My experience at Castello di Amorosa

Wine tasting in a castle

Honestly, I am not much of a wine person.  I’ve only drank wine a handful of times in my life.  However, when I visited Napa Valley last fall, I made it one of my priorities to at least do one wine tasting.  After having done my research prior to the visit, I have decided that I was going to do my first ever wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa.

Why Castello di Amorosa?  I figured even if I did not enjoy the wine, I would at least have fun touring the castle there.  Plus I had always like to take a lot of pictures whenever I went somewhere new, and having a castle as a backdrop sounded pretty cool to me.

In the end, Castello di Amorosa did not disappoint me.  I thought the place looked spectacular, and I had many pictures taken during the time that I was there.  At Castello di Amorosa, you can opt to go on a guided tour.  I personally chose not to go on this tour because I like to go at my own pace.  Going on the tour would allow you to hear more about what the different rooms of the castle would be used for if it was in fact a real castle.  I did not feel the need to know.

What about the actual wine tasting?  I liked it.  Everything was on the sweet side.  So if you don’t like your wine sweet, you probably would be better off skipping the wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa.

Add Some Fun Taste to Cookouts this Year!

Red Sangria to Please the Taste Buds

Whether you are having your own cookout or someone asks you to bring something to theirs, Red Sangria is always a hit.  It is light and fruity and fits the warm weather perfectly.  It is a drink that will please most taste buds, as it basically tastes like fresh fruit.  A huge bowl goes a long way, and it only takes about 5 minutes to make, so you do not have to stress about slaving away in the kitchen.  Once people try it, you will be asked to bring it everywhere you go. 

You will need: 

  • 1 bottle of a red wine of your choice
  • 1 lemon cut up
  • 1 orange cut up
  • 1 lime cut up
  • 2 table spoons of sugar
  • 1 shot or orange juice
  • 2 shots of triple sec
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 can of diced pineapples
  • 4 cups of ginger ale

Once you have all of your ingredients purchased and prepared, be sure to have an extra large pitcher for your beverage.  Begin by pouring your wine into the pitcher.  Next, take your lemon, orange and lime slices and squeeze them into the wine.  Remove the seeds from the remaining cut up fruit and then place the fruit inside of the pitcher.  Dump in the pineapples, followed by the sugar and orange juice.  Chill the Sangria in the fridge over night for the best results. Chilling it allows the flavors time to marinate into one another, providing an excellent taste.  When you are ready to serve it, add the strawberries and some ice. 

Warning:  From here on out, people will know you as that person who makes the awesome Sangria, so be sure this is what you want to be in charge of before making it.

 

Pairing German Wines With Meals, Part One

Perhaps one of the most common questions that people have regarding wine in general is which types of wine are best paired with certain types of food. This is especially true when dealing with German wines because if you are not familiar with the variations that exist with German wine, you may be uncertain about which may be the most suitable choice for your next meal. Luckily, today's blog is a beginning of a series focusing on which wines to pair with your favorite entrees. Today's focus will be wines that can be enjoyed with pasta, rice, or egg dishes.


For lighter pasta or rice meals, you may want to consider a wine that is equally light in terms of the overall sweetness of the taste. If you're a lover of white wines, you might be interested in trying out the Scheurebe or Auslese wines from Baden, Pfalz, and Rheinhessen. Riesling is often a great suggestion to consider, because it has a moderate body that can vary from light to full, and it comes with many variations that are worth trying.  Nahe Riesling always tends to be enjoyable regardless of what type of meal you pair it with.

If you are going to be enjoying a spicy or heavily-seasoned dish, it is better to contrast it with a sweet wine. Consider options such as Spatburgunder Weissherbst, which has light yet rich notes of flavor to complement your meal. Alternatively red wine is going to be best paired with very heavy, rich dishes; these are the meals that you want to enjoy a glass of Portugieser, Lemberger Trocken, or Spatburgunder Trocken.

What is the Best Red Wine to Complement Your Meal?

Never Go Wrong Again

You are out at a restaurant and you want to order a red wine to go with your meal, but you are too timid to ask the waiter or waitress for their input.  It is not always easy to determine which wine complements which meal.  There are some guidelines, but your taste is the ultimate determining factor.  I have compiled some suggestions in order to help you when you are wondering, "What should I drink?"

First, you must know your main red wines.  They are Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Zinfandel and Port.  Beaujolais is the lightest and fruitiest, making it the easiest to drink; whereas, Port has the strongest and most distinct taste, and it is the strongest alcohol wise as well. 

