December 31, 2008

What's Poppin' For 2009?

It's hard to believe that yet another year has come and gone. And while this year has left a lasting impression on our hearts and minds, it's also left one on our wallets. Below, we've culled together a list of the best champagnes within all sorts of budgets. Afterall its New Years and everyone deserves a little bubbly.

Tier One ($100+)
  • Perrier-Jouet Cuvee Fleur de Champagne - predominatley made of Chardonnay grapes, this light, almost citrus-like champagne is romantic in both taste and presentation. Even the decidantly artistic bottle exudes a class all its own, so its no wonder that this champagne is noted as one of the worlds best. Cost: $175/bottle
  • Krug Grande Cuvée - this multi-faceted wine combines decadent aromas often not experienced in wine tasting, like that of coconut and leather, with complex tastes of roasted coffee and nuts. Cost: $180/bottle

Tier Two ($50-100)

  • Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label -- awarded 88 points from Wine Spectator and cost-friendly to your pocket, it's no wonder this champagne is my personal favorite. Predominatley made of the Pinot Noir grape, this champagne boasts almond, honey and ginger flavors. Cost: $40/bottle

  • Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial - known for its White Star Line class, this rose is from the Champagne region of France and blends together Pinor Noir, Pino Meunier and Chardonnay grapes for a full-bodied, lively, yet fruity character. Cost: $50/bottle

  • Taittinger La Francaise Brut - earning 92 points from Wine Spectator, this champagne has been described as a "fine, very pure style." It offers both deep fruit flavors (like apple and pear) that are rich and complex to the palate. Cost: $40/bottle
Tier Three (up to $50)
  • Korbel Extra Brut - you don't have to pay an arm and a lef for good sparkling wine! When the money is low, but the celebration is in order, try this crisp, extra dry variety which is both light, refreshing and easy on the wallet. You'll taste an array of fruits, including citrus cherry, fig and melon. Cost: $10/bottle

  • Pommery 2002 Brut Gold POP Vintage Mini - looking for something classy to sip, but wanting to be a wee bit selfish and dovour to all to yourself? Well, thats my plan! And these super trendy mini champagne bottles will have you looking glamourous as the ball drops at midnight. Contained in a 175mL mini bottle, this bubbly tastes natural on the tongue with touches of creaminess and citrus fruits. Cost: $15/bottle

December 29, 2008

The Best Hostess Gifts

Right about now you're probably doing like me... packing up gifts, cleaning the house, slowly preparing for a new year, and maybe even attempting to burn off some of those excess calories that were a direct result of binging on cookies and miscellanous beverages. But just because the holidays are wrapping up, doesn't mean that giving has to.

Here are the top five gifting suggestions that didn't make the cut into the "12 Days of Wine Gifts" this year, but deserve an honorable mention as the best options for gifting the host/hostess of your upcoming New Years souirees:

  • Formaggio Cheese Set - this oval bamboo cutting board with slide out drawers is perfect for both a casual night in or a small dinner party. Includes 1 hard cheese knife, 1 cheese shaver, 1 fork-tipped cheese knife, and 1 cheese spreader. Couple it with a nice Brie and bottle of Merlot and your host (and their guests) will be most appreciative!

  • Harmony Wine Case - great for the entertainer that likes to share his appreciation of wine outside the confines of his own home. With 2 wine glasses, 1 corkscrew, 1 nickel plated bottle stopper and 2 cotton napkins, you can easily transport the party anywhere. Perfect for a concert, romantic day in the park, or even a house party.

  • Picnic Sticks - going to an outdoor party or planning a romantic New Years on the beach? Give the gift of wining outdoors with these stainless steel sticks that help to balance your wine bottles and stemware in any outdoor setting. Just push one (or several) into the grass or sand for spill-free wining and dining.

  • Picnic Backpack - perfect for gifting the hostess with the "mostest" (and by mostest, we mean children), this picnic backpack comes complete with all the necessities for a fun family day out, including plates, goblets, flatware and napkins for 4. It's also a great option for the times when the little Bobby and Susie aren't around. Mom and Dad can enjoy a wine tasting out at the park with the kits included bread knife, wooden cutting board, salt and pepper shakers and a sommelier's corkscrew. It even has a detachable wine cooler and sable-gray felt blanket.

  • Wine Aerator - with this fun little gadget you can aerate wine in seconds for better taste. The Vinturi Wine Aerator mixes the right amount of air with your wine at the precise moments, allowing both reds or whites to breathe instantly resulting in a better bouquet, enhanced flavor, and a smoother finish. Afterall, if you're drinking wine at their party, you might as well enjoy it more yourself (there's no selfishness in that, is there?)

December 24, 2008

The Last Day of Christmas

It's officially Christmas Eve, and just before I pop a bottle of red AND white, I figured it was time to finalize our holiday countdown by saving the best wine gift for last. And though it may be just hours before Santa pops down the chimney or before the Hannukah candles are lit, its never to late for one last special gift... especially for someone you really love.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

We've counted down with some of the best wines, greatest stocking stuffers, and even some fun wine accessories... but no gift says "Happy Holidays" like a toast in one of California's finest, Sonoma Valley.

