IT'S TIME TO WINE! is a blog for those of us who enjoy the lighter side of life and the fun side of wine, "For over a bottle of wine, many friends are made." So jump on in and share your favorite wine varietal, wine story, wine trivia or cartoon because life is just to short not to wine!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mulled Wine for the Holdiays

Happy Holidays! It's time to Wine~
This is my favorite time of year.   I love shopping and wrapping and gift giving and especially gathering with friends to celebrate the year.  What I don't care for though is the part where temperatures plunge and we skitter around with our shoulders up to our ears in an attempt to keep warm.
Mulled wine is great for taking the chill out, relaxing those shoulders and filling your home with wonderful aromas.  I will post a few recipies over the next few days and would love to read yours as well! After all 'tis the season of sharing~
Happy Holidays

 Mulled Wine -
1 bottle of Merlot,
1 t almond extract,
2 cinnamon sticks (plus xtras for garnish if desired).
3 whole cloves,
1/2 t nutmeg,
1 T honey.
 Pour wine into top of double boiler, warm over med heat. Add remaining ingredients, stir til honey dissolves. Reduce heat, cover, simmer, stirring occasionally.
and Sip!
Makes the house smell delicious too!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Warding off the Red Wine Headache

I have a lot of people ask me why red wine gives them a headache. My first response is to tell them that they are either drinking cheap wine, or drinking way to much cheap wine. This is commonly referred to as a HANGOVER.

However, there are some people who,despite drinking a quality red wine above the $15 mark still suffer from headaches and/or flushed skin.  Although there are many theories as to why this happens, there are no solid  answers.
Luckily, there are preventative measures  you can take without giving up your cup of red nectar, (providing you aren't drinking cheap wine.)
Try drinking a cup of black tea before you drink the wine. If you will be drinking over the course of an evening, have another cup or two of black tea during the evening. Quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in black tea, significantly inhibits the headache/flush response (which is an inflammatory effect from histamines), according to Tareq Khan, M.D., a pain expert with St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Or if the problem you suffer from is bloating due to alcohol's dehydrating and water retention effects, try munching on magnesium-rich snacks like dark chocolate and unsalted nuts, according to Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Viva la Screw Cap!

As late as the mid-17th century, the French wine makers did not use corks. Instead, they used oil-soaked rags stuffed into the necks of bottles.
Sure makes the screw cap sound a bit more attractive, doesn't it?!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Hallowine!

Some people have Halloween parties but in our neighborhood we enjoy an adult version of Trick or Treat we call '”Trick or Drink”
Once the kiddies are safely off the street, a few of us more adventurous adults don our costumes, grab our 'hallo wine' glasses and travel from house to house, demanding “Trick or Drink!”
As we wind our way down the street we gather others of our kind and eventually converge upon the home of the couple who,unfortunately, could not find a sitter for their children. It's really quite fun and being that it's Halloween there's always a lot of candy available to pair with our wine.
Here are some suggestions of wines to have on hand for the “Trick or Drinkers” in your neighborhood, or if you should find yourself stuck at home, pairings to treat yourself with while you hand out candy or rifle through your little goblin's sack of goodies after he or she has finally passed out from a sugar induced high.
       Of course we all know that chocolate is ghoulishly delicious and appropriate to eat with just about any red wine, but if you should find a bit of the rare 'white' chocolate variety in the bounty, save it for an Australian Shiraz! It is an amazing food pairing and is a surprisingly sinful combination even if you are under the assumtion that you don't care for white chocolate or Shiraz. Try it anyways. It's the perfect example of how food and wine change one another to bring out the best in both.

Vanilla flavored candies such as candy corn and popcorn balls are scrumptious with a creamy Chardonnay, Semillon or a sweet Riesling.

Do you love to sink your fangs into a gooey juicy Caramel Apple? Try matching the toasty flavor of the butterscotch and caramel with a Gewurztraminer or, if you prefer bringing the apple taste to the forefront for your tasting pleasure, sip a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc while you munch.

