Wine of the Week: Banrock Station Moscato

Disclosure: I received this wine from a PR firm on behalf of Banrock Station to provide an honest review. 

I was thrilled to receive a bottle of Banrock Station Moscato to review for Wine of the Week. I hadn’t had a moscato in a while and this was the perfect thing to test while watching Bachelor in Paradise with my friend Tracy.


Banrock Station is an environmentally responsible Australian winemaker. Every glass of Banrock Station wine purchased helps to support environmental projects such as restoring natural assets in Europe, saving salmon in Canada and preserving waterways and wetlands in Australia. I love the premise of this because wine is such a natural drink – grapes from the earth coming together to form a beautiful wine and by drinking it you are giving back to the earth. Sort of symbiotic.

I had a lot of fun drinking this wine, because it wasn’t too sweet. It was light and fruity with a natural sweetness that was refreshing. I would have loved to continue drinking this, it was a fantastic bottle to share with friends and the perfect summer wine! It would be great with cheese platters or desserts.

Have you tried Banrock Station Moscato? What did you think?

For more Wine of the Week posts, click here.

Wine of the Week: Protocolo Tinto

I received this week’s wine from my friend Jessica, as a hostess gift for my recent wine party. She mentioned that it was one of her and her husband’s favorite wines. I decided to test it out on Bachelor in Paradise Monday; turns out I really liked it.


The Protocolo Tinto is a Spanish Tempranillo wine, that is aged for three months in a seasoned oak barrel. You will mostly find Tempranillo wines in Spain because that is where the black grapes are grown. This had a fresh blackberry taste and I actually thought I could taste some spices, but after further thought I think that was mostly the oak I was tasting.

If you wanted to add some fruit to this it would make a great Sangria. It will run you about $6-8 depending on where you find it.

Let me know if you’ve tried this wine and if you have any wines I should try in the future.

For more Wine of the Week posts, click here.

Traverse City Wedding Recap – Days 1 & 2

I know it was about a month ago, but I wanted to recap my fourth and final wedding of the season. It was a great way to kick off the summer and we had a blast. I’ve mentioned my friend Tracy on the blog before and I was so honored to be part of her special day. If you’ve never been to Traverse City before, hopefully this will convince you to take the trip.

On Thursday, Tracy and her fiance (now husband) treated the bridal party and their dates to a wine tour around Traverse City. We went to some of our favorites and a few places I hadn’t been before. Traverse City is special because the wineries fall on the 45th parallel, which is the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole.

John and I started our trip with breakfast and a mimosa (because there’s always time for a mimosa).


We started our tour at Blackstar Farms, which has its own inn and winery. If you like sweet wines, this is the place for you. I didn’t find a ton of wines that I liked, because I usually prefer wines that aren’t so sweet anymore. I ended up settling on the 2011 Isidor’s Choice Pinot Noir. If you’ve been following my wines you will probably laugh because I am a sucker for a good Pinot Noir. As I was reading the tasting notes I noticed that this wine will age well for 5-10 years, so I will have to get this in the wine fridge.


Our next stop was 45 North, where I am a wine club member. We set it up to pick up our wine shipment while we were there and I couldn’t help but get more of the Unwooded Chardonnay. They don’t even have this one on the website, so I wonder if it is already sold out. It was definitely my favorite and I would share a picture, but I already drank both bottles.

Our third stop was at Blustone Vineyards, which was a new one for me. The tasting room was beautiful and very open with lots of glass walls. I chose the Pinot Noir Rose, which our host told me they nicknamed the “porch pounder.” I also got some of the 2012 Naked Chardonnay. I am a huge fan of these unoaked and unwooded chardonnays that are popular right now. This is a picture of us outside of the tasting room:


Our next stop was at L. Mawby, which I’ve featured before here. Their tasting room is a ton of fun and the presentation is great! You get to pick what wines you want to try and they give you a tasting plate. I tried the Jadore and Domaine and got them both – so good!


Our last stop was at Chateau de Leelanau, where I settled on the 2012 Peach Fizz. It’s like a Bellini in a bottle!

peach fizz

We had a great time on the wine tour and it was such a lovely gift from the bride and groom!

On Friday, we recovered from the wine tour and went to the rehearsal dinner, which was a bonfire on the beach!


John and I got a great picture and we were photobombed by the family of geese that were hanging around all weekend:


Stay tuned for the wedding recap!

Have you been to Traverse City before? What are your favorite places to visit?

