GIRL SCOUT COOKIE + WINE PAIRING

GirlScouts-March17.jpg

By Maggie Walters

It's that time of year again, GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON!!  It brings out the kid in all of us, and sends us searching for the nearest friend with the "hook up" to the goods.  Whilst hoarding these delectable treats from family members, today we can enjoy something we could not as kids --  pairing them with wines!  Let me be your guide for this exciting time of year.

Here's the breakdown of perfect pairings:

GirlScouts-pairings-1-blog.jpg

Do-si-dos & Samosas
paired with: Taylor Fladgate 10 year Tawny Port

Why: What gives Tawny Port its "Tawny" Color is oxidation. This not only affects the color, but the flavor profile. Think nuttiness, butterscotch, chocolate, and ripe berries. What better way to pair Do-si-dos, a peanut butter cookie filled with more confectionery nut butter, and Samoas, a cookie coated in caramel, dark chocolate and toasted coconut, than to bridge those delicious flavors in a wine? 


Savannah Smiles (lemon cookies)
paired with: Michele Chiarlo Moscato d' Asti

Why: This Moscato is delicate, sweet and expresses flavors of peach and orange blossom with a slight spritz. Not only will the textural component be fun to experience with this pairing (think crunch and bubbles), but the delicateness and citrus/fruity flavors of the wine and cookie really hit it off. If anyone out there is doing a spread for a get together, throw some fresh fruit in the mix and you have a party!


Thin Mints & S'mores
paired with: Rosa Di Rosa

Why: Think rich, ripe, red and dark fruit, dark chocolate, and a refreshing finish of mint, and you have this pairing with Thin Mints. This is hands down my favorite pairing (I'm partial to Thin Mints). The wine really makes this a decadent treat. Rosa Di Rosa pairs well with chocolate, so there's no surprise that it is a big hit with the S'mores, cookies filled with chocolate.  


Trefoils
Paired with: Leonard Kreusch Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Auslese Mosel

Why: The cookie is buttery, crunchy, sweet and lingers on your palate with vanilla. What better way to accentuate this buttery cookie than with a late harvest Riesling? This Riesling offers rich pear, sweet melon, and a refreshing palate cleanser of citrus. It's almost like a fruit pastry in your mouth with both flavors combined. 


GirlScouts-pairings-5-blog5.jpg

Tagalongs
paired with: Justin Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles

Why: I wanted to do a more familiar pairing for at least one of these cookie pairings; that being chocolate and a jammy California Cab. The Tagalong with the cab is going to create a "PB&J" experience. And who doesn't love the sound of that?


WHAT TO DRINK AFTER MOSCATO

By Maggie Walters

I've been asked quite often about the progression of wine, specifically, moving slowly towards drier styles from Moscato.

Moscato is sweet, refreshing, spritzy, light and fruity. This wine pairs well with homemade strawberry short cake with fresh strawberries (it's almost that time of year folks). But sometimes you want something else with a little more body and structure, but no where near as robust as Napa Cabernet. 

While it may seem like wine comes in 2 styles: super sweet or super dry, I'm here to tell you that these "in between" wines exist! They are friendly, fruity and do not express harshness or sourness. 

Below are my 3 recommendations:

J. Lohr, Wildflower Valdiguie

Monterey California

  • Serve slightly chilled
  • This is a luscious, fruit-forward wine that has a sweet, juicy finish

Leonard Kreusch, Dornfelder "Sweet Red"

Rheinhessen, Germany

  • Serve slightly chilled
  • This is a fruity, dark and velvety red wine that is considered "sweet," but less sweet than Moscato. 

Kung fu Girl, Riesling

Washington State

  • This is an "off dry" white wine (meaning in between dry and sweet). 
  • White stone fruit, white peach apricot, cool, refreshing and delicious.

Some people may snub their noses at wines being sweet, but they can be great food pairing wines when something on the table is spicy.  Think Indian food, Thai food, Spicy Cajun food (hello crawfish boil), and so on!  

