The Weekly Bleat: Sheep Thrills

Sheep Thrills Italian Non-Vintage Red Blend and 2016 Pinot Grigio   A couple of weeks ago, I was grocery shopping at our local Kroger when I spotted these whimsical wine labels featuring sheep attached to parachutes with the name, Sheep Thrills.  Although I didn’t know anything about the brand of wine, the bottles were too cute to pass up, so I bought […]

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Art & The Vine: La Cite du Vin & The Wines of Bordeaux

La Cité Du Vin Glass bell jars emitting aromas, interactive maps loaded with video-game technology, and sleek tasting rooms…Welcome to Bordeaux’s new Cité du Vin, which mayor Alain Juppé has proclaimed a “Guggenheim to wine.” Devoted to the history of wine civilization, the Cité du Vin is a glorious, high-tech immersion in the world’s wine cultures. There are 19 sections […]

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It’s Never Too Late…

Farmgirl 2017 RdV Vineyards Delaplane, Virginia   If someone asked me five years ago what I’d be doing today, I really don’t think my answer would have included writing a blog, taking art classes/painting, and pursuing my WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust based in London) Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits.  But, here I am. Five years ago, […]

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All That Sparkles

I absolutely love fizzy and sparkling wines!  And, since New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, I thought it may be fun and helpful to share some information about Champagne and sparkling wines.  I’ve also included a few of my favorites. Champagne: First, all that sparkles isn’t Champagne.  Sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it’s from the Champagne region in France and made in the traditional method (méthode champenoise).  The traditional method is a labor intensive, multi-step process (two fermentations) that contributes to the expense.  Champagne can be made from three grapes:  chardonnay and red-skinned pinot noir and pinot meunier.  Sometimes the label will use the terms “blanc de blancs” meaning the wine was made from white grapes, or “blanc de noirs” indicating that the Champagne is a white wine made from the dark pinot noir and pinot meunier varieties.  There are also different levels of dryness/sweetness in Champagne: Brut Nature/Brut Zero:  Bone dry.  No residual sugar. Extra Brut:  very dry Brut: very dry to dry Extra-Sec or Extra Dry:  off-dry to medium dry Sec:  medium dry Demi-Sec:  sweet Doux:  super sweet *Special note:  More Champagne houses from France are opening vineyards in California:  Roederer Estate (by Champagne Louis Roederer), Domaine Chandon (by Moët & Chandon), Mumm Napa (by G.H. Mumm), and Domaine Carneros (by Taittinger) are a few of the French producers in California. Sparkling Wines: Crémant:  French sparkling wine that is made outside of the Champagne […]

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Tuesday Tunes: My Favorite Things

 I recently read an article on holiday entertaining.  It suggested having a “Favorite Things” party, where everyone brings and shares a favorite item with the other partygoers.  The gifts don’t have to be expensive– just something you really love: a simple kitchen gadget, a fun nail polish, or a special tea.  Well, since my December is already fairly busy, I won’t […]

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More Treat Than Trick: Sauternes and Sage Jelly

Growing up in the country and on a farm, it was commonplace to preserve as much of the summer’s harvest as possible. My parents and grandparents worked all spring, summer, and fall planting gardens, picking vegetables, tending fruit trees, picking berries, and then canning, freezing, and storing much of it for future use.  I can still see kitchen counters covered with Mason jars of green beans, tomatoes, and black raspberry jam, and the beauty of the jewel-tone colors as the sun shone through the glass and its hard-earned contents. It’s because of this seasonal tradition that I observed and participated in as a child that I appreciate the work that goes into preserving as well as the delight in enjoying something homemade. That’s why I love using a familiar recipe or even finding a new one each year to preserve something special to share. So, when I was leafing through epicurious cooking magazine recently and discovered a recipe for wine jelly–specifically, Sauternes and sage jelly, I knew I had to try it.  I’ve made fruit jams and jellies, pickles, and even chutney in the past, but I’ve never tried making wine jelly–until now.  The cooking magazine raved about this jelly, describing it as “sophisticated and subtle.”  It also stated that it was a delicious substitute to the green mint jelly that traditionally accompanies lamb. Actually, this sublime jelly is wonderful with any roasted or grilled meat and is a fantastic […]

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Tuesday Tunes: The Grapevine

  Over the weekend, Farmguy and I participated in the grape harvest at a local winery just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwestern Virginia.  Located in the Rocky Knob American Viticultural Area (AVA), Chateau Morrisette Winery sits at an elevation of nearly 3500 feet.  Boasting spectacular views, it’s amid one of the most rugged and mountainous parts of the state.  Although […]

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