Our friends at Travel Zoo have a fantastic offer valid just after the holidays! Just 12 minutes West of Napa Valley, rooms at the 4-Diamond Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa go for more than $400 per night. But during early January you can stay for just $179 (plus some extra goodies). This package includes a few free drinks at the hotel bar, a bottle of wine in-room, evening wine tastings and spa access (did I mention the resort is known for their thermal mineral baths? Sign me up!)

Each spa pass includes the following:
  • Use of a signature Bathing Ritual, featuring an exfoliating shower, mineral water soaking pools, an herbal steam, a dry sauna and cool-down showers

  • Participation in all scheduled fitness classes

  • Use of the state-of-the-art fitness center and deluxe locker room facilities
  • Use of the bathhouse lounge and the outdoor spa loggia

  • Use of the outdoor thermal mineral pools and whirlpool

Sonoma is home to many renowned wineries, and filled with steeping views of vineyards, acclaimed restaurants, elegant spas and simple charm. Check out Best In Sonoma's vineyard directory and plan a visit to one, two, or many!

Where To Purchase: Travel Zoo

Cost: $179/night (valid Jan 5-12)

December 22, 2008

Luxury Wine for Less

Check out today's story on that highlights some semifancy wines and champagnes to drink over the holidays, including my personal fav, Veuve Clicquot. Visit:

December 21, 2008

On the Eleventh Day of Wine Gifts

It's a bittersweet time here in WinoBee Land. We are inching closer to the holidays (we're talking single digits people), and as fun as its been to pick some of the best wine gifts for this season, I'm ready to uncork some vino for myself and get to sippin'! Well, not to tease you, but we're just not yet ready - afterall we still have two gifts, so here goes nothing...

On the Eleventh Day of Wine Gifts...
Going to a wine bar or even to classes at a local culinary school are two great outlets for WinoBees, like myself, looking to further expand their knowledge of the various attributes of all sorts of wines. 

But another simple way to do so is in the comfort of your own home surrounded by your friends and family. The folks at BlindWine® developed a fun little wine tasting game that not only challenges your senses and is perfect for hosting a small party of up to 12 people, but it will help you to expand your palate and help you better recognize different grape varietals.

The game includes step-by-step instructions, wine labels, bags (for up to 6 bottles), scoring rules and tools, and more. Who doesn't love a little laughter, competition and learning all mixed into one? Check out this video which explains everything:

Where to Buy:
Cost: $19.99

December 20, 2008

On the Tenth Day of Wine Gifts

On the Tenth Day of Wine Gifts...

We always chat about our basic reds and whites, but we (meaning I) have seriously started to neglect one of my personal favs, champagne! After all, champagne is synonymous with celebration, so why not pick up these terrific flutes for your loved one just in time to ring in 2009.

Exclusively from RedEnvelope, these sophisticated glass champagne flutes hold 6oz. of your favorite bubbly and celebrate the traditional toasting word in four international languages: "Cheers" for English, "Sante" in French, "Salut" in Italian and "Prost" in German. 

Where to Buy:

Cost: $45/set

On the Ninth Day of Wine Gifts...

Can we just blame my lack of punctual posting on the fact that its the holiday season? We all know that the holidays in turn lead to festivities, which in turn lead to me sipping too much wine in the course of one week (but at least I can consider it "homework," right?) 

Nonetheless, despite the countless number of glasses I (and my liver) have indulged in this week- which included a combination of Virtu white, Muscato di Asti, Pouilly Fume Sauvignon Blanc and a random cheap Cab from the local bar - I think its time I start wrapping up the holiday gift countdown - after all we only have 5 days until Christmas! So here goes my attempt at a back-to-back post of gifts #9 and #10...

On the Ninth Day of Wine Gifts...

Conveniently I'm "celebrating" again this weekend, and my sister thought it would be appropriate to give me one of my stocking stuffers a little bit early for sake of the blog... and I'm glad she did. Close your eyes or bypass this post if you get easily offended (let that serve as my disclaimer).
Provocatively named, R Wines "Bitch" Wine is 100% made from Grenache grapes grown in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. What's truley unique about this 25-year old vineyard is that the vines are grown in sand over clay. 

So I must admit that I haven't actually tasted this wine yet, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. Even if its the worst wine you could possibly drink (which I doubt its not since Grenache is one of the more difficult grapes to grow), the name and bottle are still enough to provide a good laugh. For those who just can't wait until I do a later review of the wine, I've included an expected experience below:

Expected Experience -- Ripe with spices and a rich juicy concentration, Bitch is also intensely perfumed by characters of the sandy soil and dark berries.

Where to Buy: K&L Wines 

Cost: $12/bottle

December 15, 2008

On the Eighth Day of Wine Gifts...

