Happy Mother’s Day Smileys and Wine Enthusiasts! Here is a delicious and refreshing Sangria that you can make for yourself, your mom or your friends!
Salu’d, XOXO Smiling Danny
*Please excuse my Barefoot Contessa reference *
If you have been following me for a while, you know that one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE WINES is Llano’s 1836. This red wine is phenomenal, it was my very first Texas Wine that I fell in love with. Well one day, as I was perusing Instagram, something caught my eye! 1836 in White! I must try this, I thought. And so I have, and I am so excited to share with you everything that I learned while at Llano Estacado.
First of all, Llano Estacado is a West Texas Winery located in the dusty plains of Lubbock, Texas. They have been around since the 1970’s and became known on the wine scene in 1984.
While at Llano, I had the pleasure of having a wine tasting with Llano’s Sommelier, Matt Bostick. With Matt I tried the 1836-White, the Viognier and the Marsanne. Just like the red, the 1836 White was phenomenal. I was happily surprised that the white wine had a similar dryness that a red wine would typically have. Matt said this was due to the wine aging in a barrel. This white wine has subtle notes of peach on the nose and it has citrus, peach and Jello gelatin on the palate. It is high in acidity and it is medium-bodied. The 1836 White is a blend of the Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay grapes. The wine gets it structure from the Viognier grape and its acidity from the Marsanne grape.
Often times I talk about detecting tannins in a wine but I learned something new about detecting acidity. Matt shared with me that the quicker you salivate under your tongue, the higher the acidity. This was very helpful because often times I am looking for that feel of the acidity in my cheeks like I do with tannins and I can’t quite detect it as quickly as I can tannins in a dry red. This method was much more easier for me.
After tasting the 1836, Matt poured me a glass of both the Marsanne and the Viognier so that I could taste each component of the 1836. The Marsanne has notes of mineral and peach skins. It is a light-bodied white wine; whereas, the Viognier has more body than the Marsanne. You could easily detect the fuller body of the Viognier on the palate and by the rich gold color of the white wine. The Viognier had notes of pickle juice and lemons. It actually would be a nice wine to pair with alfredo. The zest of the Viognier would cut nicely through the richness of the alfredo sauce. Delicious! After tasting each of these wines, I could see how the Marsanne added the acidity and how the Viognier gave the 1836 its structure. What a harmonious blend. Thank you Matt for sharing that experience with me. I hadn’t ever thought to taste each varietal separately in a blend.
I had such an amazing time!
Thank you Smileys and Wine Enthusiasts for reading about my experience. I look forward to sharing more with you. If you stop by Llano and try the 1836, tell’ em Smiling Danny sent you. Comment below if you have tried this wine before or if you have another Llano Estacado favorite that you would like me to try. Until next time…
XOXO, Smiling Danny. Salu’d!
Have you ever wondered while drinking your wine about the glass that you are drinking out of? I usually don’t, until I visited a winery that only serves their wine out of Riedel wine glasses. If you haven’t heard, these are supposed to be THE Wine Glasses of all wine glasses. So, recently I decided that I would conduct a little experiment of my own. Since I have a set of Riedel Merlot wine glasses, I decided that I would put this experiment to the test with a bottle of Merlot.
Before I get into my experiment, I want to tell you a little bit about wine glasses. As you saw above, I said that I have a set of Riedel Merlot glasses. Did you catch that? Merlot glasses. Most people are familiar with there being white wine glasses and red wine glasses. I also knew that there were sherry wine glasses due to my frequent watching of the sitcom Frasier when I was in school. Oh, and then there are sparkling wine glasses as well. But most people don’t know that there are wine glasses for each grape varietal. The purposes of these glasses, whether designated by wine color or grape varietal, are to aid in the aeration of the wine and to aid in the way you experience the wine. What I mean by that is, let’s say you have a sparkling wine, if you put the sparkling wine in a white wine glass, you will not get those bubbles that you would get in a champagne flute. The skinny shape of the flute promotes the flow of the bubbles. Also, the red wine glasses have larger bowls than white wine glasses. This allows the bolder flavors of the wine to have enough room to breathe. So then when you go to smell the wine, you can identify the notes of the wine more clearly than you would if you poured red wine in a white wine glass.
