one of the highest amounts of restaurants per capita than any other West Coast city.  I can honestly say I am thrilled that 99% of those restaurants are not chains! Halleluja! There's nothing better than discovering a new eatery whose chef creates masterpieces that are unique and particular to that restaurant. With that being said, one of those unique restaurants is the Wine Cask.  Owned by prominent winemakers, Doug Margerum and Mitchell Sjervens, this chic restaurant has Intermezzo Bar & Cafe, for a more relaxed yet trendy wine lounge feel, or The Wine Cask for a fine dining experience.  After running a winery in Santa Ynez for 10 years, Doug Margerum, decided to bring his wines downtown with the Margerum wine tasting room. Adjacent to that tasting room, Jim Clendelen, one of the Central Coasts most respected winemakers, opened a tasting room featuring his wine, Au Bon Climat, that he has made for over 30 years. 
{ wine cask patio }

Aside from their large "on tap" wine selection, one of my favorite items on the Intermezzo menu has to be the cheese platter.  Served on a slab of granite, you choose three of their six selections of cheeses from various countries.  Honeycomb, large cranberries, candied walnuts, sliced green apples and perfectly toasted crackers come nestled next to generous portions of cheese. {We had the Taleggio from Italy, Fourme d'Ambert from France, and the Cabra al Romero from Spain}... De.light.ful.  Enjoy a glass of wine and that cheese platter among their quaint European-style courtyard with fountains and vines; or opt for a cozy night in near the fireplace.  Must try the Crispy Cauliflower, Thai Shrimp rolls, Spanish Mac & Cheese, Market flat-bread... and save room for dessert: Homemade pumpkin-cinnamon donuts with cinnamon ice cream, caramel sauce and candied walnuts. H E A V E N.  {Check out this instagrammed picture from a while back}.  Everything is very tasty on the menu, you truly can't go wrong.  Bon Apetit!

{ Intermezzo chalkboard menu }


{ Wine Wednesday }
La Crema Wine

Ahh, there is nothing better than sipping a glass of cold Chardonnay on a warm summer night.  The weather in Los Angeles has been satisfyingly warm during the day, and hints of Summer are beginning to show {till these April showers, of course}.  Sometimes, on the weekends one of my favorite things to do with my girlfriends is to sit outside, people watch {European style}, and sip on a glass of cold white wine.   I used to lean towards the lightness and crispness of Pinot Grigio, but have recently developed a taste for a buttery yet oaky Chardonnay.  People tend to shy away from the heaviness that Chardonnay's are known for, but when I stumbled across La Crema's Sonoma Coast 2009, which many of my Pinot Grigio drinking friends have converted to, it was love at first sip!  I'll add one ice cube {shocking!!} in to dilute it and make it a bit colder and the result is perfection. The description on the website reads  "The 2009 vintage of Sonoma Coast Chardonnay opens with an intriguing interplay of lively citrus and subtle toasted oak, laced with just a kiss of butterscotch. The palate is round and nutty, with flavors of yellow apple and orange adding lushness, while well-balanced acidity creates a lovely vibrancy. Hints of vanilla and caramel add richness and texture to a long, fresh finish." That makes me want a glass right 
What are YOUR favorite Chardonnay's??