It's only fair to balance out of our holiday selection with gifts of all sizes and prices. So our next pick is a great stocking stuffer, full of fun with less the cost... and perfect for the wine lover in your life.

One the eighth day of wine gifts... 
Brookstone's "Talking Wine Charms" are fun and festive for any occasion- a holiday party, wine tasting party or even a simple girls night in. Each charm has its own color and wine-inspired sayings. For the lush in the group, give them the glass thats labeled "call me a cab." For the flirty guest, tag them with the "I'm a little tart" charm. With 12 different medallions, there's fun for everyone in the group. Each charm magnetically snaps and closes into place around the stem of your glass. 

Where to Buy: Brookstone

Cost: $15/set

December 14, 2008

On the Seventh Day of Wine Gifts...

Last night my sister and brother-law hosted their annual holiday extravaganza. Each year is filled with festive hors devours and flowing vino, so nonetheless I gained some inspiration for our next wine gift from one of the most special wines I think I've ever tasted...

On the seventh day of wine gifts...

The '05 Joseph Phelps Insignia from Napa Valley may only be labeled as simply a "dry red wine," but it combines memorable tastes of (predominately) cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot and retails for around $179/bottle. The blend exudes a brilliant darkened ruby color, and although big in flavor, is very smooth to the taking. You'll definitley taste combination of flavors, like black cherry, currant, blackberries, and even a little dose of pepper.

Considering this is a full-bodied red, you'll be delighted that its tannin levels are not overly powerly, nor is the combination powerfully acidic. Grab a bottle for your loved one, or for someone celebrating something special - its the perfect option to sip by the fireside or hold off and drink years down the road.

December 8, 2008

On the Sixth Day of Wine Gifts...

We're half way through our holiday round-up, and today's choice comes actually half as a suggestion from Twitter tweeps and half through my own experience with the product. So consider this a gift guide "slash" wine review.

On the sixth day of wine gifts...

St. Supery's 2-bottle "Essential" gift packs represent the most popular St. Supery wines. Each comes in a decorative gift box with personalized gift card. Options include:
  • Virtu/Elu - $79
  • Sauvignon Blanc/Cabernet - $52
  • Merlot/Cabernet - $52
  • Dollarhide Cabernet/Dollarhide Sauvignon Blanc - $98
  • Rutherford Cabernet/Dollarhide Sauvignon Blanc - $136
This 2-pack offer is available through December 14th - so hurry! Visit St. Supery to purchase. 

Need a suggestion on which to choose (segway into the psuedo wine review)? My pick goes to the Virtu/Elu combination. Both are blends of classic Bordeaux grape varietals from the St. Supery estate. Virtu is my personal favorite - its simple and refined taste pairs exquisitely with spicy foods. You can taste a variety of mouthwatering fruits, like peaches and nectarines, which do not overpower with sugar or acidic tastes. And the best can enjoy it now, or enjoy it later down the road.

December 7, 2008

On the Fifth Day of Wine Gifts...

I'm back in action following a few days stint down in Miami for the ever-popular Art Basel exhibitions. While "working" I had the opportunity to sip a few glasses of wine, one '05 Sauvignon Blanc, one '06 Pinot Noir, and various mixed cocktails. Who doesn't love a sponsored party in an art studio or on a rooftop? But, as always, I deviate - and the time has come to return to...

...the fifth day of wine gifts!

For the past few gifts we've put a lot of focus on wine and accessories to wine, but how about those items that are simply complimentary. Take for instance a celebration of wine and... cheese! This unique smooth-turning lazy Susan is the perfect serving tool whether you are hosting a gathering or having a simple romantic night for two. Crafted from an authentic oak wine barrel lid (with original markings), your next wine + cheese tasting is sure to be a festive classic.

Where to Buy:

Cost: $129

November 30, 2008

The Fourth Day of Wine Gifts...

On the fourth day of wine gifts, my true love gave to me...
Now, it probably would have made sense for me to unveil each of my selected wine gifts in a fashionable order (you know, like leading up to my favorite gift), but instead I decided to keep the price points mixed up and keep you guys guessing. Afterall, we do have winobees of all levels, so its only fair to mix and match according to an array of needs. With that being said, this next gift, is one for the books. When I uncovered it, I thought to myself, "Now who in their right mind wouldn't want that!?"
EuroCave, maker of the world's finest wine cellar, has developed the "pinnacle of wine preservation." The EuroCave SoWine Home Wine Bar chills and preserves opened bottles of wine!

The unique 2 bottle preservation and service unit allows you to keep uncorked wine for up to 10 days! How does it work? Just place your uncorked bottle inside, close the door, slide EuroCave's patented vacuum cylinder over the bottle neck, and set the desired temperature. No stoppers, pumps, or gases required!! The push down pump seals the bottle, ensuring the perfect vacuum to slow the further oxidation of the wine.

And to top it off, the EuroCave has two compartments, so that you can preserve one red and one white wine at their respective temperatures (or two reds, or two whites - whichever you prefer!)

