Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wine Wednesday: H3 Chardonnay

Here's a great white wine at a value price point that is a must-have for the summertime: H3 Chardonnay 2013. Columbia Crest H3 wines were created to celebrate the winery's rich heritage in the Horse Heaven Hills as well as its innovative winemaking and sustainable practices.
This is a medium-bodied Chardonnay with aromas of spiced pear and freshly sliced apples. Hints of coconut join flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and oak, ending with a vanilla finish. In other words - delicious!
I paired it with a 1 lb. thick-cut tuna steak that we coated with sesame seeds and seared for just about 90 seconds on each side. On the side, a simple cucumber salad -- just cucumbers slices and tossed in rice vinegar and a little sugar.
The H3 Chardonnay's fruity notes complemented, but didn't overpower the tuna. This meal was so easy to make, and I couldn't believe how much ahi tuna we got at the fish market for just $10. The wine is about $10-$12 as well. Other ingredients pictured here are less than $4 total. This, plus a value priced wine and you've got a healthy, balanced, budget-friendly meal, with wine -- for 2 for less than $25. Cheers!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Biltmore Winery Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Biltmore Winery in North Carolina celebrates a milestone this year with its 30th anniversary. Since first opening its doors on May 11, 1985, Biltmore Winery has become America’s most visited winery.
Located in Asheville, NC., Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Wine has been a part of Biltmore’s history since the very beginning when he founded his now iconic estate. Vanderbilt enjoyed wine and he apparently brought a lot of it home from his travels to Asheville. Wine played a prominent role at grand celebrations and everyday meals. He created an extensive agricultural program on his estate.  

A great white wine for summer sipping is Biltmore’s Riesling 2013. It’s crisp and refreshing, and pairs with most grilled foods nicely.

It’s crisp and refreshing, and pairs with most grilled foods nicely. Now back to the Biltmore Estate itself: America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. 

The estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens, and it is definitely on my travel "to visit' list for 2015 (or maybe 2016, time this year for me is quickly running out...) Biltmore produces award-winning wines using fruit harvested from its own vineyard as well as from partners in N.C. and other premium growing regions including California.  

Have you ever tried a wine from Biltmore? Leave a comment below!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tampa Bay Brewing Company's Bad A$$ Beerfest II Coming July 31

On July 31, 2015, Tampa Bay Brewing Company will be hosting BadA** Beerfest II- A Full Moon Event. This event will be a celebration of their 20th Anniversary and Grand Opening of ther new Production Brewery in Westchase. I am personally so excited to see a craft beer event like this come to our part of Tampa!

More than 40 breweries will be pouring at this event. The event will be VIP admission from 6-7pm and general admission from 7-11pm. 

July 31st is a full moon (hence the event name) and during the fest, they will release their 20th Anniversary beer: Full Moon Madness, a subtropical porter. Every participant will receive one 16oz can of this limited edition beer. 
There will be a VIP only area inside the brewery that will be open for the duration of the event, which will feature live music, beer sampling and food trucks. Tickets will be available in advance for $35 or $50 at the door. VIP Tickets are $50 or $65 at the door.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Warm Corn Salad -- and a wine pairing

One of our favorite summer side dishes is a warm corn salad. It's simple and healthy and every time we make it, our guests ask for the recipe.
Last night we made the warm corn salad with Bison Burgers. For the burger recipe, which involves the deliciousness of blue cheese and jalapenos, click here. And here is how to make the side dish:

Warm Corn Salad (serves 4)

  • 4 fresh (large) corn cobs
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced fine
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Boil the corn for 5-7 minutes
  • Remove from the water and "shave" it off the cob with a sharp knife into a bowl
  • Add all other ingredients into the bowl and mix.
  • Serve warm (but it's also great refrigerated if you have some left over)

A great wine for grilling out is Kendall Jackson's Grand Reserve Pinot Noir 2013. It has flavors of berries, black cherries and vanilla.
Pairing your meal with a wine like this turns barbecuing into an event! This wine is delicious -- fruit forward and nicely balanced. It's a great red for summertime sipping and a great pairing for a "burger and warm corn salad" kind of night.

What are you grilling up this week? Which wines are you pairing with your barbecue?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wine Wednesday: Gia Pinot Grigio

Here's a white wine I am loving for summer: Gia Pinot Grigio by Coppola Winery. The granddaughter of Francis Coppola, Gia Coppola is not only a filmmaker, she’s also a talented photographer, artist and now a winemaker. I'm a big fan of her PInot Grigio, especially this time of year.
Here are the tasting notes from the winemaker: "With an alluring perfume of bergamot orange, honeysuckle and plumeria flowers, Gia Pinot Grigio presents vibrant flavors of pineapple, white peaches and the minerality of wet stones. It delights the palate with bright acidity, a touch of sweetness and a lingering finish of fresh fruit.
All of these flavors paired well with these spicy grilled chicken sandwiches we grilled up on Memorial Day. I made a batch of fresh guacamole and as you can see, I believe the more guac the better - why not use it as a base layer and a topping?!
I love the legacy of family heritage behind the Coppola wines and this month their story is featured on the cover of Wine Spectator Magazine.
You can find this wine for under $15 at Publix or Total Wine. If you're making a trip to Northern California, I highly reccomend a visit to the winery. In the summertime you can rent  And be sure to check out their restaurant, Rustic, which serves all of Coppola's favorite Italian dishes.

Happy summer sipping! Whats in your glass this time of year? Do you have a favorite Pinot Grigio to reccomend? Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wine Wednesday: Mimi Chardonnay

Memorial Day weekend is here and it's time for a chilled white wines to enjoy the holiday weekend. My pick this week is Mimi Chardonnay 2013 from Chateau Ste Michelle.

 This wine has flavors of light oak, apple and pear and pairs well with most foods. I came across this list of healthy summer recipes from Food & Wine Magazine, and I think Mimi would complement with any of these, especially the Thai Chicken and Watermelon Salad - yum! Those ingredients may be on my shopping list tomorrow!
I love all things peacock, so I'm in love with the label. The screw top makes it perfect for beach sipping or picnics. What are you grilling up this Memorial Day weekend, and which wines will you be pairing with your dishes? Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wine Wednesday: H3 Sauvignon Blanc and a Wine Pairing

Warm temperatures are officially here and in my opinion, there's no better refreshing beverage than a crisp white wine. Did you know the ideal temperature to chill your Sauvignon Blanc to is 45 degrees?
This Sauvignon Blanc from the Horse Heaven Hills wine growing region, hence the name "H3" --  is a great one for summer sipping. It's crisp, fruity and lightly acidic, making it the perfect complement to seafood like these King Crab legs. We boiled these beauties with some Old Bay seasoning for just 5 minutes, and they were incredible.
When you're dipping large chunks of crab into a garlicky bowl of butter, you're going to want a white wine with a little acidity to play off the richness of that (delicious) combination. H3 Sauvignon Blanc would be a great pairing with seafood -- and with summer days and evenings spent outdoors.

What are you sipping on on these warmer May days? Leave a comment below!