This week was particularly interesting as I came across something that I have never seen or heard before: Non-Alcoholic WIne! I have heard of non-alcoholic beer but never have seen this with wine. When I came across the bottle I decided that I would give it a try. So I went ahead and purchased a bottle of Fre Wine, White Zinfandel. The taste was very interesting in that you can taste the different fruit notes but then there is a third mysterious taste that seems familiar; but, I can’t quite place it. It almost tastes like alcohol but not so much. It reminded me of a wine cooler. The wine had aromas of strawberries and strawberry jell-o with palate notes of strawberries and raspberries.
So how is this possible?
Well, we know the basic wine making process consists of Sugar + Yeast —-> (Fermentation) = Alcohol.
Fre uses the traditional winemaking methods to make their wines; however, they gently remove the wine after the fermentation process is complete.
So, isn’t this the same as Juice?
No, juice is a lot sweeter because the grapes have not been fermented. Since these grapes have gone through the fermentation process, the sugar has been removed. Therefore; the wine is a lot less sweeter and still maintains the prominent characteristics that were preserved during the winemaking process. Also, this wine still contains less than 0.5% alcohol. For a frame of reference, this is the amount of alcohol in Kombucha (for those who drink Kombucha).
Pairing and Recipe:
I paired this wine with chopped steak and balsamic brussels sprouts and it was quite delicious.
Visit http://www.frewines.com for several mocktail recipes. But as you know adding Cranberry Juice and a spritz of lime juice will always My Go-To!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Comment below if you decide to give this wine a try.
Today is a day of double delights because I will be featuring two wines in today’s blog post in honor of Cinco de Mayo and because it’s Taco Tuesday!
The first wine that I will be sharing with you is a White Wine Sangria by Eppa. This Sangria was a surprising treat that reminded me of Talenti’s Mango sorbet. The bouquet had notes of peach, white grape, mango popsicle and candy dancing throughout my senses. The wine is very sweet and quite refreshing. If you are a sweet wine lover, you would enjoy this wine. This wine is also versatile as you can add other ingredients to make this even more of a special treat.
Recipe: Berry Sangria
You Will Need:
1 Bottle of Eppa White Sangria
1 Cup of Berries
1 Cup of Seltzer
Mint Leaves (optional)
Add Sangria and berries to a pitcher. Stir. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Then add seltzer and stir once more. Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves.
The second wine that I will be sharing with you is a Red Wine Sangria by La Diosa Cellars. Notes of citrus and fruit punch danced across my palate and left me wanting more. I loved the delicate notes of sweetness, followed by the subtle crescendos of citrus. This reminded me of my favorite candy: Sweetarts. La Diosa Cellars, meaning: The Goddess, celebrates the talent of artists and their artistry and is a true gem and local favorite in the city of Lubbock, Tx.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that your day is full of love, laughter and joy. Let me know your tasting notes on these wines in the comments below or on Instagram.
Wine: 99 West Pinot Gris, 2018, Williamette Valley, Oregon
Pairing: Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos on top a Broccoli Slaw and a Fruit Salad.
Tasting Notes: I have noticed that when tasting Pinot Gris’/Pinot Grigio’s, most of the time the notes I pick up are crisp, clean, refreshing and citrus. I don’t always pick- up additional notes; despite Vinter, location and year. Through research, I found that this is common for this grape varietal. Here I pick up hints of pear and peach and because the wine is so clean, I get some mineral notes. The clarity reminds me of a shiny 24 karat gold and the wine is very clear. My cheeks are nice and moist; showcasing the beautiful acidity in the wine. The wine is perfect for a nice Spring or Summer day and paired well with this grilled fish dinner. The lemon and lime seasonings in the fish paired nicely with the citrus notes in the wine. Also, the green apples in my fruit salad paired nicely with the wine as well. Pinot Gris’ are known to be fruit forward wines.
Pinot Gris and Oregon
Pinot Gris is the second most planted grape varietal in Oregon. The grape varietal does very well in this area due to the climate and the location. Furthermore, Oregon has similar geographical characteristics as the Burgundy and Alsatian regions of France; where the grape originated. Oregon is a cooled climate, moderate temperatured area with long hours of sunshine. These consistent weather conditions allow the grape varietal to ripen slowly; which is ideal for the grape.
