With your New Year’s Eve hangover in the rear view mirror, here are 5 Fabulous Wine Resolutions to guide your vinous exploration in the New Year. From becoming a better taster to planning a trip to your favorite wine region, I’ve got ya covered:
1.) Mix It Up: Because the world of wine can be confusing it’s often easier to just stick with the same wine day in and day out – but how boring is that?!? To break out of your vinous rut, why not vow here and now to sample a different wine every week or at least every month. I’ll have plenty of great recommendations here on The Glamorous Gourmet as well as my weekly Facebook LIVE Show “Wines of the Week.” I also recommend finding a local retailer who can guide you towards selections based on your preferences. To sign up for my weekly newsletter with ALL the latest wine dish, please click here.
2.) Start a Wine Collection: If you’ve been drinking wine long enough to have a favorite wine region and/or producer why not sock a few bottles away for a later date? Aged wine can be a truly enjoyable revelation but collecting wine does NOT mean you have to commission a custom built, 15,000 bottle capacity cellar, in fact, far from it! All you’ll need is a small wine fridge and a few age-worthy bottles to put in it. This piece of equipment is VERY important since varying temperatures and humidity levels as well as any mechanical vibration (i.e. refrigerator, A/C unit) are the arch-enemies of wine. Also, if your budget allows, purchase a fridge with a little room to grow, wine lovers have a habit of outgrowing them faster then they think.
3.) Learn to Taste Wine: I know we all know how to physically “taste” wines, just take a sip, right? But to really learn about wine you need to taste it in a particular way, utilizing ALL of your senses including sight, smell AND taste. This sensory information provides valuable insight into a wine’s place of origin, grape variety and “terroir” which are all critical factors to learning about and understanding wine. So if becoming a better wine taster is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, please join me every Friday at 5pm EST for my brand new Facebook LIVE show “Wines of the Week” where you can taste four wines along with me EVERY week (click here to be taken there).
4.) Drink more sparkling wines: The focus on sparkling wine/Champagne consumption around special occasions like New Year’s Eve leaves the majority of the year unbearably bubbly-free. While Champagne’s price tag may limit it to more of a special occasion wine, there are many sparklers from around the globe that are priced for everyday consumption. Wines like Prosecco, Cava and Crémant (for some examples, please and here) are perfect for enjoying on a Tuesday night after work or when a friend stops by to visit. As an added bonus, sparkling wines also have less calories and alcohol than a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir – affordable, delicious AND figure-friendly – what’s not to love about that?
5.) Wine-related Travel: Next time you’re booking a getaway why not head to your favorite wine region? Whether you’ve collected wine for years or are new to it, nothing will give you a greater appreciation for what’s in your glass than standing in the vineyard where the grapes are grown and talking to the people who make the wine. Most wineries offer tours and tastings which you can sign up for via their website and they’re usually very happy to hear from you! Here’s a link to some of my travel-related articles.
I hope these suggestions inspire you to further embrace the world of wine in the New Year! If you have any other wine-related resolutions I’d love to hear about them, please let me know in the Comment section below.
Last May I asked my Mom friends what their ideal Mother’s Day would look like. Almost unanimously, right after “sleeping in” they said “breakfast in bed” so I posted a delicious recipe for baked Blueberry French Toast that was very well received. This year I thought I’d continue the tradition and share another one of my favorite breakfast dishes that would make the perfect surprise for Mom: Neiman Marcus Popovers with Strawberry Butter.
If you’re not familiar with the Neiman Marcus popover, let me give you a little background. Of course when I say Neiman Marcus I’m talking about the glamorous department store founded in Dallas, Texas in 1907 by Herbert Marcus Sr, his sister Carrie Marcus Neiman, and her husband A.L. Neiman. While the store has endured many changes since then, one of the most important was the addition of their first in-store restaurant in Dallas in 1953. The success of the first restaurant led to the addition of others and today some of their most well-known restaurants include Zodiac in the flagship Dallas store (which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year), the landmark Rotunda restaurant overlooking Union Square in San Francisco, and Mariposa in Coral Gables, Florida. We are also fortunate to have a Mariposa at the Neiman Marcus store in Boca Raton which is the quintessential spot for “ladies who lunch,” bridal and baby showers, or a quick bite after an arduous day of shopping.
