maria, lucia and christopher in the swimming pool

Wine for Hot Summer Days

It’s been a hot last few days in Central New York, much hotter than we are used to. The thermometer rarely goes above 90 during a normal summer but so far, we’ve hit and/or surpassed it a few times and it’s only July 3! Typically when it’s this hot, I avoid drinking too much alcohol due to dehydration and just because it makes me feel like garbage when it’s so hot. But, this past weekend, I had some fun loading up the coolers for a graduation party to celebrate my husband’s graduate degree.

The first stop was Harbor View Wines and Liquors where I purchased a case of 12 bottles at a 20 percent discount. I chose wines from all over the world, including Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, Argentina and Italy. In addition, my picks included a couple from the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, as well as Washington and California. I tried to vary the types of wines, choosing six reds and six whites, as well as different grapes. I figured it would be fun to have a hodgepodge available to guests or for us after the party ends!

I did the same thing with the beer selection. I chose a Mexican sampler, Saranac Summer Series, Blue Moon, Labatt Blue Light and some White Claw sparklers. Of course, there was plenty of water and sparkling water for guests, too. The most popular beers were the Mexican ones, followed closely by Saranac and Labatt Blue Light. We had one Saranac left and a few Blue Moons. As for wine? I enjoyed Goose Watch Vineyard’s Diamond white, which is made with the Diamond white grape, one of the originals grown in Upstate New York.

I think it’s fun to try a whole bunch of different types of wines and beers. There are so many in this world and I probably will never try them all. That’s why, when I have an opportunity to purchase a lot, I take it; your guests will have their choice and you’ll hopefully have something for everyone’s taste.

Summer Wine Choices

Overall in the summer, I enjoy white and rose wine over a red, simply because they are more refreshing to me. I typically have them at a slightly cooler temperature than I would a red so that may be one reason why. I don’t like an overly sweet wine. You’ll see me drinking a Sauvignon Blanc or a Cayuga White. Riesling is a popular choice, as well, especially with company, and White Merlot is a great standby, particularly with barbecue. Below are some of the ones I chose for our outdoor party.

Goose Watch Winery
Finger Lakes, New York

Clean Slate
Mosel, Germany

Sauvignon Blanc
The Crossings
New Zealand

White Merlot
Napa Valley, California

Bread and Butter Wines

I’ll add to this list, as I try more delicious summer wines. Please share your favorites below!


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!

Holiday Wine Picks from “A Wine for All Times”

As promised, I’m sharing my top five holiday wine picks for Christmas. These selections are meant for those of you who need ideas on what to bring a host/hostess, as well as those of you who have been asked to bring the wine for the occasion. All of these choices are crowd pleasers and will make you the star of the party!

  1. Find a winery that creates holiday labels for its wine. Swedish Hill Winery in the Finger Lakes is one great example. It always customizes labels during the holidays and the best part is that after, you can can get HUGE deals on the ones they don’t sell! Price range: $
  2. MacMurray Estate Pinot Noir – This is by far my favorite Pinot Noir. It’s light enough to go with just about anything and it’s an easy drinking wine for those who just want to sip. The best part is that this wine goes very well with chocolate and we all know that is usually on the menu at holiday parties! Price range: $$
  3. For those who love a crisp, cold white, try this Kono Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I hear Trader Joe’s stocks it so it’s relatively easy to come by. Its fruity, tart flavors will leave guests wanting more! Price range: $
  4. In our family, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Italian fare so we would do well with a delicious Barolo. These are a bit more expensive but not at the top of the price list. You usually can find a good one for around $40. Your local wine merchant may keep them in a special room or cellar so you might have to ask for it! 2010 was the best year in decades for Barolos, so look for something from that vintage. Price range: $$$
  5. Looking to splurge? Try a Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon that’s a little more pricey but very good! This one needs to breathe a bit before enjoying it. Be sure you have a decanter on hand and a spare hour before you start drinking! Price range: $$$$

No matter what you choose, enjoy wine with your family and friends and make memories while you’re drinking it! Merry Christmas!

Wine for a Pianists’ Debut

It’s the Christmas holiday season and that means time for band concerts, recitals and holiday performances. Between the girls and my husband nearly every day someone is singing or playing someplace! Over the weekend, the girls had their winter piano recital at the Everson Museum Festival of Trees. It was Maria’s third recital since she began lessons a year and a half ago. For Lucia, it was her very first time.

Lucia did a terrific job. She didn’t make any mistakes and seemed happy as she sat on the stage, swinging her little legs back and forth. She also played a duet with me but no one got that on video unfortunately.

Maria played several times during the short recital for a total of five holiday songs. She also seemed comfortable, as if she had been doing this all her life.

After the recital we noticed a jolly gentleman hanging out in the lobby of the Everson Museum. We had to stop and say, “hello!” Lucia and Christopher told him what they wanted, got a piece of candy and we headed for home.

The rest of the weekend was quite busy with a two birthday parties and religion classes at church. So, our evenings were, of course, filled with wonderful wine. Our weekend selections included a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a simple Malbec and one of the four limited edition Outlander wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon. I was remiss in capturing the exact names of the first two wines but will check when I get home later and add the links accordingly.

I think busy weekends need simple, easy-to-drink wines that don’t add to the hectic schedule of kids’ activities. My recommendation is to stop at your local wine or liquor store and find a low to middle priced wine that looks interesting but fun. I went in looking for a white and red just to have a choice, but whatever you like is good.

Only one more weekend left until Christmas! In the coming days I’ll have some thoughts on wine for cookie baking, gift wrapping and last-minute shopping! Happy drinking!