Memorial Day ushered in the unofficial start of summer and warm weather, but that doesn’t mean we have to set aside red wines until fall. Instead, try one of these delicious summer-friendly reds which are lighter-bodied, delicious served slightly chilled, and pair extremely well with summer foods such as barbecue, and grilled meats and vegetables.
Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir (Languedoc, France)
With aromas of strawberry, cherry, and a hint of vanilla, Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir is a delicate and elegant red that pairs well with small bites and grilled meats, making it the ideal wine for summer entertaining.
Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera Piemonte DOC (Piemonte, Italy)
While Piemonte is best known for Barolo, it is also home to delicious wines made from the Barbera grape. Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera is light-bodied and packed with black fruit, especially blackberries and plums. Serve it slightly chilled for the perfect summer wine.
Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG (Sicily)
With summer comes barbecue season, and Planeta’s Cerasuolo di Vittoria is the ideal barbecue wine. Typical of wines produced in the Vittoria region of Sicily, it offers aromas of red berries, strawberries, cherries, fresh figs and ginger. It is the perfect wine to serve with grilled chicken, burgers, and steaks.
If punch brings to mind ho-hum drinks made with concentrated juice and powdered drink mixes, it’s time to take a fresh look. Along with skinny ties and glamorous up-dos, the retro mania brought by shows like Mad Men is also bringing back to the spotlight long-forgotten favorites like punch. So for your next soiree, try some of our favorite punch recipes and spend more time with your guests instead of mixing drinks.
To make it even more festive, create an ice ring by freezing your favorite fruit juice in a Bundt pan and placing it in the center of the punch bowl. It will help keep drinks cold while looking incredibly extravagant.
1 bottle (750 ml) of Lunetta Prosecco
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup of chilled ginger ale
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of red berries (strawberries, raspberries)
Plenty of ice
Add all ingredients to a bowl with ice and mix well.
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups fresh pineapple juice
2 cups fresh orange juice
3 cups Dos Maderas Rum 5+3
1 cups grenadine syrup
Orange slices, for garnish
Plenty of ice
Add all ingredients to a bowl with ice and mix well.
1 cup of brown sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
16 oz of The Irishman Original Clan Irish Whiskey
3 cups of water
Slices of one orange
Peel from one lemon
Plenty of ice
Muddle the sugar and lemon peels. Add lemon juice and stir until sugar dissolves. Add whiskey and water. Transfer to a punch bowl over ice.
Passover and Easter are fast approaching and will be here before you know it! Have you thought of which wines to serve at your holiday table? We can help!
You don’t have to compromise on flavor to keep Kosher during the Passover Seder. Recanati Winery offers a terrific selection of Kosher wines that will impress your guests and enhance your whole meal. Winemaker Gil Shatsberg focuses on grape varieties that thrive in Israel’s Mediterranean climate to create wines of outstanding quality.
Start the evening with Recanati Sauvignon Blanc, full-bodied and lively, it is the ideal pairing for hors d’oeuvres and first courses. For the main course, try Recanati Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This complex wine with aromas of ripe black fruits pairs beautifully with roasts and brisket.
Want to really amaze your guests? Then may we suggest Recanati Special Reserve. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from premium hand-harvested vineyards, this wine is full-bodied and velvety with intense aromas of cassis, black cherry and notes of chocolate, vanilla and nutmeg.
Easter brings the promise of renewal. With spring right around the corner, it is the perfect opportunity to fill the table with fresh vegetables to go alongside the traditional baked ham. And we suggest also keeping the wines on the lighter side. For appetizers, how about Twin Vines Vinho Verde? Slightly spritzy and extremely refreshing, this wine has tropical fruits aromas accented by floral notes. It is definitely a crowd pleaser.
For the main course, try the Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Named for its vibrant cherry color (Cerasuolo means “cherry red” in Italian), it has bright berry notes and a wonderfully fresh, long finish.
Is there any more romantic way to start off your Valentine’s evening than with a bottle of bubbly? Yes, with a bottle of rosé bubbly! Vibrantly colored, beguiling and delicious, rosé sparkling wines are the perfect toast to celebrate the most amorous holiday on the calendar. Here are our top rosé three picks, from value to splurge, along with a delightfully sweet sparkling option.
- Marquis de la Tour Brut Rosé
- Ferrari Rosé
- Gosset Grand Rosé
- Petalo Moscato Spumante “Il Vino dell’Amoré”
Who needs the pressure of New Year’s Resolutions? Instead, commit yourself to checking out these top wine & spirits trends during 2013…in the company of good friends, of course!
1. Drink smarter. The world of wine is immense. From learning the basics to discovering new frontiers, wine education is sure to elevate your enjoyment and excitement about wine. Bottlenotes.com recently highlighted some top classes around the country.
2. Bottled cocktails. Want to avoid getting stuck forever mixing cocktails at your next party? Mix up some bottled cocktails ahead of time! Purchase 32oz glass bottles and try our favorite recipes, with a bit of filtered water added to simulate the natural watering down effect of ice cubes. Chill, serve, and go enjoy your party!
