I love Hawaii. In my mind it is beautiful and perfect: sandy beaches, warm weather and delicious foods. And lately, I have been really wanting to go back (I don’t know, maybe it is from all this dreary Seattle weather). Unfortunately, I can’t jump on a plane and head off to Hawaii at this moment, so I decided to bring a touch of “Aloha” to the dinner table.
Half-way between Seattle and Spokane, along the I-90 corridor, there is a wine oasis. The Cave B Estate Winery sits high up on the cliffs above the Columbia River commanding spectacular views of the valley below.
I have passed by the exit for the winery many times, always curious about the winery, but never ventured off the highway. Recently, life called for a few celebrations, so my husband, daughter and I met my parents and brother at the winery, with the plans to have lunch, do a little wine tasting and walk around the vineyards.
Last week a heat wave hit Seattle. I couldn’t let the 80+ degree temperatures (in April!) go to waste, so I reached for a bottle of Rosé. Unfortunately, I was caught off guard by the summer-like conditions. I had to think fast and throw my wine in the freezer for a quick blast of cool, before settling on semi-chilled wine.
At least I had a full glass in hand while watching the sunset.
The freezer method worked (kinda) for the moment, but it is not a long term solution. What I really need is a wine cooler. Something to keep my wine at the correct temperature, ready to drink at a moments notice. Like many, I tend to chill wine only when needed, so my fridge isn’t too full and my food isn’t fighting for space with my wine.
Moving along my virtual wine tour through Italy, my next stop is the Lombardy region. Lombardy is the home of Milan, Marscipone cheese and Ossobuco (a fancy dish consisting of veal shanks and bone marrow). More importantly, it is the home to a good handful of wine regions, the three most well known include the Franciacorta, the Oltrepo Pavese and the Valtellina.
There are certain wines I consider ‘cocktail wines.’ They tend to be boozy – high alcohol content and a lot of heat. And sometimes that is not a bad thing. Especially on a Friday night after a long week of work and life.
Marie Courtin’s Résonance Champagne is luxurious. The lemony yellow wine offers flavors of citrus and green apple, and is both refreshing and smooth. The very low dosage allows this wine to pair nicely with just about any meal, as well as hold its own as a stand alone drink.
If you are looking for a nice Champagne for New Year’s or for any nice occasion, you cannot go wrong with a bottle of Résonance.
At some point along the way, I decided that since it was just me drinking wine at home, buying a nice, quality bottle of wine just wasn’t worth the cost. I gave up on on learning about wine, on blogging about trying wine, and just started buying low cost wine to have with dinner.
The result of this choice led to a lot of wine being dumped down the drain, along with stomachaches, headaches and a bad taste in my mouth. I am not sure why exactly, but cheap is cheap. Whether it is the quality of grape, additives used or the wine making process itself, the low cost wines do not pay off. Continue reading
The day started out sunny and bright, another perfect July morning. After a cup of coffee and a few moments vegging on the couch, it was time to start setting-up for our Le Dîner en Blanc.
The first step was to figure out timing for the menu. When to stop decorating and when to start cooking. Some items we were able to make ahead, but others we had to prepare on demand during the dinner. Continue reading
Every year about this time, right as school is letting out, I yearn for a change or some kind of exotic vacation. And while the cold, hard truth means there is no vacation waiting for me in mid-summer, it doesn’t keep me from scheming and dreaming.
One way to make dream vacations a little closer to a reality is through themed dinner parties, and this year, my family is pulling out all the stops. In July, we are throwing our own Le Dîner en Blanc, an all white party inspired by the original Le Dîner en Blanc club. While our party is not exclusive and is not a flash mob, we are drawing menu and decor inspiration from this group.
When I first started this blog, I wanted to be like so many of the other wine bloggers out there. I wanted to write articles about great wines I had tasted, offering my unique insights. I wanted to be someone people looked to for wine recommendations, the person wineries sent their wines to for reviews. I wanted to be one of the greats.
But the truth is, I am not that person. I enjoy wine, but sitting and writing up tasting notes is not my style. And I really don’t have the knowledge of a great wine critic, I am a novice and I have many, many years of learning ahead of me.
Over the past 3 years of blogging, I realized one very important thing: I have more fun learning about wine while at a dinner party or with friends and family. I enjoy the social aspect of wine. These events and gatherings (big or small) also produce some of my best writing.
So where do I go from here? I am not 100% sure, but I think I have a pretty good idea how to refocus my writing and make my blog enjoyable for myself and for others.