December 30, 2010

Last Minute Mixer: St. Germain Cocktail

We've showed you the best budget bubblies, taught you how to uncork them right and even offered up some delicious pairing apps... but we're not done yet! In the name of "last minute" planning (which is where my own life is at right this minute) check out this NYE Mixer for a St. Germain Cocktail:

2 parts Brut Champagne (or other sparkling wine)
1/5 parts St. Germain
2 parts Sparkling Water or Club Soda

Stir Ingredients in a tall ice-filled Collins glass, mixing completley. Garnish with a lemon twist.

December 29, 2010

2011 Brings "Pairing Party Mondays"... and Proscuitto Wrapped Pears!

We love to throw a good party, but we also know how stressful and tiring hosting can be. There's so much to plan, so much to clean, so much to cook and so much to pair... though those latter parts are where we can help!

That's why we're kicking off a new series in the new year called "Pairing Party Mondays," where we'll team up with some of your favorite food bloggers to introduce you to the best of both worlds - cooking and wine pairing.

And even though its not technically Monday (or 2011 for that matter), we're anxious to get things started. Afterall, New Year's Eve is rapidly on the move and we're sure many of you may be hosting parties and likely have not even thought to plan your menus! Well, fear not our little Boulud's... Lisa Matthias of "The Novice Nosher" has prepared a delightful and easy-to-make Proscuitto Wrapped Pears that boast elegance without hindering your time or budget.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears
• 2 pears (use Bosc or Bartlett)
• 1 packages thinly sliced prosciutto

Slice the pears around the core so that you have about 4 pieces, then slice those in half. Cut or split the prosciutto in half with your hands. Wrap each slice of prosciutto around each piece of pear; the prosciutto will overlap, just place them overlap-side down on the plate and arrange to your liking.

Winobee Says: Cured meats, like proscuitto, often have a intense characteristics, and when matched with the fruitfullness of pear, provides a fragrant, delicate, sweet and balanced flavor. Your wine should match these characteristics. Try pairing with a dry sparkler, like Ferrari, from the Trentino region of northern Italy.

Tasting Notes: This bubbly is made from 100% Chardonnay and has a finesse all its own. Its ultra dry texture leaves a long finish on the tongue, but balances with fruity flavors like apple and pear that piggyback off this particular dish.

Cost: $16.99/bottle
Where to Buy: J.J. Buckley Fine Wines

Food + Libations... now, you can ring in 2011 with ease! For more fun food recipes, visit The Novice Nosher!

December 28, 2010

Budget Bubblies for New Year's Eve

Let's be honest, the lingering question of what to sip at midnight leaves many of us notoriously reaching for the finest of French bubbly simply for the fact its "tradition." But enjoying the holiday hoopla in style doesn't mean having to break the bank (I mean, aren't many of our resolutions to "save" in the new year?) Check out some of our fun, flirty and frugal suggestions on kicking off 2011 in style, featured yesterday on Redbook!

Verdi Spumante
Best value wine offering a delicious sparkle and zest accompanied by a soft, fruit-forward flavor.

Cost: $4.99/bottle

Where to Buy: BevMo

Mionetto "Il" Prosecco

Combines notes of citrus, pear and floral with a light effervescence that doesn't overpower the palate. Simply sip as-is or whip up a cocktail using vodka, triple sec and pineapple juice. You'll love the versatility!

Cost: $9/bottle

Where To Buy:

Pommery POP

Unravel the bubbles of this uncomplicated champagne in a perfect, party-portable size. These 187mL bottles are great for individual consumption (who wants to share anyway?) Simply pack a few in your cooler, grab a straw and bypass the flutes!

Cost: $9.99/bottle

Where to Buy: 67Wine

Banfi Rosa Regale

Softer than champagne, this light wine is made of brachetto and blends rose and raspberry aroma notes with a sweet, appealing touch of berry on the palate. It's a perfect option to bypass dessert for at your dinner party or to toast with at midnight!

