Red, White & Bubbles: 5 Fabulous Fourth of July Wines!

Whether you’re hosting a party at home, spending the day at the beach or traveling to your favorite vacation spot it’s time to select some fabulous Fourth of July wines!

Since Summer celebrations often involve groups of friends and family, opt for wines that are refreshing and delicious that won’t break the bank. Lets face it, it’s hard to contemplate an aged Bordeaux while tending to burgers and dogs on the grill AND supervising kids doing cannonballs into the pool! From a lively, Italian sparkler to a juicy, Australian red, here are five fabulous Fourth of July wines for $15 or less:

Prestige-Prosecco-DOC-Brut-Bottle-Shot-750mlMionetto Prosecco Brut, Treviso, Italy NV ($12): This Italian sparkler is made from 100% Glera grapes using the Charmat Method. This method allows winemakers to produce a delicious sparkling wine without the hefty price tag. Fermentation in stainless steel preserves its fresh, fruity notes of citrus, pear and green apple and crisp, dry finish. Prosecco is the perfect sparkler to enjoy on its own as an aperitif, or as a nice complement to a variety of Summer fare. It is best enjoyed fresh and young and will not benefit from additional aging. It’s also the perfect sparkling wine to use as a base for Mimosas, Bellinis or other sparkling wine-based cocktails like our Fourth of July Pomegranate-Aperol Royale!

Mason Cellars Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2014 ($12): From Sancerre tofourth-of-july-wines-pomelo-sauv-blanc-bottle-shot White Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is one of our Summer staples due to its crisp, refreshing nature and Summery citrus notes. So we were happy to discover Mason Cellar’s Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc – a delightful wine at an amazing price!  The high elevation of the Mason Vineyard in Lake County’s Kelsey Bench and arc of rich, red volcanic soils, provides a unique growing region for ripe Sauvignon Blanc year after year. This wine opens with aromas of fragrant orange blossom, ruby grapefruit and white peach. On the palate, notes of lime zest and passion fruit really pop. As if that weren’t enough, this humble little Sauvignon Blanc came in at number forty on Wine Spectator’s 2015 Wines of the Year!

fourth-of-july-wines-kim-crawford-unoaked-chardonnay-bottleKim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay, Marlborough, New Zealand ($15): Since oak adds weight and flavors of baking spices to wine, we mainly indulge in oaked wines in the Fall and Winter months. UN-oaked Chardonnay on the other hand, is light, crisp and fruity and perfect for Summer! The grapes for this Chardonnay from Kim Crawford are from selected vineyards in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay on the East Coast of New Zealand. The grapes were allowed to attain maximum ripeness and picked at just the right time to create a lovely, fruit-driven wine with notes of stone fruit and pear, coupled with delightful citrus character. A secondary malolactic fermentation also imparts a generous mouthfeel that will still appeal to Chardonnay lovers.

Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain ($14):  Spain is a wonderful place to fourth-of-july-wines-juan-gil-jumilla-2discover amazing value wines. While you may be familiar with Rioja and Ribera del Duero, a region called Jumilla is also home to many vinous gems like this one from Bodegas Juan Gil. This wine is made primarily from Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre and Mataró), a red wine grape that was harvested from very old vines. Chalky, rocky limestone soils that are poor in nutrients make the vineyard ideal for growing Monastrell. This wine was aged in French oak for 12 months. The result is a wine with a deep, purplish-black color and heady aromas of ripe currant, red berries and smoke. Rich, juicy flavors of crème de cassis and blackberry persist on the palate along with supple, ripe tannins.

fourth-of-july-wines-domaine-fontanyl-roseRavoire & Fils Domaine Fontanyl Côtes de Provence Rosé, Provence, France ($15): If there is ONE wine you should stock your fridge with this Summer it’s rosé. No, I’m not crazy and I haven’t been drinking. Ok, maybe I’ve been drinking, but you need to trust me here! Provence is the birthplace of dry rosé which should NEVER be confused with White Zinfandel, a purely American invention known for its poor quality (read more here). This bottle from Domaine Fontanyl is made from a blend of grapes (i.e. Cinsault, Grenache, Tibouren). It gets its color from the juice remaining in contact with the skins for a few hours to impart its glorious, hallmark rose-gold hue. This wine has notes of cherries and red berries and is incredibly food friendly. So if you haven’t already, please take a chance on rosé this Summer. I promise you’ll be glad you did!

