hot wine and cool nights

Hey loyal wine homies!!

I am so sorry it’s been a long, long time since I posted anything. I can assure you I have not stopped sampling vino. I was shopping the blog out to partners for a print gig. But… here I am! Back on the interwebs!! Maybe another year, yes?

So, in the middle of Summer, after all the things we’ve already explored, the best thing I can think of to chat about is temperature. For those of you not in British Columbia you may not be aware that it is hot as monkey balls here this Summer.

Across the province there are drought warnings, forest fires and dog-in-hot-car confrontations. It’s very stressful! So you should drink wine if you live here because that really helps!

White wine should be served cold and red wine served room temperature, right? Not for you and I my saucy (sauced) friend! I found this great infographic that explains it simply but with great details.

wine temps infographBetter? Your fridge is probably around 3-4 degrees. So, if you leave a bottle of white in the fridge until you are ready to drink it you will be serving it too chilled. It should be quite a bit warmer. Red can only be served at room temperature in the Spring or Fall, kind of. I keep my house around 20 degrees or so. Always too warm for wine. It needs to go in the fridge or on ice for a bit.

And for those of you who value looking like a wine snob this is great trivia to toss out as you pour!

So, even if you followed the twenty minute rule (whites out and reds in the fridge for twenty minutes before serving), it’s really dependent on the ambient temperature. And for really great wine, it pays to have that ice bucket on the table.

Now, we can’t talk wine temp in the Summer without talking about buying it and getting it home. It’s bad, bad, bad to leave babies, dogs, old people, ice cream, raw chicken and ESPECIALLY WINE in your car if it is warm out. It’s going to wreck the wine (and your dependents) if they spend any time sitting in your car when it’s warm.

When we toured the Naramata Bench last year in August we bought two bags of ice after the third stop to keep our wine safe as we continued our day. (Hello drunk at 10am – how did that happen?) I’m so glad I thought about the ice around 9:30. But your wine last or on a separate trip if you are planning to be out for the whole day.

That’s it! First post in six month! Thanks for the 11,000 views so far! You guys are awesome!

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Wine Resolutions for 2014

Happy new year, everyone!  I always start the year off with resolutions, like so many other people.  But this year, I’m going to call them something else — “resolution” leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth, probably because I’ve failed to keep so many of them!  So I’m going to go slightly new age-y and call them “intentions”.  Maybe that way I’ll actually manage to fulfil them in 2014…

First, I want to develop a routine so that I am actually posting to this blog on a regular basis.  In my ideal world, I’d post at least once a week.  In my real world, I know that might be a little ambitious, and I’m all about setting myself up for success when I make new goals.  So my intention is to blog at least every second week, with bonus points for blogging more often.

Bon gave me an absolutely fabulous wine journal for Christmas this year (thanks, Bon!), and I’m going to work through all of the information sections in the front, and I’ll share with you what I learn.  Apologies to folks who know something about wine already; it’s bound to be basic stuff, but that’s where I’m at.

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My second intention for the year is to fill all the tasting pages in my new journal.  They’re called “connoisseur’s notes” in the book, and there are quite a lot of them.  But all that means is that we have to have more wine parties this year, which is never a bad thing!

My third intention is to throw a naked wine party.  Stay tuned for details!

My fourth and final intention is to play many rounds of Winerd, the new game I got for Christmas from another friend who knows I’m into wine.  It looks like a ton of fun, and again, it will encourage me to try lots of new types of wine!

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What are your wine-related resolutions or intentions for the year?  Tell us in the comments section!

~Lindsay

the three bottles you need for new years (and why you don’t need champagne)

These are the only bottles you need to buy for your new years party.

1. Sawmill Creek Merlot – this high value (cough, cough *cheap* cough) red is damn near drinkable with anything you serve for dinner. It’s a great sip with appies wine too. And you can serve it to lots of people because it’s like $9.

2. St Hubertus Wine Goddess – this is a great white wine and it’s festive and sends the right message to your lady pals!! It’s another great sipper for appies.

3. Anything that sparkles that is not champagne. So, if you read this blog you clearly don’t work in the wine industry. That is why I share little hints with you that I learned the hard way. This is one of them. Champagne (oh la la sil vous plait) is sparkling wine from a very special little pocket of france. It is called champagne because that is what the French do. They French things up. You don’t need to go looking for a bottle that starts with ‘c’. Just look for a bubbly bottle! These can be found in a designated area of your liquor store and all around the store in different regional sections too. Branch out and don’t be afraid to spend a little dough. A decent bottle, in my opinion, should be about $15-20. If you buy anything cheaper you should just put some pop rocks in tequila. And you deserve what you get out of that!!

Bonus tip – if you don’t typically like champagne, or any dry and white bubble bottle, then use a cheap one to make a sparkly cocktail for midnight. We’ll be making two tonight. The first is champagne jello shots. Search those out in the previous post. The second is a sweet, blue sparkler made with Hypnotic, lime juice and sparkling wine!! Rim the champagne flute with colored sugar first and you have a great new years toaster!!

Enjoy yourselves tonight!! Be safe and be carefree. Resolutions to follow… I find it best to make these hung over so I’ll be finalizing my list in the morning when my toddler is loudly playing beside me. Fun times!!!

