Category Archives: Files

Wine Descriptors Decoded: Body by Kardashian

35123BEF00000578-3632297-image-a-1_1465428416496Heavy drinking is one way to cope with the knowledge you have sexually exploited your children for financial gain. Journaling is another.

People love to mock the silly things wine nerds use to describe wine. “I’m picking up on banana Runts and a trace of IRS envelope adhesive. Anxiously elegant.” While things can get pretty ridiculous in a tasting session among wine kooks, a general knowledge of descriptors can actually really enhance the joy of wine drinking. It becomes more of a discovery process than just a means to a sloppy, slurry end. By actively engaging your senses to fully experience a wine, you will truly begin to enjoy the process and appreciate the product all the more.

OK. I’m sure your BS meter is blaring on that, but its true! And even if you don’t buy in to it, at least you will be able to read the card at BevMo so you have a tiny idea as to what exactly it is you are purchasing.

One basic descriptor, and a really easy one with which to begin, is the body of a wine. This roughly breaks down to how a wine feels in your mouth, lighter or heavier. The easiest indicator of a wine’s body is its booziness. More alcohol, more body.. which is also true for women in their 30s, as it would seem. The body, or weight, of a wine is integral to food pairing. Lighter bodied wines are better equipped for more delicate dishes, such as shellfish or poultry, while fuller bodied wines can stand up to strong dishes like braised meats or spiced vegetables.

Most wine educators and sommeliers revert to the same analogy in helping to explain body of wine: milk. Skim milk is akin to a light bodied wine, whole milk to a medium bodied wine, and cream to a full bodied wine. Does a nonfat latte feel the same “weight” in your mouth as a regular latte? And neither coat your mouth quite like a Sonic milkshake. You know they have like 47 different milkshakes at Sonic? Ask my baby. He had most of them in utero.

But to really discuss the analytical and elegant aspects of wine tasting, lets defer to America’s most analytical and sophisticated family: Kardashians & Ko. And we will use the metric most central to their contributions to society to help explain it all. Ass.

Light Body = Kendall Jenner

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Scoring contracts with Calvin Klein and Estee Lauder as well as routinely walking several fashion shows, Kendall is legitimately holding her own as a real life model. And is anything really more light in body than a model? These crisp, angular, and all around gulp-able wines fall into your summertime usual suspects. Think Riesling, Pinot Grigio/Gris, unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, Provencal rosés, and unique Italian white varietals like Falanghina and Verdicchio. There are fewer light bodied reds, but Pinot Noir, Gamay, and my preferred breakfast drink, Lambrusco, all fall into this class. In addition to low alcohol levels, light bodied wines are mostly free of wine making “leftovers” such as dead yeast cells or oak tannin from barrel aging. Much like how Kendall’s booty is free of silicone or a “freshman 15” that would require actually going to college.

Medium Body = Kourtney

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Speaking of college, did you know Kourtney is the only Kardashian to graduate? That fact always endeared her to me. But she also insists on making children with that simple minded side part so it is a bit of a wash. This balance is perfectly mirrored in medium bodied wines (that was a hard stretch), which is why these wines are best for a wide array of food pairing. The easiest way to sniff out medium bodied wines at the store is to look for alcohol percentages that hover around 13%. A huge portion of red wines fall into this category, notably of which are Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Nebbiolo, Grenache, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and a million other ones that I can’t type. There are not a lot in the way of medium bodied whites since they lack tannin, but it is safe to say oaked Sauvignon Blanc, white Burgundy, and some darker rosés fall into this category.

Full Body = Khloé

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TWIST! You definitely thought this was going a different way, didn’t you? Well, read some proper journalistic publications (what I call TMZ) because Kim is no longer the California Chardonnay of the Ass Universe.

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Ding dong, the witch is dead. Little sister Khloé now reigns supreme. She claims hours in the gym have sculpted her copious amount of junk in the trunk and sure, whatever. Maybe her plastic surgeon’s name is Jim. I don’t know. But her booty is now as voluptuous and bombastic as a many full bodied wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Petite Sirah, Malbec, and Tempranillo all are equally banging. And there still are a couple of fuller bodied whites, most of which see some time in barrel like Viognier, Semillon, and, of course, California Chardonnay. And, yes, more alcohol. Which always makes filming, and subsequently anonymously leaking, your sex tapes a little easier.

