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Category Archives: wine

Welcome Fall With Austrian Wines!

Austrian Wine Class

Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar

Roanoke, VA…September 13, 2017

Mr bills wine rep

Wine Representative Klaus Wittauer presents Wine from Austria.

https://kwselection.wordpress.com

http://kwselection.com

Klaus obviously loves Austrian wines…as he explained during our Austrian Wine Class:  Coca Cola wines you can buy anywhere. Real wines made by real people ~ with a story behind the wine is so much better!

mr bills bubbly

We began the evening with Leo Hillinger Secco Sparkling Pinot Noir.  Italy (much like Champagne, France protects the name “Champagne”) protects the name “Prosecco”, so Hillinger named this wine “Secco” to highlight the bubbles in the wine.

Class notes:  “Pink Ribbon”  100% Pinot Noir crafted into a sparkling rosé wine made in the ProSecco style. It has delicate aromas of fresh strawberries and red berries, which follow through on the palate. the flavors are beautifully balanced with a vibrant and refreshing dry finish.  Wonderful as an aperitif to begin a great dinner and  evening, pairs well with Sushi, or serve after dinner with fresh strawberries. Secco also makes a perfect toast!!  Hillinger donates to Breast Cancer Awareness and puts a little pink ribbon on the wine label. $23 range. 

Riesling mr bills

The first day of Fall is Friday, September 22, 2017 and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The  Josef Bauer Riesling Hengstberg 2015 is the perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings.  This was my favorite wine of the evening ~ well balanced with fruit and fresh acidity, light peach and apple notes…perfect for Fall sippin’.

Class wine notes: This is a wonderful dry Riesling from a family-owned estate’s terraced vineyards over Feuersbrunn, Austria.  Very ripe with lots of stone fruit aromas, full-bodied with a great balance of fruit and acidity. Great with white meat and fish dishes, light pastas, appetizers, especially smoked trout.  Austrian Rieslings are generally loved by sommeliers because they are high quality, pair wonderfully with food and are light enough to not ruin your palate before a meal.  $18 range.

 http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/buying-guide-the-wines-sommeliers-love  

Mr. Bill noted that Every day is holiday and Riesling fits with any holiday.  

mr bills riesling

Steininger Loisium Weingarten Grüner Veltliner is a very popular Austrian wine. On my notes I wrote “Crisp Apples!”…which matches the crispness in the Fall air outside.

Class wine notes:  Steven Holl – Kamptal Reserve. Named after the architect who built the Loisium museum. The label shows the original blue print of the entrance building, cellar world and Spa Hotel.  A single vineyard Veltliner with inviting fruit in the nose, exotic notes and fine ripe aroma of apples. The finish is complex and balanced with a long beautiful echo and the traditional white pepper.  $25 range.

These Grüner Veltliner grapes are grown in the vineyard that surrounds the Loisium museum and there is a hotel on the grounds.  How fabulous! Here’s a link to Loisium Wine & Spa Resort Langenlois:   http://www.loisium.com/en/langenlois/news-resort

mr bills red wine

Leo Hillinger HILLside 2014.  I found this wine to be low tannin and very sippable.

Class notes:  60% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 10% Zweigelt. This wine has explosive nose of plum, raspberry, sweet tobacco and vanilla. Big and full up-front with good spice, black pepper and a long pleasant lingering finish.  The Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 92 points.  There is just a hint of dark fruit. The palate lightens with expressive and finely drawn fruit.  There is pepper-tinged red cherry, fine notes of cranberry and red currant. The fruit here is beautiful and taut; there is freshness, tension and real elegance.  Tannins are supple and fine, and the body is unforced and fresh. $35 range.

Steindorfer Beerenauslese 2015.   Rich and honey laden with a touch of sweet petrol on the nose.  To my palate the petrol makes the wine a bit earthy which pleasantly offsets the sweetness of the wine, but does not detract from the sweetness of the wine…nicely balanced.  $30 range (half bottle). (This wine was not included in the tasting, but is one of our favorite ways to end a meal.)

mr bills wine representative

Just for fun…take a bunch of green seedless grapes, wash them and remove them from the stems. Place in a bowl and freeze the grapes. Use them in your white wine to keep your wine cold.  Red seedless grapes can be frozen and used to keep rosé wine cold.

Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Napkin Riesling

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Sun, Surf and Champagne!

One of my favorite photos of “George Gershwin” our 18-year-old kitty. Sadly he passed away this week. He was an inside kitty but loved to play out on our deck whenever we were out there. He kept a good eye on our champagne glasses to make sure they were always full.  Miss you my sweet boy!

For years we’ve named our kitty cats after big band musicians (we love big band!)…

Ginger Rogersmaxinekitty cat

Ginger Rogers, Maxine Andrews, Cole Porter, George Gershwin…but we are starting to run short on names, so maybe we should start naming our kitties after champagnes… Charles Heidsieck, Henri Giraud,  Pol Roger perhaps?

Pol Roger NV Brut Champagne ~ $40 – $50 range.  Consists of one-third pinot noir, one-third pinot meunier and one-third chardonnay grapes. Pear, honeysuckle and toast notes. Nicely balanced with tiny bubbles dancing around the glass.

Pol Roger’s Philosophy: 

There is that moment
when the spirit of Pol Roger is revealed.

One may think one knows champagne and yet, that day, one truly discovers it.

Pol Roger was Winston Churchill’s favorite champagne house.

My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best. ~ Winston Churchill

Food and Wine Magazine recommends pairing Pol Roger Champagne with Grilled Chicken Breasts with Grapefruit Glaze. Here’s a link to the recipe:  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-chicken-breasts-with-grapefruit-glaze

pol roger champagne

squirrel sign

Always love our local wine shops creative signs…thank you Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar!  http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Sun and surf is always good for the soul and we had lots of both last week.

I found these Limited Batch Cape Cod Roasted Black Garlic Potato Chips at the beach. Delicious!

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Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.  ~ John Milton

We had fun tasting J Vineyards & Winery NV Brut Rosé, Russian River Valley while we were enjoying sun and surf.  $40 range.  66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 1% Pinot Meunier. Pretty salmon color with lots of little bubbles dancing around in the glass. Slightly acidic with a dry finish. Elegant mouth-feel with notes of strawberry, ripe red apples and toasted hazelnuts.

veuve at the beachsunglasses

 Veuve Clicquot sunglasses!

robe

Veuve Clicquot robe and matching slippers. A fabulous surprise from my wonderful husband.

champagne tops

wine sign

Now back at home I am looking forward to Fall (begins September 22!) with my favorite hot tea…The Republic of Tea Hot Apple Cider Tea. $11 per container…may seem expensive, but each container has 36 tea bags in it which equates to .30 per cup. Yummmmmm…

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Everything Happens For A Riesling…German Wine Tasting

Napkin Riesling

Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany.

german prost

CHEERS!

German wine

I recently had the pleasure of attending a German wine tasting at my favorite local wine shop “Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar”…mrbillswinecellar.com

When we think of German Riesling,  don’t automatically think “sweet”…think “apples and peaches and freshness” instead.  And definitely think wine and food pairing because these wines are fabulous with food ~ especially the spicy cuisines of Thailand and India. Fabulous with German fare too…spicy sausages, hearty pork dishes…

german sparkling

I purchased this bottle to take home…2013 Hansen-Lauer Reisling Brut SEKT b. A.  $20 range.  Fresh apple and peach notes with Mosel minerality. Dry yet fruity,  refreshingly effervescent. I found this sparkling to be a better food pairing wine than a sipping wine.   Pair with shrimp, tempura or Thai food.

shrimp

My favorite sips from the wine tasting:

2013 Heinz Eifel Riesling Auslese.  $18 range.  Sun-riped grapes resulting in a “buttery touch of sweetness” that reminded me of chardonnay. Luscious with a long finish.  This wine would be lovely paired with Thai food.

german wine seebrich

2014 Seebrich Riesling Spatlese.  Notes of apricot. Rich with minerality that is high enough that it gives the impression that the wine has a little effervescent spritz. Smooth finish.  $19 range.