Wine of the Week: Nottage Hill Pinot Noir

Disclosure: I received this wine from a PR firm on behalf of Hardys Wines to provide an honest review. 

I received a bottle of Nottage Hill’s Pinot Noir to review for Wine of the Week. This was perfect as I needed a good bottle for our Bachelorette viewing party (a.k.a. my friend Tracy and I drinking wine). If you’ve followed along with Wine of the Week you will notice that I review a lot of Pinot Noirs, because they are my favorite wine to drink.

nottage hill final

Hardys is one of Australia’s best known wine brands and just last year celebrated their 160th anniversary. It’s a global brand and can be found in more than 80 countries, particularly in the United Kingdom.

This particular brand, Nottage Hill, is named after Tom Nottage who was the nephew of the founder Thomas Hardy. If you ever visit Australia, you can tour the Tintara Winery, which is Australia’s oldest winery and see where the Hardys wines are made.

Tracy and I really liked this Pinot Noir. The first thing we said as soon as we tasted it was that it had a kick of spice on the finish. As you keep drinking it you will taste the cherry and raspberry flavors making this an easy wine to drink. The Nottage Hill Pinot Noir is also very affordable, coming in at around $13.

The official tasting notes recommend pairing this with a mushroom risotto, but I think any pasta or steak would also be great with this.

Let me know if you’ve tried this Pinot Noir and if you have any wines I should try in the future.

For more Wine of the Week posts, click here.

Champagne Wishes and Paris Dreams #UncorkedandUnwined

The day to share my Uncorked and Unwined party is finally here! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen a few photos from the party, but I can’t wait to share all the fun in today’s post.

Seamless vintage background with wine glasses

For those of you that are new to the blog, Uncorked and UnWINEd is an opportunity for us to have a girls night in and try some new wine in the process. You can follow along using the #uncorkedandunwined hashtag. Today, I am linking up with the Uncorked team to share all of our parties with you. If you hosted your own party, you can link up with us below. The Uncorked team includes:

Since my birthday was in July, I decided to go all out for Uncorked and make it my birthday party. I named it “Champagne Wishes and Paris Dreams” and went with a champagne tasting with a Paris twist. I got my inspiration from Birthday Express’ Paris Damask party theme and I was able to purchase their party supplies. They even had a matching Evite and free printables that I was able to customize for my party.

To get ready for the party, I went down to DeVries & Co. Cheese Shop in Eastern Market to stock up on Brie, Gouda, Manchengo, Gruyere, Cheddar and Camembert to try with our champagne.


I also found a fantastic French bakery, Cannelle Patisserie, to get some sweet treats (including macaroons).

canelle patisserie

Without further adieu, welcome to Paris:



collage one

Collage 2


We had a lot of fun tasting all of the different champagnes. I ended up getting nine different champagnes in total, three French champagnes, three Italian sparkling wines and three US sparkling wines to mix it up. At the end of the night I was popping those corks like a pro!

collage 3

We decided that our favorite champagne was the Pommery, which is a blend of three different grapes and is aged three years before it even gets on the shelves.


At the end of the evening, I gave these adorable macaroon trinket boxes as favors to all of the guests. They were just darling!


I ended up with a few extra favors, and I am going to be giving them away for a few lucky readers! Enter via the Rafflecopter below and I will announce the winners next Monday:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is over, if you won, you will receive an email from me, so make sure to respond within the week. Thanks to everyone who participated!

If you hosted your own Uncorked and Unwined party you can link up with us here and check out all of the other awesome parties:


Our next link up will be on September 29 and I already have an awesome idea for my next party. I can’t wait for you to join us!

If you missed my last party, you can click here to check it out.

Wine of the Week: Meiomi Pinot Noir

It’s been a while since I did a Wine of the Week recommendation, but never fear – I have been trying lots of new wines to share with you!

This week’s wine is one that I have been meaning to share for a long time, it is one of our favorite ones. John and I always order this one if it is on the menu. This week’s wine is Meiomi Pinot Noir, bottled by Belle Glos Wines.

meiomi final

We first discovered this wine during one of our dinners in Greektown and couldn’t believe how smooth it was (for such a reasonable price). I love a good Pinot Noir and this one is the perfect combination of flavors – berries, apple, vanilla with a slight oak on the finish.

Meiomi (May-OH-mee), means “coast” in the language of the California Wappo tribe where this wine is produced. Meiomi is a blend of grapes from Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara.

meiomi blendThe owner and winemaker, Joseph Wagner is a fifth-generation winemaker. He grew up in the vineyard and it seems like winemaking is in his bones.