Enjoy!

WINE GEEKS BUDGET PICKS – VOLUME 2

By Maggie Walters

I wrote a blog just over a month ago about what a wine geek drinks on a budget, and I received so much positive feedback that I decided to write another one! It was such a pleasure to meet everyone who stopped by Colonial for the "hidden gems" wines, and I'm really excited to share this next list of wines.


WINE #1

Domaine Sainte-Eugenie – Corbieres, France

$12.99 – 13.5% Alcohol  •   Grapes: Old Vine Carignan, Grenache, Syrah

The Languedoc is one of my favorite areas in France to seek out value wines. They have been making wine for quite some time and really know what they're doing. All of the vines going into this wine have an average age of 50 years (which is an art to maintain on its own). This is a full-bodied wine with heavy, luscious tannins. Red and dark fruits and berries present themselves on the palate, followed by baking spices (star anise, allspice, orange rind) and violets.

I can NOT believe that this wine costs what it does, I would choose to drink this over several higher priced wines out there. 

Pairing suggestions: grilled or roasted meats. Also pairs well with fuzzy socks and a good book.


WINE #2

Barkan Classic – Israel

$11.99 – 13% Alcohol  •  Grape: Pinot Noir

A Pinot Noir from Israel!  I know, I know, you had no idea there was a wine region in Israel (kuddos to you if you did). This Pinot Noir definitely took me by surprise when I had a glass with my dinner at the Pantry (they're pouring it by the glass), and it made me go back for more. If I tasted this wine blind I honestly wouldn't have guessed it was a Pinot. It's dark and concentrated in color, and heavier on the palate than I expected. Soft and velvety tannins follow bright acidity and carry flavors like stewed strawberries, sweet black cherries, chocolate, and a touch of mint.  

Pairing suggestions: Broiled salmon and roasted chicken dishes. Also pairs well with warm bubble baths. 


WINE #3

Charles & Charles – Art Den Hoed Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington

$12.99 – 12% Alcohol  •  Grape: Riesling

I can NOT say enough positive things about this wine. First of all this winery has so much love for their grapes. This is a high altitude, single vineyard in Washington (which means they don't buy their grapes from anyone, or anywhere else, like a lesser vineyard site) aka this isn't cheap plonk! The grapes are hand harvested at night and transported in a temperature controlled vehicle that doesn't allow fermentation to start until the vintner is ready for the process to begin. This allows the wine to retain pure, clean, and refreshing qualities and show off a bouquet of delicate aromatics. Whew, enough about the practices, lets talk about how tasty this wine is. This wine is technically classified as an off-dry riesling, although if there was a classification between off-dry and dry, this wine would be it, it is full of bright, mouth watering, refreshing acidity, that the kiss of residual sugar present is not in the forefront. On the palate you get zingy lemon, apricot, and honeysuckle with a hint of minerality reminiscent of wet river rocks. The flavor is refreshing and lingering. 

Pairing suggestions:  Foods with a little kick, like Asian or Indian dishes as well as seafood! Also pairs well with good friends and conversation!


WINE #4

Santi Solane Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore – Veneto, Italy

$14.99

 

I think this is the hidden gem I am most proud of! Boy was I shocked when I cracked this bottle open on a random Wednesday night to drink with my pasta. Valpolicella superiore Ripasso is known affectionately as "a poor man's Amarone." This style beefs up simple Valpolicella with some grapes previously used for Amarone. This is a medium bodied wine full of complexity and richness that will make you rejoice with the absolute value that this wine is! This wine showcases dried cherries, spice and earthiness that will accompany heartier dishes.

Pairing suggestions: Steak, mushrooms, earthier flavored dishes, and pastas with red meaty sauce. Pairs well with a leather sofa and a warm, crackling fire. 


marques-de-caceres-verdejo-web.jpg

WINE #5

Marques de Caceres Verdejo – Rueda, Spain   

$13.99

This is for the Sauvignon Blanc lovers out there! Rueda is the region and the grape grown here is Verdejo (commonly blended with Sauvignon Blanc, but not listed on the label). This wine is everything you want in an aromatic, fresh fruity light white wine! This wine expresses vegetal notes like fresh cut grass, lime, peach, and melon.

