November 30, 2010

Bottles Away!

By now, our stomachs are likely back to their normal pre-gorged sizes (and we're hoping that means your Thanksgiving was just as de-lush-ious as ours). The challenging part? It's time to get ready to do it all over again.

With the turkey is off the table, its time to start thinking about this "seasons greetings." After all, Hanukkah kicks off tomorrow and Santa makes his way to town in just 4 weeks!

WinoBee is currently compiling our annual "Naughty & Nice" list for winos and wino wannabes, so keep your eyes peeled on all the fun yet to come. In the meantime, we uncovered this fun little game to gear you up for holiday entertaining - it also will put your wine buying skills to the test.

The Bordeaux Wine Council wants to help you find affordable selections for your holiday festivities and in turn created a Facebook game called "Bottles Away" which challenges players to pick six wines from shelves in 60 seconds that add up to $100 or less. At the end of the sixty seconds, the player is given the names and availability of the wines they have selected. Demo the game and test your skills here!

But wine buying isn't all fun and games. After all, we do want to actually drink wine at our holiday parties, which is why Bordeaux asked their wine buffs for their favorite bottles under $100 this season. If you're in the market, click here.

November 22, 2010

Turkey Time Wines - Gobble, Gobble!

Like us, we're sure you're gearing up for wearing your "Fat Kid" pants this Thursday! I know, I know... we're enablers. But we like to think that during the holiday season gorging is a socially acceptable activity. That's why we want to ensure we shared our top vinos to pair with your feast-ivus maximus! Gobble, gobble kids!

What To Drink While Slaving Over the Stove

Mionetto Prosecco Brut

Light, refreshing and clean with just a hint of citrus and fruit, this wine won’t overpower the palate for the feast to come. Simply sip before your dinner or whip up as prosecco cocktail using vodka, triple sec and pineapple juice if you’re feeling bold!

Cost: $13/bottle

Think (and Drink!) “Inside the Box”

Duca del Frassino White

Boxed wines are steadily making a comeback not solely because they use more environmentally-friendly packaging, are a bargain buy or because they have a longer shelf life after opening, but rather because they actually taste good. This new, easy-to-drink wine, made of a blend of Pinot Grigio and Garganega grapes, offers a hint of white flowers on the nose, a crisp citrus taste and a juicy finish making it a perfect pair for lighter dishes like this Pear and Gorgonzola Salad. It also makes a stellar base for sangria!

Cost: $19.99/box

Load Up on Autumn in a Glass

St. Supery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Sustainably farmed, this wine bodes aromas of toast and cantaloupe with flavors that are reminiscent of baked apple pie (a Turkey Day must), ripe pears and a hint of spice. If you’re looking for a truly autumn experience, try this wine with Roasted Yams with Maple-Ginger Butter.

Cost: $30/bottle

A Wine to “Gobble” Down On

Sebastiani Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This beautifully crimson wine offers intense dark fruit flavor, a rich aroma and silky finish. The undertones of red plum, black cherry and spice tend to show well with the traditional flavors of turkey and stuffing, so pair it up with Roast Turkey with Rich Pan Gravy!

Cost: $28/bottle

Skip the Pie, But Go Straight For Dessert (Wine)

Banfi Rosa Regale

A light effervescent wine (softer than champagne) that blends rose and raspberry on the nose, and a sweet, appealing touch of berry on the palate. If you’re feeling too full from dinner, opt for a glass of this as dessert.

Cost: $25/bottle

The Ultimate Turkey Day Tradition

Georges Dubeauf Beaujolais Nouveau

The tasting of each year's Beaujolais Nouveau is a tradition to be had by all. Only released the third Thursday of every November, just one week before we carve our turkeys, this wine, which is made of 100% Gamay grapes, is young, vivacious and ultimately fruit-forward. Its versatility complements many dishes and can be the ideal accompaniment to all your holiday entertaining… and even all those leftovers!

Cost: $9.99/bottle

November 18, 2010

Happy Beaujolais Day!

