maria, lucia and christopher smiling and eating ice cream

Wine for “Almost” Spring/Summer

I’m on a roll now! The weather turned gorgeous this week. I’m feeling a bit more like myself. In this post, a short one for #WineWednesday, I wanted to share my top 5 spring/summer wine choices. Cheers!

  1. Sauvignon Blanc – I enjoy those from New Zealand, although I have enjoyed a few from other regions, as well.
  2. Chablis – I seldom write about this one because it’s rare that I find a good bottle but when I do, wow! I forget how much I love it. My favorite pairing for Chablis is sushi.
  3. White merlot – This one is often overlooked but very enjoyable particularly if you have guests who are not used to drinking wine. It’s essentially a blush, which has wider appeal.
  4. Riesling – Of all the whites, this one is my favorite. I love the German Rieslings and those inspired by that region, particularly the Mosel/Saar River area. Try Hermann J. Weimer from the Finger Lakes region in New York state..
  5. Red blend – Red blends tend to be easy-drinking and often fruit forward, making them ideal for nights by the campfire. You can find inexpensive ones at most local liquor stores, including Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red and Red Truck wine. Any red blend will do!
  6. BONUS: Champagne/Prosecco – Who doesn’t love a good bottle of bubbly? It makes any ordinary day/evening a real treat!

What are some of your favorite summer wines? Comment below! I love new ideas!

Wine for the Perfect Pizza

Full disclaimer: My loving husband suggested this blog post topic as a tribute to his excellent grilled pizza he made the other night!

Pizza and wine are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together. In fact, I first started enjoying wine in college while scarfing down slice after slice of Mama Mia’s pizza in Geneseo, New York. Still today, I really don’t enjoy pizza without a glass of red. And what’s great about pizza wine is that you can go sweet or semi-sweet or even dry and seldom can you go wrong.

The other night, my husband grilled a pizza for us. It’s been a while since he did it, actually. I was reminded of one of the first meals he made for us when we first started dating. He made a grilled pizza with pesto sauce and all kinds of goodies on top. Yum! But, then, he started to get a bit sour on the whole grilled pizza thing. Sometimes the dough would stick to the grill, or it would burn before the toppings were set. One thing after another and lots of cursing… you get the idea. So, it had been a while.

This time, he used dough from Nichols, a local supermarket, which sources dough from DiLauros Bakery on Syracuse’s North side. It turned out to be the perfect density for a grilled pizza. He added some yummy pizza sauce, pepperoni, peppers and onions and it made for a crispy, Italian style pizza that we all enjoyed.

We had a 2016 Monarch Glen Merlot with our pizza, but I have to confess I ate the last leftover piece just now with a Swedish Hill Viking Red and it was heavenly. I added a salted dark piece of chocolate and it was the finishing touch to what was a long first day back at work and school after being away for a week.

The next time you have pizza, whether it’s homemade or takeout, remember the red wine! And if you need a few more ideas, easy-to-find selections that pair well with pizza are Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red and Red Truck wine. I typically find them in most local liquor stores. Cheers!

Back to School Transitions

It’s the second week of September and the transition from late summer to early fall is setting in. We’re all back to school – me teaching two classes, my husband in a full-time graduate program, the girls back to first and fifth grades and Christopher in daycare for the first time. Last week was a bit crazy with the addition of my continuing car problems and our window replacement activity. As I sit down to grade, it’s Sunday night and some of the craziness has subsided.

Fucillo Kia of Clay finally decided it was best to offer me a replacement vehicle. So after three and a half weeks of not having my car, I drove home Friday evening in a new 2016 Kia Sorento, but black this time instead of black cherry. Still, though, beggars can’t be choosers and I’d trade anything to not have the continuing hassle of an electrical/sensor issue. Hopefully, I’ve seen the last of car problems for a while.

The windows are all installed but Comfort Windows has to come back to finish the exterior work. After three days, they left it unfinished and we’re hopeful Monday is the day. Meantime, we spent the weekend measuring the new windows and purchasing and mostly installing blinds. Replacing a houseful of windows is pricey when you consider all the new window coverings that go with the whole project! It is nice to be at the tail-end of it all.

So, when life hands you lemons (challenges), what is the best wine with which to settle down on a Sunday evening? When life is nuts, I prefer an age-old standby favorite. I don’t want any surprises with my wine! So we poured glasses of Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red. Lucas is the oldest winery on Cayuga Lake, founded in the mid-1970s. This red is pretty sweet but it’s yummy and simple and easy drinking. And right about now, simple is about all I want! Have a great week everyone!

wine-pairings

Pairing “Meatless” Monday Recipes with Wine

Every Monday, the hashtag #MeatlessMonday trends on Twitter. People share recipes and other healthy ways they limit meat. I do eat meat however I also enjoy lots of vegetarian dishes that incorporate beans and/or other protein sources. My famous eggplant parmesan has been shared on this blog before, and a nice Sangiovese or Valpolicella is the perfect compliment to that dish, which is a favorite at our house. I can’t wait until my homegrown eggplants are ready!

But, I’ve found many other “meatless” recipes on Pinterest. In fact, there are so many now that I really should create a board just for those types of meals. I’ll add that to my never-ending “to do” list. For now, here’s a short list of my favorites:

  1. Stuffed peppers – this one is a crock pot version that you can prepare the night before and just stick the peppers in when you want to the next day. It has a bit of a kick to it due to the Monterey jack cheese so I suggest something that compliments the spice and stands up to it, such as a Zinfandel.
  2. Black bean tacos – this one is super easy on a weeknight when you might be busy with the kids’ activities. It’s perfect for a red blend or the old standby Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red.
  3. Macaroni and cheese – the kids love this dish, which can be a main course or a side with salad or something else with it. Again, I’m sharing a crock pot version but you can find a few others on my Pinterest boards, if you prefer not to break out the pot. (By the way, I typically use a crock pot liner with most of my meals to make clean-up a snap!) Mac and cheese is pretty versatile but one particularly yummy wine pairing is a Chardonnay. A less oaky choice is better since it won’t compete so much with the cheese.
  4. Quesadillas – this one is spinach and tomato with pesto but you can put anything you want in a quesadilla so go nuts! Depending on what you choose to put in yours, your wine choices are endless. A nice, clean Pinot Grigio might go with this recipe and compliment the pesto well.

Happy Monday and cheers!