Cost: $19.99/bottle

Where To Buy: BevMo

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Brut Cava

This brut cava adds elegance to any soiree. It's thick Absinthe-green glass and emblazoned solid pewter crest is enough to catch the eye, but the blend of Macabeo, Parellada and Zarello grapes within offer a satisfying fruit intensity and perfumed bouquet.

Cost: $23/bottle

Where to Buy:

December 27, 2010

Uncork Your New Year Right!

Christmas is over, so who's ready to pop the cork on a bottle (or two) of bubbly later this week? Me! To get the best out of that bottle, here are a few tips on where to buy, what to serve and how to mix so you can uncork your new year right. The only thing left will be to pop n' pour!

  • CALCULATE: A (750 ml) bottle of bubbly will pour approximately six glasses. You should plan on one and a half to two glasses per person, per hour. For a toast— one glass per person usually suffices.
  • BUY: It’s best to buy wines in stores with a high turnover. Bottles could be on retailers’ shelves for months and could get overheated.
  • BRING: Bringing a bottle of bubbly is a wonderful way to say thank you to your host if you are a guest. Stick it in a festive bag and you’re ready to roll!
  • CHILL: It’s recommended to chill your bubbly well — either in a refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or in an ice bucket for about 30 minutes. For a quick fix you can cool it in the freezer for 30 minutes as well.
  • SERVE: The recommended glass for sparkling wine is the flute. The flute is tall and elongated, and perfect for young wines.
  • POUR: A glass of bubbly should never be poured more than half full. This insures that it does not get too warm sitting in your glass and the head space gives you room to appreciate it.

Check back tomorrow for our top budget bubblies to ring in the new year right!

December 21, 2010

Holiday Libations: Sparkling Ginger Daisy PUNCH

Tis’ the season for delicious libations, which can often lead to excess calories. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes its fun to have little good binge with all things delicious! But if your anything like me, you're probably attending countless holiday soirees where those food and drinks can easily add to your waistline. So why not make a few more conscious decisions to avoid having to crash diet at the new year?

Word to the wise, bypass the heavy eggnog and serve something fun and festive that doesn't mean having to load up on lots of calories. Opt for a delicious sparkling wine cocktail, like this Sparkling Ginger Daisy PUNCH, which bypasses high quantities of fruit juices that can contain a considerable amount of unnecessary sugar. It's perfect for entertaining and will inspire guests to help themselves without the excess guilt.

Sparkling Ginger Daisy PUNCH (serves 8)

In a large punchbowl, stir together gin, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and grenadine. Add large chunks of ice to keep everything chilled. Add the Mionetto, and stir again.

Serve with a ladle, and consider keeping a bowl of sliced ginger next to the punchbowl for guests to garnish their own drinks versus rimming individual glasses with unneeded sugar.

ADDITIONAL TIP: If you're looking to cut calories even further, try diluting the required amount of lemon juice with 50% water.

December 17, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Albarino Wine

It's officially the week of Christmas and today we "wrap" our 12 Days of Wino with with the most perfect gift for the hostess with the mostess!

Redbook Magazine listed gifting a bottle of booze as the #1 last minute holiday gift idea and we couldn't agree more! So why not break the tradition of traditional whites, like Pinot Grigio andChardonnay, and pick up a food-friendly Albarino, an aromatic white wine that shows the perfect token of gratitude for hosts of this year's festive soirees.

Quickly growing in popularity, Spain's Albarino is easy to drink and pairs well with the holidays most beloved dishes. The wine is rich and expressive, with peach and apricot notes, crisp and refreshing with intense fruit flavors, including a blend of granny apples and citrus.

Cost: $12.99/bottle
Where to Buy:

12 Days of Wino: Vac U Vin

The clock is ticking and you officially have just over a week to finish up all your holiday shopping. And if you're anything like me, you likely come home from the hustle and bustle of it all to relax with a glass of vino.

But being the fabulous single gal I am, there's no way I'm consuming an entire bottle to my seemingly-drunken lonesome self (well, at least not this week) so rather than re-cork my wine, where it'll likely quickly spoil, I've opted for this [wine] lifesaver.