Meiomi is under the Belle Glos brand of wines and I was surprised to learn that they make another one of my favorites which I will be sharing with you soon! I will just have to try them all because they are delish!

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

For more Wine of the Week posts, click here.

Washington Wedding Recap – Day 2

On Day Two of our Washington Trip, we visited a few wineries in Woodinville. We started with the infamous Chateau Ste. Michelle:


The winery was located in its own estate, there was a beautiful chateau and it was a very scenic area. It would have been a great place to picnic at or sit outside and enjoy some wine. We had a tight schedule that day, so we didn’t have a ton of time to hang about. Chateau Ste. Michelle is famous for its Rieslings. I used to be a huge Riesling fan, but lately I don’t like some of the really sweet stuff. We did buy some of the Sauvignon Blanc from the Horse Heaven Vineyard. We may have purchased more, but I think we drank it during the trip, so this is the only bottle I have left.


In the back of Chateau Ste. Michelle, there is a winery within a winery. This was intriguing to me because it was in this little room made entirely of glass. This picture doesn’t really do it justice:


Our hostess at Chateau St. Michelle was telling us about this winery run by the Antinori family who has been making wine since 1385. I am a sucker for a good history lesson and we had to go check this one out. The winery is called Col Solare and runs in partnership with Chateau St. Michelle. They only have three wines available, the 2008 Col Solare, 2009 Col Solare and the 2009 Shining Hill.


This wine was amazing and if they would have had a wine club I probably would have joined it. We bought one of each at this winery and I am excited because they are a number of restaurants in my area that carry this wine, plus it is available at one of the local markets by our house.

After our visit to Chateau St. Michelle, we stopped at Airfield Winery, where the wedding would be held, to get a sneak peak. This tasting room was PERFECT for our friends’ wedding. He is a Marine and a pilot and she is a Navy Physiologist. One of the hosts at the tasting room gave us a little history about the winery. The vineyard is located in the Rattlesnake Mountains in the Yakima Valley within three miles of an airbase used in World War II.

Throughout the course of the weekend, we purchased the Pinot Noir, Bombshell Red, Ruby Rose and Flygirl White. We also joined The Officer’s Wine Club so we could have a great memory of this weekend.


After this tasting we drove out to Seattle to meet John’s fraternity brother for a Mariners/Tigers game at SafeCo field. I was so happy to see these guys reunited. Plus this added to our list of baseball fields that we can cross off the list.


We had a ton of fun on Day 2!


Stay tuned for Day 3 of our Washington Wedding!

If you missed Day 1, click here for the recap.

Uncorked and UnWINEd

You are cordially invited to Uncorked and UnWINEd:
Seamless vintage background with wine glasses

If you remember my Sip Happens party, then you will be stoked to hear about my newest venture…Uncorked! Uncorked is the official relaunch of Sip Happens as we have a new group of gals on board to kick this off.

The name may have changed, but the concept is the same. Uncorked is an opportunity for you to unWINEd! This might be some wine as you watch The Bachelorette or a wine tasting party with your besties. Uncorked is a chance to take a break from the crazy and expand your palate. There are no rules to Uncorked. You can drink whatever you like, try a new wine or come up with your own theme.

I will keep you updated on my Uncorked plans as the month goes on using our new hashtag #uncorkedandunwined so stay tuned for the date of my party and clues on my theme. Then on Monday, July 28th, we want you to tell us how you Uncorked and UnWINEd by linking up on my blog or any of the new Uncorked team’s blogs below:

Val from Chicken Scratch

Kelly from Sequins & Scissors

Amber from The Browsing Brunette

Aleks from A Slocum Story

Jessica from Jessica Stout Design

As a reminder, my blogiversary raffle is still running and we have some great prizes, including some of the favors from my Sip Happens Party and your very own Haley’s corker to aerate your wine. Make sure to enter here.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what my theme should be and if you have any wines I should try.

For more Wine of the Week posts, click here.

Wine of the Week: Cambria Wines

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cambria Estate Winery for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was approached to create a wine and food pairing for Cambria’s hand-crafted wines which is right up my alley. For those of you not familiar with Cambria, it is a family owned, estate winery from Santa Maria, California and is located in the beautiful Santa Barbara wine country. What is an estate winery you ask? I learned that anytime you see the word “estate winery” it means that they make wine from their own vineyards.