The ultimate Turkey Day tradition is upon us... its Beaujolais Day!! The tasting of each year's Beaujolais Nouveau is a
tradition to be had by all. Only released the third Thursday of every November, just one week before we carve our turkeys, this wine, which is made of 100% Gamay grapes, is young, vivacious and ultimately fruit-forward. Its versatility complements many dishes and can be the ideal accompaniment to all your holiday entertaining… and even all those leftovers!

Let's just say, I'll be heading to the wine store today to grab a little Georges Dubeauf!

Cost: $9.99/bottle
Where to Buy: 67Wines

November 17, 2010

Green & Black's - Part II: Pairings

What most people may find interesting (myself included) is that although wine and chocolate seem like a match made in foodie heaven, they are actually one of the most difficult types of pairings. This is primarily because of the acidity levels in both items. So with anything, you want to ensure their is a harmonious balance.

Last night we had the chance to pick the brain of former wino-gone-chocoholic (and Head of Taste for Green & Black's) Micah Carr-Hill about why he recommends pairing chocolates with dessert wines vs. more everyday offerings. Here's what he had to say:

On the menu at last night's event, Car-Hill brought this to life with robust pairings that even had me shocked:

Doiy Vedrines, (Barsac), 2007
NOTES: Bright straw yellow color. Noble rot fruit and honey on nose. Very concentrated sugars, but a nice blend of sweet and acidity. Changes the taste of the white chocolate bringing to life vanilla and carmel flavors.

Peanut & Sea Salt
Trimbach, Gewurztraminer "Vendages Tardives," 2000
NOTES: Late harvest. Straw yellow color. Combination of grapefruit and rose on the nose. Peach blended with red raspberry on the palate. Paired well with salt from peanuts in the chocolate. Peanuts were whole and offered more robust taste - roasted, carmelized flavors.

Sandeman, "Royal Corregidor" Rare Sherry (aged 20 years)
NOTES: Light brown color with slight merigold hue. Offered a dryness with underlying sweetness. Buttery end when paired with almond and chocolate combination.

Rare Wine Company (Vinhos Barbieto), Madeira "New York Malmsey"
NOTES: Light brown color. Some scents of chocolate on the nose but also an undertone of citrus, particularly orange and lemon. Balanced nice with the acid and sour in the cherries of the chocolate.

Dark 70%
Domain de la Casa Blanca, Banyuls, 2008
NOTES: Made primarily of granache (which is often said to be best with chocolate pairings). Dark garnet color. Blend of red fruits and blackberry on the nose. Berry fruits and plums on the palate.

Dark 85%
Bodega Renacer, "Enamore," 2008
NOTES: Dark garnet color. Earthy notes on the nose with a hint of raisin. Full bodied experience with lots of dark, dried fruits on the palate.

November 16, 2010

Green & Black's: Part I - From Bean to Bar

If wine and chocolate were "raindrops on roses" they would both be considered a few of my favorite things. No, actually they are my raindrops and always rank #1 and #1.5 in the "WinoBee Book of Likes." So naturally when I was approached by the folks at Green & Black's to attend an event that incorporated both of these things, my head immediately nodded up and down.

Now, my long-standing affair for Green & Black's is no secret. Hell, some may consider my obession of 70% bars a slight addiction. I stick them in my fridge and must have a piece every night post-dinner. Its sort of become a ritual and I'm not one to mess with tradition!!

But the reason I like Green & Black's isn't solely because of the quality ingredients and intense, bittersweet experience their chocolates inspire, but rather because of all the socially conscious work they do alongside. These chocolates really do offer a true "bean to bar" story and G&B's Head of Taste, Micah Carr-Hill told us a little more about it (as well as his reccos for wine pairings which we'll feature tomorrow). Take a look:

Winner, winner - chicken dinner! It's time for me to share my love of Green & Black's with you. Enter to win this "Chocoholic's Dream Bag" by doing the following:

1) Leave a comment here about what G&B chocolate you're craving right now. Please also leave your email address as a means of contact should you be our lucky winner.
2) Tweet @WinoBee with your craving and a link to this post.
3) Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment with your craving.