Now that you have been given a little bit of information on wine glasses, I will carry on with my experiment. I used three wine glasses to conduct my experiment: a Riedel Merlot glass, a nice red wine glass that I bought from Bed Bath and Beyond (BBB) and a $1 wine glass I bought from a local grocer.
|Heb Glass||BB&B Red Wine Glass||Riedel Merlot Glass|
|Nose||Only smell alcohol. Even though the glass has a wide opening, in fact wider than the others, the notes are hard to detect.||Mainly smelling the glass and potpourri.||Smells like a young wine with notes of plum and cocoa|
|Legs||The legs are inconsistent. After letting the wine rest a little longer, the legs came down slowly but still hard to see a consistent flow.||Coming down quickly but consistent.||The legs are beautiful, streaming down like a motion picture.|
|Taste||Just tastes like alcohol and metal. No real flavors coming out.||Tannins are subtle and the spice is heavy.||Tannins are more pronounced.|
|Notes||Tastes like a watered down juice that lingers on the palate.||Heavy on the oak, raisin. Here the spice tends to taste like it was heavy on the pepper. Instead of a rounded feel of spice you get a punch of heat on the palate.||Notes of spice, earth and a hint of oak. Here you get notes of spice and earth. The spice is more rounded verses a punch in the face like the BBB glass. The spice feels like earth on the cheeks. Also, notes of cocoa and dark fruit dance on the palate.|
As you can see, there was a difference in the smell and taste of the wine depending on the glass. After, looking at my notes, I thought to myself, am I expecting a difference because everyone speaks so highly of these glasses or is there a true difference in taste and smell? So, I conducted another test, blindfolded, and my conclusion was the same.
Does this mean that I will go out and buy a bunch of Riedel glasses? Probably not, but I will look into Cabernet and Zinfandel glasses since I tend to drink more of these.
If you remember from my previous posts, I have not found a bottle of Merlot that I have fell in love with. While drinking from the HEB glass and the BBB glass, I didn’t particularly care for the wine. However, when drinking from the Riedel, I was able to appreciate the notes and enjoy the glass of Merlot.
The bottle of wine that was used for this experiment was: Cycles Gladiator Merlot, California, 2019. It has notes of cherry, blackberry and cedar. It also has hints of pencil shavings and moss. I think this wine is better paired with red meat; possibly brisket.
After conducting my experiments, I used the remaining wine to make a Pomegranate Sangria. Here is the recipe below:
2 parts Merlot
1 part Ocean Spray Cranberry Pomegranate juice
1/4c Pomegranate Seeds
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
Combine the above ingredients and pour over crushed ice in a red wine glass. Salu’d!
I hope you enjoyed this article. Leave me a message below and tell me if you have tried Riedel glasses. Does glass matter to you?
XOXO, Smiling Danny, Salu’d
Spring is in the Air…. I hope. The weather is either nice and sunny with a small breeze or it’s snowing…. All the while, Spring is in my heart and mind and so I wanted to venture out and explore what wineries were located in Abilene, Tx. I visited one wine room and a restaurant with a variety of wines to try. I have to say, I had a better experience at one place and you might be surprised by which one. However, my theory remains true: Wine is an experience! Wine is connected to feelings, memories, and moods. What I love about visiting wineries is the atmosphere, the knowledge you receive about the wines, the history of the winery and the wines and getting to know those who work hard to share their hard work with you.
My first stop was The Winery at Willow Creek. Upon walking in, I was not greeted. I shared with the lady behind the counter that it was my first time there and she proceeds to give me a menu and tell me what I could buy. As I was looking over the menu, she kept asking me: “well…what are you going to do?” I felt so rushed, I barely had the menu for a good couple of minutes. Now, normally, I would have politely handed my menu back and said thank you and left. But since I had driven all that way, I decided to go ahead and try the wine flight. Instead of taking my time and picking the wines that I wanted to try, I just told her that I would try the reds. “Just write it down,” she says as a paper was placed in front of me. As she began to pour, I asked her if there were any tasting notes on the wines, as you know I like to sip my wine and gather my notes as well as look at the vintner’s. “No, just the menu,” she replies and of course she couldn’t tell me anything about the wines she was pouring. But despite the initial impression, I was not going to let this ruin my vibe.
