Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Wine and Gift Ideas

Transition time!

As Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend ends, the buzz of Christmas is now full force!
Out come the decorations, the tree is up and lights are glowing!
Stockings are hung and the Christmas list has just become serious.




Somehow in our busy schedules, we are able to turn on the focus factor for the preparation of our Christmas traditions. (Most of us anyway)
Props to those who write a Christmas letter and have a photo ready to go, and cheers to us who are lucky enough to buy a few cards and find addresses to boot.
Prioritizing the gifts you need to send in the mail, as you are making a list and surely checking it more than twice!
The Christmas dinner plans are already in your thoughts, whether you are traveling or hosting, your mental lists have begun.
Christmas parties for work or home, some have school programs and team parties to fit in as well!
The planning and shopping, the wrapping and hiding!
Oh, my!

Gift giving is rewarding and we do this all year.
There's something about Christmas time to feel extra cheer.
For those "hard to buy for" on your long list,
we have some ideas we hope don't get missed!





From friends and neighbors to teachers and in-laws.
White elephant and colleagues to coaches and a boss.
Wine is a gift that you can confidently give,
 as one can drink it or serve it or simply regift.


When it comes to giving wine, you may be lucky enough to know your recipient's preferred wine.
If you know the type or color, here are some ideas:

If it's red - Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Chilean wine would be appreciated.

If it's rose - Grenache Rose, Pinot Noir Rose, or a Sangiovese Rose will certainly delight.

If it's white - Riesling, Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc will satisfy.

If it's sparkling - Cava, Cremant or a comfortable Prosecco will make them smile.

You can always gift wine that you personally enjoy ~ makes for simple shopping, yet includes a thoughtful touch.
Another wine buying tip: If points are listed for a bottle of wine, best quality choices are 85 points and higher.

Along with wine comes many wine accessories.
Some wine accessories are necessary, while some make wine time just a little more special.

Anything "wine" has become a popular gift all year round.

If shopping for wine seems intimidating, gifting a wine accessory is the perfect alternative.

Wine glasses and wine openers to wine totes and cheese boards make wonderful gifts as well. 






Happy Christmas Shopping From Sharing the Wine!


Friday, November 10, 2017

Thanksgiving Tips and Wine Ideas


"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." - G.K. Chesterton



Thanksgiving is a time for gatherings and reflection.

A perfect time to slow down and be present with family and friends, or even spending time with strangers.

Yours may involve travel or the preparation for guests to join you.

Traditions are honored and created.

We would like to help you simplify your wine list for Thanksgiving since it is almost here! 




There is enough happening during this time leading up to your big Thanksgiving celebration.
The last load you need to carry is the stress of which wines will you bring or serve on this holiday?
Whether you are a host or a guest, we think you will find our recommended list a breath of fresh air as the days are flying by.
These wines are chosen for their compatibility with the flavors of a traditional turkey feast.


Thanksgiving Wine List:


Pinot Noir ~ Look for Oregon wines first

Sweet Riesling 

Grenache

Dry Rose

Carmenere ~ Chile

Pinot Gris 

Zinfandel 

If serving or enjoying a vegetarian meal with Tofurkey, we recommend a California Pinot Noir, a Syrah or the versatile Riesling.



A Few Tips for a Smooth Thanksgiving Day:

Keep your white and rose wines chilled, and your reds cool.

Appetizers - if football is on or not!
Simplify and update your necessary serving trays.

Instead of canned yams, try a healthier sweet potato side dish:

(Recipe is for 8-10 people)

Dice up 4-5 Large Yams or Sweet Potatoes
Butter the inside of a 9 x 13 glass pan.
Add half of the diced sweet potato or yams.
Add 1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries.
Add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional).
Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, and cinnamon.
Melt 4 Tablespoons of real butter with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and drizzle over.
Add the remaining half of yams or potatoes.
Repeat layering with another 1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
Sprinkle more sea salt, black pepper, and cinnamon on top.
Melt 2-3 more Tablespoons of real butter and finish by adding this to the top layer.
Bake at 375 degrees for 75-90 minutes (depending on altitude).
Stir often. If potatoes or yams seem dry at all, add more butter.
You can add more pecans, raisins, cranberries.
Delicious side dish for Thanksgiving!

Designate wine stemware with wine charms or a variety of wine glasses to eliminate guest confusion.

Relax, enjoy, and be grateful!


"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie


Happy Thanksgiving to You 
From Sharing the Wine!


Friday, November 3, 2017

Building Your Wine Glass Collection

Building Your Wine Glass Collection





If you are enjoying wine then you already have some collection of wine glasses.

Is it time to spice up your wine glasses with more variety?

A variety of wine glasses exists for a reason and your experience and perspective clearly adds to the choices in your collection.

Overthinking in this category is very common.

It is, of course, personal preference in what you like to collect to use or collect to display.

But the historic idea of drinking specific wine from its proper glass remains strong for many wine lovers.

A wine glass is designed to help visualize your chosen grapes, smell their intended aromas, and maximize the wine's flavors and purposeful taste.

Red wine glasses are going to have larger bowls to better swirl and allow you to stick your nose right into the glass.
Depending on your favorite red wines, your wine glass collection may include a variety of red wine glasses only.  
We recommend a set of Bordeaux wine glasses. You will appreciate these for your Merlot and Cabernets, and enjoy the versatility of these wine glasses with your Rieslings, Prosecco and dry whites too.
We think you will fall in love with a big bowled wine glass for your other favorite reds with a set of either Burgundy or Pinot Noir wine glasses. 
These are also versatile for Chardonnay lovers.