Pairing suggestions: seafood dishes, greens with vinaigrette dressing, and light proteins with cream sauces. The acidity will cut through the creaminess and the fattiness of the sauces. Also pairs well with front porches and sunshine!

 

All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price.

WHAT A WINE GEEK DRINKS ON A BUDET

By Maggie Walters

Time and time again I get asked (usually rather sheepishly) for wine recommendations under $15. I do not think that this is a request to be embarrassed about, nor does the price of the wine denote the quality of the wine.

I thought I would share a few inexpensive wines that I enjoy. These are hidden gems! I almost feel like it's a game I play with my fellow wine nerds – who can find the next delicious wine that's not very well known and doesn't break the bank? With all the hustle and bustle in life, who can prioritize their money for wine? There's no shame in being responsible adults, or having a need for delicious wine!


Wine #1

Garnacha de Fuego Old Vine Garnacha, Spain       

$9.99  – 14.5% ABV  •  100% Grenache

First, let's address the elephant in the room; yes, it is a tacky label, but don't judge a book by its cover here! This wine is SO good, and it's only $10 bucks! This old vine garnacha from Calatayud does not disappoint. On the palate you get ripe juicy fruits like raspberry, blueberry and plum; mouthwatering acidity; and a hint of star anise. There's also a nice peppery sensation from the alcohol that's very warming. Quick tidbit of wine knowledge: they've been making wine here since 200 BC. 

This wine is great for anyone who loves the big, bold and heavy Pinot Noir that one sees out of California. 

PAIRING: Any grilled food (the fruit balances well with smokey flavors) or drink on its own.


Wine #2

Domaine Laroque, Cite de Carcassonne, France

$10.99  –  13.5% ABV  •  100% Cabernet Franc

This wine has brightness, silky tannins and minerality wrapped up in a beautiful, medium-bodied wine. On the palate you will get bright red fruit like cranberries and cherries, bright acidity, black peppercorns, brambly fruits and red currant. 

Where the grenache was all heavy luscious fruit, this is bright and uplifting. 

PAIRING: Chicken & fish dishes; refreshes the palate.


Wine #3

Penya Rosé from Cotes Catalanes, France       

$11.99  –  13% ABV  •  96% Grenache Noir, 4% Syrah

Provence rosé lovers rejoice, this is a wine for you that won't cost an arm and a leg! Bright and full of acidity like rosés from the south of France should be. You'll get fresh fruits and melons on the palate like strawberry, watermelon and citrus. This is an IGP wine so the price tag does not come with it, but it is not lacking in flavor.


Under15-Wine-Segura Viudas.jpg

Wine #4

Domaine Du Tariquet Cotes de gascogne, France     

$10.99  –  10.5% ABV  •  45% Ugni Blanc, 35% Colombard, 10% Sauvignon, 10% Gros Manseng

What a gluggable, fruity, white wine!! Yum! This wine actually comes from Armagnac believe it or not. These grapes are usually distilled into the delicious brandy we all know and love, except for a few guys swimming against the tide, turning these grapes into wine. It is fruity, bright and lively. 

For those of you who enjoy Sauvignon Blanc, this is going to be a new go to.

PAIRING: Great on its own or enjoy with small bites.


Wine #5

Segura Viudas Brut Estate Bottled Cava, Spain      

$9.99  –  12% ABV  •  Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Paralleda, and Chardonnay

Champagne lovers celebrate!!! This is a delicious sparkling wine that is amazing and oh so affordable!

Wines from Spain, in general, are so strikingly under-priced it's not even funny. This is made in the same exact method as Champagne, so there's no skimping on the vigorous bubbles. Just like there are three French grapes in Champagne, there are three Spanish grapes in Cava, and the name of the wine gets its name from the region as well.