 

I’m sure there are several other analogies to be made with this motley crew. What is Kylie? What type of Port is Kanye? What would Kim’s wine be called if she ever bought a vineyard? But there is a Keeping Up marathon on E! right now and I need to know how to braid my hair this week.

 

…the answers are counterfeit wine, whichever Port causes narcissistic personality disorder, and Whispering Wiretaps.

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Red Hot: Summer Red Wines

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This spa two hours outside of Tokyo boasts a large pool filled with hundreds of gallons of wine, reaffirming everything I learned from the movie Lost In Translation: Japanese people are crazy.

We are deep into the dog days of summer. I really don’t know what that means exactly but I assume it has to do with the fact I start panting after being in my backyard for longer than 30 seconds. Its hot! Like, Al Gore was right hot. And to many, that automatically translates to chilled whites and rosés when it comes to adult beverages. Which I get. If I need to drink something cold, it needs to also help me feel better about being seen in shorts.

But sometimes I just need a red, like when eating grilled red meat or pizza. Also, if I drink white too many days in a row, I begin to feel like a divorcee and invariably find myself on talbots.com.

The key to summer drinking is finding a lighter style red. And I promise I will stop trying to make Lambrusco happen. Here are three hot-as-balls-proof reds to break  the Sauvignon Blanc spell you’ve been under since Memorial Day.

Dolcetto d’Alba

This fruit forward charmer comes from Piedmont in northern Italy. While the reigning grape of the region is monstrous Nebbiolo, Dolcetto quietly sneaks under the radar and the hefty price tag.  While Dolcetto translates to “little sweet one”, don’t expect anything candied about it beyond a hint of bittersweet chocolate on the finish. Medium bodied with dark berry and violet petal notes, these bright wines still have enough structure for a meat lovers pizza or pasta dish. Unless you are from Southern California and spend the summer actively anorexic.

Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Rouge

This is sexy French talk for affordable Pinot Noir. Which is a bit of an anomaly. Burgundian, or Bourgogne, Pinot Noir ranks among some of the priciest wines in the world because its delicious and famous and makes everyone want to have sex. I readily admit Cotes d’Auxerre is not indicative of those other worldly aphrodisiac Pinots. That would be like thinking you’re getting Ryan Gosling when its really Ryan Seacrest. (Guys. He is about 5’2″.) But, like Seacrest, these wines are light in body and a little fruity. Mostly strawberries and a bit of chalky minerality from the limestone soils from which the grapes are harvested, the 2012 vintage by Domaine Goisot typically comes in under $15 and is fantastic when served slightly chilled. You can cheers to the fact American Idol is finally off the air.

Garnacha

The Spanish name for Grenache, this grape’s skin is thinner than a bunch of moms talking about, well, anything regarding their child rearing. This makes it a quintessential summer wine. Medium+ body lush with juicy cherries and a touch of spice, its basically like Penelope Cruz wore a dress made of Red Vines to the Oscars. Elegant, but delicious. And the best part? The price, y’all! These wines are so cheap compared to French or American Grenache-based wines. They rarely go over $12 and today I found a DELICIOUS one for under $8! 2014 Honoro Vera Garnacha is $7.99 when you buy two bottles. Which is great because after two bottles, your slur will basically make you sound Spanish. Don’t let the label scare you. I’m 70% certain that isn’t the girl who crawls out of the TV in The Ring.

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You know what? Fuck it…

Lambrusco

Lambrusco is fruity and effervescent and I love drinking it all August while listening to old Tim McGraw albums. LET ME LIVE MY LIFE!

 

 

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Bucket of Fried Chicken and a Bottle of Wine

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This is an actual album of Latin jazz covers Colonel Sanders released in 1968 which means 1) Colonel Sanders was an unrepentant exploiter of other cultures and 2) Latin jazz makes me feel like I’m on Quaaludes.