Cambria’s unique wines have received more than 150 reviews of 90+ scores in the past 20 years and they have a lot of different options to choose from specializing mostly in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Their two leading wines are:

Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

Cambria has four different vineyards and this wine is named after Julia’s Vineyard, which is named after the founder’s youngest daughter. The vineyard was planted in 1991 and offers one of the longest growing seasons in California.




This Pinot has aromas and flavors of dark cherry, strawberry and pomegranate and pairs well with a nice filet mignon or Gruyere cheese.

Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay

Katherine is the owner’s eldest daughter and this vineyard focuses more on fruit development.




This Chardonnay has subtle tropical and citrus aromas. It has a nice crisp finish and pairs well with lobster and Brie or Camembert cheeses.

For my recipe pairing, I would use Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir and make one of my favorite snacks – Caprese skewers! Who doesn’t love Caprese Salad? But when you are at a party, you can’t really sit down and eat a salad. Skewers make it easy to take with you and make them bite sized. Plus you get all the flavors of tomato, basil and mozzarella in one bite.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 5.06.09 PM


If you are in Santa Barbara, you can visit the Cambria Estate Winery ® tasting room and check them out for yourself. You can also Visit the Cambria blog for terrific recipes, DIY tips and news from the Cambria Estate Winery Vineyards.

Remember that the legal drinking age is 21 years old, as always please drink responsibly.

What are your favorite wine and food pairings?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sip Happens Party Recap

A month ago, I wrote my Sip Happens Party post about an awesome wine party link up I was planning with Val from Chicken Scratch,  Eva Marie Taylor and Erin from Living in Yellow. Well the time has finally come for me to share all of the details with you!

A quick recap of what this is all about:


Open the Google Doc here to sign up to be a part of the Pay Pal Cash Giveaway.

Because the featured wine was 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend, which is inspired by the wild horses that roamed Washington State, I decided that my Sip Happens Party would have an equestrian theme. We had a fantastic time and I can’t wait to host another one!

Here is my table setup, I decided to feature all 14 Hands Wine so we had Chardonnay, White Blend, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Red Blend.

Table Setup

Table Setup

I also visited DeVries Cheese Shop in Eastern Market to procure all of my cheeses. We had Gouda, Manchengo, Brie and Cheddar. I have a horseshoe shaped cake pan that I used to make the bread. Here is the recipe from Wilton. I did end up making the roast that I mentioned in my previous post and it was delicious! It went great with the red wine.

Cheese Tray

Cheese Tray

For dessert, I got to try out my new fondue pot and had all sorts of dippers (marshmallows, apples, strawberries and rice krispie treats).


Dessert Station

I also found these cute chocolate horseshoes on A Taste of Kentucky’s website.

Chocolate Horseshoes

Chocolate Horseshoes

I also asked all of the women to wear their cutest riding boots and equestrian themed outfits. Everyone looked super cute!

My guests

My guests

We were pretty informal about tasting the wines, everyone could try and pair the wine at their leisure and when they were done I had them rank their favorites from 1-6. My wine glass writer metallic pens came in handy because people could keep notes on their wine glasses. I seriously LOVED these pens! They were so much fun and came right off in the dishwasher.

Wine Glass Writer Pens

Wine Glass Writer Pens

I had to get this picture of everyone in their riding boots!

Riding Boots!

Riding Boots!

The final wine ranking for the night was:

  1. Red Blend
  2. Pinot Grigio
  3. White Blend
  4. Chardonnay
  5. Tie between the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot

The Red Blend was a big hit! We crowned the winners:

Sip Happens Party Winners!

Sip Happens Party Winners!

For party favors, I gave out these adorable Forever 21 horseshoe necklaces. I got little burlap bags from Michael’s and used a red fabric pen to write FEED on them (like a horse’s feed bag). I think this was my favorite detail:




Forever 21 Horseshoe Necklace

Forever 21 Horseshoe Necklace

I had SO much fun hosting this Sip Happens Party! I cannot wait to do this again! I would love to hear how your Sip Happens Parties went and I can’t wait to check them out on the link up!

If you didn’t get a chance to host a party this time around you can check out Val’s post about how you can still link up. The link up will be live from Monday, February 3 at 12:00am and close Friday, February 7th at 11:59pm, so you have this whole week to link up. The hosts will feature their favorite post on all three blogs on Monday, February 10th. Make sure to come back on the 10th because they will also kick off the giveaway and announce their new Guest Host for the next Sip Happens Party link up! 

For more Wine related posts, click here.

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