Where To Buy:
Cost: $395

November 28, 2008

On the Third Day of Wine Gifts...

On the third day of wine gifts, my true love gave to me...

So you may think I'm old fashioned, or just behind the times, but I like to consider my next choice for wine gifting more of a "classic."

The Rabbit has been touted for the past few years as the best corkscrew for wine lovers of any level. Particularly for novices, the Rabbit's simple removal system, which consists of attaching to the bottle and flipping the lever, allows winos alike to depart with their precious wine cork in a mere 3 seconds. That's 3 seconds flat to go from bottle, to glass, to your mouth. Sign me up! Not to mention all the bypassing you will be able to do from having to muscle up and keep twisting your old corkscrew until the cork comes loose...

And while everyone loves a classic (especially one that's already been perfected), the maker's of the Rabbit decided to put a fresh new spin on their corkscrew by offering the Vertical Rabbit Corkscrew. Its glossy finish is still built for speed and precision! Plus, the die-cast zinc lever handle and non-stick worm keeps every maneuver smooth. The Rabbit stands ready in a hinged Lucite case with foil cutter and replacement worm, and its synthetic cork friendly. The most fun part... they are offered in fun colors. You can get your Rabbit in Gun Metal, Candy Apple Red, and Velvet Black. Oh, it also has the same 10-year warranty as the original too. Let's just say, I've already added this one to my stocking stuffer list!

Where to Buy: Wine Enthusiast

Cost: $59.95

Vino-Versity® BOOT CAMP

Reposting information from Vino-Versity® for their "BASIC TRAINING" BOOT CAMP for wine novices. Check out information below:

Tutorial Sit-Down Wine Lectures For Wine Rookies
$189 per person
Two 2.5 Hour "Basic Training" Classes

WHO? The founder and principal of NYC's foremost wine bar, Divine Bar, is prepared to take her private restaurant staff wine training public! She will conduct ongoing two-part lectures and tastings to teach wine novices everything they ever wanted to learn but were afraid to ask! Shari Schneider, a graduate of Cornell University, has formatted wine training lectures after those she attended at her alma mater and has already taught "Wines 101" at The New York Restaurant School as well as all her Divine Bar staff members for the past 12 years and counting. Here it is...the ONE and ONLY lecture you will ever have to attend to finally demystify wine!

WHAT? Two Lectures, 2.5 hours each part.
Part 1 Syllabus: *How wine is made (from grape growing to fermentation)* Definitions and explanations of corks, glasses, swirling, breathing, decanters, screw caps, varietals, "terroir", appellations, Old Vine, "Old World vs. New World", and wine-making jargon.*A tasting and explanation of 6 grape varietals (types) featuring:

1. A comparison between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc
2. A comparison of Chardonnays from around the globe
3.A comparison of Sauvignon Blancs from around the globe
4. A comparison of other fun and exciting white grapes

Part 2 Syllabus:*A comparison of differences between white and red grapes*An explanation of aging and Tannins*An explanation and comparison of Barrel Fermentation and Barrel Aging*A tasting and explanation of 10 grape varietals (types) featuring:

1. A comparison of Cabernet and Merlot
2. A comparison of Merlots from around the globe
3. A comparison of Cabernets from around the globe
4. A comparison of "Spicy" Grapes: Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel
5. A comparison of grapes/styles from "Old World" regions of Spain, Italy, & France
6. A tasting of native South American red grapes

WHERE? Divine Bar West / Upstairs Lounge 236 West 54th St. b/w 8th & Broadway.

WHEN? Two Consecutive Sundays (starting Jan. '09) from 5:30pm-8:00pm with an optional 1/2 hour for Q&A from 8:00pm-8:30pm. Advance reservations required, $189 per person. for schedule/times of classes.

WINE? Part 1 focuses on white grape varietals; Part 2 focuses on red grape varietals. Specific wines being poured each lecture will be determined each day and printed out for all students, along with helpful Vino-Versity take-home literature. Students can also take home their set of 3 Reidel Crystal Stemware after each lecture part (bags will be provided!) Students who enjoy the wines tasted at each lecture may also stay afterwards and enjoy many of them (and others) at the Divine Bar downstairs bar. A special password for a 20% online discount on all wine glasses and serviceware at will be offered to all Vino-Versity Basic Training graduates!

November 25, 2008

One the 2nd Day of Wine Gifts...

One the 2nd Day of Wine Gifts, my true love gave to me...

I recently posted a request on Twitter (@oenobee) to some of the top wine connoisseurs asking suggestions on their favorite products suitable for gifting this holiday season. W.R. Tish, former editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine ( mentioned a terrific book that I thought I would share with each of you... Mark Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine!

For winobees, like myself, itching to learn more about wine, but lacking the patience to do so, this guide synthesizes the top wine buzz into streamlined shortcuts. The book includes quotes and quick nuggets of pertinent wine information, celebrity wine profiles, and a survey on what people like to drink - a great way to help you know what to serve at your next soiree. It's a terrific option for any wine consumer. Consider it adding to my list of stocking stuffers!