Apparently July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day. I mean, whatever. Sure. I’m all for fried chicken. I just don’t understand all these food holidays. April 10th is literally National Cinnamon Crescent Day. I don’t even know what that means. Do they mean croissant? Because a chocolate croissant is the only specialty croissant worth its seductively airy weight. What is a crescent? Are they those Pillsbury knock off croissants that come in terrifying pressurized cylinders that pop like a gunshot? Because if that’s the case, Pigs in a Blanket should be getting the damn holiday, not some quasi-biscuit sprinkled with cinnamon. That sounds like an alcoholic mother’s bake sale contribution.

Ok. Fried chicken.

Fried chicken is widely considered the crown jewel of American cuisine. And, like most amazing things in this country, its actually the product of several cultural influences. Scottish immigrants relocated to the American south with their fritters and fricassees and Western African slaves utilized spices to make it more palatable. The New York Times actually has a fascinating article on chicken’s role in American economy. But I’m not giving you the link until you read mine first. Like a time share pitch: you can go down the pool water slide after we talk about Gulf Coast vacation clubs for 9 hours.

While beer seems the traditional pairing for a big bucket of chicken, wine may be better suited. And when deciding upon varietal, seek out a more innocent beverage for inspiration: lemonade. Lemonade’s acidity and touch of sweetness make it a compliment to fatty, salty fried chicken. Brut sparkling wine, off-dry riesling, or an Oregon pinot gris all have the requisite acidity and minerality to refresh the palate.

But its the bit of residual sugar in all these wines that really excels in the pairing as the sweetness balances out the spiciness of all 11 secret herbs and spices. Think of chicken and waffles! Its the maple syrup bridging the gap there. A sweet wine, specifically a late harvest dessert wine or ice wine, makes such a unique, strange, and amazing pairing for savory foods, you’ll swear you’re hanging out with Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx. This is literally the second time in my life I’ve said out loud, in my car, BY MYSELF ‘wait, who is Katie Holmes dating?’ We all remember 2005…

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Late harvest wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine for so long, they have ripened to a point of becoming shriveled, concentrating the sugars. Ice wine, similarly, has concentrated sugar but because the grapes actually froze before harvest. These wines are produced the world over, and have an array of quality and price. Canadian ice wines and California late harvest wines are typically going to be a little more affordable than their German and Austrian counterparts, making it an easier justification for a four piece at Popeye’s.

Give it a shot! Worst outcome: you’re full of drumsticks and buzzed up on wine that tastes like honey. Sounds like a Game of Thrones meal.

 

 

Here you go! How the Chicken Built America

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Party Like a Patriot

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Happy original Brexit Day! Americans everywhere are using this three day weekend to celebrate  sovereignty by getting utterly hammered. But that is something that hasn’t really changed all that much in 240 years. Turns out our forefathers were running around Boston drunker than the Gronk brothers. Benjamin Franklin, the original Slim Shady of language, had 200 different ways to even say drunk.  The American Revolution was plotted in bars, which I totally get. I’ve had all my best ideas in bars. Business idea: monkeys that deliver marijuana edibles to your house. Screenplay idea: a marijuana edible delivery monkey that gets involved in Tokyo drifting.

So what exactly were these OGs drinking? Basically, everything they could get their grubby hands on. John Hancock got popped for attempting to smuggle 100 caskets of Madeira past British customs agents! So bad ass and American. But here are three you can enjoy today still.

 

Cider

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Its estimated that the colonists drank about seven gallons of alcohol a year, but this is mostly because their water was literally shit. I completely understand. Half the time I’m drinking wine it is because I ran out of La Croix. While they definitely put down some beer (looking at you, Samuel Adams), many of the framers started the morning with cider. Apples were much easier to grow in northeastern America than hops and barley, making it readily prevalent and present at most meals. But their hard ciders were quite different than the sugary Angry Orchards we know today which I think is just melted Runts. I really like Crispin Staggers Lee Cider which uses apple-wine aged in American bourbon casks, giving it a spicy butterscotch note. In a pinch, Stella Artois’ Cidre is surprisingly balanced and currently has a $4 deal on the iBotta coupon app. Yeah. I’m a 30-something mother of two. Deal with it. 

