Sunday Work-day Inspiration

On this bright, sun-filled, Sunday fun-day a small amount of work still must get done. An amazing bottle of fruity crushed grape inspiration on the patio is a perfect combination to enhance the creativeness on my Sunday work-day.

IMG_9140Today’s inspiration comes from Babcock Winery in Lompoc Ca, part of the  Sta. Rita Hills American Viticulture Appellation located on California’s Central Coast in Santa Barbara County. This is a little gem full of wine-tasting country with the Pacific Ocean’s marine layer and afternoon ocean breezes traveling the coastal valley corridors between the Purisima Hills and the Santa Rosa Hills, creating an environment perfect for growing Pinot Noir and other cool grape varieties

This 2012 Pinot Noir is one true to it’s environment creating the perfect amount of delicious red liquid inspiration on a day full of warm sun beating down and vitamin D absorbing in our skin while back yard kickin’ it. We started this Pinot Noir a bit chilled then let it open up and really get the full flavors with a nice fruit forward start, rounded finish and left us wanting more for sure.

You might hear the word Lompoc and think- huh– at least that was my first thought. I came to find out it is a cute little town in the Sta. Rita Hills, just minutes away are some of the best Pinot Noir. I had the joy of spending a day among these rolling hills of vines and got to have my pick off the vine along the way.

This one happened to make it’s way back up north a few weeks ago and today seemed like a good day to open it up.  If you ever make it to the area, Babcock Winery is definitely one to put on the wine-tasting list. The fancy wear-house setting is atop a hill with breathtaking views  and delicious wines making for a perfect day.

Enjoy your Sunday fun-day even if a little work-day is involved- grab a wine key and pop open some inspiration- because you deserve it.

Cheers until the next pick off the vine!

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Cruzin’, Cider And Sparkles

I’ve been a bit MIA only to return back to my blogging with an unfinished piece about my weekend in the beautiful Santa Cruz with cider, sparkling wine and more. From local pubs, a classic breakfast and 99 bottles of beer, I had an all-around wonderful taste of Santa Cruz.

It was about one month ago that a weekend away took me out of my usual swirling in the glass. Undoubtedly so, I enjoyed myself. Cruzin’ on my custom ride down the coast while tasting a delectable selection of eats and drinks and meeting some friendly individuals.

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Day one. Starting on a mission to find a bike lock for the beauty to your left- credit goes to the BF. After a beautiful bike ride down the coast I ended up back in town where my mission was completed. With more than up-to-par customer service from Another Bike Shop, I felt comfortable and could stop to enjoy an afternoon beverage and snack. I was at ease that my not-so-discreet bicycle would be safe and securely U-locked. 

 

I tooIMG_8841k a recommendation from a gentleman at the bike shop and spent my snack time at The Parish Publick House. Gulped down a dry and crisp cider. It was not too sweet, which is what I prefer. It was a perfectly refreshing end to my bike ride. To compliment my cider I went with fresh garlic fries- crinkle garlic fries to be exact. They were just enough crunch on the outside, soft on the inside and could have kept any vampire attack away- just in case. 

Day two. I started at a local hotspot, Zachary’s Santa Cruz. I enjoyed a classic known as Mike’s Mess. This was a mouthwatering abundance of fluffy eggs, melted cheese, flavor packed meats and much more.

IMG_8847I teamed the mess with a wine that sparkled and a touch of OJ. The BF stopped in on his lunch break then back to work he went. I remained without knowing I would soon hear my favorite comment of the day- possibly the entire weekend- as my server stated, “I like how you do breakfast”.

We laughed and I responded, I’m a firm believer in wine for breakfast as long as it sparkles”.

From here I cruised the streets towards ciders and gluten free beers at another recommended spot from the local bike shop- 99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall. Here, I tried ciders and gluten free beers I’d never had before and I met some really great people.

logo6Below are the few I made it through. If you do have 99 problems. Don’t worry, if you visit this spot, finding a beverage certainly won’t be one of them.

Starting my round of tastes with the Everett Family Farm Soquel Cider. They use hand-picked 100% Organically grown apples from orchards at Everett Family Farm. This was very crisp, dry and refreshing with a bit of a kick at 8.3% alcohol. If you are not a fan of sweet ciders this is definitely a must. Take precaution, as you can see, the alcohol percentage is a bit higher than the usual.

