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 I’m going to share with you my experience visiting Heath Sparkling Wines in Fredericksburg, Texas.
This one was an interesting visit in that I really didn’t get to make any tasting notes. Normally, when visiting a vineyard I learn about the grapes, tour the grounds and hear stories about how the owners started their work in the wine industry. Due to so many new rules and regulations during this pandemic the tasting wasn’t quite the experience that I would have gotten if I had arrived on any other given day. While there, I was hoping to learn some tips about tasting sparkling wines and there were a few additional questions that I had. However, the tasting felt rushed, there weren’t any tours and there wasn’t any history or sparkling wine tips given during the tasting. I literally took a sip, took a bite, sipped again and moved on.
Although this pandemic has created a form of chaos in the wine industry, I am all about making the most of my experience. What I did enjoy were the delicious pairings, the friendliness of the staff, the beauty of the courtyard, and the quietness of sipping my sparkling wine near the water fountain. And most of all, I enjoyed who I shared this experience with.
The tasting consisted of four sparkling wines accompanied with four delicious pairings created by their Chef. Each tasting was delicious but my favorite wine and favorite pairing was the Blanc de Blancs paired with a Watermelon Feta Salad.
All in all, although times have changed, that doesn’t mean that your spirit and joy have to as well. Make each day count. Cherish those special moments that you have with your loved ones while you can. And most of all: KEEP SMILING! In the meantime, I look forward to returning and discovering more of what Heath Sparkling Wines has to offer.
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.
During this time of chaos and panic; let’s remember to support our local wineries and small businesses. So many businesses and families are being affected in ways that transcend the virus itself. So if you can, spend local and shop local. Below is a list of Texas wineries that are offering wine discounts, curbside service, free delivery, shipping services and virtual wine classes. Check out their websites to get additional information on the service(s) they are offering.
Fall Creek Vineyards
18059 Farm to Market Road 1826; Driftwood, TX 78619
I’m sure there are many more wineries that are offering services but these are the ones that I know of thus far. If you know of any more that you would like me to add, feel free to comment below or on Instagram.
I thought I’d kick off the month with a simple and delicious wine recipe. And since we have been encouraged to stay home this month; this month’s posts will be filled with tastings from my wine stash. Bon Apetit!
You will need:
2 Cups of clean and sliced mushrooms (brown)
2 Cups of Dry Red wine. Add more if it doesn’t touch the top of the mushrooms. You want the wine to cover the mushrooms but you don’t want the mushrooms to drown in the wine.
Combine wine and mushrooms in a quart sized pot. Set temperature to high to bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, drop temperature to low for 10 to 15 minutes until your liquid boils down.
Serve and enjoy.
This dish can be served alongside red or white meat. Tonight, the mushrooms were served alonside pot roast, roasted pork loin and grilled chicken. The accompanied sides were sauteed spinach and buttered red potatoes. Deeelicious!
The wine that I chose this evening was from Llano Estacado Winery. It was their 2013 Due Compaesani. This wine has notes of raisin and spice. It has full tannins and was enjoyed as a night cap. Because I have had this wine for a while, I thought it would be the perfect cooking wine.
Wine tip: the longer you have a wine, the tasting notes may change.
I hope you enjoyed this Wine Wednesday Recipe and I look forward to sharing more with you in the weeks ahead!
As you can see, I have not posted much this month. Each day goes by with its daily list of to-do’s and before you know it, you have missed out on important and special moments. Seeing how it has been strongly recommended to stay home during this time of panic and chaos; I have been determined to enjoy every little moment while I can. I hope this month you are first trusting in God; placing all of your cares and worries in His hands. I hope you are enjoying memories with your family, they won’t be here forever and neither will we. I hope you are making the most of each day; reading, enjoying your hobbies, listening to music, finishing those projects that never seem to get done. And lastly, I hope you are enjoying a nice bottle of wine.
Below is the dinner that we had last night. Simple and delicious. No special notes other than we enjoyed a few of our favorite things…
Dinner: Honey Mustard Turkey Legs with Cornbread Dressing and Blanched Green Beans.
Pairing: Angry Orchard-Green Apple
Tasting Notes: This pairing gave fall vibes with memories of Thanksgiving. The Cider did not take away from the meal; instead, it was like having an apple tart for dessert.
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.