Cost: $12.00

Where To Buy:

For More Information:

November 24, 2008

On the first day of Wine Gifts...

Well, my fellow winobees, it's that time of year again -- the smell of pine runs rampant in the air, colorful lights shine throughout the neighborhood, and (in many places) snow glistens on the streetsides. But that's enough for being nostalgic...

We all know that the joys of the season easily pair alongide the stress of holiday shopping. That's why we are attempting to make your spending attempts as seamless and easily executable as possible. Welcome to OenoBee's "12 Days of Wine Gifts," our gift to you for helping find the best gifts for seasoned winos, winobees (like ourselves) and even for your boss (cuz' let's face it, they can always use a drink).

On the 12th day of wine giving, my true love gave to me...

With the constant praise I've been feeding out, it's only appropriate to kick of the "12 Days of Wine Giving" with my own personal favorite, a subscription to Wine of the Month Club.

The Wine of the Month Club is dedicated to providing consumers of all wine levels the education and good wine (at a good price) they deserve. Whether a beginner or expert, their is a membership specificly dedicated to helping diversify your palate.

Your giftmembership is delivered in a beautiful burgundy gift box with a newsletter binder, hand written gift card personalized with your message and Wine Letter. With each subsequent shipment, the wines are delivered in guaranteed pristine condition with a 12 page Wine Letter describing each wine -- where it is from, what and how to serve, tasting notes and much more. Each wine is hand selected from hundreds of wines tasted each month.

Recomended Gifting:
FOUR MONTH "CLASSIC SERIES" MEMBERSHIP - includes delivery of 2 bottles each month. the next 4 months.

Cost: $118.00 (includes free s&h)


November 17, 2008

Tis' the Season...

As we round-out the end of November, the smell in the air shouldn't be limited to that of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah... add the fresh aroma of a newly uncorked bottle of wine paired with some of your favorite fixings! 

Now, every year its easy to become perplexed. You constantly ask yourself - red, white, or both? With all the flavors brought on by a fancy Thanksgiving feast, it can be difficult to decide which wine to choose. From turkey and mashed potatoes to pumpkin pie and cookies, we've culled together a list of suggested wines for your Turkey Day festivities:

Choice Reds: 
  • Pinot Noir - it goes with just about anything. Try '06 Flowers Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir, $70
  • Zinfandel - hearty enough to provide an extra kick to your meal. Try '07 Orin Swift The Prisoner, $35

Choice Whites:
  • Sauvignon Blanc - compliments herb-based stuffings. Try Arauja '01 Napa Valley Eisele Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, $35
  • Chardonnay - rich enough to stand up to flavorful sauces, like gravy. Try '06 Sonoma Coast Vineyard Chardonnay 2006, $50
Choice Dessert Wines:
  • Port - classic and fantastic with a pumpkin pie (TRY: '05 Edge Hill Vintage Port, $45)

And in honor of the winter spirit of giving, I've decided to cull together "The 12 Days of Wine Gifts," a list of the top holiday gifts for winos! If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them, don't hesitate to email or tweet me your suggestions...

Twitter: OenoBee

November 15, 2008

Virtual Wine Diary - yes please!

Just uncovered this awesome new program that's perfect for people like me, who drink alot of wine, take the pics and then forget to upload their images online to blog about them (can you tell I feel guilty for taking yet another hiatus?)

Check out Cork Savvy (, a site that makes it simple to recall EVERY bottle of wine you ever sample. And it's as simple as three steps:

1) Take a picture of the bottle you are sampling using your camera phone.
2) Email the picture to
3) Log-in at, plug in your user name and password (ok, you have to register first). Your email will be recognized and a virtual cellar will be created for you. Genius!

November 3, 2008

Francis Coppola Diamond Series - 2004 Gold Series Chardonnay

In honor of my experience this evening at New York Magazine's NY Taste food and wine event, I've decided to post on the only wine I opted to part-take in (my palette was guilty of craving exotic seasonal mixed cocktails instead - shame on me!)

The fine folks at Coppola Wines were sampling their Diamond Series '04 Chardonnay in the VIP lounge (its nice to have such a status, huh?). Now I must admit that when it comes to whites, I'm more of a dry wine sort-of gal, so perhaps my affinity for Chardonnay, you can say, is a bit discriminatory. I felt a bit overpowered by the powerful ripened fruit flavors - rich pears, sweet apples, and tart pineapple. To help mask some of the richness, you will notice a hint of oak from having been aged in a French oak barrel for some time. 

Now, as I disclosed (and let's be subjective here), I wouldn't necessarily pick this bottle up and stock my wine fridge with it, but next time I do think I would attempt to manipulate the overall experience of the wine by partnering it with a bland brie cheese to help subtle the wine's overall taste. I also think this may be a great summertime wine. So, come July, I'll re-try it out for you and let you know if my opinion changes. 