I went outside to sit on their patio area. Boy, was it gorgeous: the view was so nice and relaxing. “Ok, I am ready to taste my wine now,” I thought. Me and my companion both got a flight: red and white so that we could try the majority of their wines. I have to say, we didn’t enjoy them. I wrote down some tasting notes, but I just did not like any of the wines I tried. In fact, we didn’t finish the 1oz pour on any of the wines in the flight and we don’t leave behind wine. I went back inside to try something else and I was greeted by a different lady. She was so nice, welcoming and knowledgeable. She let me try their sparkling rose’ and I did enjoy that pour more than the flights. I’m sure her friendly disposition helped with that.
I think that if you are just looking to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine with friends then Willow Creek is the vibe you are looking for but if you like to learn, savor and experience wine, this might not be your first choice.
Next Up, Vagabond Pizza. Now this was the experience I was looking for! Right off, the server asked me what type of wine I liked, she listed off some wines that she thought I would enjoy and gave a few tasting notes as well. She allowed me to sample some of the wine before I chose a glass and she continued to check in on me to see how the wine paired with my meal. She even poured me a sample of a wine to try for the next time I came to dine. “I should of just went here to begin with!” I thought. The wine I tried here was a grenache’ blend. This was my first time trying this grape varietal. It had a fireplace note that paired well with their Lucia pizza. The smoke note in the wine and the jalapeno jelly on the pizza created a sweet almond or sweet nutty note on the palate. DEEELICIOUS!
Before leaving town, I was able to enjoy a glass of red sangria at Miguel’s Mex Tex. I loved this Sangria because it was a glass of true sangria. What do you mean by that, Danny? For me, Sangria is wine and fruit or fruit soaking in wine. When adding the additional liquors and sweeteners, it now has become a cocktail. I’m not sure if this is a formality but when I order sangria, all I want is wine and fruit and that is exactly what I got. I was able to pick up some of the notes in the wine and I think I was able to select the wine that they used as their base.
All in all, wine is an experience and what you are experiencing in that moment can play a part of the sip that you take. Abilene revealed some little gems of places to enjoy a nice glass of wine and although it wasn’t where I expected, I did enjoy finding these treasures and the memories I created while I was there.
XOXO, Smiling Danny, Salu’d
Happy New Year Smileys and Wine Enthusiasts!
I am so excited to share this wine unboxing with you. I received a package from Scout and Cellar Wines containing three bottles of wine that I am looking forward to sitting back and enjoying.
The first wine I received was TangoTango Sauvignon Blanc, 2019. It has notes of lemon, key lime and lemongrass. You can pair this wine with seafood and soft cheeses. The second wine received was Cattin Sauvage Riesling, 2018. This wine has notes of lime, green apple, beeswax, and white flowers. It is suggested to pair this wine with spicy foods such as Thai; however, I think I would enjoy this wine more with a soup or salad. Lastly, I received a bottle of Middle Jane Zinfandel, 2017. Notes of black cherry, blackberry jam and plum danced across my palate. I loved this Zinfandel. I would drink this wine as an apertif; however, you can pair this with non – gamey red meats and hard cheeses.
Below is a video of my unboxing:
If you are interested in any of the wines mentioned or want to join my wine club, check out www.scoutandcellar.com/smilingdanny .
Hope you enjoyed this post, XOXO Smiling Danny.
Merry Christmas Smileys and Wine Enthusiasts!
In today’s blog post, I am going to share with you all of the wines that I got for Christmas. Watch the video below and continue reading for tasting notes on each wine.
19 Crimes: The Banished, 2018
Notes of berry and spice. This wine was fruit forward with a hint of sweetness. I would consider it to be light to medium bodied.
Llano Estacado Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018
This Cabernet has notes of baking spices, brown sugar, pepper and dark fruit on the nose followed by notes of caramel and vanilla on the palate.
Vacuum Seals and Pump
This keeps your wine fresh by removing the oxygen from the wine bottle. Visit the products page on this blog to order from my website or from Amazon.
Bookbinder’s Apprentice, 1st Edition White Wine
Bookbinder is a fruit forward wine with notes of green apple, melon and peach. It pairs well with sushi, salads, and soft cheeses. This is my favorite white wine to date.
Middle Jane Zinfandel, 2017
This Zinfandel has notes of black cherry, strawberry balsamic and clove on the nose with notes of blackberry jam, plum and sweet spice on the palate. It pairs well with pizza, barbecue and gouda.
