Wine Diamonds

Have you ever seen these crystals in the bottle or glass of your wine?  I once had a server at a restaurant try to explain it as sediment in my white wine.  That’s not what these are.  They are tartrate crystals, also known as wine diamonds. These wine diamonds are nothing to fear.  They are a natural occurrence that happens from time to time, and are safe to drink.  They are formed from a natural component, called tartaric acid.  Tartaric acid is found in grapes, apricots, apples, avocados, tamarinds, citrus, and bananas.  You can find it in among spices and is commonly used as cream of tartar that can be added to eggs to increase their thickness. When you see them in wine, it is due to the tartaric acid binding with potassium when the wine is chilled.  They form the white crystals that can stick to the bottom of a cork and can be found in the last pours of a bottle. These crystals can occur in both red and white wine.  However, they …

Featured Wine of the Week

Happy Wine Wednesday!  We’re half way through the week.  Today I’m featuring a Tempranillo from the Toro region in northwest Spain. “Grab the bull by the horns.” Details: 2016 Toro Tempranillo 100% Tempranillo 14.5% Alcohol Toro DO, Spain Red Wine Tasting Notes: This medium bodied wine is reminiscent of crushed velvet in the glass.  Its deep garnet color is reflective of its succulent bouquet of ripe fruit, cherries, boysenberries, smoke, and leather.  Flavors of cherry, smoke, and a pop of unripe plum carry this wine into a long, lingering finish.  This fruity wine would be paired well with chocolate and salty cheeses. Trivia: Toro is a region in northwest Spain that borders the Atlantic ocean.  It is best known for Albarino, a crisp, white wine.  Due to this cooler climate, this Tempranillo tastes young.  It is a lighter Tempranillo, and most likely will continue to taste younger as it ages.

The Art of Wine and Love

Early on in our courtship, my husband surprised me with a romantic weekend getaway to Napa Valley.  Of course, this act solidified my love and admiration for the man.  After all, he understood my passion for wine, even if it was not his.  He was happy just to see me in my element. At that time, I had been working in the wine industry for a little more than a year, and I was thrilled to finally get to visit in person some of the wineries that up to this point I’d only known by their wines and representatives.  Our first stop was a VIP tour and tasting at Hall Wines.  What a start! We arrived on the mountaintop in Rutherford and were surrounded by awe-inspiring views of Napa Valley.  It was a foggy autumn morning, with wispy clouds hovering along Mayacamas mountain ridges.  It was absolutely breathtaking. As we approached the door to the main house, we passed a delightful metal sculpture of two figures in play – the first piece of art we …

Featured Wine of the Week

Happy Wine Wednesday! I’ve been tasting a lot of delicious wines lately. Banfi Rosa Regale was a lost favorite. I used to drink this for dessert at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. The restaurant closed a few years ago, and with it went my tradition. I was happy to rediscover this wine at my local BevMo. Details: Banfi Rosa Regale 2018 100% Brachetto Alcohol: 7% Piedmont, Italy Sparkling Red Wine Tasting Notes: This gorgeous wine is ruby colored in the glass with aromas of roses. This sweet, sparkling wine delights the tongue with its effervescence and flavors of raspberries, rose petals and just a hint of earthiness. It would pair well with chocolate and fattier meats like lamb or pork. Trivia: According to legend, both Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony gifted Cleopatra with Brachetto. She had them drink it to “unleash their passions.” Cheers!

Featured Wine of the Week

“My doctor said I need to drink more water, so I bought a case of Pinot Grigio”  ~@ShitMySommelierSays I saw this quote on Twitter a few years ago, and it made me laugh.  Admittedly, I’m not much of a Pinot Grigio drinker these days.  I usually prefer richer, bolder wines.  However, my mother’s favorite wine was Pinot Grigio.  So, in tribute to her, I decided to feature one this week. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Pinot Grigio, and honestly, I’ve always thought of it as a “food wine” – something that pairs nicely with most foods, but I wouldn’t drink it alone. The Pinot Grigio I selected and tried for today changed my mind on all of this.  It was lovely, bright, and surprisingly robust! Details: Villa Borghetti Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie “Grigio Luna” 2017 Verona, Italy DOC 12% Alcohol White Wine Tasting Notes: Light straw in color, this wine surprises with a fragrant bouquet.  It smells floral and fruity, with notes of kiwi, pear, green apple, and honeysuckle.  It is crisp …

Dinner Parties with Mom

My mother always liked a good party, and she was especially fond of the ones she threw herself.  When I was 15, she decided to have a series of dinner parties.  The menu was always the same; the friends rotated.  Needless to say, after a few of these, we got really good at sharing the kitchen.  It felt like a dance, as we weaved around each other to work in tandem to create a delicious meal. Now, my mother always proclaimed she didn’t have a sweet tooth, however she did have one weakness:  chocolate!  For those dinners, we turned to The Los Angeles Times California Cookbook and created the Four-Minute Brownie Pie.  It was an ooey-gooey brownie in a pie shape that we served, fresh out of the oven, with ice cream and hot fudge.  Calling it decadent was an understatement, and that was exactly the tone she wanted for the evening. The meal started with an appetizer of her signature crab dip.  Our guests would gab while munching on the luscious starter and drink …

Cooking with Mom

This week marks the 5-year anniversary of my mother’s passing.  It seems only fitting I should feature some of her favorite recipes and food she made when I was growing up. Some things were simple – very simple.  She was a working mom, after all.  She briefly experimented with some recipes a few celebrities gave her while she was writing her luxury real estate column for the Los Angeles Times, “Hot Property.”  However, she was known by all of her friends as the woman who once made gazpacho with an entire bulb of garlic instead of the one clove the recipe required. My mother was an intelligent, wise, talented woman, but a chef she was not.  Regardless, I have many fond memories of her food because we sat down as a family every night for a hot, balanced meal.  So, enjoy!