With clearer night skies and twinkling lights, the holiday season brings with it a natural sparkle and lightness. Every night feels like a little celebration, and indeed, as the year draws to a close and loved ones and friends gather together, there can be much to toast to.
So, if you're not already stocking up on it, let's discuss why sparkling wine (we’ll get to why it isn’t all champagne in just a second) should and can be your standalone wine beverage and your number one cocktail ingredient as well. With nearly as much variation as white wine, sparkling wine offers a tremendous variety of flavor and dryness, as well as an effervescence that opens up more subtle notes of other liquors.
Become a sparkling wine expert this year with these tips, tricks and trivia.
Here’s the scene: you’re sitting by the fire, sipping on something festive, and gazing at those mesmerizing lights of the perfectly living room and dining room you have created. As your eyes continue to take in the room, you feel the warmth of all your efforts that went into designing the beautifully elegant, yet simple, table scape that will surely impress your family and friends as they sip and savor. And as a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur, you can think of no better way to bring your two passions of wine and the holidays together than showcasing your handmade or store bought treasures to those you love.
Follow these tips for a uniquely warm and personal holiday celebration.
“It’s fall, y’all!" Tis' the season of electric blue and fluorescent pink sunsets and pulling on your favorite sweater (maybe not in LA but you know who you are). So grab a friend, a bottle of your favorite cabernet, and enjoy the crisp evenings along with the many treasures that this season brings with it.
Of course, you'll need proper attire.
Whether you're heading to Malibu Wines to sip and savor on a glass of something that warms you up or simply just driving around Pacific Coast Highways taking in the subtle gold whisper of fall, you’ll want to look the part.
Here are five tips to help you look “cool” for 2016 Fall / Winter Seasons.
Even the wine novice knows that poultry pairs seamlessly with our sturdier whites, like chardonnay. There are no hard and fast rules for the perfect baste, but you generally want to ensure you have a base of fats and sugars to keep your whole turkey moist.
My suggested start is a ½ cup of sweet chardonnay with ¼ cup of melted or softened butter. For an extra herbal profile, you can consider adding a bit of dry white vermouth. Customize this base with the herbs or spices of your choice. Depending on your side dishes, you might want to keep it on the spicier side with just a hint of ground nutmeg and some fresh thyme. Savory palettes might prefer the freshness of dill or rosemary. The possibilities are limitless, but a wine-based baste will add a buttery and fruity richness to your dishes like never
Be sparing with the add-ins, however; bastes are there for nuanced flavors and moisture. Most of your herbs, spices and flavoring agents belong under the skin or in the cavity, where they can really imbue the meat with their flavor.
Is there a better time than fall to cozy up on the couch and binge watch movies, shows and documentaries about all your favorite things? As the twilight appears, pour yourself and your friend or sweetheart a glass and catch these flicks that will make you laugh, cry and think about wine a little differently.
Pumpkin often steals the spotlight in autumnal dishes, but for wine lovers, sweet and sour apples deserve your attention this year as a perfect canvas for the rich buttery flavors of white wine and fall spices.
This simple and comforting dish of glazed baked apples is a perfect topping for pancakes, ice cream, or all by themselves as a light and fresh fall dessert. The more complex your wine is, the more delightful this recipe is.
Sure, you have plenty of chances to drink wine during your Hallow’s Eve festivities, but there’s something even more tempting for the true wine lover, and that’s the possibility of a decked out wine-themed costume.
This Halloween, pick your costume right off the vine with these clever DIY ideas.
Bridging the Wine and Beer Divide
It’s been something of a legendary divide, a feud of fermentation. All of us seem to fall on one side of the camp or the other. It’s a dilemma we face at every party, bar, grocery store and restaurant: beer or wine?
Perhaps that’s a false dichotomy to some of you, but it’s a debate I’ve seen get red hot among fervent fans on both sides of the aisle. My friend, Cam, for example, is practically a “brew extraordinaire” (his words, not mine). No matter how many glasses of wine I swirl in front of him, he will have none of the stuff, insisting that if it’s not made of wheat and hops, it’s not worth his time.
Marissa, on the other hand, is a guardian of the grape. She and I routinely split a bottle when we all go out to dinner, and she often teaches me a thing or two about regions and varietals I’m a novice on. She and Cam have developed some playful banter, but occasionally the jibes are a little more salty than sweet.
Amidst my philosophical ponderings the other day, it dawned upon me that we should be building bridges among lovers of libations instead of creating divides. I called Cam and Marissa, and bore the burden of making dinner so that we could discuss this all-important issue in hopes of finding a common ground for these beverages that ultimately seek to make us all happy.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Party Like It’s 1787
Every four years, our Constitution affords us an opportunity for things to get utterly ridiculous. Amidst heated debates, Facebook feuds and ideological divisions between the best of friends, we forget that every election is a reason to celebrate another season of vigorous debate.
Here’s the deal: as my mom would say, “I don’t give a hill of beans what side you’re on.” But I sure do like to celebrate democracy and I think this year, especially, deserves some lightheartedness. Celebrate like it’s 1787 (that’s when the Constitution was signed!) and have your friends from both sides of the aisle over for a debate watch party, complete with wine, appetizers and all the donkey and elephant paraphernalia you can find.
The Perfect Play for Getting Wine a First Down
Football season has arrived. It’s the season of dips and beer, of jerseys and face paint and, my personal favorite, yelling at the TV screen. With college game days and the big leagues nearly every night of the week these days, football is something of an omnipresent staple in our lives from August to January.