The Vac U Vin Wine Saver is the easiest, most afforable way to preserve opened wines. Its unique pump design allows you to remove air (and oxygen that spoils wine) and also offers a vaccum indicator which emits a click sound when the correct vaccum point is reach. It seriously helps save bottles upon bottles and will forever change your life... but, seriously!

Cost: $13.99 - $29.99 (depending on style purchased)
Where to Buy:

December 16, 2010

12 Days of Wino: La Fiole du Pape

If you're in the market for something original, grab this La Fiole du Pape, which comes in a uniquely shaped bottled coated with cellar dust, and boasting "vintage" (even though its made from non-vintage Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a blend of cuvees from different vintages).

Its a high quality wine that blends grenache, syrah, mourvedre and cinsault grapes thus inspiring an array of characteristics with every sip -- colorful to the eye, complex to the nose, and moderately tannic on the palate but with an overall finesse thats perfect for holiday gatherings!

Cost: $45/bottle (but you can get it cheaper online!)
Where to Buy:
Suggested Pairing: Red meats and heavy cheeses

December 13, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Chocolate Wine

If you're anything like us, you can be easily seduced with a little wine or chocolate, and lucky for us all Opici Wines just introduced this blend of velvety-smoth chocolate flavors and luscious grape wine called Cocoa di Vine. It's the perfect way to indulge this holiday season and allow you to kiss your inhibitions goodbye since this sinful decadence (which is must like a drunken man's YooHoo) offers a rich chocolate taste and silky finish.

Cost: $10.99/bottle

How to Drink: Try it like we do and serve in an apertif glass with a drizzle of chocolate syrup atop.

December 10, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Ravi Wine Chiller

If you're like us, chances are you're probably guilty of drinking a wine or two at the wrong temperature a few times in our life. That's why when we saw this new Ravi on "The View" we knew it had to go on Santa's "nice list." Why's it so great? It enables wines to go from room temperature to that of a cellar, maintaining the wine's characteristics and without altering taste.

Cost: $39.99
Where to Buy:

December 9, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Picnic Sticks

I will drink it at a bar. I will drink it outside my car. I will drink it here and there. I will drink just about anywhere.

And what a perfect option for the wino-on-the-gogo than set of wine picnic sticks that help balance your wine bottles, glasses and pairing board in any outdoor setting. Just one push (or several if you're thirty) into the grass or sand and you're Bordeaux will be nicely balances and you'll be enjoying a romantical, spill-free day of wining and dining.

Cost: $49.50
Where to Buy: RedEnvelope

December 8, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Wine Monkey

Ok, I literally hyperventilated in laughter when I discovered this fun little piece of barware likely because of the running jokes my sister and I have about monkeys, but nonetheless...

This Wine Caddy Cover means monkey business, literally! The nostalgic icon is a perfect option for presenting your holiday hostess with a bottle of red, white, rose or even chimp-agne (ok, we had to!).

Cost: $10 each
Where to Buy: Swirl

December 7, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Mionetto "Il" Prosecco

Prosecco has become popular with drinkers for its straight forwardness and sophistication, so why not wrap "all that" up in a bow and share as a gift with your party hostess? Mionetto "Il" Prosecco is not only a great value option, it offers a light, clean finish with a hint of citrus, pear and even floral.

We love this wine for its versatility - its perfect to drink as an apertif or if you're looking to be a bit more bold, whipping up a cocktail using vodka, triple sec and pineapple juice.

The motive behind this gift? If you're lucky, you're hostess will serve you your own pick during their party - wink, wink!

Cost: $9.99/bottle
Where to Buy: Garnet Wines

December 6, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Custom Glasses from Studio 50

Last February we introduced you to Eye Kandy (now Studio 50), a small at-home company based in Florida where artist Kimberly Cass produces custom designed, monogramed, name and dated glassware. Kimberly hooked me up with the most adorable WinoBee glass (you likely see it in many of my pics, like the one here on the right) so I had to include her amazing work within our "12 Days of Wino."

