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!

Unexpected Pairings

This post is a little late in coming. I’m going to reference Super Bowl LI, which seems like ages ago already! After making sure we could watch the football game by acquiring a digital antenna to access Fox, we settled in for the evening with our blankets, PJs and wine. My husband decided to make chicken wings and nachos supreme and all kinds of other football snacks. I really just wanted to sip the wine!

We chose a Tempranillo Rose, which we have never tried before, that arrived last week with my first shipment from Heartwood and Oak Wine Merchants. I found a good deal on a case of wine through Brad’s Deals. Since we enjoy a good White Merlot or Pinot Noir Rose from time to time, we figured this one would be fabulous. Unfortunately, not so much. It didn’t have much taste at all and, although the labels suggested we should be tasting strawberry and cranberry, all I got was cranberry, and all my husband got was strawberry.

Despite our disappointment, it actually turned out OK in the end. Because the wine really didn’t have much going on, it didn’t overpower the yummy snacks at all, but, rather, complimented them pretty well! We ended up being pleasantly surprised.

This surprised was not unlike how we both felt about the game. An unlikely country star nailed the National Anthem. A well-known entertainer killed the halftime show despite folks wanting there to be a controversy. And, an unlikely epic battle that led to a historic overtime win.

Football goes with wine. At least for me! Oh, and mark your calendars! Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14, followed closely by National Drink Wine Day on Feb. 18! Cheers!


White Merlot – Looking Back on a Trend

You know what they say… wait a while and it’ll come back in style. Ain’t that the truth. Just looking around the Syracuse University campus I can see a similar view to when I was a college freshman years ago – plaid, flannel shirts, untucked over jeans with holes in the knees. It’s too bad I didn’t save all my wardrobe pieces because I’d be back in style!

As I thought about this, it reminded me that wine tasting “styles” come and go, too. When I was in college, I drank a ton of rose and sweeter wines. Just after college, as I “graduated” to bolder reds and drier whites, I passed through my White Merlot phase.

White Merlot is made from Merlot grapes that have limited to no contact with the skins before fermentation. So the color of the wine changes from a red/purple to a rose/light red. It tastes a lot like a White Zinfandel, which uses a similar process. I first learned about White Merlot on a Long Island wine tour in the late 1990s as it was first coming into fashion. A winery on the North Fork was producing it and after trying it, I was hooked! It became my “go to” sipping wine for quite a while.

One of the easiest to find White Merlot wines is Sutter Home or Beringer Estate. Both are usually found at the corner liquor/wine store and they are affordable, too. I recommend chilling it a bit, say to 58 degrees or so. It’s more refreshing and bursts with fruit flavor in your mouth.

While I haven’t enjoyed a White Merlot in years, I do have fun reminiscing about it. And since it is #MerlotMe month, perhaps I’ll grab a bottle for old time’s sake.