Bordeaux

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Thomas Jefferson was the original wine geek. He was also contradictory on on his stance of slavery and completely fucked the US economy with the Non-Importation and Embargo Acts of 1807, but glass houses, amiright? Anyway, this man spent roughly a third of his first year presidency salary on wine. He put a goddamn wine cellar under the White House. His chief love? Bordeaux, a region in France famous for its swoon-worthy cabernet blends. Its basically the priciest alpha-male beverage the world has ever known. Jefferson’s personal favorite was Chateau Haut-Brion. Oh, you don’t have a G to drop on four glasses of wine? WINE HACK! Chateau Haut-Vigneau is nearby, and at around $20, you can truly feel as if God created all men equal.

Punch

This era was the height of punch. You read that right. Punch. Even military bad asses like George Washington were down for a rum cocktail, which with the current tiki cocktail craze only strengthens my belief that Washington was the first hipster. I mean, the guy grew hemp! The most famous Revolutionary era punch recipe came from the the Schuylkill Fishing Company of Pennsylvania, a long standing social club of insane fishermen who, to this day, think they are their own state. The punch is referred to as Philadelphia Fish House Punch and the recipe should make 18-20 servings, depending on how big your friends are. I mostly hang out with other tall people, so this will probably work for 5 of us. If you didn’t complete a wedding registry in the late-1950’s, you probably don’t own a punch bowl. Feel free to use a large mixing bowl or children’s inflatable pool instead.

Philadelphia Fish House Punch

Philadelphia Fish House Punch

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 lemons, peeled
  • 4 cups black tea
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups Jamaican rum
  • 2 cup cognac
  • 1/2 cup peach brandy, or Schnapps in a pinch

Instructions

  1. Add sugar and lemon peels, and rub together to release the citrus oils into the sugar. Let sit for half an hour.
  2. Dissolve sugar with warm water or tea.
  3. Add rum, cognac, lemon juice and peach brandy and stir to mix.
  4. Traditionally, a block of ice is used to chill but you can get away with lots of cubes.
  5. Garnish with lemon wheels or peach slices. Nutmeg is a classic garnish as well.
  6. Ladle into individual glasses.... or directly into your mouth
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$15 Fridays- Cape (Town) Crusaders

charlize_drinking_wineCharlize Theron and I are basically the same person. We are tall, love South African wine, and have both ghosted Sean Penn.

People often ask me what my favorite wine is, which is, frankly, a ridiculous question. It is akin to asking an astronomer their favorite star or Derek Jeter his favorite lay: there are so many and they’re all so beautiful. The truth is, and I think I speak on behalf of all wine nerds, it depends on so many factors. The occasion, the meal, the company, the direction of the wind, the strength of the yen, the day of my menstrual cycle. What people are really asking is: what should I drink so I can understand just how you’ve made a career out of being a lush?

My blanket answer for these queries of late has been South African wines. I recommend these wines because it gets people out of the California aisle of the wine shop, opens their eyes to some new varietals, and, most importantly, is a great value. South Africa has made some incredible strides in the way of production and quality, but is still flying somewhat under the US commercial radar resulting in low prices. Its like when you knew about Jack Johnson before anyone else and could see him for like $20 then Ben Harper and his stupid slide guitar blew him all up and now you can’t even get a lawn seat at a goddamn amphitheater show for less than what will diaper an infant for two months. Heed the warning: drink South African wine before it gets too cool. Yes, I define cool as Jack Johnson in 2001. And that’s probably all you really need to know about me.

2013 Raats Original Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, $13.99

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 While chenin blanc has a classic and famous home in the Loire Valley of France, it definitely has a hold in South Africa. Chenin blanc, or steen in Afrikaans, is by far the most widely planted varietal in the country. For years, the versatile workhorse of a grape served as a base for the country’s mass brandy production. But now these wines are standing on their own just fine. In addition to its relative ease in growth, the other incredible thing about this grape is its array of styles, from bone dry to dessert sweet and even sparkling. South African chenin blancs are typically dry, but can be blended with other white varietals or aged in oak to alter its profile. This particular bottle doesn’t see oak, resulting in a wine round with tropical and citrus fruit and a zesty mineral driven backbone. Jesus. Sometimes I sound like such an asshole.