Unfortunately, for us wine buffs, traditional “football culture” with its kegs and bags of chips hasn’t really made a place for wine. This season, whether you’re cheering on your alma mater or rooting for the pros, it’s time to move wine off the sidelines and into the scrimmage.
In terms of things that just go together, wine and chocolate are one of the most luxe and absolutely lovely pairings out there, due largely to the enormous variation in both of these indulgences. Wine and chocolate both play with this concept of “bittersweet,” wrapping a thousand flavors into a single bit or sip.
From our tasting rooms to beautiful outdoor experiences, we firmly believe that indulgence is deserved, whether it be in nature, wine, chocolate or all of the above. In homage to our favorite sippables and sweets, we’ve paired wine with some simple and delicious chocolate truffle recipes for a perfectly wonderful way to end the day.
We’re just weeks out from the official start of fall, which means a whole new wardrobe, pantry and wine list are in order. As the days grow shorter and shorter, we’ll retire our sauvignon blancs, pinot grigios and some of the lighter rosés in favor of pinot noirs, viogniers and cabernets. And while, we’re at it, we’ll stock up on those harvest vegetables for filling and fresh dinner deliciousness. If you’re putting together your own cornucopia this fall, consider these scrumptious fall vegetables (and the vino to pair with them!).
Wouldn’t it be great if wine could be a part of anything? If life’s humdrum and monotony could be punctuated with sweet sips of rosé and chardonnay?
Across the globe, winemakers and wine lovers alike are finding creative ways to bring wine into fun and relaxing experiences. After all, there’s not much that can’t be made better with a glass in hand.
If you’re a wine lover, a world traveler or just an explorer at heart, start your “Bucket List a la Vin” and kick it off with us by checking out these six fantastic wine-infused experiences at Malibu Wines.
"You know the line: “What’s in a word? A rosé by any other name would taste just as great.”
So maybe that wasn’t exactly the line, but I’m pretty sure that’s what Shakespeare meant to say. While I might have taken some liberties with our Elizabethan friend’s famous quip, I take none when I say that the “in-between” blend of dry, pink wine has wine marketers scratching their heads at its expedient rise in the United States.
For most people September means summer is over and it’s time to get back into the swing of “real” life. The fall months are upon us, most students are back to school and the weather is changing. At Saddlerock Ranch, in Malibu, it means grape harvest is in full swing and its showtime!
It’s truly the culmination of all the tedious and labor-intensive work over the last year. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes are the first varietal to come in and shortly after, the Syrah grapes for sparkling. Deciding when to pick your grapes (harvest) is a lengthy process that can take up to two months to complete. One might think you just taste the grapes and if they’re to your liking, you pick. If only it were that easy!
First, you need to establish your winemaking profile. Do you want sweet wine? Red or white? A heavy oak influence? More mineral flavors? It is all up to the winemaker and what product they are trying to produce. The Semler Estate wines for example have a sandy loam soil that makes their vines vigorous and therefore their wines aromatic with crisp tannins, going for bold structure with an easy complexity. How will this translate into their vineyard picks? Easy peasy.
Keep Cool. Look Cool. Be Cool.
Troye Sivan’s “Cool” as been my summer jam lately, especially since the heat has reached it’s peak across the nation. But the summer sun is hard to resist, especially on the seemingly endless cloud-free days. But I don’t just want to feel cool, I want to look cool, and that’s exactly what these hot and trendy items help me do.
Take a look at these summer staples that can be found at the Malibu Family Wines store when you pay us a visit.
Artist Feature: Lisa Semler
From grape to glass, the winemaking process is an ode to nature and artistry, and at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, California, we’ve found that art and wine are among the best pairings we can think of.
Lisa Semler, wife of Ronnie Semler, also known as lady of the ranch, explores and express a love of art, wine and nature in her stunning original works which are created on the property in her private art studio.
As anyone keen to the spirit of Malibu will tell you, it’s the myriad natural settings that offer so much inspiration to the artist’s soul. Semler finds a particularly strong connection with her surroundings, often engaging nature as her muse.
’m the case study for the dessert stomach. I eat dinner as the socially acceptable prerequisite for eating dessert.
Personally, I’m a fan of desserts featuring fruit. I love the fresh, clean, palette cleansing sensation of rich berries in a flaky pastry, or atop some creamy, cold vanilla ice cream.
My favorite is when these berry desserts serve as a vehicle for the rich, spicy notes of a bold cabernet. I’m going to share a simple step-by-step recipe that will make sweet use of your favorite vino in red wine berry compote. In this recipe, fruit sugars, alcohol sugars, and just plain old sugar caramelize lightly in a fruit sauce bursting with complex notes of berry, vanilla and the unique profile of a wine of your choosing.
If your family is big on wine, corks might be saved or tossed out en masse. What we suggest is you start saving Tuesday’s dinner, corks from the big summer party, corks from that rom com night alone, corks from Sunday picnics.
For what? Well, that massive jar overflowing with corks on your kitchen island can be undoubtedly aesthetic, but even better, put those cork memories to good use.
If you haven’t been to a farm-to-table restaurant or dinner party yet, it probably won’t be long before you cross paths with this “of the earth” style of dining. If you want to be the trendsetter we know you are, check out these tips to create a farm-to-table feast of your own.