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I am Blushing Noir…

As mentioned in my family post, I did try a new kind of wine when I went home to North Carolina with my family.  My mom bought some Gallo Blush Noir. Gallo is Californian and has been around since 1933.  Gallo is nicely priced and great for parties because you have the option of getting the mega-big bottle to share. They also have the Best Taste Promise guarantee!

The Blush Noir is a darker color (generally when I think of blush wine, I think about a more pink color, but this is more of a deep red, almost purple). Noir is french for dark so it technically is “dark blush.”  It was not super sweet but still had some nice blackberry flavors and other fruits as well.

 I found it perfect for dinner and sitting outside on the deck and talking with family. It can also be used as a dessert wine and paired with chocolate. I think this would also make a really nice Valentines Day wine that I think I will keep in mind for next year as well.

I was not able to drink too many glasses of this wine because I think it does feel heavier in the stomach than white wine does.

Blush Noir is not a very popular kind of wine and I have not been able to find many different kinds of it other than Rosehaven Blush Noir. Perhaps trying a Pinot Noir would be a good one to try next since I liked this kind.

Thinking about it, this was the first non-white wine that I have had since I started this blog. This is sad! I really do need to do some more red wines. I think I am a little hesitant about trying red wine because it is usually so heavy. White wine tends to feel lighter and does not make me feel sick, and I do worry a little bit about that. But I will try more red and blush wines!

Family and Wine

So, I am taking a break from school this weekend. Because I will be going away for spring break next week, I am back home and visiting my family this weekend. It is always nice to get home and see everyone.

One thing I love about my family is that whenever I come home, it’s like a party. It’s an excuse to get everyone together and eat, drink and be merry! Every night this week I am hoping to enjoy a few drinks and catch up with everyone. It is always a good time.

My mom bought some of our favorite Moscato and I will be trying some Blush Noir (yay red wine!). The exciting part about that is that we will be having a steak dinner tomorrow and I will be having some of that Blush Noir to complement that red meat (see I am learning!).

Speaking of pairing some of my family’s favorite foods with wine, here is a list of some good wines to drink with pizza. My personal favorite is the pepperoni, I am now very curious about a 2008 Primaterra. I will have to stop by World Market soon and stock up! Yummm

Obviously, the most important thing about going home is spending time with family that I do not get to see much anymore. Adding wine and food just completes the picture!

Full Course Wine Meal

I have always heard that good meals are meant to be paired with wine. This is proven when going out to Italian restaurants, they are always trying to push that perfect bottle of wine to go with the meal.  After a few weeks of sampling wine like I never thought I could, one of the first things I notice with bottles of wine and wine sites is the food pairings that they go with.

It got me to thinking…What are the trends? And how is it figured out what should go with what?  With my research, I have found something interesting. It is quite possible to consume 3 different types of wine in one full course meal.

  • 1 glass of a light white wine with salad
  • 1 glass of heavy red wine with a robust main course
  • 1 glass of a sweet dessert wine after

You can even buy prepackaged and build your own full course wine sets!

Not that I cook full course meals by any means whatsoever, but I must say that it is not as difficult as I originally thought. Basically, if it is a lighter meal, pair it with a lighter, white wine. If it is red meat or red sauce, a red wine is best. If it is a cream sauce or white meat, white wine goes.  And to finish up, if it is something sweet (like a dessert) pair it with a sweet wine.

It is also helpful to take the idea of weight and texture into consideration when pairing wine. If one is still a little unsure about what to drink with what, check this page or chart out to solve all problems. I know I will be referring to these.

Sauvignon Blanc #3

I found it! After a disappointing bottle of Sauv. Blanc, I found the bottle that has been recommended to me – Chateau Ste. Michelle-Horse Heaven Hills 2008. It was the most I spent on a bottle of wine so far. At the store it was $18 but as long as it is under $20 I will not freak out. However, I will be going back to $15 and under after this week.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is a Washington State winery located 15 miles Northeast of Seattle. It is Washington’s oldest and most acclaimed winery.