This is a great wine to know of when it comes time to entertain. Just because you're entertaining on a budget doesn't mean you have to serve your guests bad wine.

PAIRING: Drink it alone or pair it with small bites and seafood. 


I hope this article is helpful and inspires you to try new wines. There are some amazing wines out there for every budget. Just because the name of the wine may be unfamiliar (or the label may be less than ideal) does not mean that it's not worth trying. Who knows, it could be your next hidden gem!

Happy Drinking!

All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price.

TRIBUTE TO A WINEMAKER AND HER SPARKLING WINE

By Maggie Walters

I recently had the opportunity to work at a champagne/sparkling wine event. Not only were the wines spectacular, but the people representing them were as well. 

There is one representative, in particular, that stood out to me.  I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Fontaine from Domaine Chandon, who is one of the youngest winemakers in the world right now, and a woman at that! As a lady starting out in this beautiful world of wine myself, this was a highlight of my career thus far.  

Fontaine is impressive. She grew up in wine country in the south of France and received her National Diploma of Oenology (study of wine), as well as a Masters of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Bordeaux. She was hand-picked to be a winemaker out of 700 applicants, and is one of three female winemakers at Domaine Chandon in Napa. All three winemakers are women, and they are all from France. They strive to hold their winemaking to the standards of French winemakers, but in a California style. How can you not love this winery?? 

Fontaine oversees the day to day operations in the cellar including blending, creating some of the tastiest sparkling wines coming out of California, many of which are under $30 (under $20 if you catch them on sale!).

Now that you know about Fontaine and the winery, let's talk about some of the wines!

Just like in Champagne, France, the three grape varieties used to make these wines are Pinot Noir, Pinot Munier and Chardonnay. They are using the same classic grapes, and fermentation process, just creating a more unique, California style wine. 

Their flagship wines are: 

Chandon Brut

Brut is their classic, dry bubbly that refreshes the palate and expresses a flavor profile of apple, pear and citrus flavors.

Chandon Rosé

Their rosé expresses more fruit flavors with the additional contact of grape skins, which gives it a beautiful hue of pink. This delicious bubbly expresses intense ripe strawberry, juicy watermelon and fresh red cherry fruit aromas and flavors.

Blanc de Noir

This wine is made completely from red grapes, but the skins are immediately separated from the juice, leaving it very light in color, but complex in flavor. In the glass you will find cherry, currant and strawberry aromas and flavors. These red fruit flavors build in the mid-palate and finish with a soft, lingering creamy texture.

Chandon Extra Dry Riche

The Extra Dry Riche, is their softer, and sweeter sparkling wine. This bubbly is blended with muscat, lending a luscious and fruitier style. On the nose is an inviting floral bouquet followed on the palate by rich, honeyed fruit flavors of peach and apricot. This is great for wine lovers who find brut wines a little too austere and acidic! 

Domaine Chandon also has two amazing Cuvees that are laid down for 5 years before release. Believe it or not, these special blends are less than $50! 

These Wines are:

Etoile Brut

This wine lends a bouquet of ginger and brown spice. On the palate, baked apples, honey and cinnamon flavors meld with nutty, creamy flavors gained from extended sur lie aging (time on yeast). This a very balanced wine of pleasing creaminess and refreshing acidity. 

 Etoile Rosé

"The wine is elegant and restrained with fresh aromas of plum, raspberry and nutmeg. These aromas follow through on the palate and are layered with subtle and delicate flavors of cocoa powder. The wine finishes with excellent length and richness." – Domaine Chandon

In addition to being great wines both in taste and production, they are excellent food pairing wines. From sashimi, to popcorn, and even roasted lamb, there is a wine here for your menu. Plus, who doesn't love some bubbly? It just makes life a little more cheerful, and of course great for the holidays!

I really hope you enjoy these wines as much as I do and support the women of the wine industry! 

 Cheers!