Until then, if you're interested, the Diamond Series grapes are grown in California's inland and coastal valley and can be purchased at a retail value of about $15/bottle. 

October 27, 2008

Bottoms Up!

Winemakers, chefs and fans gather in New York to celebrate outstanding wines, despite the poor economy and an unusual harvest.

Loving this article from Wine Spectator about how despite tough economic times, people are still sipping their vino:,1197,4664,00.html

Afterall, nothing soothes the emotions quite like a glass of Pinot. Enjoy!

October 24, 2008

No Rules When Matching Wines

In follow-up to my post from the other night regarding guidlines for wine pairings, I uncovered this buzz-worthy article from Stacy Slinkard (my idol) at that I wanted to share. I love this quote:

"Rule #1 states that there are NO rules when matching your favorite wines with your beloved recipes, sure there are hints and popular, even “famous” matches, but ultimately the best match is what pleases your palate. It is truly personal preference. That said, here are some hints to help you determine what might be palate pleasing for you personally." -Stacy Slinkard,

Check out the article at:

October 22, 2008

Wine 101: Wine Pairings

Food and wine pairing can be intimidating. A few months back I participated in a wine tasting abroad Princess Cruiseline and they provided a terrific outline I figured may help provide each of your with a few basic principles to eliminate confusion and enhance your dining experience. Enjoy! 

Weight or Texture
Food and wine can be light, medium or heavy-bodied.

Same Weight or Texture
Similarly weight food and wine compliment each other.
EG: Lobster with Chardonnay. Both are medium-weight and rich.

Same Flavors
Similar flavors of food and wine compliment each others.
EG: Filet of sole with lemon sauce paired with Sauvignon Blanc. Both have citrus flavors and high acidity.

Wines should be equal to, or higher in sugar than the dish.
EG: Roasted pork with apple glaze pairs well with a fruity Chardonnay or off-dry Riesling.

Wine should be equal to, or higher in acid than the dish.
EG: Pinot Noir with bright red cherry flavors is an excellent choice with grilled halibut.

Acid wines balance salty flavors.
EG: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc balances salty olives or feta cheese.

Tannins & Proteins
Wines with tannin cut through the coating that fat leaves in the mouth.
EG: Steak is a great match with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Spicy Food
Spices inflame that taste receptors and off-dry wines offer relief from the heat.

Protein is the Vehicle
When meat or fish is prepared with a sauce or preparation, match the wine to the sauce.

October 20, 2008

Back to Wine 101: Taste

Perhaps the most important trait of your wine is the way it tastes. The flavors in your glass are related to the appearance and bouquet initially confirmed when gathered in steps one and two - appearance and scent. There are four main tastes you are likely to experience with your wine:

  • Sweetness/Dryness - assessed as dry, off dry, medium, medium sweet or sweet
  • Acidity and Tannin - access from low to high; tannins, in a nutshell, are what leaves a "bite" on your tongue and in your mouth
  • Fruit - assessed as high through low; different fruit tastes are apparent dependent upon the wine variety
  • Earth - asses from low through high
Another quick tidbit... if the flavor of the wine remains on your palate for a long time, it is said to have a "long finish." This tends to be a prime sign of a high quality wine. Bring me some! 

With the three main steps described, you're now ready to enjoy a glass yourself. Salut!

Holy hiatus!

Wow! Where have I been you ask? Heck, I don't even know myself. Life over the past 2 months has been chaotic. But we all know when chaos breaks loose, nothing soothes quite like a glass of vino. So first and foremost, let me apologize to each of you for my extensive delay in posting. If its any consolation, I promise I did (alot of) homework, and even worked the NYC Wine and Food Festival two weekends ago. That should say enough about where my time has gone. Nonetheless, it's time to get back in action... who's with me?

August 27, 2008

Wine 101: Smell

Remember in 10th grade chemistry class the teacher sang that jingle, "If you want to smell an odor waft it to you *clap clap*!" Ok, whether you do or don't is a separate story, but we're going to use that as a guide to smelling our wines. 

In fact, the most important part of assessing your wine is achieved through your nose.  By swirling around your glass, you'll release the esters and aiderhyde in the wine (for beginner noses, we are referring to the wine's aroma). Releasing these entities will make it easier to detect the overall bouquet of the wine. When the scent is released it will help you determine fruit and spice characteristics. For more advanced noses, you may also be able to detect the origin, climate, vinification and vintage of the wine. 

When you hear real winos describing their wines, they often relate it to fruits. That's because 

What's aroma? The correct smells identified in wine may be similar to that of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices, earth, minerals, tar, oak, leather, honey, caramel, etc. Winos use these terms becausewine consists of over 300 different chemical compounds, many of which are similar to those found in fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, etc. 