{ Wine Wednesday }
Proper terminology

What better way to truly learn about the art of wine tasting than by studying the basic terminology.  Here is our very own vogueandvino wine dictionary:
  1. Acidity - The tart taste in wines; too much can make the wine taste sour. 
  2. Aroma - The smell of a young wine. Aroma is the smell that comes from the grapes, while bouquet (below) is the smell that comes from finished wine. 
  3. Balance - A wine is classified as balanced when nothing else overwhelms the wine; the overall impression is pleasing. 
  4. Blush Wine -A term that is sometimes used to indicate a wine made in a white wine style from red wine grapes. "Blush" is actually a registered trademark. They are also called "Rose" wines. 
  5. Body - The overall mouth feel/weight of a wine.
  6. Bordeaux - One of the largest cities in France, and a generic term for the sea of wine that is made around the region. With over 215,000 acres planted to vineyards, and an average 35 million cases produced annually, Bordeaux is one of the leading wine regions in the world in quality and quantity. The Principal grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for whites.
  7. Bouquet - A term used to indicate how a wine smells after proper bottle ageing. 
  8. Burgundy - One of the most important wine regions in France. The red grape is Pinot Noir and the white grape is chiefly Chardonnay.
  9. Champagne - This region in France is famous for its sparkling wines, and the method to make them, "methode champenoise." 
  10. Chardonnay - One of the most popular and important white grapes in the world. Located within the Burgundy region of France, when first aged in oak, Chardonnay is one of the few white wines that improve with bottle aging.
  11. Cloying - A wine that is overly sweet, to the point of tasting off.  Proper wine will be a fine balance of the sweet flavors with the sour flavors of the acids.
  12. Crisp - A wine tasting term used to imply that a white wine has a refreshing acid balance. 
  13. Decant - To transfer wine from a bottle into a crystal or glass container (a Decanter). This is primarily done with older red wines and Port which have developed sediment. The careful transfer of the wine into a fresh container allows the sediment to be left in the original bottle resulting in clearer wine.
  14. Earthy - A wine tasting term referring to a slight taste of soil found in the wine.
  15. Enology - The science of wine production.
  16. Enophile - A wine lover.
  17. Extra Dry - A sparkling wine that is slightly sweet. This term often leads to confusion since dry means without sweetness, but extra dry for some reason means slightly sweet.
  18. Fruit - Wine basically has three components: fruit, acidity and tannin. All three must be in balance to make a decent wine. The fruit encompasses all the tastes and smells that that are not sour (acid) or bitter (tannin). 
  19. Legs - Refers to the streams that are seen on the side of the glass after swirling, which is function of the alcohol and has no bearing on the quality of wine. 
  20. Malbec - One of the red wine grapes of Bordeaux, France. Argentina is the new champion of Malbec, where it is one of the most important grapes planted.
  21. Merlot - One of the best known red wine grapes. Often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. It ages quicker than Cabernet Sauvignon, because it is lighter in tannins.
  22. New World wines - These are wines produced outside the traditional wine regions of Europe and the Middle East; but from countries like Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.  
  23. Nutty - A wine tasting term for a wine that exhibits flavors reminiscent of nuts, especially hazelnut.  
  24. Old World wines - Refers primarily to wine made in Europe and the Mediterranean region.  
  25. Pinot Noir - One of the most important red wine grapes in the World. Mainly from Burgundy, France and throughout the New World, some of the best in California are from the Santa Barbara region.  Pinot Noir tends to be high in acid, and low in tannin, which makes it easier to enjoy in its youth, and one of the best wines to enjoy with food. Pinot Noir is a very hard grape to grow and a hard wine to make. 
  26. Riesling  - One of the greatest white wine grapes, found originally in Germany, and still the most important quality grape there, it has now made its way around the world. Riesling makes wines that are fruity, but well balanced with acidity. This makes for long lived white wines, and some of the best sweet wines in the world.
  27. Shiraz - The Australian name for the grape Syrah. Most of the vines planted in Australia (where Shiraz is one of the most planted red wine grapes) can trace their ancestry back to France, via South Africa. It's a long story how the wine left from France and ended up in Australia {google it if interested} but in it's own way Shiraz may be a distinct clone of the Syrah grape, yet entitled to its own name.
  28. Tannin - These are the tastes responsible for the bitter tastes found in wines. The butter tastes are primarily found in the skin and seeds of the grapes, and since white wines have little to no contact to those parts of the grape, the have little tannin. Tannin is required for aging red wine. 
  29. Zymurgy - The science and study of fermentation.
What are some other wine terms you use? 


{ Wine Wednesday }
Ménage à Trois

Last week, while grazing the aisles of Trader Joe's, I remembered that this particular store has a small wine tasting section in the back. {If your T.J. doesn't have a wine section, I'd highly suggest finding one that does--it makes grocery shopping so much more exciting and appetizing}.  I stepped through the wooden gate and into a small yet quaint wine tasting bar.  They were serving a few different types of wine, including this week's feature, Menage a Trois, a blend of fruity Zinfandel, rich Merlot, and firm tannins of Cabernet.  Together the trio created quite an impressive combination which is light enough to sip with dinner, yet packed with enough flavor to excite the entire pallet.  Along with the wine tasting there was a small sampler of some Spanish Manchego Cheese {in love} and Marcona almonds.  If you are not familiar, Manchego cheese is a delicious Spanish hard cheese made from sheep's milk and is exclusively made in the La Mancha region of Spain.  It is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth amazing-ness.  Next to the Manchego cubes was a case of Marcona almonds seasoned with rosemary and olive oil. I paired the cube of cheese with a Marcona almond, followed by a sip of wine and voila... grocery shopping completely forgotten!  Needless to say I went home with a bottle of Menage a Trois, Manchego cheese, and a case of rosemary/olive oil Marcona almonds....I guess the marketing worked.