The next one came from. S Cruz Scrumpy’s Ciders which are made from 4 varieties of apples and blended with either Pomegranate or Cherry juice. Providing the three different flavored options. I had the cherry which was sweet and tangy. It was a nice opposite to the selection above, providing my taste-buds with a flip of the switch. I am more of a dry cider fan however I know many who love a sweet cocktail once in a while so if you are one of them, this is a must-try.

And last, but never least, I tried the gluten free Omission IPA with bright hops forward produced in the spirit of the original IPAs shipped from the UK to India in the late 1800’s. Cascade and Summit hops give it notable pine, citrus, and grapefruit aromas and flavors. I was super excited to find a different gluten free beer than I’m used too and it was just what I needed to settle down that sweetness from the Cherry Cider.

With the BF working 12 hour days – not part of the plan- my Santa Cruz journey turned solo. I was by myself. I was In a town I did not know. I had a bicycle and Google Maps. Let’s just say I was hesitant at first but ended up really enjoying personal ‘Me Time’.

To me the less-planned moments are those we remember the most and my fly by the seat of your pants weekend in Santa Cruz is one I will definitely remember. 

Till the next pick off the vine- cheers!

Wine On. Universe Off

It’s Friday and it’Wine Ons almost time to flip that switch!

Okay, please tell me I’m not the only one who wakes up every Friday morning and thinks- only eight hours left until I get to flip the switch, open a bottle of wine and turn the universe off?

*Sometimes it happens on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and, well no, well okay I’ll admit, Thursday too but today we are talking about Friday.

Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm goes off. I look at the clock and automatically think, at 5 o’clock I get to enjoy one of those delicious bottles sitting in my wine rack down stairs. A smile on my face appears and it’s time to roll out of bed. I head down stairs, in auto pilot  of course, no way I’d be that up n’ rearing to go at 6am without my caffeine fix . Put the water in, scoop out the ground coffee beans, hit the start button. The coffee aroma seeps through the house and once a first sip is taken this auto pilot is in complete control of Friday- bring it on!

This photo caught my eye as it goes perfect with Friday and my love for wine. I firmly believe that if you work hard you should get to relax with fine wine. Maybe I think about that sip a bit more often than others but after a week of brain activity I’m certainly ready for the clock to strike 5pm, head home and pop open a bottle of scrumptious vino- I have been waiting since 6am and all.

I think I’ll go with a rich and full-bodied Cabernet when I get home- sounds just perfect for this, what looks to be, stormy afternoon. Then I think I’ll grab a bottle of crisp and chilled white or rose to take to our Sushi date this evening because after 5 o’clock today the only thing that exists is me,  my wine and of course the wonderful individuals who will be sharing in the delight with me.

Now go turn off that switch and enjoy a nice glass (or bottle, or two….) of wine yourself. Say goodbye to the universe for a bit and hello to “you”- because you worked hard this week and deserve it.

Cheers!

Frozen Grapes To Chill Your Wine

Happy Friday!Grape-Cubes

I wanted to remind you of an easy wine tip to keep in mind for what is looking like a bright, sun shiny weekend.

It is always a sad moment when you are trying to enjoy every last sip of deliciousness, only to come to the point of guzzling down those last few, in fear of it heating up to a temperature of non-drinkable. This is wine-tragedy in my book.

Which brings me to a solution to keep wine cold and avoid any mishaps of watering down a delicious glass of wine on a beautiful day. Keep those whites, roses and bubbles at the temperature of your liking with a simple frozen grapes recipe.

This recipe for keeping chilled wine – chilled – is probably one the most simplistic you will find. Head to your local market. Grab a bag of grapes, red or green, doesn’t matter. Throw them in a bowl, or if you really don’t want to waste time, keep them in a bag. Toss them into the freezer. Wait a few hours.

Voila! You have made grapecubes- homemade and guaranteed to keep is cold and never water down your glass of purely drinkable delight. Did I mention, they are a delicious snack too.

Enjoy- cheers to the weekend!

National Drink Wine Day

Cheers- It’s National Drink Wine Day!

Not that wine isn’t something to celebrate every day. It fairly deserves a day to stand out and be celebrated properly, which brings us to every year on February 18. Today is a day to highlight the craft of grape-crushing art and appreciate it for the fine work that is being done all year long. Creating a delicious beverage, placed in a variety of different shaped bottles to eventually be poured into our glasses and enjoyed  whenever we want- now that’s something to celebrate.

I won’t forget to mention a few health benefits. Did you know that wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers?  View this and more health benefits at Foodandwine.com.

In honor of today I found a couple wine cocktail recipes to give this holiday a little twist. I find myself more delightfully intrigued by the white wine beverages, this must have something to do with the early seems-to- be-Summer already weather.