Now it's time for "homework" (this is the homework I would have got an A+ on when I was in school)... Next time you're enjoying a glass of wine, make sure you follow these steps:

1) Use your pointer and middle finger at the stem of the glass to swirl your wine around.
2) Dip your nose into the wine glass and take a deep breath in paying attention to all the scents. Make sure your wine smells clean or "like wine." If you smell something off-color, there could be a "fault" with your glass/bottle, in which case don't proceed.
3) Take a sip of the wine and swirl in your mouth, similar to like you would with Listerine. Let the wine cover your tongue and cheeks.
4) With the wine still in your mouth, breathe in a tad bit of air (we'll get into this in a later post).
5) Swallow and enjoy.

What did you taste? Jot it down if you need to. By taking the time to explore your wine, particularly it's smell, you'll get a better feel for personality of your glass.

August 26, 2008

Wine 101: Appearance -- Gas & Viscosity

In the past few posts we've been chatting about the different appearances that your wines can exude in order to help you better characterize your glass. Both viscosity and gas are two additional components under the "appearance" category that you should keep in mind during wine tasting.

Next time you're drinking a nice glass of vino and someone comments about your "nice legs," don't be so quick to jump to conclusions that the person is hitting on you an an outdated sort of fashion. Truth is, they are probably commenting on the viscosity of your wine. 

Viscosity refers to the consistency of your wine and can be identified by those dripping marks (known as "legs" or "tears") trickling down the inside of your glass. Test it out - swirl your wine glass around and look how the wine drips down the glass. The thicker the "legs" the higher the alcohol content and/or sugar contents of the wine. More alcohol? More sugar? It's no wonder I go for the thicker consistency wines!

Evidence of gas in a still wine should be noticed, as it indicates that the wine is young, fresh or in some cases, out of condition. 

As we continue to break down the attributes of wine, be sure to check back in for Wine 101. We'll continue to unlock the mysteries that are smell and taste. Afterall, a good wino wannaBEE, enjoys their wine with all their senses (of course, with taste being the most appreciated - mmm!) 

August 22, 2008

Wine 101: Appearance -- Red Wines

So like myself, you may have noticed that red wines tend to range in color starting from a strawberry-esque hue to cherry red, or from purple to deep ruby, and even from garnet red to brown. So what exactly do these colors imply? Simple, they can help define both the age and the body of the wine you're drinking. Use the below topline guide to help you analyze your next glass:
  • Young wines -- usually purple and either show no change in color from center to rim, or show a lighter purple or pink rim
  • Older wines -- show change of color from orange to brown developing first at the rim
  • Lighter wines --  expected to be light bodied 
  • Darker wines -- tend to be more concentrate and fuller in body 

August 21, 2008

Wine Tasting Package in Napa

Calling all winos! posted a fantastic 2-day getaway to Silverado Resort in Napa. For a whopping $159/night, you not only get great place to stay with great food, but more importantly you get great wine. MMM! I can taste it now. And did I mention that the resort sits on 1200 acres which include 2 of California's top golf courses, and features the area's largest tennis complex, a full spa (my other guilty obsession), fine restaurants and numerous outdoor activities.

Within the above rate you get all of the following:
  • Resort Guestroom with king bed
  • Wine tastings at Markham Vineyards and Conn Creek Winery
  • $10 dining certificate in The Grill at Silverado
  • 20% off select spa treatments
  • VIP coupon booklet to the Napa Premium Outlets
Hurry and book now! Visit 

August 19, 2008

Wine 101 - Appearance: White Wine

The color of white wines will generally range from almost colorless to straw, yellow, gold, or even amber or brown. But what does the rainbow of colors mean for each of these styles?
  • Colorless Wines --  have seen no wood treatment and are expected to be fresh and light. 
  • Greenish Wines -- indicate the wine is young or from a cooler climate
  • Golden Wines -- indicates the wine is from a hot climate, has a high extraction and/or is older. Try: 
  • Amber Wines -- imply a later harvest or have considerable age. Most dessert wines will appear to have an amber or brown hue. 

August 14, 2008

J Vineyard - Robert Thomas Pinot Noir

Yesterday I learned that opting to enjoy a nice single glass of vino during lunch time can often lead to a lethargic remainder of the day. Nonetheless, I had a spectaular lunch out with one of my favorite vendors and his colleague yesterday afternoon at Landmarc in NYC. Landmarc is one of the few restaurants in the city that sells bottles and half-bottles of wine close to warehouse price (compared to that lovely 50% markup I had experienced earlier in the week while in G-Town). Again, I deviate... we're here to talk about wine - drinking it, learning it, savoring it.

My friend was trained by a close friend, who just happens to be a sommelier. Needless to say, we let him take charge. He chooses a '05 pinot noir, which some would say is too heavy a varietal to enjoy during lunch. To our enjoyment, the J Vineyard Robert Thomas was rich in it's flavor profile, strong in aroma, but light to the taste for a pinot. According to the vineyards website, the Robert Thomas vineyard runs along the Russian River, so the grapes are some of the last to ripen due to the coastal enviornment (which tends to have a cooler temperature and more fog).

