Wine of the Week: The Bachelor Wines

I’ve mentioned my Bachelor wine nights a number of different times here on the blog. My friend and I watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette every Monday night with wine. I’ve always thought that the Bachelor franchise was missing out by not selling branded wine. Well ask and you shall receive, because now we have The Bachelor Wines.

Before Nick’s season started, I scooped up the Collector’s Pack for $47.88 and would drink them as appropriate during each date. I like that you can buy these in a pack or one-on-one. I will definitely need some replacements before Rachel’s season starts. I will say that the Chardonnay really surprised me. I am not a huge fan of the buttery flavors of a normal Chardonnay, but these were really understated and I actually really liked it. Here is the breakdown on each wine:

One-on-One Chardonnay

Will you be the chosen one? After reading the wine details, I discovered that the juice was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to harness the inherently bright fruit flavor and character of Chardonnay. This is why it didn’t have a strong buttery flavor. Usually they use oak barrels for that which explains why I loved this version. Described as sunshine in a bottle, you’ll taste ripe apple flavors with notes of lemon, pear and a hint of cream.

 

The Fantasy Suite Cabernet Sauvignon

The grapes from this wine were crushed and cold soaked for several days to harness color and flavor intensity resulting in a beautiful, deep ruby red color. It has aromas of black cherry, blueberry and dark plum with hints of savory dried herbs. It is easy to drink due to flavors of blackberry and plum.

 

The Final Rose

The grapes from this one come from Lodi, one of California’s oldest premium winegrowing regions. The skins remained in contact with the juice just long enough to leave a soft shade of blush pink. It has aromas of strawberries, red cherries, and rose petals. Flavors include raspberries, strawberry jam, and a hint of spice.

All of these wines are great and perfect for a Bachelor/Bachelorette viewing party, I used my Coravin so I could enjoy the wine throughout the whole season. I will say that they need to add more options to this and I have some suggestions:

  • The Right Reasons Riesling
  • Paradise Pinot Noir
  • Group Date Gewürztraminer
  • Neil Lane Sparkling Wine
  • Two-on-One Tempranillo
  • Cocktail Party Chianti
  • Villian Viognier

Let me know if you think of any other ideas. At the very list we definitely need a sparkling wine to add to this collection. Maybe one day each lead will get their own special wine, how fun would that be?

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Wine of the Week: Failla Pinot Noir

I was thrilled when John and I stopped at random liquor store on the way to a party and I found a bottle of 2013 Failla Pinot Noir. I couldn’t believe my eyes, so I had to buy it and save it for later. When we visited Napa and Sonoma in 2012, we were introduced to Failla Wines (pronounced FAY-LA) as one of our first stops.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from that first stop as I was more interested in tasting the wine, but I will do my best to describe it to you. Failla is a small-family owned winery that’s been in operation since 1998. Ehren Jordan and his wife Anne-Marie Failla are the owners and winemakers.

Failla

Our wine tasting was outside at a picnic table and we also got to tour the wine cellars. It was so rustic and peaceful – I highly recommend it if you are visiting Sonoma. I found the above picture on their Facebook page and am guessing that it’s probably the same table we did our tasting at.

Our host told us that Failla was best known for its red wines and Pinot Noirs, which peaked my interested because those are my favorite. You normally can only get these wines by visiting Failla or through their mailing list. They recently launched a Wine Club. This is why I was so pumped to find it at that liquor store. Additionally, you can read more about the different varieties they have in this fact sheet.

Failla Pinot Noir

This wine is BIG and BOLD. It has a lot of flavor and runs about $35. You’ll taste an earthy Pinot Noir with notes of cardamom, spices and fruit flavors. We enjoyed this over Chicken Parmesan and it was amazing paired with the sauce John made.

Failla Cork

If you are in Sonoma, make sure to stop at Failla and if you see Failla around the metro Detroit area, let me know and I will head there to stock up!

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Wine of the Week: Chateau Chantal 2013 Ice Wine

I was thrilled to hear that a Michigan wine was selected for the White House state dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Chateau Chantal’s 2013 Ice Wine was selected to pair with dessert, Maple Pecan Cake with Cocoa Nib Wafer and Butterscotch Swirl Ice Cream.

