Monday, April 30, 2012

The Many Faces of Vine Smoothie

  This weeks wine kinda sneaked up on me.  I went to my pharmacy to drop off a prescription.  While waiting, I did what any normal person would do.  I visited the wine shop located in the strip mall.  In the front of the store there was a display for Vine Smoothie.  I admit, I only know of Vine Smoothie because of twitter, we follow each other.  But up until today, I had not seen it in the stores.  This particular store carried two flavors, pineapple coconut and peach.  I'm not a huge pina colada fan, I picked up a bottle of the peach.
  When I got home I went straight to the Vine Smoothie website.  There I learned exactly what this was I just purchased.  Vine Smoothie is a combination of all natural, gluten free flavors, French chardonnay and Holland's famous dutch cream.  They come in 4 flavors peach, berry, pineapple coconut and strawberry.  According to the website, all you need to do is chill and pour.  I decided to go a tiny step further and blend, with our Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, with ice to make a smoothie.

Peach Vine Smoothie Blended with ice

Mmmmm, mmmmmm!  It was delish!!  Sweet (but not too sweet) and very easy to drink.  I kept mine pretty light, but depending on the amount of ice you use, yours can be as strong as you want it.  I also tried it straight.  That I found to be a bit too strong.  I added a few ice cubes, let it mix for a minute or two then took a sip.

 Again, I was thoroughly pleased.  The only downside, it was so yummy, the bottle was empty before we had a chance to try some of the recipes.  
  I cannot imagine anything better on a hot summer day.  I know what I'll be bringing to all the cookouts and events I'll be attending this summer.

  I'm currently scouring my local wine shops for the other flavors.  As soon as I get my hands on another bottle, I will let you know how the recipes go!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wine in the Big House

I read a review some time ago about a wine called Big House Red. After reading it, I quickly added it to my shopping list. This week I decided to try this interesting red blend.

This wine is a blend of quite a few varieties: 27% Petite Sirah, 14.5% Syrah, 8.6% Montepulciano, 8.2% Barbera, 6.4% Nero d’Avola, 6.1% Tempranillo, 3.3% Malbec, 2.4% Aglianico, 2.4% Souzao, 2.3% Charbono, 2.2% Petite Verdot, 2.1% Cabernet Franc, 2% Tannat, 12.5% Other Esoteric Reds. I can honestly say I wasn't too sure about this. All the various types of wine, one would think they may not all work well together. But these combine together beautifully!

The label looked fun and inviting and I'm a sucker for an interesting label. It was love at first sip. I found it to be a very easy wine to drink. I tasted blackberries and raspberries and a touch of spice. It was fruity, light and slightly sweet.

Big House Wine company is located in Soledad, California. The name derives from it's proximity to the Soledad State Correctional Facility. I love to look up the website of the wines I enjoy. Check into their history and not only learn about how they make their wine, but also any other tidbits they decide to share. Big House Wine, has a great site. Not only is it easy to use and move around, but they offer some fantastic pairing suggestions and recipes too.

Will I buy again? You bet! I cannot wait to try some more of their wines.

Have you tried any of the Big House Wines?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spiced Apple Wine-Our Kinda Wine

This week on #winechat the theme was local wine. I was looking forward to this. I'd been wanting to find a wine that I could enjoy with my hubby (my drinking partner). Since he loves sweet, I thought of this as an opportunity to pick up a semi sweet flavored wine. I decided upon a bottle of Berrywine Plantations Spiced Apple wine from Linganore Winery.

Linganore Winery is a local Maryland wine. Located in Mount Airy, Maryland, this family operated vineyard is rich in beauty and history. From their website:

Berrywine Plantations / Linganore Winecellars is a family operated vineyard and winery nestled on 230 acres of picturesque rolling countryside, 4.5 miles northeast of historic New Market, Maryland.
Established by Jack and Lucille Aellen in 1971, our first 6 acres of vineyards were planted in 1972 and the winery opened in 1976 in the lower half of a 19th century post and beam barn which previously housed the farm’s dairy operation. Using Lucille’s father’s hand winemaking equipment, we processed 6 tons of grapes our first year. In 1977, we held Maryland’s first wine festival as a way to introduce our first vintage to the public. In 1978, to meet consumer demand, we introduced the state’s first semi sweet grape wines, an off shoot of our German-Swiss winemaking heritage. With the knowledge and experience in the production of these lighter style wines came the introduction that same year of our honey and pure fruit wines.
By the early ‘80s, the winemaking responsibilities were taken over by Jack and Lucille’s son Anthony. Also in the early ‘80s, new experimental grape varieties from the grape breeding program at Cornell University were planted in test plots in our vineyards. The success of many of these new hybrids has been shown in expanded acreage and dedication to winery production

I've had the pleasure of tasting their wines in the past at local wine events. I knew when I walked into my wine store that I would find something fantastic from them. A wine that was sweet, but not too sweet. Spiced Apple Wine is just that. Having tasted quite a few apple wines in the past I was thinking this would be similar to those. Previous apple wines have been extremely tart. I often felt as if I was biting into a crisp green apple, with those wines. Berrywine Plantations Spiced Apple Wine, is no crisp green apple. First sip, it reminded me of biting into a slice of warm apple pie, and then allowing yourself to savour all those flavors. I tasted cinnamon, nutmeg, and baked apple. Yes, it is sweet. But I didn't feel as if it was too sugary or syrupy. I wasn't sure how my husband would feel. The bottle suggests to serve it warm. I knew he didn't care for warm wines that often. For me, leaving it room temperature added to the warm apple pie taste. The hubby, after one sip, smiled, looked at me and said, "This is my kinda wine!" I could not agree more. I will buy this again. I'm thinking a case may be in our future. I'm looking forward to pairing this with warm apples and pears! Please try and share your thoughts.

You can purchase their wine here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bongo for Bogle

Some time ago I found myself wandering around the wine store (this happens more often then it really should). After listening to me talk about all the wines I have liked so far, my favorite sales clerk suggested I try Bogle wines. He said all of their wines are great, especially their pinot. With that said, I picked up Bogle Pinot Noir.

Have you ever picked a wine because of the label? I admit I have. That's a very hit or miss way to pick up a quality wine. Bogle Pinot Noir is one of those wines I would have picked only because of the the beauty of the label. If I did it, would have been a hit!
I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. At first opening I found it smooth, rich and easy to drink. After allowing it to breathe I found the wine to be spicy and still very enjoyable. Will I buy this again? Of course!