2013 Lammershoek “Lam” Pinotage, Swartland, $13

Lam-Pinotage

Pinotage, like Britney Spears, went through some tough times. While Britney was dabbling with drugs and driving around Malibu with babies in her lap, pinotage’s overproduction was resulting in thin low-quality wine rought with burnt rubber flavors. Basically the same thing.  However, over the course of the last decade, South African growers and winemakers have joined together to reign in crop yields and improve winemaking. And its flourishing under this *ahem* conservatorship.  New and improved pinotage is medium bodied and ripe with black and purple fruit as well as some umami (think soy sauce) tones. And since this grape is actually a pinot noir/cinsault hybrid native to South Africa, I see it as a perfect introduction to the country’s unique varietals. As this specific wine is a bit on the lighter side, I wouldn’t be above serving it slightly chilled, especially on a hot summer evening. Trust me, you’ll be hitting this bottle… one more time.

 So that’s what I love right now because although my musical tastes haven’t changed since the Bush presidency, my wine preferences are always in flux.

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God Save The Queen… with Gin

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The British just threw the world market into a tailspin. But that’s none of my business….

Bloody idiots. If things weren’t bad enough with terrorism, global warming, and whatever the fuck is going on with Taylor Swift’s hair, now the UK populace voted to leave the European Union. Their prime minister up and quit, stock market is tanking, and we are one Chinese recession away from never affording to eat another free range soyrizo omelet ever again. That may be overstating it. Probably not, but just go back to Snapchatting about Game of Thrones and don’t ask your parents about their retirement portfolios. If you’re reading this, God knows you don’t own anything yourself.

I wish I could talk about British wine. But ha. (French wine is basically what it is because of rich British bastards not being able to make anything good on their own and gobbling up all the Bordeaux.) And I think I’ll save the scotch post for when Scotland inevitably marches out on the UK like the Fresh Prince’s dad did on him in that one horrifying episode. So lets talk the hard stuff again. Because geez, I need a drink.

Gin is the quintessential British liquor. While it first came to be as a botanical medicine most likely from Holland, it reached a fever pitch in England in the 18th century. The dominant flavor is juniper berry, but can contain several other plant based ingredients contributing to its forest floor funk. I didn’t much care for it in my vodka/cranberry days, but like vegetables and monogamy, it grows on you with age.

However, this cocktail balances some of that herbal overload. Its combined with cold Earl Gray tea, another Limey staple, and will provide enough caffeine to get you through hour 7 of CNN’s coverage on the end of the financial world. It also calls for honey simply syrup, which can easily be made dissolving equal parts of honey in hot water, but traditional simple syrup would work as well.

London Calling.... Their Stockbrokers

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. chilled Earl Gray tea
  • Shot of Gin (Hendricks is my jam)
  • Equal Part Honey Simple Syrup
  • Squeeze of Lemon

Instructions

  1. Shake all ingredients with ice
  2. Strain over ice
  3. Garnish with the regret of millions... or maybe a sprig of lavender
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Now, excuse me as I get buzzed up listening to Abbey Road while trying to buy gold on the internet.

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The Summer of Sellout: Grocery Store Wine Buys

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“Which wine will distract us all from the fact its freezing on Memorial Day and climate change is going to slowly eradicate our entire civilizat…. Oooh! Drew Barrymore makes wine??”

Memorial Day! Fire up your engines and grills and any patriotic pride this year’s election has yet to drain from your broken, working class soul. Another year has flown by, y’all! That is actually not at all true. I was pregnant most of the last 12 months which means I plowed through most of the holidays as sober and decaffeinated at Mitt Romney. So I’m rearing up for quite a Memorial Day, I am telling you what! Nah. I’m nursing and still am in charge of keeping a preschooler alive so when I pass out at 9, it won’t be a blackout.

