Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 | Cocktails | 5 Comments
I’m not usually one for super sweet cocktails, but around the holidays I admit to enjoying drinks that reflect the spirit of the season. And I do happen to love cookies, so when I saw that Fine Living Network is doing a special feature on the 12 Days of Cookie Cocktails, I was intrigued. The first cocktail is inspired by gingerbread cookies. The Ginger Snap is a mixture of ginger beer, dark rum, and cinnamon schnapps. Although I haven’t tried one yet, I plan on it. I think it would be great for holiday parties or as a dessert cocktail after a holiday meal.
I am curious to see how other cookies will be translated into cocktails. Guess I’ll have to keep checking back and see what they come up with.
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 | Hudson Valley, New York, Wine News | 1 Comment
I am sad to hear of the passing Clinton Vineyards’ Ben Feder, who died last Thursday. Clinton was one of the first Hudson Valley wineries I visited several years ago, and is just minutes from my home. I always enjoyed talking to Ben when I’d see him at a wine event or at the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market. He was quite a character and a memorable personality.
Ben and his wife Phyllis established Clinton Vineyards in 1977. I have not heard anything about what will happen to the vineyard. My sincerest condolences to his family.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 | Long Island, New York, White Wine, Wines Under $20 | 4 Comments
I’m not a huge fan of Long Island wines, and I’ll spare you my usual explanation of why. Suffice it to say, generally I think they taste weird and cost too much. That doesn’t mean I don’t try them, though. Last fall I received a sample bottle of Bouké 2007 White Table Wine ($18). (Don’t forget that sassy accent mark over the “e”). Since I was newly pregnant and not drinking, I stuck it in my wine fridge, waiting for early summer.
A couple of weeks ago I made some jerk-spiced chicken and grilled some garlic-scape-infused summer squash with it. (How’s that for fancy sounding?) I thought that this wine, a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Gris, 18% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Gewurztraminer, would pair well. While our dinner cooked outside, Drew uncorked the bottle and poured us each a glass. The nose was citrusy with a bit of tropical fruit there, too. Quite promising. I took a sip and gave myself a moment to think about the flavors and it hit me: this wine tasted like lemon-scented Mr. Clean. That sounds a lot worse than it was. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant, but Drew agreed that there was a vague cleanser taste to the wine and it was a little odd. Not a great start.
Luckily, with a little time and the glass and with the food, the wine was quite enjoyable. The flavor evolved to a nice cleanser-less citrus taste, combined with a little Granny Smith apple and bright acidity. The flavors mellowed even more the next day and it held up well. So all in all, I thought this was a fairly decent wine, though not one I’m sure I’d pay $18 for. Personally, there are other similar whites that I like better. If you’re looking specifically for a Long Island wine, though, this one would not be a bad pick.
Monday, July 6th, 2009 | Chardonnay, Food & Wine Pairing, Hudson Valley, New York, Sparkling Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $20 | 5 Comments
I don’t know about you, but I love all things bubbly… seltzer, tonic, soda, and of course sparkling wine. Last summer at Bounty of the Hudson we purchased two bottles of this Blanc de Blanc from Brotherhood Winery, located right here in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Blanc de Blanc sparkling wines are made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. The grapes in this bottle are all from the Hudson Valley. We thought it was a great accompaniment to our steamed lobster tails. It’s dry and crisp, but certainly not bone dry. I have to admit that I was wracking my brain for the best way to describe this wine for you. Obviously I’m out of practice and, truthfully, while reading wine blogs as a non-drinker during the last several months, I became painfully aware of how snooty some of the descriptions sound. I suppose there’s really no way around that, but I really will try not to sound too obnoxious.
The nose had a hint of white fruit on it. Drew first mentioned peaches, but then decided it was more like apricots. The wine itself had a vague citrus taste to it, making me think of grapefruit pith (but in a good way. It was very easy drinking and a good choice for a warm summer evening on the deck. (At least we thought so!)
At $10.99, it’s a very affordable option when you want to drink something like champagne, but don’t want to shell out the bucks for the French stuff.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Wine Gadgets | 1 Comment
(770): If I were a woman I’d fill my water bra with liquor so that I could sip on it throughout the day.
Seems like they don’t know about the wine bra. Such a pity.
Sunday, June 28th, 2009 | Meta | 2 Comments
Well it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m happy to announce that on June 3rd I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and now that I’m no longer pregnant I’m finally able to start tasting wine again. My husband has been waiting to crack into some of the “good stuff” and I’m very much looking forword to that as well! I also plan to write more about wine gadgets, cocktail recipes, and so on.
I hope to start updating this blog regularly again, so be sure to check in on me!
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Because I personally can’t stand dead blogs, I’m officially giving my wine blogging notice. Obviously I’ve been terrible at updating here and I think you can understand that it’s difficult to write about wine when you can’t really drink it. Yes, I’ve tasted here and there but it’s just not the same. Plus, my husband has been buying lots of “house wine” mags and saving the interesting stuff for when we can share a bottle again. Perhaps I’ll come back to wine blogging at some point after the baby is born, after I’m done nursing, but clearly that won’t be anytime in the near future, LOL!
Many thanks to those who have read this blog and to my fellow wine bloggers with whom I’ve learned so much. Cheers!
Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 | California, Chardonnay, Cocktails, Germany, Holidays, Non-Alcoholic, Riesling, Wines Under $20 | 2 Comments
The holidays can be difficult for someone like me who loves wine or a cocktail and wants to celebrate along with everyone else, but happens to be in a situation where she can’t drink. But being pregnant or having a health issue that prohibits you from drinking doesn’t mean you can’t raise a glass of cheer — you just have to pick something non-alcoholic.
A couple weeks ago, we were at The Christmas Tree Shops and I saw a bottle of non-alcoholic Chardonnay (which I have since lovingly nicknamed “Chardon-not”). I joked to Drew that I’d be drinking the St. Regis Alcohol-Removed Reserve on Thanksgiving. At a mere $3.99 a bottle he suggested I give it a try. So we left the store with two bottles — one to try that evening and one for Turkey Day, provided it wasn’t terrible.
St. Regis is produced by Inglenook. It is made in California and has an APV of less than 0.5%. To my surprise, it was actually decent! There were floral notes on the nose, as well as hints of apricot and apple. Upon tasting I detected mostly apple flavors as well as a bit of grape (which didn’t surprise me). Overall it reminded me of flat champagne. Drew thought it reminded him of some of the Australian whites he had tasted. Now, obviously you can’t compare a bottle of alcohol-free wine to a bottle of regular wine. To try it with the same expectations is ridiculous, honestly. If I weren’t pregnant I wouldn’t be drinking this, but for the price it ain’t bad and I will happily chill a bottle for myself for tomorrow. I’ve had worse “real” Chardonnay, and I find this to be an acceptable substitute.
Another problem I’ve had to solve is the pre-dinner cocktail. In our family, we always like to enjoy a drink while we nibble on cheese, crackers, and sausage. Under normal circumstances, my go-to drink is a gin and tonic. Luckily, this one is easy to solve. I simply mix together tonic water, a twist of lime, and some sweetened lime juice. I used to prefer Rose’s lime juice, but recently I discovered Master of Mixes lime juice. I find it to be less sweet. (As a bonus, if you’re plagued by leg cramps later in your pregnancy, this make a mighty fine remedy as the tonic water contains quinine, which helps alleviate the cramping.)
My other favorite cocktail is a whiskey sour. By chance, last night I discovered a drink that comes pretty darn close. I simply mixed Cuervo margarita mix with ginger ale (I think I did I one-to-one ratio). Again, it has no alcohol in it so it’s not as potent, but hey — when you only have so much to work with, you make the best of it. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry or two and enjoy.
Tomorrow we’ll be bringing a bottle of BEX Riesling to have with Thanksgiving dinner, so I am planning on tasting and spitting and seeing if it tastes any different to me now than it did when I tasted it a few months back.
To all my American readers, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! Please remember to enjoy responsibly.
Monday, November 17th, 2008 | Food | No Comments
Maybe it’s because when I was growing up, a giant bowl of mixed nuts and a nutcracker seemed to magically appear right around Thanksgiving, but I think that nuts and the holidays are inseparable. They’re one of my favorite snacks year-round, but I am sure to have them on hand this time of year. So when I was asked to taste and review the nuts offered by Oh Nuts! I was happy to oblige.
I received a bag of Dry Roasted Unsalted Almonds, a bag of Cinnamon Almonds, and a bag of Cranberry Pecans. The nuts themselves were all quite large. Only a couple of the pecan halves had broken during packing/shipping. Just on looks alone, I’d be happy to put these nuts out for company.
Taste-wise, all three were delicious, but Drew and I agreed that the cranberry pecans were our hands-down favorite. They have a hint of sweetness, but we didn’t find it overwhelming. I threw some in my oatmeal one morning (very yummy!), and we’ve been enjoying a handful as dessert after dinner. A 16 oz. package sells for $11.99. The dry roasted unsalted almonds ($6.99/lb) have a wonderful flavor and are an excellent addition to a fruit and cheese plate. You could also chop them to use in baking, and I think they’d be great. The cinnamon almonds ($5.99/lb) also are quite good, though I think they’re a little sweeter than the cranberry pecans. They do have the perfect flavor for this time of year, though and would make a lovely hostess gift.
Overall we both were impressed with all three varieties we tried, and I’m glad to have discovered a new source for interesting nuts and dried fruits. (I’m intrigued by the dried cantaloupe!) Oh Nuts! sells a variety of seeds and candy as well. Judging from the samples I received, the nuts are a good value for the price and I would happily order from them in the future.
Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 | Wine Blogs | 6 Comments
OK, OK, it’s time to come clean. I really do have a reason for neglecting my wine blog. The truth is that I am pregnant, which kind of takes the fun out of wine blogging. I happen to be of the belief that a glass of wine with dinner is acceptable while pregnant, but only later in the pregnancy. I am just over 10 weeks along, so my personal choice is to abstain for now. Though I can still taste and spit if Drew has opened a bottle of something interesting. When I was pregnant with our second baby, he didn’t drink much else than Gallo Burgundy in the jug. He felt bad opening anything “good.” I certainly don’t expect him to do that this time around!
Of course I now face the dilemma of what to do with this blog. I am considering skewing the focus towards food for the time being (thanks to Richard for the suggestion). After all, I do still eat. Randy of Wine Biz Radio commented on Twitter that he would find wine tasting from the perspective of a pregnant woman interesting — would wines taste the same as they did before the pregnancy? I might be able to incorporate that as well. If Drew opens a bottle we’ve had before I can swirl and spit and then compare notes.
So I hope you’ll bear with me as I temporarily retool the blog! Thanks
Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line.