A family fun 4th of July!

A family fun 4th of July!

I truly love summer, especially a Seattle summer. Hot sun, long nights, BBQ’s with friends and a slower pace life. However, with this love comes some headaches.. known as school summer vacation. My kids are home, all day long. I have put out more arguments then I can count. I am continually finding new activities to entertain the little darlings. Begging my friends for play dates. Constantly looking at the clock wondering if it’s an acceptable time to crack open a bottle of wine (if that already hasn’t happened during a play date)

I am really not complaining though. Summer is my favorite time of the year. I just find it exhausting entertaining (or finding things to entertain) my children all day long. But the perks do outweigh the negatives.. by far. And wine tastes so much better, sitting out on my deck in the sun, watching dad play with the kids so I can unwind.

Summer wines can vary for me. I do tend to drink more whites and rosé’s. However, with the long summer nights, we tend to open some amazing reds we have been saving for special occasions. But for the sake of this blog, I am going to give you my top 5 summer wine varietals. This is a fun list to explore. Head into your local wine merchant and ask about this list. They should be able to point out some stellar wines for you (or check out if you want someone to come and pour a tasting of these varietals for you).

5. Vinho Verde – an inexpensive, Portuguese, high acid, light bodied slightly effervescent white wine. There are many reasons why I love a Vinho Verde. First of all, it’s a low alcohol wine, which is nice for those evenings where you want a glass of something, but don’t want to feel all wobbly. Also because of the low alcohol, it pairs very nicely with loads of summer friendly foods. I personally love a Vinho Verde with Mexican foods, seafood, Asian foods, and anything spicy. The slight bubbles help tone the spiciness down. Check out the Espiral from Trader Joes, only $4.99 and surprisingly delightful!

4. Sauvignon Blanc– this is a staple summer wine. Again, pairs deliciously with summer foods. A Sauv Blanc can be light – medium bodied, acidic and depending on the country of origin, it may be grassy, citrusy, or even slightly oaky. I prefer either a more citrus or slight oak Sauv Blanc, especially to pair with food. I have many go to Sauv Blancs between France, WA and CA, but my all time favorite is Salvestrin Winery Sauvignon Blanc ($24.00) out of CA. The problem with this wine is that you cannot find it in WA. But if you take a Napa Valley trip, make sure you stop by! Check out their website though.

3. Chardonnay – a medium to full bodied white wine, produced in many parts of the world. I know this wine can often get a bad rep. But this summer I have fallen (hard) for this delicious, rich, white wine. Give me a smooth Chard and I am one happy gal. I do prefer the crisp, mineral, slightly oaky Chardonnays (Chablis) from the Burgundy region of France. I find them slightly complex and enough minerality to keep my attention. However, I have discovered many WA Chardonnays (and a few Chilean)  that also keep me interested. My two favorites WA chards at the moment are Revelry Vintners (around $15.99) and Baer Winery’s “Shard” ($24.00).  Both are stainless steel, crisp and heavenly.

2. Petite Verdot- This varietal has long been a blending varietal into Bordeaux wines from France. But in recent years, it’s been standing beautifully on it’s own. It has stout tannins and can have a violet, dark fruit and vanilla flavor on the palate. It is a particular grape, so it can be a hit or miss. With food, you need weight, protein and fat.. so basically cheeses and heartier meat dishes. The Petite Verdot I am in love with this summer is the Blue Print Petite Verdot from El Corazon ($34.99)

1. Rosé – really, a no brainer this summer. This light to medium bodied wine is perfect for a long summer evening. Almost every region makes a rosé (Rosado in Spain, Rosato in Italy). A rosé goes perfectly with summer meals as well. Charcuterie, grilled fish, pork, salads, shrimp, egg dishes, pretty much anything you would eat in summer. I am a big fan of Provençal rosé’s and Spanish Rosado’s. The AIX rosé from Provence ($14.99) is a standard in our home. I also have fallen in love with Espelt Rosado ($12.99) and the 2013 Red Car rosé from CA ($19.99 and Pinot Noir grapes, delicious).