If you’re anything like me, you have yet to buy beverages for today. Any of my typically highfalutin suggestions aren’t going to cut it since I’m fairly sure Pretense and Markup Bros. Wine Store is closed on all holidays. So in an act of solidarity with my fellow procrastinators, I am going to fully sellout and recommend some wines you can find at most grocery stores. I know my fellow sommelier friends will be appalled but they’ve all had their import, strange varietal wines picked out for about six months and they don’t have friends anyway. Here are three wines you can scoop up when you stop for liquor, condoms, firecrackers, pasties… whatever all you beautiful, childless, showered people do on summer holidays. I can’t remember. When was even the last time I did a Jägerbomb in cutoffs?

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Easy Drinking Red
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Louis Jadot, Beaujolais-Village, France

Louis Jadot is kind of like the Samuel L Jackson of French wines: they churn out a lot of stuff to varying levels of quality, and both have been featured at scrapbooking parties in Quentin Tarantino’s home. Many will say this is a fruity, one note wine without any complexity. Well, so is Jamba Juice and we all love that shit, so shut it. Beaujolais, the region south of Burgundy in France, is made from 100% Gamay. Dark cherry and raspberry notes, ending with a touch of spicy liquorice, this fruit forward, plush wine is made for an old school cheeseburger. It is really yummy served slightly chilled, making it great for cookouts, pool parties, or in a thermos at children soccer matches.

Bold Red
6412736-350x350Edmeades, Zinfandel, Mendocino County, California

If you’re planning on eating some grilled ribs or sticky BBQ chicken, go with a big Zinfandel. This one, routinely available at Costco for around $14, has everything you expect from a California Zin: ripe plums, pepper, and cola. While boasting a whopping 15% alcohol, it is still a little more tame on the tannin and acidity than most, making it all the easier for your newly single friend Meredith to pour down her throat.

Obligatory White
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Kung Fu Girl, Riesling, Washington State

Undoubtedly, there will someone in your midst that refuses red because they either a) suffer from a make believe sulfite allergy, b) don’t want to taint their overly bleached teeth, or c) all of the above. (I assume c is someone’s very thin girlfriend and won’t judge you for socializing with them.) But have no fear, Riesling is here! I know it may seem gauche to recommend a typically German varietal on a day honoring fallen American soldiers, but this cheap little baby is from Oregon. Stone fruit and apples with a long mineral finish, this drier Riesling is a perfect match for brats. I love sausage! This isn’t an innuendo. I really love sausage. I am not a slut, just a compulsive eater.

Three perfectly affordable and available bottles you can easily grab on your way to wherever you are headed. If you are feeling down because you don’t have amazing plans, relax in the fact you’re not in the eye of a domestic storm. Know that while writing this, I have been interrupted to fashion a Supergirl cape from a blanket, prepare oatmeal to a very specific temperature and consistency, find a pink boot, and recite the plot to two different Dreamworks films. And that was just for my husband.

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When Beyoncé Give You Lemons…

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I had a lemonade stand in 1992. I wore my mink.

 

I had a baby three weeks ago. He is amazing. I was amazing. And its just a really amazing time to be home on maternity leave because Beyoncé broke the Internet and the world and every woman’s damn mind with her release of “Lemonade”. And since the only thing I’m doing other than changing diapers and eating peanut butter out of the jar is obsessively reading celebrity news, I’m fairly invested. Bey calling Jay-Z out for infidelity. Rachel Roy sorta kinda throwing shade. People thinking Rachel Roy is Rachel Ray. Its just great and really helps me forget that Prince died and my stomach currently looks like a Ziplock bag full of grits.

The stylish artistry and astute use of poetry in the visual album totally inspired me to get cracking and make my own multi-blog opus about my husband’s ultimate betrayal: the time he ate my leftover carne asada burrito. It still hurts and I need to process it. But I’m just so tired for all that emotion and hair braiding and, no matter how rarely I wear pants, I’m just not Beyoncé . Instead, I am going to steal the lemon thing and run with it.