Pinot Gris: The Grape Varietal
Pinot Gris’ are usually picked early. This is why the wine tends to be light and fruity. The wine is best consumed within five to six years of bottling. The grape varietal thrives in cooler climates because this allows the grape to fully ripen. Oregon Pinot Gris’ are usually Medium bodied, have a balanced acidity and pair wonderfully with food. The skin of the grape ranges from blue-gray to pinkish-brown and if you hold the wine up to the light, you can see hues of pink flowing your glass.
I hope that you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the Pinot Gris grape varietal and that you enjoyed this tasting. Leave a comment below of the different notes that you tasted in the wine.
How many of you have wine left from the “Sweet Wine with Your Sweetheart” Series? Have you been wondering what to do with the leftovers? Well, I have two delicious wine cocktail recipes just for you!
Red Wine Sangria
You will need:
1/2c Roscato Sweet Red
1/4c Cranberry Juice
1/4c Simply Lemonade
1 Tbs Lime Juice
1/2 of a Raspberry Orange peeled and squeezed (This fruit is seasonal)
1 Raspberry Orange segment for Garnish
Fill up half of your wine glass with ice. Then in the order listed above add all of your ingredients. Be sure to squeeze the juice of the oranges into the glass before adding the segments. Next, add your garnish. Give it a nice stir and enjoy!
White Wine Sangria
You will need:
1/2c Stella Rosa Moscato D’Asti
1/4c Apple Juice
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
3 Strawberries Sliced Veritcally
1 Whole Strawberry for Garnish
Fill up half of your wine glass with ice. Next, add your sliced strawberries. Then in the the order listed above add the rest of your ingredients. Give it a nice stir and refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow the juice from the strawberries to seep in the Sangria. After 15 minutes, give it a nice stir, garnish and enjoy.
I hope you enjoy these wine cocktail recipes! Spring is right around the corner and these cocktails will be a refreshing treat to enjoy on these upcoming beautiful days.
Today’s wine of choice is a dessert wine. And I thought I would do something extra special by incorporating a local favorite into the Series. All the way from Fort Worth, Tx I am sharing with you Cowtown Winery’s: Texas Gold.
Wine: Texas Gold, Cherry Chocolate
Tasting Notes: This is a dessert wine with notes of black cherry, mocha, espresso and chocolate. The notes of chocolate and cherry were added to the wine. This wine reminds me of a port so I used wine tasting glasses as my glassware of choice. The wine has a dark chocolate play on a cherry cordial due to the notes of espresso and mocha. Coffee and Chocolate lovers will absolutely love this wine. The wine is extremely sweet, so those of you who enjoy sweet wines and/or sweet desserts will fall in love with this treasure.
I hope this series has been giving you some great ideas on wines to try. Let me know which ones are your favorite thus far by commenting below or on Instagram.
XOXO, Smiling Danny
In case you are wondering: What are Tasting Glasses? Tasting glasses are little wine glasses big enough only for one ounce pours. You will usually find them at wineries. Sometimes, wineries will use these instead of full sized glasses when going through a tasting menu.
Next in the Series is a Sweet Red Italian wine. This wine was recommended to me by the Wine Manager at Market Street Supermarkets.
Wine: Roscato Rosso Dolce
Bouquet: Grape Popsicle, Cranberry Juice, and Cherry Cordial
Taste: Fizzy Port, Cough Syrup, Very Sweet
Pairing: This wine paired nicely with cheese. The cheeses of choice were Parmesan and Babybel. I served the cheese with toasted crackers and noticed that the wine made the cheeses the star of the show. I preferred the wine with the cheese versus by itself.
Taste: Notes of cherry, blackberry and red raspberry
Pairing: Barbecue, spicy dishes, and pasta with red or cream sauce
I hope you are enjoying this series thus far. Leave a comment on here or Instagram letting me know which wine you have enjoyed the most.
I am back with another Sweet Wine. This wine is indeed a SWEEeeet one but I have truly enjoyed it. The wine that I have for you this week is a Moscato D’Asti. Anytime you see D’Asti, know that the wine will be an Italian wine with a hint of effervescence. Asti is a province in Northwest Italy. Due to the wine being sweet and low in alcohol, it is considered to be a dessert wine.
Taste: Apricot, Honey, Effervescence. The sweetness of the wine is not overbearing.