This is a Chilean red wine blend with notes of black cherry and earth. This full-bodied wine pairs well with seasoned red meats and hard cheeses.
Gallivant Zinfandel, 2018
This Zinfandel has notes of boysenberry, orange peel and strawberries. It pairs well with hearty foods; such as, tomato based pastas, pork, and barbecue.
Middle Jane, Red Wine Blend, 2018
This red blend has notes of blueberry, black cherry and red plum along with violet, spice and a hint of caramelized sugar. Pair with pork and lamb.
I hope you enjoyed watching me unbox the wines that I will be trying in the New Year. I also hope you enjoyed reading the tasting notes and that you got an idea of wines that you would like to try as well. Leave a comment below sharing which wines you will be trying in 2021! As always, thank you for continuing to visit my blog this year and I look forward to having you return. It has been my privilege and a true joy sharing my wine journey with you.
Until Next Time, Salu’d, XOXO, Smiling Danny
Head on over to my webpage: http://www.scoutandcellar.com/smilingdanny if you are interested in purchasing any of the Scout and Cellar Wines mentioned above. Also, click on the products tab on this blog, to check out some awesome wine gadgets and accessories.
Happy New Year!
Hello Smileys and Wine Enthusiasts,
I wanted to invite you all along with me as I tasted this delicious White Wine Blend by Scout and Cellar. It has notes of green apple, melon and peach and pairs well with sushi, salads and soft cheeses. This wine is crisp, fruity and contains 13.1% abv (alcohol by volume). The grape varietal is a Colombard grape that was planted in California. Colombard grapes are a combination of Chenin Blanc and Gouais Blanc grapes. This wine has medium acidity and is quite refreshing.
You will see in this video that pairing this wine with a cucumber salad really opened up the melon notes in the wine. Although I used a hard cheese in my dish, the wine also hi-lighted the subtle spice of the jalapeno in the Muenster cheese. Typically, the wine pairs nicely with soft cheeses; such as: brie, cream cheese, feta, ricotta, Roquefort, gorgonzola, cottage cheese and Chevre’.
To find out more information about this wine or to purchase, visit my website at: http://www.scoutandcellar.com/smilingdanny.
As always, Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for supporting me for another year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from My Wine Cellar to Yours! XOXO, Smiling Danny
Danny’s Cucumber Salad consists of cucumber, roma tomatoes and jalapeno muenster diced and mixed with 1 tsp of white vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Hi Smileys and Wine Enthusiasts!
In this post, I will be sharing with you how to taste wine. The three S’s in tasting wine are: Sight, Smell and Sip.
First, examine the color of the wine. The color of the wine will tell you a little bit about the body and the flavors of the wine. The lighter the color, the lighter the body and flavor notes and vice versa. Looking at the color of the wine is also very important when comparing wines with each other. When comparing a Sauvignon Blanc with a Chardonnay, you will see that the Chardonnay will have a deep golden yellow color; whereas, the Blanc will be a soft pale yellow. When tasting the two, you will notice that the Chardonnay will have richer flavor notes and a heavier body than the Blanc. While the Blanc will taste crisp, light and refreshing on the palate.
The next step in tasting wine is to smell. You will want to start off by gently swirling your glass of wine. This will oxygenate the wine and release the aromas in your glass. Next, put your nose in the glass, take a deep breath and breathe in the wine. By the third sniff, you should smell the different flavors that you will possibly taste on your palate.
Now it’s time for the best part. Sip the wine and get a good taste. Gently swirl the wine around your mouth, letting the wine coat your cheeks. Breath in your nose as you take a sip and begin identifying the flavors that you are tasting. After tasting your wine, think about other wines that you have had and start making comparisons. Make mental notes about what you may or may not have enjoyed about the wine.
What I love most about wine tasting is that I feel like I am on an adventure every time I try a new one. It is very important in your wine tasting journey that you explore the world around you. Try new foods, explore new places, and be adventurous. You wouldn’t believe how smelling the flowers at your local grocer or florist shop will help you pick up on the different floral notes in a wine. Try new fruits and smell them. All of this helps in identifying flavor notes in your wine.
Well Smileys, I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite wine and your most unique tasting note.
Salu’d, XOXO, Smiling Danny
Hi Smileys and Wine Enthusiasts!