Image Credit: 9and10news.com

Image Credit: 9and10news.com

Chateau Chantal is a winery and bed & breakfast on Old Mission Peninsula. The winery was founded by Robert Begin, a former Catholic diocesan priest and Nadine, previously one of the Felician Sisters. How cool is it that they both decided on a different life and got married in 1974? They ended up following Robert’s dream of building a European style winery chateau.

Chateau Chantal

There were only 500 bottles made of the 2013 Ice Wine. It comes in a special wooden box and is made from grapes frozen on the vine, and then pressed while still frozen. It is described as having “incredible sweetness and fruitiness, with all the delicateness of a fine Riesling wine.” It has notes of decadent apricot, toasted caramel, and baked apple. The wine retails for $70.

 

ice with box bottle

The wine graced a stunning tablescape:

A place setting during a press preview ahead of the state dinner with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A place setting during a press preview ahead of the state dinner with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The full menu and details of the evening can be found here.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 09: A display of bite-size sweets uses a photograph of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop for the state dinner honoring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the State Dining Room at the White House March 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. The White House chose the colors, flowers and menu with 'an ambiance that reflects the scenic beauty of our shared border and celebrates the coming of spring.' The son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the leader of Canada's Liberal Party, Trudeau is visiting Washington this week for the first state dinner for a Canadian leader in almost 20 years. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A display of bite-size sweets uses a photograph of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop for the state dinner honoring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the State Dining Room at the White House March 9, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Have you tried any presidential wines? If so, I would love to hear the details! I have mentioned the Casa Nuestra Chenin Blanc wine before that was featured at a White House picnic. Maybe someday I will try them all!

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Wine of the Week: Veuve Clicquot

I was first introduced to Veuve Clicquot when we read The Widow Clicquot for my book club. I absolutely LOVED the book and I learned so much about the history of champagne, which made me appreciate it even more. When we met up for book club it was a given that we had to try Veuve Clicquot for ourselves. One of the things that got me fired up was the girl power in this story. Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin took over the business after her husband passed in a time where few women were in leadership positions.

The Widow Clicquot

This YouTube video gives you a brief overview of the the history of Veuve Clicquot:

We were able to try both the Yellow Label and Rose bottles. The Yellow Label is a perfect blend and might be my new favorite champagne. It has notes of fruit followed by aromas of brioche and vanilla. The Rose has notes of raspberry, wild strawberry and cherry and is described as elegant and sensual. I was a huge fan of the Yellow Label. I would absolutely get this again for a special occasion.

Veuve Clicquot

Here is a painting of the Grande Dame herself. You can see also see this on the cage of every bottle:

the grande dame

Clicquot Cage

Here are a few tidbits about Veuve Clicquot that you may not have known:

  • The anchor, the Christian symbol for hope and rigour, was chosen in 1798 by Phillippe Clicquot.
  • Non-vintage wines are aged in the cellar for a minimum of 30 months, more than twice as long as the champagne regulations require.
  • To taste Veuve Clicquot, you must keep it between 10 and 12C, serve it around 8C and taste it between 9 and 10C. If the temperature is too low it will prevent the development of aromas.
  • Veuve means widow (named after the Widow Clicquot).
  • They were the first champagne house to produce rose Champagne.

What wines are you planning to try in 2016?

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Elevate the Holidays with Hess Collection Wines

Disclosure: I received this wine from a PR firm on behalf of Hess Collection Wines to provide a review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

I was thrilled to receive a whole collection of wine from Hess Collection Wines to celebrate the holidays! They didn’t just send me one bottle, but six! I decided to use them for a special occasion and serve them with our Thanksgiving dinner.

Hess Collection 1

I thought this would elevate our meal and give everyone an opportunity to taste the different varieties and decide which one they liked. I decided it would be fun to talk about my favorite holiday wine and menu pairings for this post.

Classic Veggie Tray

This might have been my favorite wine of the night, it went perfectly with my veggie tray and appetizers before dinner.