Clarity: Clear, No legs
Pairing: Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries: The chocolate on the strawberries hi-lited the effervescence in the wine. The bitterness of the dark chocolate and the sweet wine blended together so eloquently causing a nice melted chocolate effect on the palate.
Vintor’s Pairing Suggestions: Fresh Fruit, Spicy dishes and Desserts
I hope you enjoy this wine and wine pairing as much as I did. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. Until Next Week, XOXO, Smiling Danny
Are you ready for Valentines Day? This month I thought that I would do a Sweet Wine Series. So each week this month I will be trying out sweet wines and leaving tasting notes right here on the blog. Consider this my labor of love as many of you know I am not a fan of sweet wine.
This week I tried the Sparkling Rose’ by Cupcake Vineyards. Unfortunately, I assumed that this would be a sweet wine especially since I found it displayed with the sweet wines; however, it is not sweet at all! This wine reminds me of a dry Prosecco. The good news about that is that this wine makes a great pairing wine for fruit and a great base for wine cocktails. The Vintor’s notes state that this wine delivers notes of raspberry, strawberry and floral. I didn’t pick up any of those notes. The Vintor also suggests pairing this wine with shrimp ceviche or fresh blooms. I tried this wine with shrimp and didn’t particularly care for it but I did enjoy it with some blueberries and grapes. I also made a nice wine cocktail with this wine. I think that you will enjoy it, especially for those of you who enjoy spending Valentine’s Day with your friends as well.
Remember in my “Wine 101” post (October 14, 2019) that I mentioned that wines are identified by their grape varietal or by the region in which it was produced? Well, I thought that this year I would post about some different grape varietals so that you will know a little bit about the grape and its characteristics when tasting and buying wine. Of course this is not an exact all be all because weather conditions, soil, climate, and production all come into play when it comes to the final taste of the wine. These notes that I share with you will just be a foundation or springboard as you began to explore wine yourself. As you try several of the same grape varietal, you will notice the consistencies in the wine.
The first grape that I would like to introduce to you is Cabernet Sauvignon. It is the world’s most famous grape and it is grown in every vineyard around the world. At least every vineyard that I have visited or researched. It is also the most successful red grape in California although it has a dusty blue hue. Cabernet was introduced to the United States of America in the 19th Century by way of Bordeaux, France. This grape is a grape that maintains its characteristics. Despite the blend or where it has been produced, Cabernets will hold its character. In a recent post, I mentioned that the Cabernet that I tasted, tasted like a true Cabernet. What I meant by that was that Cabernets have distinct characteristics that are always apparent despite its vintor, location, or the weather conditions that it was exposed to while growing.
Cabernet wine has powerful notes of black currant, dark chocolate and plum. When it is aged in oak, the notes will place emphasis on the minerality of the wine. Other notes that you may pick up in a Cabernet are dried fruit, savory spice and game meat. Cabernets have perfect tannins and range from light bodied to full bodied. Cabernets typically will be dry and pair well with following:
Cheese: Cheddar, Gorgonzola
Meat: Venison, Ribeye, Beef Stew
Fish: Grilled Tuna
Fruit: Black Cherries
Vegetables: Broccoli, Tomatoes
Sauces: Brown Gravy, Tomato Sauce
Herbs and Spices: Rosemary, Juniper, Lavender
Dessert: Bittersweet Chocolate, Gelato
I could go on and on but don’t want to overwhelm you with information. I hope that you find this post helpful as you explore one of my favorite wines: Cabernet Sauvignon.
Taste: I truly enjoyed this one over the Dry Riesling. For those of you who prefer sweet wines this wine is sweet but not overbearing. The wine reminds me of a delicate flower finishing off with a hint of effervescence. My palate was left with crisp notes of apple and pear.
Region: Mosel, Germany. Mosel is located in the Far Western region of Germany. This area is known to provide perfect weather conditions for Riesling grapes because the vines are exposed to the sun, the soil contains a good amount of minerals and the cool climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly. This slow ripening process allows the grapes to fully develop it’s flavor and keep it’s levels of acidity.
Pairing Suggestions: I have had this wine in the past with Clam Chowder. It was DELICIOUS! I would also pair this wine with fruit, delicate seafood dishes, mild and creamy cheeses, and maybe a slice of cheesecake.