As the weather warms up and the flowers bloom, it’s only fitting we all sip on something a little softer and celebrate the arrival of spring.
The other day at lunch, my friends and I were having a chat about what our go-to unwinding wine is—that comforting, dependably good bottle that is easy to drink and makes us happy. We were sitting outside and a breeze was blowing, a faint chill kindly reminding us that spring was still making its grand entrance.
Good wine is an investment, and one you should take proper care to maintain. Most of us, however, go about our lives with little concern for our bottles of wine, using them more as decorative props than vessels of viney goodness.
Your wine will last longer and taste better if stored properly. But what does that mean? You have a miniature wine fridge in your kitchen, but that vineyard in Bordeaux had an underground stone cellar—surely these can’t have the same effect, right?
That’s true for the most part, and wine stored for longer periods is treated a little bit differently than wine that will be readily consumed. For our purposes, we’ll talk about storing wine for the casual consumer or novice collector.
How to Smell Wine
Formal wine tasting is an activity rife with opportunity to look absolutely absurd if you’re not doing it right. We don’t want to see any of our beloved wine-loving friends risk making any particularly upsetting mistakes, so we’re offering up a simple guide to one of the five S’s of wine tasting.
As you know, “see, swirl, smell, sip, savor (or spit)” provides a roadmap to enjoying wine with sophistication and finesse. I want to hone in on one step that is exceptionally prone to bizarre interpretation: smelling.
Working in Wine
If you are a MadMen fan, you appreciate those impeccably tailored clothes and creative quips and most likely, your favorite part was cocktail hour, ubiquitous at the office as lunch hour. Ever watch with envy, wondering how you, too, could become the type of professional who worked and whiskeyed and wined all at the same time.
As it turns out, there’s a whole industry dedicated to its production, distribution and perfection, and much of it even involves a taste or two.
While owning or working on a vineyard provides an obvious entre working in wine, there are many other more accessible paths. Check out these careers that will keep wine on the mind.
“Don’t hold it by the bulb, hon,” my mom said.
It’s one of the first pieces of advice I remember receiving as a wine-drinking novice.
“Your hand—it warms the wine.”
This was one of the first among many wine faux pas I would make along the way. The education of drinking wine is one gained almost exclusively through experience, and all the missteps are invaluable lessons learned in how to enjoy wine with effortless sophistication and casual confidence.
Despite the value of experience, I’ll spare you a few embarrassing moments with tips on navigating around these generally accepted wine-drinking rules (and exceptions where applicable).
Gaga's company has announced this week that they've filed to produce wine, wine coolers, wine cocktails and wine punches under the name Grigio Girls, according to celebrity news site TMZ.com. ‘Grigio Girls’ is also the name of one of her tracks on the 2016 album Joanne.
SoCal Wine Regions
The United States has no shortage of familiarity with California wines. The climate and geography of the Golden State gives west coast wine an enviable terroir across all the varietals grown there, and we’re oh-so-grateful for it.
Names like Napa, Sonoma and even Santa Clara and Santa Barbara are well socialized in wine-loving circles. While these counties are major wine producers, they’re not the only vinicultural regions in California. Wine growing is a statewide industry, and us SoCal folks are here to remind you that LA, Temecula and even San Diego have some phenomenal wine offerings as well.
Take a quick trip with us up the PCH and stay just north of the border as we highlight a few amazing places to explore in Southern California for your next west coast wine adventure.
Junk Food and Wine Pairings
Last year, we told you about a unique charity event that pairs McDonald’s French fries with wine, offering up a strangely delightful experience that makes giving back taste good.
If we’re being honest, there’s a je ne sais quoi to eating heinous foods and drinking excellent vino. I can’t quite describe the feeling of sipping a glass of good merlot, while also eating Raisinets, but I know I like it.
The suggestion of pairing wine and junk food is a little avant-garde, but to ease you into the idea, we’ve put together a couple of suggestions that just might be too tempting to resist trying (we won’t tell).
Wine Gummy Bears
With Superbowl just around the corner, we all know the highlight of Superbowl Sunday is the food, the booze and of course, the endless possible confectionary temptations.
Skittles, Milk Duds, cookies and the like will be present in pilefuls, but if you're like me, you might head straight for the gummy worms or those adorable little Haribo bears. Delightfully chewy, splendidly fruity and just a little bit sweet, gummies are my go-to.
Wine and ‘Spro
"Life is what happens between coffee and wine."
For some of us, there's no day without that morning brew. And for others, if you're reading this, you might approach the end of your day with a favorite glass of vino.
Many of us love both; some of us can get into lengthy discussions throughout the night discussing the varietals, best growing regions, qualities and characteristics of favorite wines/coffees, complex flavors of both, best pairings of wine or coffee with different foods, and so on. .
Interestingly enough, coffee and wine have quite a bit in common. Both are derived from fruit (wine from grapes, coffee from “coffee cherries”), the flavor and character of which is strongly influenced by growing conditions. Winemakers and coffee growers alike refer to this unique flavor stamp as “terroir.” Both go through an extensive preparation process, resulting in batches as unique as the fingerprints of those who produce them. Some of the earthiest or most citrusy coffees can actually carry notes reminiscent of some wine varietals.
If you get an itch for some vinicultural adventure, check out these caffeinated combos.
Millennials have found a way to personalize nearly every experience. And, with an excess of personalization comes a world of variety. No product, experience or Starbucks order need repeat itself.
Wine, therefore, is a logical new frontier for this generation. Complex, traditionally dominated by bigger business and requiring a certain “rugged individualism,” wine production will put millennial behaviors to the ultimate test. Studies suggest that wine will take on a new face in the hands of millennials, from the growing number of boutique wineries to the way it’s made (if we can make it “green,” we will) to the way it’s packaged and sold.
Are you entering the New Year with the same ambitions as Kathy? I hope so. To help facilitate your endeavor, we’ve got a list of days to put in your iPhone calendar to make every day a day worth celebrating with wine.
So, a farewell toast to 2016, as well as a hearty “Salud!” to 2017. Stay tuned throughout the year as we offer up creative ways to celebrate some of these fantastic wine holidays.
Check out these curated finds from our friends at Wine Folly (with downloadable events for your calendar) and Wine Club Group.
Holiday Gift Giving Guide for Wine Lovers
You’re doubtlessly starting to feel the strain of holiday shopping. The roads are getting more congested (if that’s possible for Los Angeles) and the lines are getting longer. You have trendy, high-maintenance friends and family members. Worry not, we’ve got your back. (Insert winky emoji here.)
Holiday time is all about unwinding with some wine and whimsy, right? So visit Malibu Wines on Mulholland Highway, and pick up some of these great gifts. They’ll be impressed by your not-so-mainstream finds, and you’ll have gotten some personal wine time out of it.
As one of the world’s oldest beverages, wine has pervaded the cultures of people around the globe, giving way to a litany of customs and practices that make wine drinking across the world a tricky endeavor to navigate.
To be sure, the cultural colorations of wine-drinking makes for a rich and beautiful collection of customs unified by a love of wine. Join us on a quick trot around the globe for a look at some truly unique wine practices.
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.