3. Sherry. Yes, Sherry. These divine fortified wines from the famed Jerez region of Spain run the gamut from dry, light and refreshing to sweet, rich and decadent. Bloomberg.com recently recapped NYC’s first ever Sherryfest, an event that proved testament to the resurging popularity of this classic wine. Try selections from the renowned Williams & Humbert.
4. How sweet it is. Drinking dry wines all the time can be, well, dry. Sweet wines – including whites made from Moscato and a wide array of red blends – have catapulted to the top in terms of sales and popularity. Try some budget-friendly options, including Roscato and Cavit Moscato.
5. The mystique of Mezcal. This distinctively smoky spirit is made, like tequila, from the agave plant in Mexico. However, that may be where the similarities end.
This niche spirit is showing strong growth in the U.S., as it continues to appear on fine spirits and cocktails lists around the country. If you haven’t discovered it yet, 2013 just might be the time. Try the artisanal Los Amantes.
It’s true – the holidays can be the most hectic time of the year, between assorted festivities and planning for the New Year ahead. Here are 10 Tips to help you keep your sanity this season, in delicious and convivial style.
1. December is finally here and for many of us it is starting to get chilly. So why not warm up with a mug of Hot Toddy while cozying up with a great book?
1 oz The Irishman Original Clan Whiskey
1 Tbsp honey
Juice of ¼ of a lemon
1 cup hot water
1 serving of your favorite black tea
Coat the bottom of a mug with honey. Add the whiskey and lemon juice.
Prepare your favorite tea, pour into the cocktail glass and stir.
2. It’s okay to indulge a little, and there is not greater indulgence than baking a tasty batch of Double Ginger Crackles. In addition to being delicious, these cookies fill the air with a delightfully festive aroma.
3. During the insanity of the season, it’s helpful to have a handful of go-to recipes that are quick and easy but don’t taste like shortcuts. Risotto may sound difficult, but this Italian staple is actually quite simple to make. The main secret? Keep the chicken stock warm as you add it to the rice. This Risotto with Artichokes can be served on its own or as a hearty side dish.
4. The holidays are a perfect time to think of others and spread the joy. Join Cavit Collection Wines and No Kid Hungry on their fight to end childhood hunger in America.
5. During this hectic month, it’s important to take some time to wind down. Movie nights are a great way to relax, especially with some hot cocoa with a hint of Los Amantes Mezcal. To keep with the holiday theme, how about watching Love Actually?
6. When friends stop by unexpectedly to drop off gifts, we find ourselves impromptu hosts. To entertain even the most last-minute guests, keep on hand some Toasted Herbed Walnuts and chilled bottles of Lunetta Prosecco. Your friends will be impressed by your host/hostess prowess.
7. Need a last minute gift? How about a bottle of sparkling wine? Ferrari Brut is a delicious Metodo Classico (traditional method – think Champagne) sparkling wine from Italy that will really impress even the most finicky gift recipients. Make it more festive with one of the following wrapping tips from TheKitchn: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/5-diy-wine-wrapping-tutorials-180735. We even have a tip for two bottles: http://bklynbrideonline.com/16430/diy-projects/diy-wine-bottle-wrap/
8. With so many things to do throughout the week, it is always helpful to take some time on weekends to cook a meal that will last for a couple of days. Our Italian Veal and Mushroom Stew is delicious fresh and even better when re-heated.
9. While it is winter here on the northern hemisphere, our friends at the Santa Rita Winery, in Chile, are enjoying warm summer days. Plan a visit to Chile to escape the cold and taste some delicious wines. Visitors to Santa Rita can look forward to accommodation at the estate’s luxury hotel, the Casa Real, with its breathtaking 100-acre gardens, its magnificent museum housing a breathtaking collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, or enjoy dinner at the property’s landmark restaurant, the Doña Paula.
10. Need a refreshing idea for adult stocking stuffers? 187ml single-serve bottles are the perfect fit, and you can find fun options to suit any wine lover.
As autumn settles in across the U.S., it brings to many areas the promise of a new harvest of seasonal fruits and veggies. One of the most popular fall favorites is the good old apple, as American as…well, you know! From Washington state to Michigan, New England to Virginia, countless varieties of apples ripen to perfection, fueling the beloved pastime of apple picking.
Across the Atlantic, in the rolling countryside of Normandy in northwest France, a similar apple culture has existed for hundreds of years. Here, it gives rise to the famed apple brandy called Calvados, the most well-known producer of which is Boulard. Join us for an introduction to this distinctive spirit, including how it’s made and creative ways to enjoy it!
- The Apple Martini
- The Golden Apple
- The French Connection
- September Sunrise
Some additional apple recipes:
- Making Apple Butter
- Boulard Calvados Apple Tart
- Caramel Apples
- Calvados Chicken
September is back to school time…wine school, that is. Learning about wine can certainly seem like a daunting task. With so many grape varieties, regions of origin, producers and wine styles, it’s sometimes difficult to make sense of it all. We have some tips to make learning about wine easy and – most importantly – fun!