Yalumba “Y Series” Shiraz-Viognier, South Australia, Australia ($14): We love Shiraz’s fourth-of-july-wines-yalumba-shiraz-viognier-bottle-3juicy lusciousness for Summer and this wine makes us like it even more! The addition of Viognier, a fruity white grape, tames the wine’s tannins and imparts beautiful, floral aromatics while accentuating the wine’s fruit flavors. The practice of blending Shiraz (aka Syrah) and Viognier dates back hundred of years in France’s Northern Rhone wine region and is nicely represented by this Australian gem. Yalumba’s Y Series offers wonderful value wines for those who adore Australia’s bounty of delicious wines. This medum-bodied red is a deep crimson in color with notes of violet, plum, blueberry and dark cherry as well as plush tannins and a delightful finish.

We hope you enjoy our Fourth of July wines all Summer long! Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!




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Which Wines to Pair With: Florida Stone Crabs!

This time of year in South Florida we are obsessed with Stone Crabs, a delicacy only available from October 15th through May 15th. While these crustaceans can be found in waters as far north as Connecticut, the best are widely believed to come from Florida. The world famous Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami’s South Beach is the authority on these... Read More

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Which Wines to Pair With: Florida Stone Crabs!


This time of year in South Florida we are obsessed with Stone Crabs, a delicacy only available from October 15th through May 15th. While these crustaceans can be found in waters as far north as Connecticut, the best are widely believed to come from Florida. The world famous Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami’s South Beach is the authority on these crustaceans, also known as Menippe Mercenaria (Menippe = Greek, meaning force or courage and Mercenaria = Latin meaning something of value).

Unlike most other crabs including Maine’s Peekytoe, Chesapeake Blue, or the Pacific Dungeoness, only the claws of the stone crab are harvested and the crabs are not killed during the process. These crabs are captured in baited traps and only one claw per crab can be taken so it can still defend itself against predators. The claws make up about half the weight of the entire crab and once harvested, the pricey appendages are classified and priced according to weight – Colossal size claws can weigh up to 25 ounces or more! Once harvested, the crab is returned to the water where the claw will regenerate in approximately 12-24 months.

stone crab, nirvana, mustard sauce

The stone crab gets its name from their extremely hard shells and the claws must be cracked prior to eating – an art form in and of itself! Stone crabs have a delicious, sweet flavor and their texture is somewhere between the delicacy of crab and the decadence of lobster. They are traditionally served with a mustard sauce which complements the delicious meat although many prefer to eat them plain with nothing at all. Many establishments are know for their mustard sauce and there’s some debate as to which type of sauce is the best. Some folks lean towards a spicy mustard sauce (like us!) while others tend towards sweet with the addition of some honey. Which type of mustard sauce do you prefer if any at all?

Wine pairing suggestions: In order to complement the texture and flavor of the crab as well as the tanginess of the mustard sauce, opt for wines with notes of citrus and stone fruit with a racy, cleansing acidity. Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, and unoaked Chardonnay are wonderful choices to pair with Florida Stone Crabs. Here are our recommendations available at The Wine Atelier:

1.) Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur, Champagne, France, NV ($44)a light, fresh style of Champagne which will complement the texture of the crab meat beautifully!

2.) Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford, California ($20) notes of juicy citrus and white flowers characterize this California beauty!

3.) Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino, IGT Toscana, Italy, 2013 ($20)light and bright with notes of green apple, apricot & grapefruit with a racy acidity!

4.) Drouhin Vaudon Chablis, Burgundy, France, 2012 ($25) Notes of apple, citrus, and white peach characterize this mouth watering Chardonnay!




This Summer Just Say No…to Pinot Grigio!

The sweltering Summer temperatures have wine lovers around the globe craving deliciously chilled white wines this time of year. Which brings me to the point of this post. As a Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier and Proprietor of The Wine Atelier online wine boutique, I often tell my students and clients to “drink what you like” and I do sincerely mean... Read More

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This Summer Just Say No…to Pinot Grigio!