Happy new year!

a little advice about top 100 wine lists

I am the last person on earth who thinks you should be told what wine you need to drink.

There is a long line of people who think you DO need to be told what wine you need to drink. I am sure they are bazillionaires when it comes to wine smarts! They know more than the grapes themselves about what makes a good wine!! And some people who are bazillionaires (or at least own big companies and newspapers and magazines and websites) pay them lots of money to compile lists of wine that is good.

I love me a well-put-together list! I am as OCD as the next power-Mom. But, in this season of listing – good girls and boys, top news stories of the year, must see movies, worst politicians and on and on – the wine lists seems to be especially fast and formal.

As we wrap up the year there is lots of desire to create a nice tidy look back, music filled montage of the work we have put out. We all do it! It’s a season of reflection. Hooray! But do not be fooled into thinking these wine guys know what wine you should drink!

I have said this before, but some of you are new here, so I will say it again. Unless you know you have similar tastes to said wine-man his opinion is worthless to you!

Go ahead and try a wine of his top 10. But don’t rush out and buy all 10 until you are sure you and he would sit down and drink together!! Find a wine critic you usually agree with and then follow along!

Until then, as always, drink what you like! And if you end up drinking bad wine, at least drink it in the company of good people!th (3)

Don’t be seduced by superficialities!

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Cardinal Zin – A wine I would have bought in two seconds in my university wine-drinking days!

When I was in university, I bought wine based on the label and the name. I was a sucker for different names, like Arrogant Frog or Naked Grape. I’m sure I bought wine called Rotting Grapes, or something like that. (I googled it, but I don’t think that winery is still around… maybe for good reason!) If I liked the picture on the label, I’d buy it. If I found the name of the winery to be witty or strange, I’d buy it. I didn’t have the faintest clue what I was doing.

I still am tempted by labels and clever names. But I am more discerning, and ready to become even more discerning yet. I want to know why I like the taste of one wine and dislike the taste of another – if for no other reason than to be able to go into the liquor store and intelligently choose a wine that is likely to be something I will enjoy.

So I’ve finally learned: don’t be seduced by the beautiful artwork or a snazzy name.  But do check the label on the back of the bottle! As Bonnie has mentioned, check the label of the wine to see what the makers have to say about it. Sometimes the labels are less than helpful, but often there are clues in the description that will help you decide whether the odds are in favour of you liking that particular product.

The label will often talk about what flavours you’re supposed to be able to taste in the wine. I often struggle to pick them out, but I think that it’s fair to say that if you hate grapefruit and the label says that the wine “has hints” of it, you might not enjoy that particular wine. The label will often say that a wine goes well with certain foods; if it is recommended that you drink the wine with a strong flavoured food (like a curry or blue cheese), it’s probably quite a strong-tasting wine and may overwhelm a gentle palate. If you can have it with pasta or seafood, it probably has a more delicate taste.

So don’t discount the label – it can be helpful. Just don’t rely on aesthetics alone; look beyond the pretty picture and clever name, and find out more about your choice!

Aside

Introducing a new blogger!

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Hello, readers! I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, because Bonnie has done me the great honour of inviting me to do some posts for Sips in the City.

My name is Lindsay, and I’m part of Bonnie’s wine club — I’m the notoriously cheap one! I often bring the least expensive bottle to our tasting parties, and I consider a $20 bottle of wine to be a huge splurge. I’m happier to spend between $10 and $14, so I am always trying the less expensive ones to try to find a few “go to” wines. I’ll be doing some reviews of the ones I try in my quest to find something affordable that tastes good. In my opinion on both counts, of course!

I know next to nothing about wine, other than what I like and what I don’t even want to swallow. I firmly believe that life is too short to drink wine you can’t stand, and I practice what I preach. At our wine tastings, there are some that I taste and toss down the drain. But I always try every wine, because you never know what will strike your fancy and your palate.

My taste is quite different from Bonnie’s, so hopefully I can provide another perspective. I prefer white wine to red, sweet to dry, and unoaked to oaked. I honestly haven’t yet found a red wine that I would buy again, but I keep tasting them. That’s one of the best things about having a wine club or regular wine tasting parties – you get to try out a few swallows of all different sorts of wines, which, if you’re cheap like me, you’ll never try if you have to buy the whole bottle.

My knowledge level is different, too. I’ve learned a bit along the way, but I haven’t gone out of my way to get an education. That’s changing, by the way. Now that I’m going to be writing about it, I figure I should know something about it. So I’ve decided that I want to become a more critical wine taster. That’s not to say that I want to be harsh on wine; rather, that I want to be thoughtful and analytical, learning how to differentiate wines from one another and analyze their elements.

Until now, I’ve been content to be the person who tries a wine, decides whether I like the taste or not, and called it a day. But now, I want to learn about the subtleties, to know how to describe what I taste and sense in a way that other people can understand. I have limited my critique in the past to “I like it” or “I don’t”, but that’s no longer enough for me. I crave the satisfaction of learning about wine and applying that knowledge to the experience.

I have always loved to learn, about anything and everything. Now, it’s past time to learn about wine. I hope you’ll join me on my journey!  

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