"Ménage à Trois examines what happens when you put three attractive, single, young grapes in one exquisite bottle. It's fun; it's exciting; it's legal in most states" 


{ Wine Wednesday }
Flutes & Tulips

When it comes to the proper wine glass, things can get a bit confusing.  Wine specialists have developed different shapes of glasses for the different wine varieties and regions.  But at the end of the day, there are really just two shapes to remember:  flutes and tulips.  Flutes will be for the sparkling wines, while tulip-shaped glasses for still wines.  Typically, a smaller tulip glass will be used for white still wine, while a larger tulip glass is used for the red still wines.  As your taste in wine develops and your vino budget expands, you can venture off into different shapes and sizes of stemware.  But no matter what, always choose thin, clear glass... the thinner the better.  And with that, may we suggest Riedel.
Here are some basics in wine glasses:

{A few of our wine glasses}


{ Wine Wednesday }
Great Wine Made Simple

In my fantasy life, I seriously contemplate becoming a Sommelier {a trained and knowledgeable wine professional}.  After reading this book, our vino vocabulary was truly kicked up a notch.  It's not only a great read, it's easy to understand, and its readers are guaranteed a first-hand informational session from a certified Sommelier.  One of our favorite "bang-for-your-buck" wines has to be the Kim Crawford Marlbourough Savignon Blanc from New Zealand.  It has a crisp and powerful punch of gooseberry, citrus and passion fruit flavors; and it is easily paired with salads, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. Last night, it went perfectly with some garlic seasoned green beans, wild Atlantic salmon, and some quinoa tabbouleh.

You can read more about this wine here.
What are some of your favorite go-to wines?


{ Wine Wednesday }
Wine & Food: A New Look at Flavor

A few weeks ago, while strolling through our favorite Sunday store, I stumbled upon this book; Williams-Sonoma Wine & Food: a new look at flavor by Joshua Wesson.  I thought it would be a good investment considering it provides recipes and wine pairings all in one handy-dandy book.  It also explores wine history and regions, includes a concise encyclopedia on wine terminology, and gives insightful information on wine labels, coloring, sweetness and acidity.  I decided to try the Bacon & Caramelized-Onion Tart. I improvised a little and added some Gorgonzola cheese and Prosciutto instead.  For wine pairings, the recipe called for a soft white wine and gave various options for New/Old World wines such as South African Chenin Blanc, or an Alsatian Riesling.  It also provided alternative pairings with a sparkling wine such as a Vouvray. I decided to pair my tartine with a Riesling.  The softness of the wine complemented the tarts salty tastes and textures.  Oh, and..yes, it tasted as good as it looked!
Ingredients:  Puff pastry; Prosciutto di parma; white onion and Gorgonzola cheese
Place sliced cheese,  prosciutto and caramelized onions on egg-washed pastry, set oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes until edges are golden brown.
A look at the insides along with my wine pairing, Two-Vines Riesling

 What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?  What is your go-to book or website?


{ Wine Wednesday }
Napa Style Part II

Continuing on our journey through Napa, here are a few more wineries that must be tried:
Frank Family, Rombauer, & St. Clement Wineries
These three wineries were outstanding. Frank Family offers a private tasting if you call ahead and make a reservation. Must try the Blanc de Blanc Champagne, we loved it!! Be sure to pack some snacks though because they don’t provide any cheese or crackers during their tasting… drinking a  bit too much and stumbling out of the room is a definite possibility, and should be avoided at all costs (awkward/embarrassing). 

San Clement is also a must see. It has a very quaint and old-world feel. They provide a delicious cheese plate with dried fruit and nuts, and it pairs with the wine like you wouldn't believe. And last but definitely not least, Rombauer. This winery looks as if it’s been taken straight out of a picture. Pack a lunch before you head over, go in for a tasting, buy a bottle of your favorite wine and make your way down their private garden. The trail through the picturesque backyard leads to different picnic tables hidden amidst weeping willows and an array of flowers. It is definitely a fairy tale hike.
The Rombauer Gardens Trail
The Culinary Institute of America Greystone
This 19th century castle-like building is not only one of Napa Valley’s most historic properties, but it is also known to be one of the world’s most unique campuses for culinary education. Tour the facility, watch a demonstration, and taste the unique flavors created by the students.  You won't forget this trip!

