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This Oklahoma Beer Is More Than Just … OK!

This Oklahoma Beer is More Than Just … OK!

It’s that time of the year … FOOTBALL SEASON!!!! And what goes great with football???? Why BEER of course.

To quote someone in the news this week, “I like beer!”. “I like beer a lot!” And now .. I have a new FAVORITE beer! It’s called Bomb!, and it’s from Prairie Artisan Ales out of Oklahoma.

This stout is so dang good. With the alcohol at 13%, it sure packs a punch too!

In the glass, the color is dark black with an auburn colored head. There is lots of chocolate and coffee bean on the nose. On the palate is a delightful mocha flavor with vanilla, some baking spices and an absolutely delightful hint of mild chili pepper on the finish. You would never know that the ABV is so high, as it’s not hot at all and doesn’t’ have that strong alcohol flavor on the palate that some high ABV beers do.

I literally can’t get enough of this beer. So … I went to my local Lucky Market to stock up on some more, and they were out! What???? They did, however, have some Prairie Artisan Ales Paradise Stout, so I bought them out.

Wow, Paradise is a great stout too! This also pours dark black and tastes of espresso, with some chocolate and nuttiness. This beer is brewed with coconut and vanilla. There is definitely a hint of each, but it’s not too much. This is a very well-balanced stout and a delight to drink!

While my favorite is still the Bomb!, I love the Paradise too. And you’d better believe that I’ll be seeking out all of the beers that Prairie Artisan Ales produce. The next time I’m driving through Oklahoma, I’ll be stopping in for a visit!!!!!

You can learn more about them here: https://prairieales.com

Stop To Smell (& Taste) Nathaniel Rose’s Wines In Michigan!

Stop to Smell (& Taste) Nathaniel Rose’s Wines in Michigan!

Are you ready to live in an Airstream to fulfill your dreams? Anyone who knows about the wine industry understands that owning a winery is a lot of HARD WORK, and doesn’t come cheap.

My husband and I are currently touring the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail in the Northwest of Michigan’s lower peninsula, and I have to say that I’m impressed. We have tasted a lot of very tasty wines and ciders the past couple of days. Saturday’s favorite? … Nathaniel Rose!

Interestingly, my husband and I are touring the Midwest in OUR recently purchased RV (a new passion of ours), but we’re NOT the ones living in the Airstream! That would be 33 year old Nathaniel Rose, making his dream a reality by living on the low and producing some fabulous wines!

Courtney, who is super knowledgeable, passionate about the wines, and a lot of fun, greeted us in the tasting room! Don’t have your heart set on a hoity-toity tasting experience here! This is not one of your fancy schmancy tasting rooms. You can tell that all of the money (and heart) goes into the wine.

The first wine of the tasting was his 2013 Marsanne, made as an orange wine! How cool is that??? If you’ve never had an orange wine, it’s definitely something to seek out! No … there are no oranges used in making this wine!!!! Basically, it’s a white wine where the grape skins are left on during maceration, like in red wine production. This produces an amber (sometimes orange, hence the name) color along with some tannin, which makes it very special indeed. This Marsanne is well done and was a fun way to start the tasting.

We tasted a bunch of great wines, but another fun one that sticks out in my mind is the 2012 Chelois. Chelois is a rare, high-quality French-American hybrid varietal created by viticulturist Albert Seibel in the 1920s. Rose leaves the grapes hang until they are partially raisined, producing a rich and powerful wine.

Nathaniel Rose also makes some killer Syrah! His ’13 La Blonde is co-fermented with Viognier, á la the Rhone Valley! His ‘13 Double Barrel Syrah has a wonderful funky nose, with some tart cherry chocolate on the palate. Good stuff indeed.

My favorite wine of the tasting? That would be his 2012 Right Bank! 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc (fashioned after the wines of the Right Bank of Bordeaux), this wine can hold up to a lot of Bordeaux wines I’ve had. Lots of cherry, currant and some earthiness make this my kind of wine!

If I had more wine storage in our RV, I would have bought a bunch, but I’m happy that I could at least grab a couple to take back to Florida and share with some of my fellow wine geek friends.

So … if you find yourself on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, be sure to stop at Nathaniel Rose. The tasting room is just outside the quaint village of Suttons Bay, and has a lovely water view out back!

http://www.nathanielrosewine.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some “Foxen” Great Wine!

Some “Foxen” Great Wine!

Have you ever tasted wine in a hippie shack? Well, last weekend my husband and I did just that!

While visiting the fabulous Santa Barbara wine country, we knew from past experience that Foxen (one of the pioneer wineries of the area) was a must visit. Good thing we stopped, because it ended up being our favorite wine experience of the trip.

Foxen Vineyard Winery is two … two wineries in one! Well, two wine tasting experiences anyway.

They have “The Shack”, their original tasting room. Here they pour their Bordeaux and Cali-Ital style wines in a fun, funky atmosphere where I personally could hang out all day long. My favorite wine in “The Shack” was the 2014 Los Potreros Cabernet Sauvignon from the Happy Canyon AVA. This 100% Cab Sauv has lots of dark fruit, along with some licorice and pepper. I bought a bottle of this to put away in the cellar for a few years.

A hop, skip and a jump away is a completely different Foxen world! Here lies their state-of-the-art solar-powered facility that is modern, classy, and home to some “foxen” fabulous wine! This is where they pour their tasty Rhône inspired and outstanding Burgundian varietal wines.