Regardless of which restaurant you’re at, in keeping with sacred Neiman Marcus tradition, you will be greeted with a freshly baked popover accompanied by fragrant strawberry butter and a demitasse of flavorful, heart-warming chicken broth. This tradition dates back to the days of Helen Corbitt, a New York-born Chef hired to run the Neiman Marcus kitchen in 1955. Stanley Marcus called her the “Balenciaga of food” and she was well known for her larger than life personality and how efficiently she ran her kitchen. Even today, many decades later, several of Corbitt’s touches live on at Neiman Marcus which includes the sacred popovers and chicken broth.
A popover is an airy, hollow roll made from an egg batter which is baked in a “Popover Pan” (pictured above & available at Williams-Sonoma) which gives the roll its signature shape. Popovers can be made in either sweet or savory incarnations but for Mother’s Day breakfast, the sweet version is the way to go. Fresh out of the oven, they look like misshapen, golden brown globes of bread but on the inside, they are hollow and delicate with a deliciously mouth watering aroma. And once the strawberry butter hits the warm popover – forget about it. Positively intoxicating!
Because making popovers is a little time consuming, its probably best to pair them with something simple like a beautiful plate of sliced fruit or berries and/or maple glazed bacon depending on how Mom rolls (no pun intended!). I would advise making the strawberry butter the night before to cut down on prep the morning of. Also, be sure to read through the recipe once or twice. There are a few ingredients that need to be at room temperature and the batter need to rest for an hour halfway through the process which can be a big momentum killer if you’re not expecting it. If you find this recipe makes too many popovers for your celebration, it can be halved for future reference. Any extra popovers can be reheated in the microwave. Heat in increments of 10 seconds at a time until you get a feel for your microwave just so you don’t overheat them.
For something to drink, a rosé Champagne or other bubbly is sheer perfection! The flavors of the rosé pick up the strawberry notes of the butter beautifully. The J Vineyards Brut Rosé from California’s Russian River Valley is a lovely choice as well as the Charles Ellner Brut Rosé Champagne. You can check out these wines as well as our other Mother’s Day selections at our online store by clicking here. I promise this menu will have you looking like Husband, Daughter, and/or Son of the year. Wishing all the fabulous Moms out there a truly delicious day!
Neiman Marcus Popovers with Strawberry Butter
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups of milk
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups strawberry preserves
Beat the softened butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add strawberry preserves and beat until well combined. Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Microwave the milk on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch. Beat the eggs at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Slowly stir in the milk at low speed. Beat again for 2 minutes on medium speed. Let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Spray the popover pan heavily with non-stick spray or grease with butter. Fill cups almost to the top with batter. Place popover pan on cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes more. Popovers should be a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside, Serve hot with strawberry butter.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Anne-Marie Failla and tasting through the impressive line of Failla Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. She and her husband Ehren Jordan founded Failla (pronounced FAY-la) in 1998 with the intent of producing elegant, cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a distinctly Old World flair – I think they’ve achieved their goal!
Anne-Marie is Failla’s CFO and Ehren is winemaker, cutting his teeth in winemaking with stints at Marcassin as Helen Turley’s winemaking assistant and then later working with her brother Larry Turley where he eventually took over as General Manager, Winemaker and Viticulturalist at Turley Wine Cellars. Ehren’s viticultural training in France has also infused his farming and winemaking choices so that their estate vineyards today produce Rhône-style Syrah, Chablis-like Chardonnay and Burgundian Pinot Noir.