german dessert wine

2015 Heinz Eifel Beerenauslese.  $25 range. Nice dessert wine with peach and nectarine notes. Not too syrupy.  made from hand-selected individual grapes that have been affected by ‘noble rot’, a fungus that dehydrates the grapes  and adds a rich honey flavor to the wines. Pair with stone fruit desserts or blue cheese. 

german snacks

Here’s a link to Food and Wine 15 Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings:

http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/15-rules-great-wine-and-food-pairings?xid=NL_WINELIST081517&utm_source=foodandwine.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wine-list&utm_content=2017081512PM

Food and Wine recommends pairing off-dry Riesling with sweet and spicy dishes:  The slight sweetness of many Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes.

glitter

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Champagne Day, August 4 ~ Celebrate With Frozen Champagne Raspberry Peach Grape Pops!

“Men are like wine ~ some  turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” 

Pope John XXIII

veuve-glass

veuve-top

ice-veuve-champagne

August 4 is celebrated as “Champagne Day” because on this day in 1693, Dom Pérignon exclaimed  “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!” when he “invented” champagne.   Dom Pérignon was only 19 when he became a monk and moved to the Abbey of Hautvillers near the town of Épernay (within Champagne, France), where he served as cellarmaster. It was popular at the time to try to get rid of any bubbles in wine. As hard as he tried Dom Pérignon could not get rid of the bubbles and instead embraced them which was an important step in the evolution of champagne.

DON’T WAIT TO CELEBRATE!

“Have you thrown up your hands in despair and confusion with too many choices? In that case, just remember one word:

CHAMPAGNE

It’s refreshing, relatively low in alcohol and sufficiently neutral to go with a myriad of foods. One minor tweak might be to have  more full-bodied vintage champagne with red meats and non-vintage champagne with everything else.  That’s a lot easier to remember than what wine goes with yak.”

~ Sam Gugino, contributing editor to Wine Spectator and author of Cooking to Beat the Clock

veuve-rose

 Rosé Champagne with BBQ!  Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor, Food and Wine Magazine, paired  Rosé Champagne with BBQ Brisket with surprisingly pleasant results:

http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/champagne-barbecue

veuve-clicquot-tasting-roomveuve-champagne-in-the-snow-use-this-one

Refreshing Summer Treat!  Champagne Raspberry Peach Grape Pops!

Skewer large black grapes on fancy picks. Place in a container so that the picks lay flat.  Mix 1 cup champagne (or sparkling wine) with 1/2 cup Raspberry Peach Grand Marnier.  Pour the champagne/raspberry peach mixture over the grapes, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Pour the champagne/raspberry peach liquid off of the grapes and make more grapes or discard liquid.   Cover the container and place in freezer.  Freeze grapes for two hours or more. Serve ice-cold.

These icy treats are perfect to pop in your mouth straight from the freezer or pop them in a glass of champagne!

veuve-champagnechampagne-veuve-richveuve-champagne-1998

Happy Champagne Day!

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These potatoes are on FIRE! Sparkling Wine Quenches The Heat

This morning I decided to include Potatoes Picante on my Sunday brunch menu.  This spicy Spanish red sauce on top of crispy potatoes is on FIRE with the addition of cayenne pepper.  It can be as spicy as you like it depending on how much cayenne pepper you add…and a tiny pinch of this spice goes a long way! 

Potatoes Picante

For the Picante Sauce:

2 large tomatoes (preferably fresh out of the garden for the best flavor)

12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped into very small pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 pinches cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika

2 tablespoons butter

For the potatoes:

3 Russet potatoes, peeled.

2 cups Vegetable oil

To prepare the sauce:  Cut the tomatoes in half.  Place a box grater in a bowl.  Grate the cut side of each tomato so that the tomato pulp falls into the bowl.   Discard the tomato skin.

Place the olive oil in a pan and warm it gently over low heat. Add the tomato pulp, chopped red peppers, sugar, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper to the olive oil.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until butter is melted. Return sauce to heat and keep warm over very low heat while preparing the potatoes.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half again, making 4 strips of potato. Cut each strip into 4 pieces which will make cubes of approximately one inch.  Put the vegetable oil in a deep frypan and heat until sizzling. Carefully add potatoes in one layer and fry over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Check to make sure the potatoes are tender and continue to fry for 5 more minutes until potatoes are crispy and lightly browned.  Remove potatoes from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil off the potatoes.  Sprinkle with a little salt if desired.