But not lemonade because what are we, 9? This blog is about adult beverages. Let’s talk limoncello, the signature southern Italian liqueur. The weather of southern regions such as Sorrento, the coast of Amalfi, and island of Capri all are perfect for citrus fruits, the crown jewel of which is the Femminello St. Teresa lemon. The crisp and intensely lemony flavor is a result of a long zest infusion process, proving once and for all the handle bar mustached barkeep at your local Prohibition style bar didn’t invent the idea of infusions. Hear that, Salinger? I know that’s not your real name…

Much like sewing in one of Bey’s weaves, making limoncello is a slow process. Perfection takes time. The Italians think it should rest for at least 80 days, but speaking as a woman who once ate a partially frozen Toaster Strudel for lack of patience, I think 4-6 weeks is a more American friendly timeline. As a classic summer drink, I advise you start now to have a beautiful batch before the mosquitoes come home. Or, in SoCal, the goddamn people from Arizona.

Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as a digestif after dinner, but can also be an apéritif , a palate cleanser, mixed with sparkling wine, or even with gin and soda water for a strong Tom Collins preparation. I know of at least one guy who could use a stiff drink.

JAY

 

Limoncello

Limoncello

Ingredients

  • Dozen Organic Lemons I know. Organic. What is this? Goop? But honestly, non-organic lemons are covered with wax which you don't want in your infusion.
  • 6 Cup Vodka
  • 6 Cup Water from Lake Minnetonka Just kidding. RIP Prince
  • 6 Cup Sugar

Instructions

  1. Shallowly peel the lemon, making sure to only peel the yellow and not the white pith beneath which will result in a bitter flavor. So pretend like its your last Tinder date and don't go too deep.
  2. Pour vodka over the peels in a sealable container.
  3. Store the mixture away from sunlight for at least a week, if not two. Or, as you may better know it, two episodes of Game of Thrones.
  4. Simmer water and add sugar, constantly stirring as it dissolves. Let completely cool.
  5. Strain vodka away from peels, adding simple syrup with vodka back into container. Let rest away from light again for four weeks.
  6. Bottle. If your husband also won't let you buy anymore quirky apothecary style bottles, you can use mason jars you stole from Salinger's work.
  7. Store bottles in the freezer for up to a year. Probably longer, but lets be honest. This will be gone by July.
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S&M.. Plus G

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There is an actual “Fifty Shades of Grey” wine. If it were properly marketed to its readers, it would come out of a box with a free pair of yoga pants.

One of the three people that reads this has really been on my ass about churning out more regular posts. It’s my friend Tara and she is pretty aggressive. In life, in wine sales, in bed. Whatever. She just tells it how it is and lately she has been telling me if I don’t get my shit together, she is going to hog tie me. Which is weird. But Tara is also trying to find a quality man in San Diego which is akin to trying to find meaning in an Adam Sandler movie (OMG. Did Adam Sandler become Pauly Shore? Jesus. Its really been downhill since The Wedding Singer), so she may be branching out….

I was thinking about horny Tara and her S&M threats and I immediately thought of GSM blends. Mostly because she said S&M and I’m kind of a hack. GSM is short for Grenache, Syrah, & Mourvedre, the three main and most popular grapes used in this blend that originates from the Côtes du Rhône region of France. And while those French wines can technically allow up to 19 different grapes, the GSM are the real magic makers and what you will typically find in similar blends out of Australia, central California, and Washington. All of these wines pair well with grilled game, sausages, and my favorite, mushroom DiGiornos.

So, in honor of Tara and her love for both men and wine, I compare the grapes to hot guys. In the words of  the late, great David Bowie, lets get this completely male threesome on.

Grenache, or Garnacha for all those Latin Lovers..

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Grenache is the lightest of the three grapes in all around mouth feel, although it does bring a punch of alcohol to the blend. And much like Jake Gyllenhaal, its also kind of fruity. Like, not full on fruity… but he has an “eye brow threading girl” and occasionally does shit like this so you wouldn’t be totally surprised if he came completely out of the cellar one day. But really, strawberry and raspberry notes and maybe just a touch of clove.  Two surprising facts, Grenache is the world’s most widely-planted grape and Jake Gyllenhaal once peed on someone’s leg.

 

Syrah, or Shiraz if you’re down under..