Overall the vacay was amazing and we can not wait to go back! If you visit these places, or have a few of your own, please leave a comment and let us know how your experience was.


{ Wine Wednesday }
Napa Style Part I

A few months ago, in early Fall, we took a trip to Wine Country Napa Valley.  Calling the trip merely "amazing" would have to be an understatement. From the breathtaking scenery, to the mouth watering restaurants and astounding wine selection, the trip was stimulating to all the senses. We checked into the beautiful, Calistoga Ranch Resort and the adventures began…

Calistoga Ranch
We only had a few days to take in all of Napa Valley so we decided to go to the top five wineries and immerse ourselves in as much as we could. Here is our list of the Fab 5: Domaine Carneros, Miner, Rombauer, San Clement, and Frank Family…{the last three to come next week}.

Winery # 1: Domaine Carneros
Domaine Carneros has built an exceptional reputation on sparkling wines, their Brut Vintage and luxury cuvee Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs in particular. So take a seat on the gorgeous terrace overlooking their organic certified Estate vineyard, order yourself the Grande Tasting along with the Sparkling Cheese Plate and voila...bon apetit! 
{ Also, here’s a good little tip to know before heading to Napa… unless the Champagne we know and love comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France, it may only be referred to as sparkling wine… }

Winery # 2: Miner
Miner was hands down the best winery experience of our weekend! It is important to note that the Miner Family Vineyard is well known for a powerhouse collection of red wines.  So, I don’t care if you prefer whites, it is a must to sample the reds! The Red Superstars are: The Oracle and the Miner Cabernet Sauvignon. With our glasses filled we headed to the Miner Cave for a private tour. As we walked through the aged, iron clad, wooden doors we stepped into a room that housed a massive wooden table. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I’m pretty set on spending my next Thanksgiving dinner in that room! Anyway, we then made our way down the stairs into the massive cave. Imagine row after row of wine stained barrels cradling the delicious aging wines. Our tour guide let us sample several wines straight from the barrel and pointed out the differences between new, old, cabernet and Shiraz. Sadly the tour came to an end… but it was finally time to eat { our favorite part }.

Oxbow Market for some snacks
The second we stepped into this market it was love at first sight! Imagine a food court, but instead of your typical Chinese food and sandwich stands, it’s filled with various epicure food shops, gourmet street food, small restaurants, a wine bar, artisan cheese bar, Hog Island oysters, coffee, tea, gelato, and the list goes on! And for all you gluten-free foodies, they have a gluten free selection also.  If your in the area, we hope you try these gems of Napa. 

There are many more wineries, delicious restaurants, and shopping spots that we will fill you in on ... so stay tuned for next week's Wine Wednesday post! We would love to know your thoughts and favorites of Napa, so let us know your suggestions, cheese pairings, and fave wines!!  Cheers. x


{ Wine Wednesday }
Weekend Tasting

This past weekend we got together with our significant others and decided to go wine tasting and try the Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara.  We originally had planned to tackle the drive to wine country (Santa Ynez or Los Olivos), but instead, we decided to stay local since we heard great things about SB's local wineries. The UWT is a set of roughly 15 wineries right off State street that are all walking distance apart.  There was a stylish yet indie industrial vibe to the tasting rooms, and some new wines quickly rose to the top of our favorites list (such as the Spanish Chardonnay pictured below). With four hours left till closing, we only made it to three of the 15 wineries: Corks n' Crowns, Kunin Tasting Room, and Municipal Wineries.  We loved the vibe of Corks n' Crowns along with the unique tastings: us girls did a delicious white wine tasting with very generous pours, and the guys did a unique craft beer tasting...chocolate banana bread beer anyone? We went crazy for Municipal's urban chic feel with warehouse decor, vintage registers and file cabinets for storage. We had our only red wine at Municipal...The MCS Red, a light bodied, earthy blend of Mourvedre, Carignane, and Syrah which went perfectly with their  fab cheese platter from C’est Cheese that we gobbled quickly.  It was a great weekend and we can’t wait to go back and check out more of the Urban Wine Trails tasting rooms.

For more information check out their website, here
Chivite Wine from Spain ... our fave at Corks n' Crowns Tasting Room
Vintage register and industrial cabinets at Municipal Wineries
Wine Mug from Municipal Wineries
Cheers from us <3