The reason why I searched for this particular wine was because it was supposed to truly  sum up what a real Sauv. Blanc is meant to taste like. It had a very strong flavor, which was a wonderful improvement from the last bottle’s Barefoot. It definitely had a more grassy or herbaceous taste to it, which was very nice. It was spicy with a strong melon flavor as well. I liked it.

It does not appear to be a very common wine. I had a hard time finding reviews on this, but I did find more on the Horse Heaven 2009 version. Obviously, it is slightly different, but I am assuming it is still worth getting.

I think I have decided that Sauvignon Blanc is not my personal favorite wine. It is ok and I think I can appreciate a good and flavorful version of it (like this Horse Heaven or Monkey Bay) but I cannot see myself buying a bottle to enjoy for a relaxing weekend.

I am planning on continuing my dry wine kick and we will see where that ends up.

Health Benefits of Wine

I have heard it for a long time. Drinking a glass of wine a day is really good for you. But why? I have searched and found.

Yes, it is true wine (red and white) is very good for your body. However, contrary to what college students want to believe, it is all in moderation and not consuming as much as possible.

I can remember attending a party not long ago with a friend of mine and another friend who had been newly health conscience and seriously dieting, came running up to us completely smashed. I questioned him about his diet and he proceeded to tell me that alcohol is really good for you, so the more you drink, the better off he was. I honestly have no idea if he was serious or just trying to make a joke out of his obviously poor judgement. But, I remember thinking to myself, wow keep making up excuses my friend.

Wine has been found to raise good cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, lower the risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of some cancers, and slow the progression of some disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

To reap the benefits of wine here is the general rule of thumb to follow:

  • Men should not drink more than 2 glasses of wine per day
  • Women should not drink more than 1 glass of wine per day

Just to put it out there, 1 glass of wine is 5 ounces and there are 5 servings in a 750 mL bottle of wine. This doesn’t leave us a lot to enjoy. So, it must be learned to solely look forward to that one glass and let that be your treat for the day.  If you want to read an interesting article on the Mediterranean Effect phenomenon check it out here. Basically, this is a radio/science interview that discusses the French’s terrible eating habits, but are still in good health, presumably because of their red wine consumption.

There is even a red wine diet that was released in September 2007. I don’t really hear much about it right now, so I am not sure how long this stuck around or how many people it affected. Wine (and every other kind of alcohol) contains a lot of calories that turn to fat in the abdomen, this is not fun to look at, but it is something I am definitely taking into consideration with spring break coming up rapidly.

Storage of Wine

So, my day off and what do I do? I COULD do homework, I COULD clean my apartment and I COULD go to gym, but I find myself sitting on the couch watching HGTV‘s  Design on a Dime. Nice! But I  feel better by convincing myself that at least it isn’t Maury. It may be a feeble attempt, but it helps me sleep at night. However, during this episode, the man made his own wine and wanted to redo the dining room to display his product. I got so excited! During this episode, I learned a couple of tips on the storage of wine.

The first thing the expert asked was if it was a dark, damp place in the house. This makes sense to me. You want a place where the sunlight cannot penetrate and if it is too dry it can also change the flavor of the wine.

You also have to be sure that the temperature does not change too much because this can damage the cork and cause it to crack and allow air to leak into the bottle. The temperature change can also cause the cork to mold and none of us want our wine to taste like a moldy grape!

The other thing that the expert in the show said was that bottles should be stored on their side. This allows the cork to be kept moist and it will not crack.

These are all things that I had never thought about before!

Thanks HGTV!

Home wine storage made easy!

Graduation and Sauvignon Blanc #2

Wow, it’s really sinking in now. Holy smokes I’m graduating soon! Yes, it was there the whole time, I have been job searching and making plans for friends and family to come to the ceremony, but today was just plain creepy.

Today, I bought my graduation cap, gown, tassel and announcements. It’s real. It is sooooo real. Eeek

Well, I can only think of one thing to make me feel better. WINE! (It’s homework for this blog only…I swear!) So, I am cracking open, well, popping open I suppose, my $8.00 bottle of Californian  Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc. I like Barefoot. It’s cheap and the Moscato is quite tasty.  So, it jumped out to me and I bought it. Sadly, it was a mistake.