Feeling a little nutty after handing out candy for hours and and then chasing your little berzerker around the house? Put your feet up and dig down into the bowl. Unwrap yourself a Babe Ruth , Snickers, Payday or other nutty bar and pop a bottle of sweet Moscato to enhance those nutty flavors while you wait for those Trick or Drinkers to bang on your door!

Happy Hallowine everyone!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Labor Day Reds and Whites so you won't be Blue

It's Time to Wine. Summer is coming to an end. School is about to start, lazy days are being replaced by longer nights, parent conferences, raking leaves, and honey do lists.

This is probably why Labor Day is so widely celebrated. The last Big Bash before we get to work.
But enough of the Blues the only wine I care to hear about  is the kind that I can pour into my glass .
So Which wine varietals will you choose to beef up your 'Labor Day BBQ?   Here are some of my favorites.

Favorite White Choices
A reliable rule is “Smoke Loves Oak” So if you are serving smokey BBQ you might enjoy pairing up lighter fare such as poultry, grilled pork or fish with an oaked Chardonnay (shar doe nay). Foods with lots of cream or butter like corn on the cob are especially tastey with Chardonnay especially one that has gone through the malo-lactic fermentation process. Which put simply, means it is a bit creamier and buttery.

Grilling Blackened, Cajun or spicy foods? A Gewurztraminer (ge verts tra me ner) is a lovely contrast to put the fire out, with it's moderately sweet flavor. You might want to serve this one early on as it becomes a bit difficult to pronounce once you've had a few glasses.

Pinot Grigio (peno gre g o), or Sauvignon Blanc are the wine lovers choice for a hot Labor Day. Like lemonade these crisp, acidic wines are the perfect thirst quenchers.

Red Wines
My favorite BBQ red is a zinfandel, not that sweet, sticky, pink stuff that you throw the ice cubes in, but a good, hardy, stand up to the grill red zin. A Red zinfandel is not a drink alone wine. It is made for BBQ. Red zins are fabulous with smokey red meats and chili meat balls. The spice, black pepper. and ripe tannins hold up nicely to the fat content of steak tips and BBQ sauce too. I wouldn't recommend pairing it up with really spicy food or chocolate though as you will discover that both the wine and the food will not be a hit at your party.

Pinot Noir; (peno new are) is the new 'in' wine. Loved by red and white drinkers alike, many enjoy it slightly chilled. (15 minutes in the fridge) This subtle wine is known to be very food friendly, pairing equally well with a juicy burger, lamb kabob or grilled chicken. However. The down side with Pinot Noirs is that they are finicky in the making and so rather pricey for a decent bottle. I haven't been able to find a Pinot Noir under $25 that I have enjoyed, and although I don't mind spending that on myself, the cost can really add up when you are serving a crowd.

I think that the most well known, easy drinking wine is Merlot (Meer lo) .Merlot is a fun, comfortable wine , even saying it's name is fun! meer lo! It is fruit forward and sipping friendly, cozying up nicely with spicy sauces as well as appetizers and lighter fare You can offer this wine at your BBQ knowing that most of your friends will enjoy it. If not, hand them a beer.

Shiraz- A good strong name for a wine, it sounds like something a genie might shout as it bursts forth from the magic lamp. SHIRAZ!  The crowning glory of Australia, spicy and fruity at the same time shiraz will compliment your ribs and other red meats. I don't care for it with brown chocolate, but it is amazing with white chocolate.
If you wrinkle your nose at Shiraz and you know you aren't a fan nof white chocolate try pairing them together, you will be stunned by how mouth watering a a pairing is!

Syrah- (Rhone, California) Same grape as shiraz but different location,and different taste: Syrah tends to have a more smokey flavor than shiraz.

And the last of the great BBQ wines, the king of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon : High in tannins (that's the dry feeling you get in your mouth.) Cabernet requires hardy, marbled red meats. A succulent  hamburger dripping in juices, a melt in you mouth rib eye, or a rich chocolate dessert like chocolate lava cake or triple chocolate brownies. MMMMM.... I LOVE Labor Day! But I am so going to miss summer.

Thanks for visiting my Blog. I would love to know your favorite wine labels so please do share!

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Cheers! And Happy Labor Day!
The Winer