There you have it! A must try wine list to survive the summer heat (or your children). Enjoy exploring this list… and let me know what you try!


A successful summer play date!

A successful summer play date!

Check out your local wine merchants rosé selection!

Check out your local wine merchants rosé selection!



Sometimes you end up with a bottle of Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondovi Fume Blanc

Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc

I try to support small and local businesses whenever I can. However, there are those times when you need a Target and Nordstrom’s (although, I do consider Nordy’s a local business!). Just like there are those time when you pick up a 2010 Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc. Which is what happened to me yesterday.  Let me explain.

It started off as an extremely rough morning, with my 3 1/2 year old in complete meltdown mode at 5:30 am. So much so that I had to cancel her long awaited play date because she was out of control and it was the only threat I could think of at 5:30 am. It was a threat that I had to follow through with. Which is horrible for me because it ruins my day as well. With that, my morning continued with screaming, tears and tantrums. Finally, I had it. My little “blessing” was going to make me insane if I didn’t get out of the house. So, I packed my sobbing 3 1/2  and 7 year olds (who get’s it. After watching her little sister get into trouble, was being an angel) into the car and headed to the gym. An hour of body pump class (with kids in the child care) would surely clear my head and give me a moment of peace.

After my class I was rejuvenated and I picked up the girls, who actually had smiles. Success!! But, that changed as we got into the car. This is the scenario which was repeated over and over the second I buckled my seat belt: “mom, can you turn on the radio?” “mom, can you turn on One Direction?” “Mom, can you roll down my window?” ” Mom can you roll up my window?” “Mom the music is to loud” “Mom I can’t hear the music”….. we haven’t left the parking lot.

I decided at that moment I needed a coffee to make it through the day. As I am driving to the coffee shop, the crying started again. This time, it was me telling them no at treats at the coffee shop; I just need a latte.

As I drug my sobbing kids into Café Vita on Phinney Ridge, I looked at the barista and asked if I could have a glass of wine. To which he replied “Mam, It’s 10:30 in the morning.” Oh, right.. “Ok just a double tall latte please.”

The rest of my day kind of went the same way. I was done come 4:00. I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I packed up the kids and went to Target. I knew I was shooting myself in the foot, but I had to go for a variety of reasons (toilet paper is an essential item). While I was aimlessly wandering about Target, throwing out “no’s” to my kids for every item they begged for (We don’t need another set of Muppet Band aids), I found myself in the wine isle. And as my kids were whining about needing more maple syrup (conveniently located on the same isle), I quickly grabbed a bottle of wine and headed to the check out stand before my head exploded.

The wine I chose: Robert Mondavi 2010 Fume Blanc (94% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon), $14.99. Now, maybe my judgment was tainted since I had an on-going headache since 6:00 am, but the wine was surprisingly pleasant. Actually, down right good. On a “normal” day, the thought of picking up a Mondavi wine would never cross my mind. I guess you could say I am a little judgmental with my wines. However, I am glad this happened. This was one of those happy mistakes. Maybe I should be thanking my tantrum-loving child. Nah…

Tasting notes: On the nose this wine had tropical fruit, peach and honeysuckle scent;  a favorable smell. Upon taste, it was even better. A nice balance of mineral and acid, enough to make the wine dance on your tongue. A huge difference from the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s I tried last week. On the palate there was a peach, floral, honey suckle and slight cucumber taste. I really pleasant mixture in my mouth.

This wine had me eating my words (yes, in the past I may have said I would never drink a Robert Mondavi wine).. and I am the first to admit it. I even remarked to my husband that we should look into a case of this to keep on hand (to which he promptly reminded me of all the wine we have downstairs.. party pooper).

I think many of you would enjoy this wine as well, especially at the price. Mondavi can be found in most major stores: Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer, Kroger and Target. I recommend a bottle of this wine, even if your children are behaving like angels.

Cheers to a new day today!!!