I Know it's 100+ Degrees out, but...

It's never too hot for a great glass of red wine in the AC!

I've been drinking so many white wines since the warm weather broke. I'm usually a red wine person and crave the deep, dark, oaky flavors of Old World reds. It's now mid-July in DC with temperatures in the high 90s into 100s. Needless to say, my stock pile of wines have dwindled down to only reds this month!

It's a hot, humid evening right now but hey, it's Thursday, always a great reason to open a bottle of wine! I decided to open a Meritage I bought a few weeks ago while visiting Western NY. This Salmon Run Meritage is from Dr. Frank's Wine Cellar in the Finger Lakes region in New York state. If you read my regular blog posts, you probably know that I lean towards Bordeaux-style blends of Merlot, Cab Franc and Cab Sauv. This is right up my alley. Complexity, oaky, soft finish and easily drinkable on it's own. It's very similar to the Meritage from Saude Creek Vineyards that I wrote about earlier this week.

My thought for the day: It's never too hot for a glass of red wine (in the AC)!


Saude Creek Vineyards' Grand Opening 7.16.11

Virginia wine is finally gaining a following and it seems like every year more and more vineyards are popping up! I can't complain since most of these are easily accessible to me in the DC area region. It makes for a great day trip with family and friends, one of my favorite day trips to be exact. How can you beat a picnic, great views and a relaxing afternoon while sipping wine?!

The newest vineyard to open up in Virginia is Saude Creek located in New Kent County. Having grown up right next door in West Point, this was particularly intriguing to me! Also, it doesn't hurt that my family knows the owners. There are quite a few vineyards popping up within a 30 mile radius of my hometown which is shocking. I never thought of it as a great grape growing region but they are proving me wrong. Some others in the area include New Kent Winery, the historical Williamsburg Winery, and White Fences Vineyard.

Anyway, back to Saude Creek. They have been growing vines for a few years now and have planted some orchard trees as well. To their advantage, they have participated in wine festivals all over Virginia to gain exposure and momentum for their grand opening which was held over the weekend. The winery is brand spanking new with a great wrap around porch and rooftop deck from which you can see the Pamunkey River.

View of Orchards and Pamunkey River

 The grand opening attracted hundreds of people which was very surprising!! The inside bar was full of people all afternoon, lining up to taste their selection. Having seen them at many festivals before, I had already tasted their vintages and knew what I liked. Some of their popular wines include Saude Creek White, Tavern White (which they sold out of), Saude Creek Blush, Cabernet Franc and my personal favorite, the Meritage.

Most of the whites tend to be a little sweeter and fruity. The Saude Creek White has hints of crisp apple and was perfect for a summer afternoon like Saturday. The sold-out Tavern White is a blend of Muscat and Chardonelle grapes which make it more sweet than the SC White. I can easily see why this was the most popular of the day, it's an easy-sipper and very refreshing. My choice of bottle for the day was the Meritage. Not your typical summertime wine but like the others, it was very easily sippable on it's own. 

They also had live music, parachuters, and vendors all to celebrate this great occasion. It was also very comforting to see so many locals come out to support their neighbors and friends. I hope many of the locals keep coming back for more! I'm looking forward to seeing great things from this vineyard and will be back.


Spur of the moment Brunch

It's been a relaxing 4th of July weekend for us so far. Sushi and sauvignon blanc on Friday (a perfect pairing) and grilled filet mignon last night. I woke up this morning and really wanted brunch and mimosas. Knowing it's probably hectic with all the tourists in town, going into DC could be a problem. And sadly, VA doesn't allow bottomless mimosas, best part of brunch I think! I decided to stay home, make my own, and save some money.

Perusing my cabinets and fridge, I didn't have a lot to choose from so I became creative. First up, mimosas! A bottle of Andre and OJ, cant go wrong. Then I thought about what my favorite brunch item is...of course fried green tomato Benedict! Never made fried green tomatoes nor had any in the pantry. I settled on the basic eggs benedict. I used hamburger buns as my english muffin, poached eggs quickly in the microwave and made my own hollandaise. I broiled the buns to make them warm and a bit crispy. For the hollandaise, I blended 2 egg yolks, pinch of cayenne, splash of water, and some kosher salt. While blending I added 4 tbsp of melted butter to make it brothy. Final step; assembly!

This was a simple, spur of the moment brunch for a Sunday morning! Be creative with both the mimosa and the benedict. Use different juices, sparkling or even add purees.

Happy Brunching!