This wine is a lovely introduction to the Failla line which is most definitely worth exploring. The couple’s 85 acre property on the Sonoma Coast is located about 2.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean and their estate vineyards are situated at approximately 1,000 feet elevation, just above the fog line. Neighbors include such esteemed names as Marcassin, Flowers, Hirsch, and Peter Michael. In addition to their estate fruit, they also purchase grapes from such renowned vineyards as Hirsch, Keefer Ranch and Alban and their wines are currently garnering much critical acclaim.
The 2012 Failla Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a blend of Sonoma Coast grape sources and the harvested fruit was destemmed into open-topped fermenters and punched down twice-a-day, before aging sur lie. The wine was then aged in French oak (20% new) resulting in warm tones of baking spice, wild sage, balsam and cherry coulis. Fine tannins and bright, juicy acidity give structure to the red berry palate.
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sonoma Coast, California
Cases Produced: 2,000
Drinking Window: 2014-2017
Ratings: 90 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Price: $37, available at The Wine Atelier by clicking here and enter code “FAILLA10″ during checkout to receive 10% off your purchase of 6 bottles or more. Offer good through tomorrow, March 7th so order now!
With your New Year’s Eve hangover in the rear view mirror and the long, winding road of 2014 laid out before you, here are 5 wine-related resolutions to help you embrace and explore the world of wine in the New Year.
1.) Mix It Up: Because the world of wine is so vast and often confusing it’s easy to just stick with the same wine, day in and day out. To break out of your wine rut, why not vow to sample a different wine every week or learn more about a specific wine making region? Find a reputable retailer who can guide you towards selections you might like or subscribe to a publication and/or website where you can learn more about a variety of wine regions around the world. Here on the blog we plan on offering an array of wine coverage in the New Year and our Explorateur Wine Club is a wonderful way to explore a different wine region every month!
2.) Start a Wine Collection: If you’ve been drinking wine long enough to have a favorite wine region and/or producer it’s probably a good time to start collecting. Collecting wine does not mean you have to commission a custom built 15,000 bottle capacity cellar – far from it! All it takes to start a collection is a small wine fridge and a few age-worthy bottles to put in it (for some age-worthy wine recs, please click here). The wine fridge is an important piece of equipment for the beginning collector. Please don’t forgo this purchase and make the mistake of storing your wines in a spare closet or on the kitchen counter. The varying temperatures and humidity levels in any home (kitchens are the worst!) are the arch-enemies of wine so be sure to protect your investment with this useful piece of equipment. Also, wine lovers invariably have a way of outgrowing wine storage units so, if your budget allows, purchase a fridge with a little room to grow.
3.) Drink more white wines that are NOT Pinot Grigio: Much like Rodney Dangerfield, white wine often “gets no respect”. I conduct many tastings where people want to skip right over the white wine and go straight to the red. Sometimes it’s personal preference but, more often than not, I think people are under the impression that red wines are somehow superior to whites, which couldn’t be farther from the truth! People are also under the mistaken impression that all white wine tastes like the bland, mass-produced Pinot Grigios we often encounter which doesn’t help white wine’s reputation. It’s rewarding to see someone’s face light up after taking a sip of White Burgundy or Alsatian Gewürztraminer and marvel at their flavor and complexity. So whether it’s Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Arneis or Chenin Blanc embrace the world of white wine but, whatever you do, stay away from the Pinot Grigio! For a selection of delicious whites from The Wine Atelier, please click here.
4.) Drink more sparkling wines: Unfortunately sparkling wines are most often associated with special occasions and New Year’s Eve celebrations, leaving the majority of the year unbearably bubbly-free. While Champagne’s price may limit it to more of a special occasion selection, there are many sparkling wines from around the globe whose price point makes them a perfect candidate for an everyday wine. Wines like Prosecco, Cava and Crémant retail for under $20 (for some examples, please click here) making them perfect for enjoying on a Tuesday night after work or when a friend stops by to visit. As an added bonus, sparkling wines have less calories and alcohol than a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Affordable, delicious and figure-friendly – what’s not to love about that?