I hope you enjoy- I know I will be trying these out very soon!

A White Strawberry Lemonade Sangria– If you love speckled strawberry lemonade you are sure to love this delicious refreshing cocktail from Kitchen Treaty.

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A Raspberry Lemoncello Prosecco– If you love bubbly’s as much as I do how about adding a little raspberry with a twist of lemon and hint of mint with this recipe from Damn Delicious.

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A Grapefruit and Sage Mimosa–  I am more of a dry wine drinker this is right up my alley from Bakeaholic Mama. The bitter and tang of grapefruit and switching up champagne with a dry Rose sounds just right served with breakfast on a warm Saturday or Sunday morning.

mimosa 1

It Was Wine Wednesday. So Why Not Wine Out?

Wine Wednesday has always been near and dear to my heart ever since I was just a wee-wine drinker back at Pasta Pomodoro enjoying half off bottles on my days off. Unfortunately since taking on a position in the 8-5 world I do not get to take part in this wonderful weekly tradition as often as I’d like. I tend to enjoy a little too much during these special occasions and it can get a bit tipsy topsy when I must attend to scheduled engagements at the office the following day- if you know what I’m saying.

Last week however, good news, I made an exception and celebrated with all the other lucky Wine Wednesday takers, in honor of the Eric Church concert. You see, my whole look on drinking during the week is that if there is a will there is a way and a concert with friends and family is definitely a will.

As I sat down, on a clear mission to find the best fit for my Wine Wednesday, an abundance of options pop up in my search. However, a bit of strategic consideration had to take part with aspects affecting the evening including concert time, location, ticket pickup and of course who I am meeting- everyone deserves to enjoy this weekly special as much as I do.

The concert is at Sleep Train Arena, leaving no reason to be in midtown area. As I started to browse Natomas dinner spots it became clear that Wine Wednesday just wasn’t very convenient in that area (sad face).

I moved onto the next best thing- happy hour- which brought me to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery. I know it’s not the most locally owned, boutique restaurant choice but it was close and had a pretty decent happy hour menu.  We arrived and met the group only to find out a 50 minute wait was in order. Right next door, Mimi’s Cafe looked pretty darn good with zero wait and empty bar tables at this moment- we ventured in!

Here is where I dIMG_8559iscovered a little gem that exists all day every day- $5 wine- any kind of wine you want off the menu all day, every day. Yes. I said. All day. Every day!

I had a (okay maybe it was 3) yummy, crisp Sauvignon Blanc that was just right with my Mediterranean Salad and Roasted Chicken. We then went on to dance and sing the night away at one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

So to tie this vine choice up. My new found discovering on this Wine Wednesday will change my life forever. Natomas event nights just got that much better with wine specials not just on Wednesday but all day, every day. If you are ever in the Natomas area and on the hunt for great wine specials, this is an excellent choice for both your palette and wallets.

Till the next Pick off The Vine….

Cheers!

Super Bowl Sunday Sips

It’s Super Bowl Sunday. A day when Sunday Fun-day gets even better in my opinion. Full of football, scrumptious food and of course plenty of ice cold…..wine.

What? Doesn’t everyone drink wine on Super Bowl Sunday?

Okay, okay I know the typical Super Bowl Sunday ice chest may have been full of ice cold beer in the past. However, today it is not uncommon to hear the conversation of what wine will pair perfectly with those half-time nachos and fourth quarter buffalo wings. Invite a beverage to your party this year that will bring out the flavors of each appetizer- it’s definitely on my guest list.

Would you expect any less?

So as I find myself getting ready for the big day of pig skin being thrown down the field and big burly men tackling one another all on one mission to get passed that line for a touchdown. What eats to prepare and with what wine, can’t be done without a little inspiration . This brings me to my current enjoyable beverage- a lovely glass of Jeriko Pinot Noir Rose from Mendocino. It paired perfectly with the homemade traditional Mexican disIMG_8521h for lunch, IMG_8520 (1)Pozole- one of my favorites. Just enough spices to even out the zing in my rose.

As I enjoy my wine on this beautiful sun shinny day, I find myself searching wine and football. That is what today is all about- right? After finding a few fun football and wine ties I came across a couple wineries owned by NFL players I thought I would share. Glad to find out even the tough guys out on the field have a soft palette for fancy Super Bowl sips.

Drew Bledsoe: Doubleback

Charles Woodson: Twenty-four Wines

Okay, time to go kick back and enjoy the game with a little red, white or pink any will do just fine.

Cheers!