A couple of exciting things have happened recently: First, I aced my exam and received my Level 1 Award in Wines. Also, I’m so excited to announce that I am now an Independent Wine Consultant with Scout and Cellar Wines.
Scout and Cellar Wines are always Clean Crafted, which means they are free of synthetic pesticides and chemical additives.
In Today’s post, I thought I would bring you along with me as I unboxed my Kit.
Check out my website:
– To Buy for Yourself, Friends or Family
-To Start Christmas Gift Shopping
-To Participate in 12 Days of Giftmas, where you get 20% off of the bottle of wine picked for the day.
– To Join the Wine Club
Here is a link to my debut site: https://scoutandcellar.com/eventshare/P121244/?u=smilingdanny
You can also find a link to my website on the “Products” tab.
Thank You for Your Support and for Joining me in this Journey!
Salu’d, XOXO, Smiling Danny
Hi Smiley’s and Wine Enthusiasts,
This month I am so excited to share with you my pairing of Texas Wines and Thanksgiving inspired hors d’ oeuvres. The wines range from the Texas Hill Country all the way to the High Plains. Be sure to grab your notepad because you are going to want to try these delicious pairings yourself.
What’s on the Menu:
Meat: Smoked Honey Cured Ham and Cracked Pepper Roasted Turkey Breast
Bread: Sweet Cornbread
Cheese: Cranberry Orange Goat Cheese
Fruit: Opal Apple Slices
Tasting Notes and Pairings:
Becker Vineyards: Chardonnay, 2018
This dry, white wine has notes of honey and pineapple. The wine paired nicely with the cranberry orange goat cheese, opal apple slices and the cracked pepper roasted turkey breast.
Becker Vineyards: Viognier, 2019
This is a dry, white wine with peach and floral notes on the nose and palate. Because of the fruit notes, the wine paired nicely with the apple slices and the goat cheese. This Viognier can easily be paired with the turkey or ham that you choose on your menu.
I think both wines complemented the charcuterie plate well. The wines did not overpower the food bite nor did the food bite overpower the wine. However, what I look for in pairings is for me to recognize the original notes in the wine and the flavors of the dish. In addition, I like to discover new flavor profiles from the combining of the two. Here, I didn’t pick up on any additional notes when I included the food bite in the tasting.
McPherson Cellars: La Herencia Red Table Wine, 2017
This is a dry, red wine with notes of berry and earth. Pairing this alongside the peppered turkey really opened up those earth notes in the wine. Also, the sweet cornbread created this umami profile in the mouth. Delicious!
Llano Estacado: Cellar Reserve Texas Red Blend, Limited Release
Now you know that I am in LOVE with Llano’s 1836, but this wine right here came in to a close second. I really enjoyed this wine. It is a dry, red wine, (of course, my fav) with notes of berry, earth and pepper. What I truly enjoyed about this wine is that I could taste the berry on the palate. Often, I pick up berry in the nose but it is rare that I will actually taste berry on the palate with the dry reds that I have tried thus far. This wine paired phenomenally with the ham and the goat cheese. Pairing it with the cornbread reminded me of cake, so that was a treat.
Next Up, Desserts!
Heath Sparkling Wine: Adoration, 2017
This is a dry, sparkling wine with notes of floral, apple, cranberry and cherry. It has a rose gold hue and lots of bubbles. This wine paired perfectly with the strawberries, chocolate bars and apple slices.
English Newson Cellars: Spider Rock Bourbon Barrel Aged Dessert Wine
This is a sweet, dessert wine with notes of raisin, pecan and chocolate. It tastes like every layer of my German Chocolate Cake! The wine paired nicely with all of the desserts, and when pairing, it created new flavors on my palate. I get really excited when this happens. Here are the creations below:
Now, is your mouth watering or what!! I hope that you enjoyed this post as much as I did and that you try some of the wines and food bites mentioned. If you do, be sure to leave a comment here or on my Instagram page. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and I look forward to sharing with you again soon.
XOXO, Smiling Danny
Check out these products below. I absolutely love my wine saver pump and stoppers. They are great for when you have left over wine and you want to keep the oxygen from getting in and changing the notes and flavors. There is also a special one for sparkling wines that I adore. The sparkling wine saver ensures that your wine doesn’t go flat. Click on the picture to find out more information about the products and to purchase. Thank you so much for supporting me and for checking out these products.