If you are having a wine and cheese night with friends, all of the above wines complement cheese well, so you never have to worry about looking like an amateur during this occasion.  If you are doing appetizers, Beaujolais is the best fit.  That is simply because it is light and will not overpower your appetizers.  It is actually a fun wine, just as appetizers are fun to eat.

For pasta with red sauce, all of the wines will do, with the exception of Port.  Red sauce is pretty universal, making it an easy choice for pairing.  Simply pick your favorite red.

If you are having poultry (chicken or turkey), your best bet is Beaujolais. The Beaujolais will not give your poultry an off taste, as some of the others might do. 

For beef, Beaujolais and Port are the only two that do not complement it well.  Beaujolais is too weak, while Port is too strong.  You need the perfect balance of bitter yet tasty for beef.

Port is the top choice to pair with chocolate.  There is something about the strong, fruity taste that makes chocolate that much more delectable. 

Ecco Domani Pinot Noir

Complement Your Pasta

If you are looking for a red wine that will complement your pasta, Ecco Domani Pinot Noir is worth your time.  It is a wine that is made in Italy and sold in liquor stores at a reasonable price. It is made from ripe Pinot Noir grapes that are harvested in the month of September. This wine is semi-bitter, but goes down smooth.  From the second you remove the cork to let it air out, you will smell the cherry aromas that are sure to stimulate your senses and make your imagination run wild.  The flavor of this wine is predominately blackberry, so if you love hints of berry, then this is an excellent option. 

This particular Pinot Noir is a bit stronger than others that I have had.  It is 13% alcohol, so depending on how big your cup is, or how much you fill it, you may only want to have one glass.  I know that I was feeling the effects after 1 glass and I tend to have a slightly higher tolerance for wine.  Aside from the strength of the wine, I found it to be refreshing and different than any other Pinot Noir I have ever had.  It was much less bitter than what I am used to, which was a pleasant surprise.

Whether you are sitting to relax at night after a long day or want something new and tasty to enhance your dinner, then this wine is perfect.  Just be sure to leave it out at room temperature because chilling this wine does nothing good for its flavor.  Considering this, you may want to share a bottle with another person or two since it is so strong. 

Ecco Domani makes a variety of wines, mostly reds, but this one is by far a favorite among consumers and myself.  Out of a possible 10 stars, I give it an 8 because of its strength.  I prefer to enjoy more than one glass of wine without getting drunk, but it is simply not possible with this Pinot; at least not for me. 

Maintain Your Health with a Glass of Red Wine

How You Can Make Your Heart Happy

Red Wine has long been the talk when it comes to heart health.  While doctors do not encourage leisurely drinking of red wine, it is widely known that at least one glass a day is healthy for you.  The reason doctors will not tell you to drink it daily is because they do not want to encourage alcoholism, which is a prevalent problem.  I will give you the run-down on why a glass of red wine a day might be good for you and your heart.

Red wine contains many antioxidants that are good for lowering cholesterol.  Lower cholesterol means a lower chance of heart attack, stroke and blood clots.  It contains a polyphenol called reservatrol, which helps to maintain the lining of the blood vessels.  Reservatrol may very well be the key ingredient that helps to lower "bad" cholesterol.  Although more research is needed on reservatrol, Mayo Clinic notes that reservatrol is linked to reduced inflammation and reduced blood clotting.

Aside from reservatrol found in red wine, alcohol in itself is known to have health benefits when you drink in moderation.  It increases good cholesterol, helps to prevent damage of the heart caused by bad cholesterol and lowers the bad cholesterol. 

I am in no way endorsing an alcoholic lifestyle, as drinking too much wine, or more than 2 glasses a day on a daily basis can put you at risk for more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, cancer, liver damage and obesity, all of which have severe complications.

However, if you indulge just right, you can achieve a healthier lifestyle that will greatly benefit you and your family.  After all, I know quite a few people who have a glass of red wine a day to lower their cholesterol, who have not become alcoholics.  If you can be responsible, enjoy your heart healthy wine!

Understanding What Makes German Wine Unique

One question you may encounter regarding the subject of German wine is from those who want to know what makes it different from the rest of the wines that are available in the world. Of course, there are many other countries which are able to produce remarkable wines. However, Germany is unique for a few reasons.