Now, if you're going to drink, you better drink in style. Add some flare to your stemware with the custom design, colors, themes, images and copy you want painted on. Here are a few great thoughts we have for your special gift:
  • Paint the bottom of the glass a solid color and include a name in a bright color atop. Adding personalization to your gift makes it that much more special to your recipient. It's also great because it alleviates the need for wine charms... they'll always know which glass is theres!
  • For the perfect wino couple, custom monogram the glasses and pair with their favorite type of wine.
  • For sassy winos, create a themed glass based on your recipients favorite activity, like talking, shopping or playing sports. Spruce it up with feather boa strips or charms and pair with a sassy bottle of wine that matches your theme, like Bitch Wine or Purple Cowboy (they may not be the best tasting, but they make the overall package super fun).
Cost: $12.50/glass or $13.50 (custom)
Where to Buy: Studio 50

GIVEAWAY -- We want to give you the opportunity to gift someone special (or yourself) with a little flare this holiday season. Leave a comment on this post telling us what type of wine you'll be toting to your festivities and you could win this super jazzy, eco-friendly tote designed by Studio 50 to lug your booze in (value $15).

Open to US residents only. Winner will be selected on December 13, 2010 and product will be mailed directly following information is obtained. Please accompany your comment with appropriate email address for follow-up should you win. Good luck!
Other: Delivery to all U.S. States available. All glasses are insured against breakage.

December 3, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Dom Perignon

Every once and a while we like to extend beyond being just a little lavish, and like to get a little ridiculous. And as we were combing through our quarterly Crush catalog, something popped to our eye -- colors... iconic colors... and lots of them.

C'mon, who hasn't purchased a bottle of wine or two solely based on what the label looked like? We're all guilty! And we're suckers for anything artistic, so when we learned the one-and-only Dom Perignon was doing a special tribute collection to Andy Warhol, we flipped!

Dom Perignon and the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin's School of Art & Design reinterpreted the bottle by altering the label with red, blue any yellow paying homage to Warhol's iconic color games.

This exclusive collection of three bottles was inspired by a March diary entry in which Warhol wrote, "Went to the gallery where they were having a little exhibition of the glittery shoes, and had to do interview and pics for the German newspaper and then we had to go back to the hotel and be picked up by '2,000' people -- its a club of twenty guys who got togetehr and theyr've going to buy 2,000 of Dom Perignon which they will put in a sealed room until the year 2000 and then open it up and drink it and so the running joke is who will be around and who won't."

Check out this video to see more:

Cost: $159/bottle
Where to Buy: Crush

December 2, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Wines That Rock

The holidays are the perfect time to rock out with your cock(tail) out, and what better way to do so than with wines that rock... no, literally!

New Wines That Rock are inspired by the music of The Police, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Woodstock, and they make the perfect stocking stuffers whether you buy wines for their taste or because they have wicked cool labels.

Made by Mendocino Wine Co., Wines That Rock capture the quality and spirit of rock n' roll mythology in a portfolio of great tasting wines, iconic album art for labels, earth friendly production and great consumer value. You can choose from these 2009 rockin' options:
Cost: $16.99/bottle -or- 4 bottle pack for $69
Where To Buy: Wines That Rock (and select retail locations nationwide!)

December 1, 2010

12 Days of Wino: Touchscreen Wine Refrigerator

It's officially December and the clock is ticking to get our stockings stuffed and gifts wrapped. Today we kick off our annual "12 Days of Wino" - a guide to all the hottest holiday must-haves for winos and wino wannabe's alike!

And what better way to do so than with state-of-the-art technology. Check out this new digital touchscreen fridge from The Sharper Image. It holds up to 12 bottles of your fav vino and offers a thermopane glass door with reflective finish that protects your wines from damaging light. The best part, its small enough to store on your countertop! Perfect for the beginner wino or connoisseur in your life.

Cost: $169.99
Where to Buy: The Sharper Image (or if you're feeling like bigger is better, check out this similar 18 bottle touch-screen from Wine Enthusiast for $249.95)