Tasting like an Expert
The first and most delicious step in learning about wine is training your taste buds. Successful wine tasting comes down to three fundamental things: developing a consistent method, tasting frequently, and creating your own personal tasting vocabulary. Following the link for more tips on how to become a tasting expert: http://www.palmbay.com/wine_tips_tasteexpert.asp
With thousands of wine grapes, endless wine regions around the world and a myriad of languages, some wine words can seem impossible to pronounce. But don’t be intimidated! We created am audio “cheat sheet” with some common wine terms. Our suggestion is master one per day. (Rumor has it that enjoying a glass of S. A. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Erste Gewächs makes pronouncing the name of this delicious German wine a bit easier.)
• For audio of wine terms, visit: http://www.palmbay.com/audio_search.asp
• For our visual pronunciation guide of select Italian, French and German terms, visit:
• Jeremy Parzen of DoBianchi.com also knows how hard pronouncing grape names can be, so he asked
several winemakers to help with his pronunciation project. Check out the videos at
No back to school program is complete without preparing all the necessary school supplies. In addition to having pen and paper at hand, and you also need to know the ideal temperature and glassware for the wines you will study. http://www.palmbay.com/wine_tips_quick_sips_0210.asp
Wine is one of the oldest beverages and some illustrious individuals have been involved in wine production, including President Thomas Jefferson. A few of our very special wine estates and their owners, however, can also find themselves in the history books:
Learning about wine can take you on a virtual trip around the globe. Keep track of it all with our beautiful hand-rendered wine region maps:
Don’t know how much wine to purchase for a get-together? The rule of thumb is 2 glasses per person and each standard 750ml bottle has about 5 glasses. So you can use the formula below to calculate how much wine you will need: X (number of guests) x 2 (glasses per person) ÷ 5 (pours in a bottle). So, for 30 guests you would need: (30 x 2) ÷ 5 = 12 bottles.
If you are hosting a wine tasting, the pours should be much smaller and you can get up to 10 servings per standard bottle.
Improve your wine vocabulary by visiting our Dictionary of Wine Terms:
Have questions, comments, or want to connect with fellow wine lovers? Like our Wine Explorer page on Facebook and join the community! And don’t forget to check back to our Events page for upcoming tasting opportunities in your area.
Bodegas Callia vineyards in Valle de Tulum, San Juan, Argentina. Visit http://www.palmbay.com/callia.htm to learn more.
Whether you are a vampire, werewolf, shifter, fairy or just plain human, Sunday’s season finale (http://www.hbo.com/true-blood/index.html) is a great reason to invite friends over and party like you’re in Bon Temps. So here are a few tips for having a bloody good time.
This is an easy one…True Blood-y Mary! The lemony character of our recipe is as refreshing as one of Pam’s zippy one-liners. And in addition to being delicious, our recipe is also skinny – only 120 calories - so you can enjoy a drink without worrying about your ready-for-close-up figure.
2 oz Voli Lemon
2 oz Tomato Juice
1 tsp Horseradish
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2-4 Dashes Hot Sauce
Pinch of Salt & Pepper
Celery stalk, olives and lime wedge
Build over ice and stir. Garnish with celery stalk, olives and lime wedge. Salt & pepper rim on glass
To give your party an authentic Louisiana feel, serve your guests a traditional Jambalaya. This spicy Cajun rice-based dish is easy to make and simply delicious. Did we mention that it will also feed up to 15 people? So don’t be afraid to invite EVERYONE over.
1 tbsp. oil
3 tbsp. butter
3 c. rice
3 lbs. shrimp
2 lbs. hot sausage
2 med. onions
7 toes garlic
2 tbsp. parsley
3 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
6 cans water (measured in the tomato sauce cans)
Remove sausage from casing and fry until brown. Drain and set aside.
Sauté onions, garlic and parsley in butter in a large pot until onions are soft. Add tomato sauce and cook until thick, about 15-20 minutes. Add water and cook about 10 minutes. Add sausage. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink, about 10 minutes.
Let mixture come to a boil. Add rice and cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked. Stir after 15 minutes.
To make the evening even more decadent, serve it your favorite fried chicken.
Roscato Rosso Dolce’s delicate sweetness and slight frizzante pair beautifully with the spiciness of this dish. Its brilliant ruby red color will have your guests wondering if you found them some authentic True Blood.
With plenty of food and drama, you can invite just about everyone you know. Just make sure to separate all teams to avoid major conflicts. We wouldn’t want a shifters versus werewolves situation to break out in your living room.
The stakes for the Season 5 finale are high, so why not make a game out of it? Here are some suggestions:
- Have all guests write possible outcomes before the beginning of the episode. The person who better predicts the episode’s events, will be crowned the winner.
- Create a True Blood trivia game by making cards with memorable quotes from past episodes and having your guests guess who said them.
To set the mood before the beginning of the episode, have the True Blood soundtrack playing when your guests arrive. The three volume soundtrack includes artists like Bob Dylan and Beck as well as Cajun-tinged ballads.