The sweltering Summer temperatures have wine lovers around the globe craving deliciously chilled white wines this time of year. Which brings me to the point of this post. As a Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier and Proprietor of The Wine Atelier online wine boutique, I often tell my students and clients to “drink what you like” and I do sincerely mean that…most of the time. Where I feel the need to intervene at times is if I suspect my fellow wine lovers are being taken advantage of or duped in some way and are being sold a bill of goods instead of a good bottle of wine.

I’m afraid this is what has happened with Pinot Grigio, the benign, white wine-producing grape variety found predominantly in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region. Pinot Grigio in its most banal form seems to have blossomed into a vinous epidemic here in the US, with one brand in particular garnering more than $20 a bottle retail and over $60 a bottle on local restaurant wine lists here in Delray Beach, Florida – considerably more than the next Pinot Grigio on the list! It’s bad enough to foist an insipid wine on the wine consuming public but to financially gouge them as well? The real tragedy here is the number of infinitely more interesting and enjoyable white wines in the world, many of which are from Italy, that go unnoticed as a result of the obsession with this uninspiring wine. Here’s a few reasons why you should just say no to Pinot Grigio this Summer:

With over 3,000 wine grape varieties out there you could easily drink a different wine every night of the week for a very long time and never have the same one twice. How exciting, right? Yet many of us still frequently find ourselves in a wine rut and while we all have our favorites, mixing it up regularly helps develop your palate which is defined as much by what you don’t like as what you do. Experiencing different wines from different regions is really the only way to do this and by all means let your palate be your guide on what should be a enjoyable vinous journey.

Italy is a veritable treasure trove of wine grapes from which white, red, sparkling and sweet wines are made. From Piedmont to Sardinia, each region has its own unique vinous culture and if you’re a white wine fan, this country could keep you busy for years discovering all the wonderful whites it has to offer. A few white wine grapes to seek out are Garganega, Pecorino, Malvasia, Greco, Ribolla Gialla, Vermentino and Falanghina (click links for examples and characteristics of each). I must warn you though, you might make your Sommelier positively giddy if you request a wine made from one of the abovementioned grapes instead of the same old $60 Pinot Grigio…so be prepared.

It’s true that Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are made from the same grape, but they are definitely not the same wine! The two wines are produced in different regions and climates and Pinot Gris, which is predominantly found in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and France’s Alsace region, has a very appealing viscous texture with ample flavor and personality which definitely deserves your attention! While perfectly enjoyable on its own, it’s also a very food-friendly wine – for some examples of Pinot Gris, please click here.

Farmers who toil in obscurity to make a living growing esoteric wine grapes struggle due to the lack of consistent demand for wines produced from grapes outside the mainstream. The unwavering consumption of mass-produced wine in this country ultimately limits the availability of more unique, artisanal products. Next time you’re in the mood for a light, crisp white wine ask your Sommelier or retail sales person to recommend a wine with that profile, that’s a little off the beaten path. Whether they recommend an Albariño, Torrontés, Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, or any of the abovementioned wines, your selection might have more far reaching effects than you think.

Is there a particular white wine grape you’re looking forward to trying? Would love to know, please let us know in the comment section below!



Red, White & Bubbles: 5 Fabulous Wines for your Fourth of July Festivities!


The Fourth of July is upon us and whether you’re hosting a party at home, spending the day at the beach or traveling to your favorite vacation spot it’s time to select your wines for this festive day!

Summer celebrations often involve groups of friends and family so this is the time of year for wines which are refreshing and delicious that won’t break the bank. Rather than contemplating an aged Bordeaux you’re much more likely to be tending burgers and dogs on the grill while the kids do cannonballs into the pool! From a California bubbly to a juicy Italian red, here are The Wine Atelier’s suggestions for your Fourth of July festivities:

CHANDONFOURTHOFJULYLimited Edition Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs Brut, California, NV ($20): Based on its stylish red, white and blue bottle this is the hands down perfect wine to serve your guests on this most patriotic of holidays! Fortunately, what’s in the bottle is equally as fabulous. This limited edition sparkling wine from California’s Domaine Chandon is made using the Methode Traditionelle (aka Methode Champenoise) the same method used to make Champagne. It is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the only two red grapes allowed in the production of Champagne. This sparkling wine is fruit forward and imminently enjoyable when served on its own, but also makes a great selection for making The Glamorous Gourmet’s signature holiday cocktail, the Fourth of July Pomegranate-Aperol Royale!