Grandmas Stuffing Recipe

This was the first time we hosted Thanksgiving and the first time we made my grandmother’s stuffing recipe. It was delicious and the Chardonnay paired perfectly with the dish. I am usually not a fan of Chardonnays because I don’t like the buttery flavor, but this one was different. It was a lot lighter than your traditional Chardonnay.

Garlic mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a staple of any holiday meal, but I love that John pre-roasts the garlic in the turkey before with whip them up. The Cabernet Sauvignon pairs perfectly with this recipe.

Last but not least, the Treo. This wine, paired perfectly with the turkey. As this was my husband’s job, I don’t have the details of his recipe, but he did thaw and brine the turkey in our refrigerator 24 hours before we cooked it. The Treo is an easy drinking wine with a touch of sweetness from the ripe, dark fruit, accented by a decidedly big impression of bing cherries and ripe plums.

Hess Treo

Hess Select Wines elevated our first Thanksgiving in the new home and made it something special. I can’t wait to celebrate many more holidays in this house over a glass of wine.

What are your favorite wine pairings for the holidays?

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Wine of the Week: Witches Brew

This week’s wine is Leelanau Cellar’s Witches Brew. Leelanau is a Michigan winery started in 1974 in Northern Michigan by the Jacobson family. Leelanau (Lee-La-Naw) is an Indian word meaning “Delight of Life.” They also have a tasting room outside of Traverse City which I’ve previously visited.

Witches Brew is the perfect fall wine. It’s a red blend enhanced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and other natural spices.

witches brew

Witches Brew is what you would call a mulled wine. A red wine that has been warmed and spiced. You heat it up on your stove and serve it warm. You can also add fun things like cloves, cinnamon sticks or orange zest. Really anything goes. Mulled wine dates back to 1420 in Germany where they call it Gluhwein (roughly translated to “glow wine.” There have even been documented mulled wines as far back as ancient Rome.

witches brew

Have you tried Witches Brew yet? It’s perfect for a tailgate or any outdoor event. I would love to hear what you think about it.

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Wine of the Week: Apothic Dark

John and I are huge fans of the Apothic blend so last year, when a friend introduced me to Apothic Dark I knew it would be good. I was saving this review since this is sort of the perfect spooky wine for October.

Apothic Dark

Apothic is under the E.&J. Gallo brand and was named for the mysterious place, Apotheca, where vintners stored their most coveted concoctions in 13th century Europe. Most of the grapes in Apothic Dark are from Lodi, which has been touted as the next Napa. The grapes were fermented at a maximum of 90 degrees which pulls out the fruit notes in the grapes.

apothic dark1

This blend of Petite Syrah, Teroldego and Cabernet combines flavors of blueberry and blackberry with enticing notes of coffee and dark chocolate for a smooth taste.

Apothic is only available for a limited time, so make sure you stock up if you like it!

Have you tried Apothic Dark yet? I would love to hear what you think about it.

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Wine of the Week: Belle Glos Pinot Noir

I have been saving this Wine of the Week for a while. This is hands down one of my favorite wines, but it’s a bit of a splurge so we only get it every once in a while. What really drew my eye to it in the beginning is how the bottle is dipped in red wax, sort of like Maker’s Mark. Come to find out that it is made by the Wagner family who also makes another one of our favorites, Meiomi Pinot Noir. This week’s favorite is Belle Glos Pinot Noir.

Belle Glos 2

Belle Glos Pinot Noir was created by Joseph Wagner to honor his grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner. There are four different types of Belle Glos from each of the four vineyards the grapes come from; Dairyman, Clark & Telephone, Las Alturas and Taylor Lane. You can see the layout of the vineyards in this map:

Belle_Glos_Vnyds.200x471

I love the taste of this wine. Wagner describes it “like a taste of Christmas, all year long.” It has a rich berry flavor with a hint of caramel. When I want to get a nice bottle of wine this is my go to, it’s wonderfully decadent and the bottle presentation definitely makes it something special.

Have you tried Belle Glos Pinot Noir yet? I would love to hear what you think about it.

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New Buffalo Wine Tour Recap

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in the SWMI Sip & Stroll wine tour and received comped wine tastings. All opinions are my own.

I had an amazing time on the #SWMISipStroll recap and wanted to share all of my awesome new wine discoveries with you. You can read more about our trip here and about our awesome hotel here. We visited four wineries on our trip and I stocked up on some amazing choices!