I am not a fan of this Sauv Blanc. The Monkey Bay that I had last week was a shock to the system with it’s dry, fruitiness that I was not used to (but liked!). This Barefoot honestly tastes like flavored water. Crisp and refreshing, but in a high quality H2O sense, not wine.

There is supposed to be a kind of pear, melon and nectarine flavor to it. I am not getting this. Granted, a way to describe it is a little smokey on the nose and slight aftertaste, but it is so subtle and I am still finding myself sitting here unsatisfied.

I need more flavor, more burst and richness in wine. I want citrus to dance upon my taste buds happily and merrily, and Barefoot is doing no dancing. This makes me sad. I am looking at other reviews of this wine and all I am reading is about it’s clean taste, I am sorry but if I want clean I will drink free water from the tap…

Time to try a Washington wine that has been suggested to me if I can find it.

Sauvignon Blanc #1

So, it was time for my first Sauvignon Blanc.  It is a beautiful sounding name…Sauvignon Blanc…is a dry white wine produced in California, France, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Washington, and growing in popularity in South Africa and New Zealand. There are various flavors within the S.B. varietal. It can taste like grass, green pepper, asparagus, grapefruit, lime and even “catbox.”

Now, catbox is not a way I would like my wine to be described as tasting or smelling like, but some people really get into this. I remember watching someone taste wine and described it as being “earthy” and like manure. That’s just gross. But some people really look for this and savor this. Perhaps I just still have a whole lot of wine-ing to do.

But, after going into the store and digging into my pockets for as much spare change that I could, I finally had enough to buy my first New Zealand bottle of S.B. I couldn’t help it, something just sounds cool about getting a wine from New Zealand! I am a complete nerd, but I found good old Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc. (It’s a very interactive website and very cute!) For about $9 I was able to buy my first bottle of dry wine!

I was extremely nervous about trying a dry wine. But after the initial sip where I wrinkled my nose and puckered my lips, I got more used to it. It is very fruity and very light and it started to grow on me. It wasn’t so bad once I got used to the unsweetness of the wine. I am intrigued and once I work another shift in the journalism school, I should have enough money in my pockets to scrounge up enough for another bottle. Any other suggestions on cheap bottles of S.B.?

Around Town

For those of us living in a college town, where wine may not be everyone’s first drink choice, it is sometimes hard to find the best places to buy wine at a good price.  But, I have compiled where the best places are in Morgantown, WV to get your wine.

  • Slight Indulgence – This is a gourmet grocery store in Morgantown that is family owned has two locations. Not only can you buy imported wine and beer at a great price, but you can also get a delicious panini and some chocolate. Best hidden gem in Morgantown!
  • The Wine Rack – a place with a large selection of wine at a great price and a nice friendly staff that answers all questions.
  • The Wine Bungalow – international wines, gourmet chocolates and sauces and wine buckets
  • Forks of Cheat Winery – A local winery that everyone in the area should enjoy!

Houdini Wine Opener

As I have made clear, I had to learn the hard way about opening a wine bottle with a cork in it. It took a long time and a lot of practice to finally get the bottle open without completely ravaging the cork beyond belief.

I wish that I would have had these fun and special tips on How to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew during my picnic with my boyfriend, but oh well…I mean, some of these are quite Macgyver-ish but pretty handy!

I highly recommend purchasing a good bottle opener. One that is durable with a nice handle is perfect.

I was thrilled when my mom received the Houdini Wine Opener. This thing is cool. Houdini is basically a new version of the Rabbit. It’s a little big and really strange looking at first. But once you get the hang of it, it is so quick and easy and fun.

With 3 simple moves, you are uncorked and ready to go in about 6 seconds. The cork is still reusable and you don’t have all the twisting and turning and pulling.

It is a little more expensive than I would like. It ranges from $25 to about $40 and I know you can get them at any Kohl’s or Bed Bath & Beyond store. But put it on your birthday list, like I am, and hopefully you will have fun with it!

P.S. By all means, you should know how to open a bottle of wine with a regular corkscrew. There is nothing sexier or more impressive than a man who can uncork that bottle of wine! The Houdini is not necessarily portable and unfortunately will not always be there where you need it if you are outside your home. So try it out, get it down partially, and then use that Houdini or Rabbit!