One entry per person per platform is permitted. Winner will be randomly selected Monday, November 22, 2010. U.S. based winners only (sorry!) Good luck!

November 15, 2010

2009 Re Midas Corvina

Some may say I'm a compulsive spender, and hell, the world seems to now cater to my "habit" with impulse sites like Rue La La and Gilt Group (which ironically now have wine deals much like our friends over at Wine Woot).

But the fact of the matter is that despite my "consumption issues" I'm a huge advocate of bargain shopping, so its no wonder I get excited when I find a wine bottle that was a diamond in the rough but on my type of budget.

We introduced you to Re Midas a few weeks ago, a range of indigenous wines from the Veneto region of Italy (compliments of Cantina di Soave) that are both well-priced and easy to drink. We loved their
Re Midas Soave so much, that we knew we needed to try their Corvina which also utilize native grapes and is a perfect option for every day enjoyment.

Re Midas' 2009 Corvina is a medium-bodied red that offers a light viscosity and light ruby color. You'll get a combination of wild flowers and citrus on the nose, but what I admired about this glass the most was its ability to begin earthy on the palate and steadily transcend into a more fruit forward wine by its finish. You'll be delighted by this wine's bing cherry and red raspberry undertones, too! Perfect for pasta or risotto nights and only

Cost: $9.99/bottle
Where to Buy: Columbus Wines
Pair With: Perfect with pasta or risotto!

November 11, 2010

Deal Buzz: Napa Valley Marriott for $109/nt!

Awesome Napa Valley Marriott deal featured on this week's Travelzoo's Top 20 if you're itching to get to wine country in the next few months. It includes a tasting stop at one of my favs, St. Supery (be sure to tell Lesley & Tina I said 'sup if you go!)

BUZZ: Message in a Bottle Sweeps from "Wines That Rock"

I was fortunate enough to receive a special collection of new, Wines That Rock (literally) last week and I'm super jazzed to try them out just in time for the holidays. By looks, I know they are going to make great stocking stuffers for winos and winobees alike (hopefully, they'll be just as gangsta in taste too - that review to come!)

Wines That Rock are inspired by the music of The Police, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Woodstock. And to celebrate the release of their new Police-inspired wine, Synchroncity (a red blend), they partnered up with Wine Enthusiast for the "Message in a Bottle" sweepstakes.

One grand prize winner and a friend will win the chance at:
  • Roundtrip airfare and transportation to the Wines That Rock winery
  • 2-night stay at the Vineyards Private Bungalow (holler!)
  • Private tour of the winery and tasting experiences with winemaker Mark Beaman
  • Bass guitar signed by Sting (holy hell!)
So, grab a glass of wine, bust out RockBand on your Wii and unleash your inner rockstar by signing up for this awesome contest!

November 10, 2010

2007 Zeca Mesa Roussanne

By now everyone knows I'm a sucker for red wine. I prefer it. I love its fuller body. I appreciate its robustness. And I adore how well it can be paired during the fall months with heavier food dishes.

But being an open-minded Winobee, I can't always discriminate against my fellow whites. In fact, I recently discovered a white wine that packed just as many as the attributes I noted above and made me start to think about white wines beyond the crisp, summer months. And I couldn't help but laugh when chatting with the folks at Zaca Mesa who described this wine as the "white wine for red wine drinkers." I knew I was on to something!

Enter a 2007 Zeca Mesa Roussanne from Santa Ynez Valley, grown sustainably in Santa Barbara County vineyard. Roussanne... not a grape variety I admit I had heard of before (I mean who thinks of white wines beyond pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay anyway?)

This assertive wine uses hand picked and whole-cluster pressed Roussanne grapes, barrel fermented in French Oak (yum) and then aged sur lie (which is thought to give it more complexity) for 10 months. The result? An intense profile of flavors and weight, but a versatility that captures every season. It pairs with so many different flavors!