5.) Wine-related Travel: Next time you’re booking a Spring or Summer getaway why not head to your favorite wine region? Nothing will give you an appreciation for what’s in your glass more than standing in the vineyard where the grapes are grown and talking to the people who make the wine. Whether you’ve collected for some time or are new to enjoying wine, traveling to different regions can be a lot of fun and facilitate your passion for the subject. Start with a region you’re interested in and plan from there. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the wineries directly, they’re usually very happy to hear from you. Of course here at The Glamorous Gourmet we’re always happy to assist you with wine and food related travel so please don’t hesitate to reach out. Here’s a link to some of our travel-related articles.
I hope these suggestions help you make it through 2014 with a renewed passion for all things vinous! If you have any other wine-related resolutions we’d love to hear about them, please tell us in the comment section below.
Still looking for the perfect holiday gift for your Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Bestie and/or Hostess with the Mostess? Let’s face it, this time of year the list could go on and on but there is one gift that is guaranteed never to be returned, is truly one size fits all, and will always bring a smile to the face of your recipient. Yes, you guessed it – wine!
Whether the lucky recipient is just learning about wine, is a seasoned collector or you’re uncertain about their specific vinous preferences here are three gift suggestions from The Wine Atelier that are sure to please:
1.) The Gift of Bubbles: What beverage is the vinous equivalent of a celebration? Sparkling wine, of course! Whether it’s a Cremant from the Loire Valley, a sparkler from California or the real deal, a bottle of Champagne itself, sparkling wine is always well received. You don’t even have to know the vinous preferences of your recipient because at this time of year, a bottle of bubbly is always “a good thing”. In addition to being wonderfully festive, it also has mass appeal and pairs deliciously well with just about any party fare. Some favorites include the Charles Bove Brut Sparkling Wine, Loire Valley, France NV ($15), the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, North Coast, CA ($30), and for a real statement, how about a magnum of Taittinger Brut la Francaise, Champagne, France, NV ($129).
2.) The Explorateur Wine Club: is your lucky recipient looking to learn about and explore the vast and sometimes confusing world of wine? If so, let The Wine Atelier be their guide! With a gift subscription to The Wine Atelier’s Explorateur Wine Club they’ll get to virtually travel the globe each month when they’ll receive two bottles of wine from one of the world’s renowned wine regions. The wines are Sommelier Selected by yours truly and each shipment comes complete with detailed information on the producer, region, grape variety, as well as food and wine pairing suggestions for each wine. For more information on The Explorateur Wine Club ($45/month) please click here.
3.) Sommelier Selected Special Bottles, Duos and Trios: for the wine lover who has everything, the only thing they can always use more of is wine! Whether they’re crazy for Champagne (Holiday Champagne Duo $99) or have a passion for Pinot Noir (Passion for Pinot Noir Trio $175), our Sommelier Selected Gift Sets are sure to please! In addition to the wine, each selection includes detailed information on the producer, region, grape variety, recommended drinking window and food and wine pairing suggestions. Stylish gift wrap is also included so each selection is ready to present to the lucky recipient. For more information or to browse our Sommelier Selections, please click here!
I hope we’ve helped make your holiday shopping a little easier and remember we’re only a phone call or text away to answer any of your vinous holiday questions at 561.317.6663 ~ Happy Shopping!
Last month’s installment of “The Art of Wine & Food” featured one of my favorite topics: wine and cheese! Dubbed an “Homage to Fromage” we focused on wine and cheese pairings perfect for entertaining.
In addition to our three Wine & Cheese Pairing Principles, I also like to follow these three Glamorous Guidelines when entertaining guests at home: 1.) always greet your guests with a sparkling wine, 2.) introduce your guests to a wine that’s a little off the beaten path and/or 3.) treat your guests to a decadent dessert wine.