Serve warm potatoes on small plates drizzled with the picante sauce. Buen Provecho!

bubbly

I paired the potatoes with Charles Bove Sparkling Wine…tiny bubbles dancing in the flute, the pairing tasted “buttery” to me which was quite pleasing to the palate. The bubbles are created by  long-aging on its yeast via methode traditionnelle practice of secondary fermentation in the bottle.  This dry and festive wine is made from grapes primarily grown in he superb white chalk soils of the central Loire Valley.  Nothing fancy, just light and refreshing. $15 range.

Later I will quench the summer heat at Blue Cow Ice Cream Shop. Homemade ice cream in Roanoke Virginia! bluecowicecream.com

Blue Cow Ice Cream Flight…flavors (front to back) Chocolate Cayenne, Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl, Peach Ginger, Banana Pudding.

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Just For Fun…Signs That We Should Drink More Champagne!

I love finding signs about champagne and celebrations…they are POPPING up everywhere!

champagne sign savarine

champagne sign dance

champagne sign

drink champagne sign.

bubble sign

champagne sign.jpg

sign sparkle like champagne

wine sign.jpg

Wine sign Fortunato

champagne sign

Start celebrating sign

sign wine

champagne-sign

wag-more-sign-1

mr bills sign

wine sign

bubbly sign

champagne sign napkinchampagne napkin

 

summer sign

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My Favorite Recipe For Baba Ganoush

My wonderful husband presented a champagne tasting as a surprise for me this week…Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV and Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV.

I love it when I walk in the kitchen and find this sitting on the island which means we are about to commence to tastin’…

My favorite was the Champagne Dautel-Cadot Grande Tradition Brut NV.  Consists of 100% pinot noir grapes. $25 range.  We tasted notes of lemon meringue and green apple.  Bright without being too acidic.  Fresh and crisp. After my first sip I exclaimed:  “I love this!”

champagne tasting 1

The Dautel-Cadot Champagne Cuvee Prestige Brut NV was also delightful. 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir grapes.  $28 range.  We tasted orange blossom and meyer lemon flavors in this champagne.  Lots of fun bubbles dancing in the flute!

champagne tasting 2

Eggplant is in season!  This is my husband’s favorite appetizer, much like a  Baba Ganoush with some fun taste twists that enhance the flavor of the eggplant:

Eggplant Paté

Note:  I puree the ingredients in my blender. A food processor may also be used.

1 cup pureed eggplant (cut eggplant in half and roast in oven, scoop out eggplant pulp with spoon and discard eggplant shell. For one cup pureed eggplant you will need 2 eggplants)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 red bell pepper, cored, roasted and peeled, pureed (place cored pepper under the oven broiler and blacken all sides of the pepper. Place pepper in a paper bag, close the bag and allow the pepper to cool.  Remove the pepper from the bag and scrape off the peel with a sharp knife.

1 tablespoon butter

2.25 ounces pine nuts

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons medium peri-peri sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 ounces goat‘s milk cheese (little log)

Firehook Mediterranean Baked Crackers – sea salt variety (or serve with your favorite flatbread cracker)

  1. Melt butter in small sauté pan. Add pine nuts and sauté over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (monitor carefully because pine nuts will burn quickly) until pine nuts just begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Place the eggplant puree, red pepper puree, oregano, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, peri-peri sauce, tomato paste in a blender or food processor . Blend until all ingredients are combined and the mixture has a relatively smooth consistency.  If the mixture is too thick to blend a little more olive oil can be added.
  3. Place half of the eggplant mixture in a small serving dish. Crumble the goat cheese over the eggplant mixture. Top the goat cheese with the other half of the eggplant mixture. Top the eggplant mixture with the pine nuts.
  4. Serve with crisp flatbread crackers.

tim tam packagetim tams

Love these irresistable chocolaty happiness in a biscuit Tim Tams!  Dark mint is my favorite. 

limenchello

sparkle

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