Seven Hills Winery 2014 RoseSeven Hills Dry Rosé, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2013 ($16): 2013 is the first vintage of this delightful dry rosé from Seven Hills winemaker and owner Casey McClellan whose family has been making wines in Eastern Washington since 1880. Based on specific vineyard blocks of Bordeaux grape varieties which are farmed specifically for this wine, the grapes are hand picked 2-3 weeks prior to the red wine harvest. Crafted in the tradition of classic French Provencal rosés, this wine is delicate and refreshing, pale in color, and bone-dry on the finish (not to be confused with cloyingly sweet white zinfandel or other lesser quality “blush” wines). This rosé is a blend of 70% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot and 15% Malbec which exhibits aromas of white flowers and peach followed on the palate by flavors of grapefruit, papaya, fresh herbs and a hint of spice. Due to it’s lovely structure and presence I call this wine the “Red Wine Drinker’s Rosé”!

LaPettegolaJPEGBanfi Vermentino “La Pettegola” IGT Toscana, Italy, 2013 ($20): This delightfully refreshing Italian white wine makes an excellent alternative for those who are currently fans of Pinot Grigio and/or Sauvignon Blanc. It’s time to branch out with Vermentino, an Italian white grape variety most commonly found in the wines of Sardinia and Liguria. “La Pettegola” refers to the birds of this region and 2013 marks the debut vintage of this wine from Banfi. It is made from 100% Vermentino harvested in coastal Tuscany which is fermented entirely in stainless steel to preserves its fresh fruit and delicate floral aromas and flavors that embody the very essence of Summer. It is perfect for enjoying on its own or paired with Summertime cuisine including a shellfish platter, goat cheese salad or a selection of cheeses.

RIOJACRIANZA_largeCune Rioja Crianza, Rioja, Spain, 2010 ($14): CVNE (aka Cune) (Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España) is one of the most renowned and historic bodegas in all of Spain. Most recently, its 2004 Imperial Gran Reserva was awarded the coveted title of Wine Spectator’s 2013 Wine of the Year! The Cune Crianza is their entry level wine which is a juicy blend of indigenous red grapes including Tempranillo (80%), Mazuelo (10%) and Garnacha (10%). The grapes are from Rioja Alta vineyards which are known for producing wines with bright fruit that are light on the palate. This red wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in American oak barrels for 1 year. The result is a wine with a bright cherry color and aromas of red berries and spice. On the palate, flavors of raspberry, earth and tobacco accompany a bright acidity and grippy tannins.

SartoriRegoloSartori di Verona Veronese Regolo IGT, Veneto, Italy, 2010 ($24): The Sartori family has been making wine in Italy’s Veneto region for over a century, ever since Pietro Sartori purchased a small vineyard here in 1898. Today Pietro’s great grandson Andrea is at the helm of the Sartori estate today continuing his great grandfather’s unrelenting quest for quality. Only the best grapes from the hilly vineyards of Valpolicella were selected for this wine which is made from 100% Corvina Veronese grown on clay and calcareous soils. The wine is ultimately aged for approximately 18 to 24 months in medium-to-large sized oak casks followed by a minimum of 4 months in the bottle before release. The end result is a wine with a deep ruby color and aromas of roses and kirsch. On the palate, mouth-filling flavors of ripe blackberry, cherry and spice are accompanied by supple tannins and a delightfully food friendly acidity.

All Fourth of July wine selections are available at The Wine Atelier which offers free local delivery in the Boca Raton/Delray Beach area for orders over $50 and $10 shipping for any purchase of 4 bottles or more. To visit The Wine Atelier, please click here and we wish you a very happy and safe Fourth of July!