An Adventure on the Vine

For every person who the subject of wine excites, there’s someone who it intimidates.  That’s unfortunate, as at the end of the day wine is all about enjoyment and sharing an experience.  Luckily, there are wine producers, mixologists and chefs who create wines, cocktails and foods meant to coax the fun of out of wine.  The following is a list of wines and wine-based recipes that will breathe new life into restaurant, bar and party menus.  Cheers!  And remember, don’t take it too seriously – it’s only wine…

 

Rosé Wine
Rosé wines (also known as blush) are a great alternative to full-bodied, fruit-bomb reds and delicate whites.  Rest assured, there are plenty of options out there beyond white Zinfandel.   Some of the most sought after rosés are from the Languedoc, Rhône and, most famously, Provence wine regions of France.  While beer pops into the minds of most when the word “barbecue” is mentioned, rosé wines pair wonderfully as they typically feature a grapefruit note that pairs well with rich, sweet sauces and smoked meats.  Try using rosé to make a margarita, adding 4 ounces of blush to the traditional cocktail recipe.

Some fantastic rosés are Cháteau d’Esclans Whispering Angel, Cháteau Miraval Côtes de Provence (the Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Perrin Family wine), Ninety Plus Cellars Lot 33 (big bang for very few bucks), Cháteau de Berne Côtes de Provence Grande Récolte (which features a tall, elegant, squared bottle) and Virage Napa Valley which is an American rosé of Cabernet Franc.

 

Tormaresca 2013 FichimoriThe Fichimori Fruit Julep Recipe
The acclaimed Antinori Family has been producing wine for 26 generations.  In 1988, the family founded the Tormaresca firm in Puglia and, 25 years later, Tormaresca created Fichimori.  This Italian wine, a blend of 60% Negroamaro and 40% Syrah, is produced with soft tannins and meant to be enjoyed chilled.  Serve Fichimori straight up in a martini glass, between 46 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit or give a Fichimori cocktail a try.

The Fichimori Fruit Julep is made by adding ice to a highball and adding chopped seasonal fruit.  In a mixing glass combine 6 parts Fichimori, 3 parts white rum and 1 part Passoà.  Stir and then strain.  To make a Fichimori Spritz add ice to a glass and then add 6 parts Fichimori, 4 parts Aperol and 2 parts soda water.  Top with an orange slice.

 

The Tincho
The Tincho (loosely translated, “young Valentin”) is a refreshing Argentinian sipper made by pouring 5 ounces of Bodega Valentin Bianchi New Age White wine (a semi-sweet blend of Torrontés and Sauvignon Blanc) over ice in a highball and garnishing with a slice of lime.  New Age White can also be used to make a delicious sangria.  Speaking of sangria…

 

Sangria
Sangria is a Spanish and Portuguese beverage that generally consists of wine, chopped fruit, brandy and a sweetener such as sugar, syrup or orange juice.  While there are traditional sangrias, one of the best things about this drink is how easily it lends itself to experimentation; there are plenty of red and white wines, sweeteners, spirits and fruit combinations with which to play.  For a more traditional take on red sangria, use Tempranillo, Garnacha or a combination of the two wines from the Rioja region of Spain.

A simple sangria can be made by pouring a 750ml bottle of wine into a pitcher and squeezing in the juice from 1 orange and 1 lemon, both cut into wedges.  Drop the wedges into the pitcher (without the seeds if possible), add 2 tablespoons of sugar and throw in one shot of brandy.  If time allows, chill overnight and add 2 cups of ginger ale or club soda just before serving.  Again, sangria is all about experimentation.  Consider using white wine, a combination of white and red wine, sliced strawberries, nectarines, diced peaches, blueberries, gin, lemonade, triple sec, etc.

 

Sparkling Wine CocktailsTed Haigha