The wine is aged in 100% French oak barrels and ferments for a year. It bodes a satisying combination of cherry, violet and spice. Low in acid and tannin for a stronger grape. Overall tremendously satisfied with this option and will purchase a bottle this weekend! Want some? Visit .

August 13, 2008

Luna 2006 Pinot Grigio

Enjoyed some vino during my family's 1st annual "girls day out" last weekend. My sister, who's a wino (but that's another topic in itself), chose a moderate priced ' 06 Pinot Grigio from Luna Vineyards for all to share. I was pleasantly surprised, despite the mere 50% markup and enjoyed this wine sitting waterfront in the heart of Georgetown, but I digress.

The 2006 varietal is light in color and expressed potent fruity flavors. The 95% pinot grigo/5% chardonnay blend bodes citrus and pear flavors, oak and an underlying hint of honeysuckle. According to wine experts, this is a great selection to drink now (after 2 years of shelf life). So I say... go grab a bottle - but pay the $18 for it... not $36. 

Visit Luna Vineyards at:


August 11, 2008

Move Over Milk...

According to the American Journal of Medicine, hitting the sauce may be good for your bones. A recent study showed that subjects who had more than half a drink, but no more than one drink per day, had a 20% lower risk of hip fracture. Moderate amounts of alcohol help boost estrogen levels and enable the body to absorb more calcium - conditions that contribute to higher bone density. 

But winos beware... Women's Health Magazine (September issue) identified that tossing back an entire bottle of vino won't build bionic parts (aww nuts!), so stick to one cocktail per day. 

August 3, 2008

For those of you who are beginners, to better enhance your ability to describe the complexity of the wine your are sampling, you can use this simple guide:

  • Spicy - consists of pepper, clove, cinnamon and licorice flavors
  • Fragrant - the wine tastes moderately floral
  • Fruity - made up of citrus, tropical, tree fruit, berry and dried flavors
  • Vegetable - tastes of herbs, grass, bell pepper, and mint
  • Chemical - exudes characteristics of paper and sulfur
  • Earthy - mold, must and Earth flavors
  • Woody - consists of smoke, oak or hints of vanilla

The terms  listed above are not only that which can describes both the flavor and scent of wine, but are often the most encountered. So, next time you try a new wine, take a moment to examine the above descriptors to better recognize and remember specific details about your wine.

August 2, 2008

Australian Shiraz - Tintara 2005

After attempting to refill my wine fridge yesterday evening, I decided that I would couple my atrociously rainy evening with my bed, a glass of red wine and a sappy movie. Little did I know, I was going to get a good movie, but sappy wine. 

Ok, I can't say that completely. While, the Tintara 2005 Shiraz (from Australia) reflected tastes of blackberry and currants, it's  grassy like qualities prevailed overpowering my tastebuds and smell. Though I'm guilty-as-charged for choosing to drink a normally heavy variety atbedtime, I will at admit that I was pleasantly satisfied with the wine's light and airy taste. Hardly tannic and mildly acidic. While I learned that this wine was not the best pairing for bedtime, I do think it would bide well to retry with a juicy red meat.

Now, you may ask... what is she going to do with the remainder of that bottle? And while I assure you I have at times finished a bottle all my own, tonight I will suffice with just one tasting. Truth is, that a re-corked bottle of wine can be stored in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days without compromising the flavor.

Retail value: $20.00
Available at JerichoWine -

August 1, 2008

Baron de Ley (1998)

Perhaps one of the founding inspirations for this blogsite, I had the opportunity to share a few bottles of vintage wines with a good friend yesterday evening. The 3rd of the bunch (yes, three bottles between the two of us) was this '98 Baron De Ley Gran Riserva from Spain. Made from Tempranilla, a premium red wine grape, the aroma and flavor were amazing. You could taste a variety of red berries and the scent of aged oak was rather potent. Medium-bodied, this wine was not too acidic, nor tannic. It had a nice kick to it, but didn't leave too much pucker on the tongue after swallowing. We paired our glasses with a goat cheese profiterole - perfection! 

Apart from Sherrys, Spain is not at the forefront of winemaking, however the Baron De Lay really boast a notable style.

Check for varieties from this producer: click:

OenoBee Rating:

Welcome to OenoBee!

Welcome to OenoBee - a refreshing new spot for those who enjoy wine, but lack the knowledge and skills of an seasoned aficionado! OenoBee was inspired by a 20-something "wino-wannabe" who frequently purchased wines based on the sassiness of their labels, oh yeah, and the pseudo-expertise of her peers.  From recommendations, pairings and comparisons to the general studies of wine and winemaking, OenoBee is an online decanter of information to help polish the most inexperienced to the most experienced oenophiles. 

So whether your a patron of the vineyard or a lush looking for a quick fix, I encourage you to engage with people like you (and those opposite of you, too!) in order to help build a learning environment for us all! Ask questions, make recommendations, spur debate... but whatever you do, remember the glass should always be "half full."