Our first stop was Domaine Berrien Cellars, the only winery I was familiar with on this tour. I sort of love that this winery was started as a retirement hobby…there’s hope for me yet! I enjoyed the 2012 Viognier and the Cabernet Franc in particular.

Domaine Berrien Collage

Our next stop was Lemon Creek Winery where we learned about mixing wines. Our host told us that mixing wines is the future and encouraged us to to try his Lighthouse Red and Pinot Noir mixture which I loved. I brought these two home to try again.

Lemon Creek Collage

Our first stop on the second day was Hickory Creek Winery. I had the most fun at this winery and they laid out a nice spread for us. We got to try all of the wines along with some great cheese and chocolate. We loved this winery so much that I joined the wine club! They even have a quaint little cabin that you can rent out with your girlfriends for a fun wine tasting weekend.

Hickory Creek Collage

On our way back home we stopped at The Chocolate Garden which I have always seen signs for, but never stopped at…if only I knew! This place is amazing! They hand make decadent chocolate truffles in almost any flavor you can think of. What sets these truffles apart is that there is no hard outer shell to bite through. Each truffle is rolled in coarse chocolate to create a creamy truffle. In case you are interested, you can order these online for a unique gift.   I tried Vanilla Rose, Salt & Pepper Caramel and Sticky Bun:

Chocolate Garden

Our final stop was Contessa Wine Cellars. They had a beautiful terrace with an amazing view of the vineyard. I could not get enough of the Cabernet Franc. It had an awesome peppery finish and I knew that it would taste amazing with steak. John made some for me the next day and I was right! So delicious!!! I am saving the last bottle for a special occasion.

Contessa

This was a great little wine tour and I would love to go back with my husband sometime soon!

Where are your favorite Michigan wineries?



Wine Wednesday: Southwest Michigan Sip & Stroll Weekend

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in this hosted tour and will be provided with complimentary lodging. All opinions are my own.

Since it is #WineWednesday, I thought there was no better time to share with you that I’ve been invited to the Southwest Michigan Sip & Stroll wine tour this weekend! I had a big event at work and just started teaching again for the semester, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.

This is the first year for the Southwest Michigan Sip & Stroll weekend being hosted by Deb at Just Short of Crazy and Renee at What Mama Wants and I’m thrilled to help kick it off. Because it starts on Friday, I was able to take the day off of work and recruit one of my besties, Jen, to come along for the ride.

Wine Tour

Our tour is kicking off on Friday, where we check into The Harbor Grand, a full-service boutique hotel in New Buffalo, MI.

Harbor Grand

We’ll be touring four wineries and The Chocolate Garden on Friday and Saturday before heading home. I can’t wait to try the Sticky Bun and Vanilla Rose truffles, which I hear pair perfectly with my favorite, Pinot Noir.

sticky_bun_200

I am familiar with Domaine Berrien Cellars as their wine is featured at Michigan by the Bottle, a favorite hangout of mine, but I am excited to learn more about the others including Lemon Creek Winery, Hickory Creek Winery and Contessa Wine Cellars. I will hopefully have a few new Wine of the Week selections to share with you after this trip. A few fun facts to note:

  • Domaine Berrien Cellars was the first winery in Michigan to release a commercially grown and vinified Syrah.
  • Lemon Creek Winery is home to the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the State of Michigan.
  • Hickory Creek is known for crafting wine in the Old World style.
  • Contessa Cellar’s tasting room looks like an Italian villa overlooking their beautiful orchards.

SWMISipStroll-Banner

After doing a quick search on our hotel, I am definitely excited to check out The Four Winds Casino (about a 10 minute shuttle ride away) and recently featured in USA Today’s Leaving Las Vegas: The best casinos outside Sin CityWe will also have to make a stop at Oinks Ice Cream Garden, which is a treasure trove of pig paraphernalia! For those of you that don’t know, I love pigs and collect piggy banks.

You can follow our trip throughout the weekend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #SWMISipStroll.

Have you been to New Buffalo before? What are your favorite places to visit? If you’ve been to any of these wineries I would love to get your recommendations!



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