To me, nothing says “festive” like a glass of bubbly and what better way to greet friends and welcome them into your home? Whether it’s Champagne, Prosecco or Cava, there’s just something about the feel of a flute in your hand and bubbles tickling your nose that are simply smile-inducing. This month we featured the Domaine Carneros Cuvee Brut, 2008, a sparkling wine from California which, at $28 a bottle, proves you don’t have to break the bank with a French Champagne to get your bubbly fix! Located in California, Domaine Carneros actually does have ties to France’s Champagne region: it’s parent company is Champagne Taittinger, one of the most well-known Champagne Houses in the world. Claude Taittinger recognized California’s potential to produce world class sparkling wine and found the perfect place in Carneros. He also hand-selected President and Winemaker, Eileen Crane, and with over thirty years of experience making sparkling wine in the US, she is known today as America’s Doyenne of Sparkling Wine.
Our first Wine & Cheese Pairing Principle of the evening was: “Pair Sparkling Wines with Cheese.” Most people automatically think red wine when pairing wine with cheese but sparkling wines pair deliciously well with many cheeses, especially decadent, creamy ones. The acidity and bubbles of the sparkling wine create a beautiful contrast of texture and also cleanse and refresh the palate after each delicious bite of the cheese. To demonstrate this theory, we enjoyed a Triple-Creme Brie paired with the Domaine Carneros Brut, a fruity blend of 48% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Blanc. In addition to the contrasting textures, the fruitiness and creaminess of the sparkler actually enhanced the saltiness and creaminess of the Brie. What’s not to love about that?
When entertaining at home, I also like to introduce guests to a new wine or one I suspect they haven’t tried before. To demonstrate my point, we served the Clos de Nouys Vouvray Sec, 2009, a wine made from 100% Chenin Blanc done in a “sec” or dry style. The delicious Chenin Blanc grape is indigenous to France and has thrived in the Loire Valley since the 9th century. It was first believed to have been cultivated at the Abbey of Glanfeuil in Anjou. It was transported in 1445 to the Squire of Chenonceau at Mount Chenin where the grape derived its name. Clos de Nouys is a 25 acre estate located in the Vouvray appellation of the Loire and consists of vines averaging 35 years old. This is one of the oldest wine-making estates in the AOC area: its wines were served on the Normandie transatlantic liner in 1936 and its vineyards were listed among the best sites on 1907 geological maps.
Wine & Cheese Pairing Principle #2 of our evening was “Pair Wine and Cheese with Similar Flavors.” Chenin Blanc is known for its high levels of acidity and minerality so in keeping with our principle I paired the Clos de Nouys Vouvray Sec with a tangy, fresh goat cheese. The bright acidity in the wine mirrored the acidity and tangy flavors in the goat cheese creating a delicious synergy.
My third personal entertaining guideline is perhaps my favorite: treat your guests to a dessert wine! When entertaining at home many people forget about dessert wines. They may think it’s “wrong” or even “uncool” to like sweet wine of any kind which couldn’t be further from the truth! To demonstrate this paring, we sampled the Fonseca Ruby Port, NV a tasty introductory level Port with fruity notes of cherries and black currants. Port is actually a fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal using five main grapes: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cao, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesca and Touriga Nacional. As the still wine is fermenting, a neutral grape spirit (aguardente) is added to prematurely halt the fermentation process which leaves residual sugar in the wine and boosts alcohol content.
In order to demonstrate Wine & Cheese Pairing Principle #3: “Pair Cheese with Dessert Wine” we sampled a classic pairing: Port & Stilton. The reason this pairing works so well is because the sweetness of a dessert wine enhances the saltiness of the cheese which creates a mouth-watering synergy even though the two things individually have somewhat opposite flavors. If you are a fan of Kettle Corn, popcorn that has both salty and sweet flavors, you understand how the combination of salty and sweet can be so incredibly delicious!
A big thank you to Republic National Distributing Company for sponsoring our “Homage to Fromage” at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. All wines are available through The Wine Atelier. Hope you can join us later this month for “Sultry Summer Sippers” featuring wines that are perfect for enjoying during the Summer months. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.moafl.org or call Gail Vilone at 954.262.0249. Hope to see you there!