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Syrah brings the muscle to this three way. The hammer if you will. It immediately clobbers you with dark, black fruits, and a bit of leather. While the French grapes can exhibit olive tapenade and bacon flavors, Australian and California representations are thicker with stronger fruit. The best metaphor I’ve ever heard for Syrah is from the queen of wine education literature herself, Karen MacNeil. “Syrah reminds me of the kind of guy who wears cowboy boots with a tuxedo.” Australians are kind of like cowboys. Wait, did I say cowboys? I meant felons. But I could see Chris Hemsworth wearing cowboy boots with a tuxedo. I could also see him wearing nothing but sushi but that’s because I’m pregnant and haven’t had Ahi in 6 months.

 

Mourvèdre , The Grand Finale

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Mourvèdre brings color and bitterness. So there you go. All jokes aside, I love Kevin Hart. All women love a funny man. The only sub-population routinely marrying out of their class more often than comedians are Nascar drivers.  Most importantly, just like Kevin Hart, Mourvèdre doesn’t shut the hell up. Its brings a nice, long finish to the blend since, surprisingly, the first two grapes are kinda short. In all honesty, Mourvèdre is the most obscure grape here, but if you love Cabs you might want to try a single varietal version of a Mourvèdre sometime soon. Its exhibits similar bold dark fruit and eucalyptus flavors and will definitely make you look more chic when you’re drinking it out of a paper bag during a showing of “Ride Along 2”.

 

You’re welcome, Tara. Hopefully that got you off…. my back.

 

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Orange You Glad I’m Back?

It’s been a while. Stuff has been happening. Biological stuff. As in a tiny creature is currently doing the Electric Bugaloo on my kidneys. Yeah, the tequila worked. I am making a tiny human. And in all honesty, it’s quite exhaustive work that makes most extraneous projects (read: anything other than eating in my car) pretty difficult. It also is a silver bullet for getting out of a myriad of things, from lifting heavy objects to obeying traffic laws. It might also be a cop-out for not writing blog entries, something at which I’m spotty regardless of pant size. And pecking away at a keyboard while shoving Moose Munch into my mouth is basically all I do anymore so why not do something constructive? Or, at least get my husband to stop asking when I intend to ‘turn off Law & Order and do something about those Halloween pumpkins’.

So, an update is long overdue. While scouring my half addled brain for ideas, I decided to take a quick look at the current cultural landscape for some topical inspiration. And immediately I was met with a singular, overwhelming theme.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Donald Trump and Melania Knauss-Trump attend the Comedy Central Roast Of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images) Original Filename: GYI0063876060.jpg

Orange. So much orange.

Which is perfect as orange wine is actually enjoying a bit of a hipster renaissance. And as it increasingly pops up in weird corners of wine lists, more and more people have been asking me about it.

Orange wine is kind of the badass step-cousin to rosé, if rosé’s WASPY mom married into a family of repo men who love the Steelers. While rosé is pink and glistening, doesn’t like to swear and carries Nicholas Sparks novels around in her Michael Kors bag, orange wine is loud and tans too much and refuses to wear panties. Orange wine’s name is Trisha.

Ok. That’s not really accurate. Orange wine is kind of the opposite of rosé. While rosé is made from red grape varietals and the juices are left to macerate on the skins for just long enough to glean color and flavor, orange wine is made from white varietals and is left to macerate for a very long time, more like a red wine. This allows the process to extract as much color and tannin as possible resulting in a very unique wine. It’s typically an amber hue, often times a bit cloudy, and can exhibit an array of flavors, from mushrooms to stewed apricot skins.

Orange-wine

Orange wines have been made in the Republic of Georgia, Italy and Slovenia for centuries, but like all weird and kind of cool things, hipsters are jumping on ship, too. And as is the case with all crafty, hipster nonsense, there is a hefty price tag. Most domestic bottles don’t dip far below $25.

As this wine is definitely acidic with grippy tannins, follow my famous advice, “Eat something, you goddamn alcoholic” to really get the most out of it. This wine shines best alongside substantial foods such as roasted Brussels sprouts, fatty charcuterie, and salty hard cheeses such as Pecorino.

There you go. Something orange and incredulously popular that won’t try to kick all the Mexicans out.

It’s good to be back!

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