Wine production in Germany is considered to be some of the most high quality in the world due to the traditional methods that are still used. One of the most common characteristics that is associated with German viticulture can be found in the amount of care that is taken when wine is being produced. By combining methods that have been proven from centuries of experience with some of the modern techniques available, the result is a quality wine that stands out among the rest. Germany is also known for using green methods to produce wine and harvesting the grapes by hand for some of the best wines that are available.

It is also impressive that such quality wine can be produced in Germany in consideration of the climate in the area. Because Germany tends to have a colder climate, the vineyards are generally located on slopes that are facing towards the south. This ensures that the vineyards would be able to get the most exposure to the sun in order to help the grapevines grow. Overall, aside from the unforgettable taste of German wines, it's the quality of production and the associated high standards that make this type of wine outstanding from the rest.

German Wine History

 

Knowing the history behind German wine can make every drink more enjoyable sometimes. If you're someone who likes to know unique trivia about different topics, wine can be a particularly interesting topic. Wine history can be intriguing because it often includes some of the most well-known individuals or time periods in history. While this type of knowledge is not commonly known about German wine, it can be a great conversation starter and piece of trivia during a conversation with a fellow wine connoisseur.

 

For example, winemaking in Germany used to be predominantly participated in western Rhine. The reign of Charlemagne helped winemaking to spread to the east. This is usually attributed to Charlemagne's support of Christianity, which was spreading to eastern areas at the same time. As Christianity began to spread in the area, the use of wine was becoming more popular because it was used by the many of the clergy members at local monasteries as an element of mass. As centuries passed, this spreading continued until wine was popular throughout the country.

Because the church had gained so much control as time progressed, many of the vineyards in Germany were subsequently owned by the church instead of the government at the time. The related concern was that there was less wine being produced during this era. As a result, Napoleon took control of the wine away from the church and began allowing the vineyards to be controlled by the government, which resulted in more separate vineyards being created. This allowed for wine to gain more popularity because it was more easily accessible than when it was controlled by the church. 

An Introduction To German Wine

If you're an avid appreciator of wine, you probably have your own personal list of favorite wines that you are interested in. However, after a while, you will also probably start searching for new wines to experience as well. This is also true if you have friends that have a very devout interest in wine also - you will eventually want to discover a unique, memorable wine that they have not tasted before. In these circumstances, you might as well prepare yourself to search for the best wine available.
German wine is well known for having a strong and unforgettable taste and will be a perfect accent to some of your favorite dinners or on its own. There are 13 regions which produce wine in Germany. Among these regions, there are 39 districts, which are later organized into collective 167 vineyard sites. Within this statistic, there are over 2000 individual vineyards. As you can imagine, each of these vineyards create a great variety of wines that feature different tastes that can be suited for numerous scenarios.

This blog is going to explore the vast selection of German wines available. Not only will you be able to find wonderful recommendations of wines worth trying out, there will also be suggestions of what the wines should ideally be paired with, as well as some of the history that is associated with German wine. It is the perfect reference for any budding wine connoisseur who wants to learn more about some of the many wines they have not yet tried. 

Red Cat Finger Lakes Wine

A Must-Try Red WIne

Do you prefer your red wines to be on the sweeter side?  Red Cat Finger Lakes Wine is unlike any red wine I have ever had.  It is a definite red with the sweet taste of a blush, which is a nice change of pace from the typical bitter tasting reds. 

It is made by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, which is located on the Eastern Shore of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region, making it a domestic wine.  It can be easily located in the "domestic" wine section of your state store.  It has a fun, fruity taste that is sure to suit the taste buds of experienced and inexperienced wine conoisseurs.  It goes well with just about any food, ranging from steak to chicken wings. 

I had this wine last night with some pepperoni and cheese while I kicked back and watched TV.  It is 11% alcohol by volume, which is not too strong, but is not weak either.  I ended up getting a small buzz after a couple of larger size glasses.  This particular brand is affordable compared to some fancier wines with just as good of a taste.  It came up to approximately $13 for a regular sized bottle.  It did not appear to be available in a larger bottle.

If you are thinking about having a get together or need a wine that everyone will love at a holiday dinner, then do not hesitate to buy a bottle or two of the Red Cat Finger Lakes Wine.  If you have ever had "Sweet Red", which is made by Sutter Home, among a few others, then this wine is comparable; however, only a bit tastier, in my opinion. 

Now get yourself out to the liquor store and try something new! Buy some Red Cat for this weekend.

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