A lover of Burgundy, I’m darned picky when it comes to Pinot Noir. Not many New World Pinots rock my boat, but there is just something about the Foxen Pinots that get me going. They’re truly special! My favorites were the ’14 Melville Vineyard (still a baby, but this has lots of tart cranberry and a wonderful herbal quality), the ’14 Block 8 from the famous Bien Nacido Vineyard (with ripe plum and a nose of roses!) and my personal favorite the ’14 Fe Ciego Vineyard (with strawberry, cranberry and some lovely earthiness).

I also enjoyed their ’16 Block UU Bien Nacido Chardonnay. This Chard has orange blossom, ripe peach, lemon and great minerality.

And then … there was more! They were offering a library tasting of some really fun wines. We cleaned them out of their 2006 Toasted Rope Syrah. In true Northern Rhône style, the winemaker blended in Viognier (15%!). Wow! I love it. It has lots of olive, smoky meat and there is still nice dark fruit on the palate.

We also grabbed a couple of the ’08 Rock Hollow Cabernet Franc. I opened a bottle the other night and paired it with a Grandma’s Pie (pizza in a pan) and kale salad! It was fabulous!

The next time you are anywhere near Santa Barbara, be sure to head to the gorgeous 2000 acre ranch property of Foxen Vineyard Winery. The views are lovely, the people are friendly, and the wine rocks!!!!

To learn more, click here: http://www.foxenvineyard.com

Celebrate Good Times (without The Hangover!)

Celebrate Good Times (without the hangover!)

Do you ever need a break from wine? What???? Have I lost my mind!?

My “go to” making dinner beverage is bubbly. Sparkling wine, that is. Sometimes it’s a lovely Cava, sometimes it’s a Prosecco or a Franciacorta, and sometimes it’s Champagne. It’s usually some tasty sparkler from California.

Those are my usual choices for the dinner prep. Meanwhile, I’m usually decanting some fabulous red to actually drink DURING dinner.  Before I know it, I’ve had quite a bit of wine. NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I’m at home, after all. During the week, though, it can sometimes get to be a bit much. Perhaps I should sometimes slow down on a “school” night!

So … I’ve taken to Bubly! Not THAT bubbly, but Bubly … with one capital “B” and one small “b”. My husband discovered this fun and tasty sparkling water that is lightly flavored with a variety of fruits.

Currently, my favorites are the orange and the apple. The orange has a nose of … well, ORANGE! The apple has a touch of … well APPLE on the palate! They have a slew of choices though. I can’t wait to try the cherry!

They are thirst quenching and the flavor is just right. Not too much! I even serve it in a Champagne flute to keep it festive. I feel good about myself because I’m hydrating too! AND … they are sugar-free and have ZERO calories!

Now I’ll never ever ever give up my sparkling wine, but this fun and tasty sparkling water is a lovely substitute for when I know that I’ll be drinking more wine later in the evening. Especially when I need to be responsible the next day. It’s also a great way to stay hydrated between wines at parties!

So if there are nights that you’re feeling the need to be “good”, reach for a Bubly (with one capital “B” and one small “b”)! With the wide selection of flavors, there’s bound to be some that will be as irresistible to you as they are to me!

Cheers!

https://www.bubly.com

Christmas Magic In Alsace!

Christmas Magic in Alsace!

My husband and I just returned home from a magical vacation in Alsace. Our goal was to drink some good wine (of course!) and to visit the world famous Marchés de Noël (Christmas Markets) in the region. This charming region in France certainly did not disappoint!

Located in the eastern part of the country, Alsace is very close to both Germany and Switzerland. In fact, the Rhine River runs along the region to the east, and the Vosges Mountains to the west, making it an ideal spot for growing wine grapes.

Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris rule here, but they also have a bit of Pinot Noir.

The wine I’m focusing on today, though, is the Vin Chaud! The many Christmas markets in the region all sell this hot mulled wine full of spice and much-needed warmth. You can get a cup of red or white. The wine is steeped in the spices to infuse the flavors without using heat because the heat used in that process can evaporate the alcohol (and what fun would THAT be?) and bring out unwanted flavors from the wine. One vendor even had some Vin Chaud spiked with Grand Marnier! That was my husband’s favorite!

The markets also have fun rides for children and loads of traditional French food like crepes, pastries, marzipan and tons and tons of chocolate! And of course, there are lots of trinkets, ornaments, and gifts to take home.

We stayed in the small storybook village of Riquewihr, where we strolled the market and shops every day and evening. This quaint village took us back in time, and we fell in love with the town and its people. The locals go all out during the holidays. Every timbered building is adorned with Christmas decorations galore, and we felt as if we were in the most Christmassy (is that a word? If not, it SHOULD be!) place in the world!

We also ventured out to the village of Colmar. Much larger than Riquewihr, Colmar has FIVE fabulous Christmas markets, as well as an indoor farmer’s market (Le Marche Couvert de Colmar) with a delightful coffee shop called Un Monde de Cafés, lots of fresh produce, pastries, and other delicacies.

Colmar is nestled among vineyards, with colorful buildings alongside the canals, Christmas decorations and fabulous cafés making this a magical place indeed.

Colmar is considered the “Capital of Alsatian Wine”, so you can count on plenty of cozy spots to duck in for a glass of Cremant d’Alsace or other types of Holiday cheer!

The region of Alsace certainly does the Yuletide right! If you’re a lover of all things Christmas and looking for a magical spot to relish in the season’s spirit, you can’t go wrong in Alsace.

You’re sure to find Christmas magic in this real-life fairy tale land!

 

 

http://www.noel-colmar.com/en/

https://noel.tourisme-alsace.com/en

 

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