The first thing that caught my eye was this wine's yellow golden color. On the nose and palate, a blend of fall fruits, like pears and figs, with an undertone of toasted nuts. There was a tangy bite at the finish, but overall this wine was nicely balanced and offered a slight minerality that makes it a great selection as we move further into November.

Cost: $25/bottle
Where to Buy: Zaca Mesa Winery Shop
Pairing: This wine has a refreshing acidity that would match well with salty foods, and a weight to stand up to rich dishes. Try it with a rosemary roast chicken or lobster risotto.

*Disclaimer: This product was sent by the winery for review. All opinions are 100% from the reviewer's of this site.

November 9, 2010

Boozeday Tuesday: Go BLUE!

It's Boozeday Tuesday... and sometimes (as much as I love wine) I need a stiff cocktail and some girl time to settle down post-madness. So what better way to kick off my evening than with a lil' Van Gogh BLUE cocktail and girly gab?

BLUEberry Lemon Drop
  • 1.5 oz Van Gogh Blue
  • 1/2 Lemon and 4 blueberries, muddled
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • 1/4 Raspberry Liquer, sunk with 3 fresh blueberries
*For a little extra WinoBee flare, add some prosecco!

But until its the end of the work day, we'll have to settle for some mid-day virtual fun. When your boss isn't looking, log on to Facebook and become friends with Van Gogh BLUE. Click on their "Contest" tab. Once there you can fill out a cheeky "gab lib" cocktail confession story about you and your friends. Its sort of like doing those old school Mad Libs and coming up with crazy ridiculous, but hysterically funny stories. Only this time, your comic genius could land you a free party.

Yup, yup - 25 friends, a $500 AMEX giftcard and a celebrity chef in your kitchen. SOLD! This would be the perfect addition to our #WineDown parties, so you better believe I sacrificed some creative juices in the form of nouns, adjectives, verbs and even animals and body parts in efforts to win!

Contest ends December 3rd so hurry up and enter (or don't, so I have a better chance of winning!)

November 8, 2010

Buzz: Los Gatos-Saratoga Wine Trail

If you're in the California-area (or looking for a good excuse to get out there) check out the new Los Gatos-Saratoga Wine Trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Just 12 miles in length, the Wine Trail is inspired by a collective vision of five area wineries: Fleming Jenkins Vineyard & Winery (yes, that's Fleming, as in Peggy Fleming the former Olympic medalist - toe pick!), Testarossa Winery, Cinnabar Winery (a Wino
Bee fav), Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards and Savannah-Channelle Vineyards.

These artisan wineries produce small lots of critically acclaimed wine including cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlor, pinot noir, rose, syrah and viognier.

And just in time for the holiday season, winos alike can share in the fun of their "Happy Holidays Trail Tasting" through December 31st, featuring 2-for-1 wine tasting and 10% discounts on all wine purchases. Now, thats my kind of "happy" holiday.

November 5, 2010

Buzz: Skinner Vineyards Announces Estate Wine Program

Skinner Vineyards just announced its Estate Wine program for Syrah, Viognier, Grenache and Petite Syrah grown at the Stoney Creek Vineyard (part of their 67-acre property in El Dorado County, CA). The new 12,000 square foot solar-powered greentech winery will soon be complete - we love sustainable production!

For now, the temporary Certificate of Occupancy was granted for the crushpad and fermentation areas of the winery, which will allow Skinner Vineyards to produce wines on site beginning with this 2010 harvest season.

When asked, Owner & President Mike Skinner commented, "We are thrilled to bring our harvest to our own winery this year. The late ripening conditions this year really helped us, as we were fighting against the clock to get the crucial parts of the new winery built and inspected. As it happens, the timing work out perfectly for us."

In their Estate Wine program, you'll be able to taste roses and whites in 2011. The reds will be aged in oak before they are released in 2012 and 2013. Patience is a virtue... and we can't wait to give them a whirl!