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!

summer-riesling

Wine for Summer Days

Sunday afternoon the kids and I went blueberry picking at Emmi Farms in Baldwinsville, New York. We had a lot of fun and it was an adventure to drive down into the field to pick. The prices were more than reasonable and we were able to grab the first corn of the season, too. Yum!

blueberries-kidsAfter that, we decided to take a drive to Camillus, New York to check out a new retailer, Vine and Barrel, about which I had heard so many good things. Well, despite the nearly 30 five-star reviews on its Facebook page, my experience was less than desirable.

First of all, we walked in to see about five store clerks milling about, two of which were behind a large tasting bar. But despite the bar set-up there was nothing out for tasting. It was approximately 2:45 p.m. on a Sunday so I would have expected something. Usually, when stores have tasting bars, there is something set up. One of the ladies said hello in a noncommittal way. My daughter and I were the only ones in the store.

We went back to the fine wine room to check out the selection, which I had heard was unique. No one followed us. No one asked us if they could help us find anything. I was shocked. We meandered through the rest of the shop looking at the selection. Although they were touted as having the largest selection of New York wines, I didn’t find it to be any different from some of the other local shops.

We selected a Riesling from the Mosel region of Germany, a Malbec from Argentina and a $30 bottle of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, as our splurge wine.

The Riesling was excellent and went well with our salmon and fresh corn for dinner. But honestly, I won’t be back to Vine and Barrel. It just wasn’t a pleasant atmosphere to be completely ignored. Oh, and whatever was going on with the intermittent loud 1970s rock music was quite distracting while we shopped. I definitely did not have the same experience as so many who sang its praises.

What’s more, I feel like it needs to grow into its space a bit more. It was cavernous in there and not at all homey and welcoming as I would expect a home-town wine retailer to be. At least we enjoyed our summer Riesling!

Top 5 Wines for Cinco de Mayo!

Typically, people enjoy margaritas or Tequila on May 5, traditionally known as Cinco de Mayo. But, if you are a wine drinker, don’t despair. There are plenty of choices for you, too. Below are my top five picks:

  1. Riesling – German Riesling has an acidity that can stand up to the citrus found in many Mexican dishes. Try anything from the Mosel region, or German-inspired favorite, Hermann J. Weimer from the Finger Lakes region in New York state.
  2. Pinot Noir – Dishes, such as enchiladas are not as spicy and tend to be more mellow and earthy. Try a light Pinot Noir, such as one from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, California.
  3. White Merlot – Tacos are fun and carry big flavor, therefore you need something fun to compliment them and quench your thirst. Try a White Merlot from Sutter Home or Beringer Estates. The rose never disappoints.
  4. Sauvignon Blanc – Fish tacos are popular these days and if you get a good one, it will likely have a bit of heat to it. Try a fresh Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand to cool the heat and refresh your palate.
  5. Mexican wine – I was hoping this would be my pick this year. I recently read a Huffington Post article on the resurgence of the Mexican wine industry and learned the Baja peninsula is home to 90 percent of the country’s wine producers. So, I had planned to try a bottle of Mexican wine for my Cinco de Mayo feast. But, alas I can’t find any Mexican wine in my neck of the woods. Anyone know where I can get some? ¡Salud!

Wine and Marriage

A few weeks ago University of Michigan researchers released a study that said couples who drink together, stay together. It was an interesting take on marriage and relationships. My favorite part was the notion that couples are less irritated with each other when they share a bottle of wine. Well, duh!

wedding-dayAt any rate, my husband and I are in for a nice long marriage, if this study proves true. We enjoy wine together often, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before. This past weekend, we enjoyed a Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a Clean Slate Riesling (which came with it’s own slate coaster this time – bonus!). The cab was the perfect compliment to our fire pit night in the backyard where we played a new washers game (kind of like horseshoes) and relaxed as the sun went down. It also would have been terrific with s’mores, but we didn’t partake over the weekend!

The Clean Slate was the closer to the weekend, an easy drinking Riesling that is clean and crisp for summer. It’s readily available at most wine and liquor stores, more than other Mosel region Rieslings, and one I come back to often. It’s a popular addition to a wedding gift I’ve often seen, which contains four bottles of wine for different events in a marriage. It’s the one you are supposed to drink after your first fight! But if you ask Michigan researchers, those fights should be few and far between if you imbibe together on a regular basis. Happy drinking!