Stemmed wine glasses are still popular as they look sophisticated, you can keep the heat of your hand and fingerprints away from the bowl. Most vintage or collector's wine glasses are stemmed.
Non-traditional stemless wine glasses continue to grow in popularity for many reasons. They are much harder to knock over, they require less storage space, and you can find the same bowl size benefits for red and white wine.

If you are a lover of white wine, your choice can be simplified as a standard white wine glass will do just fine. 
White wine glasses have smaller shaped bowls and stand shorter than red wine glasses, but are highly versatile to use for other red, rose, sparkling and even dessert wines as well.
Those who enjoy more Sauvignon blanc or Rieslings will find white wine glasses with a smaller bowl will do.
Full-bodied wines like Viognier and Chardonnay will taste much better in a large bowled vessel.

Vintage glasses are absolutely gorgeous, but keep in mind that if they're made of metal, color, stains, or etchings, that may affect your tasting experience due to an impaired visibility of the wine. 

If a glass of champagne is about to be poured, what comes to mind is the flute of course, but there much are better options!  

You can appreciate your bubbly even more with a champagne wine glass, or simply use a white wine glass for maximum enjoyment of the intriguing celebratory sparkling wine. 

Our recommendation for collecting champagne flutes - you could easily skip these - unless their slim look is appealing to your eye. 
You know how often you serve sparkling wine or champagne.
A champagne glass in a tulip or coupe style will be a wonderful addition to your collection as well as enhance your palate's enjoyment.
Or use your white wine glasses you already have and save space and money.

Versatile wine glasses are appreciated.
Red, white, rose or sparkling...your wine glass does matter.
Experience your favorite wines in standard wine or specific wine glasses. 
You will appreciate the differences.

Building your own wine glass collection is part of the wine journey.



Cheers!



Friday, October 27, 2017

50 Reasons to Drink Wine This Week


50 Reasons to Drink Wine This Week!
(The good, the bad and the ugly reasons)




It's Friday.
World Series is happening!
We don't HAVE to travel this weekend.
Plenty of wine on hand...it's calling.
Youngest just turned four...yeah! Goodbye to the threes!
Camper is winterized and tucked away for winter.
Must celebrate nature's gorgeous fall sunrises and sunsets!
Hockey Season! Thank you, NHL!
Teenager #2 is applying for a job.
New Will and Grace episodes to catch up on.

Continuing education hours complete.
No calls from the dean or principal this week!
Friends and family are healthy.
Toddlers.
Just raked 12 large bags of fallen leaves.
The oldest child just turned 18.
Car needs repairs again.
Neverending laundry.
October is flying by.
Office drama.

The shoe rack has gotten smaller.
The weather took a 48-degree turn and it is COLD!
NFL makes us drink.
Christmas is less than 2 months away!
Taxes.
Stepping on legos.
Monday is around the corner.
Constant dishes.
Need to refill the 'good' beer.
Someone ate the last of the cookies.

Spouses.
Must clean the garage.
Wine is just grapes, which are fruit, and we must have more fruit.
Washing hockey gear.
Goes perfectly when playing dinosaurs, blocks, hide and seek, cars or trains.
It's easier than working out.
We are thirsty.
Opening a bottle is always fun.
Four main light bulbs burned out in less than 24 hours.
The house might be haunted.

Teenagers.
Found lost favorite hoodie.
Paper cuts.
That first sip makes everything all better!
Discovered spilled fingernail polish.
More leaves are falling.
Blisters.
Deadlines were met.
Too many emails.
And the best reason to drink wine this week:  Because we can!!



Enjoy your weekend! 
Cheers!

Friday, October 13, 2017

If Calories Matter, Keep the Wine!


If Calories Matter, You Can Keep Your Wine!

Do you count your calories?



If calories are watched, there are various reasons why.
A common time to count calories for weight modification is for a specific event, like a wedding, reunion or vacation. 
The holiday or pre-summer season is also a motivating time of year to watch calories.
Some people have never and will never count them.

So if you do count them, you have your own personal WHY.

If you are also a wine lover, then we hope this information will assist you with your goals of watching calories and still enjoying your wine!

We the people indulge. We just do. 
We want, we get. 
We desire, we make it happen.
But when a wine is thrown under the bus for having too many calories...oh no!
This just isn't so!
We cringe when we hear, "I can't have any wine, there are too many calories."

Just for fun, let us take a look at this list of some popular food and beverages and their calories: 


Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte (380)
Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccino with Whip Cream (490)
Dutch Brother's 12-ounce Caramelizer (325)
Dutch Brother's 16-ounce Hot Chocolate with Whip Cream (345)
8 ounce Orange Juice (102)
Jamba Juice Large Mango-A-Go-Go Smoothie (500)
12 ounce Can of Coca-Cola (182)
12 ounces of Sam Adams Octoberfest (180)
12 ounce Corona Extra (148)
Medium bagel with cream cheese (320)
Dunkin Donuts Glazed donut (260) and with chocolate (340)
 Dunkin Donuts Glazed fritter (410)
Breakfast burrito average (400)
Taco Bell Breakfast Quesadilla (500)
Chick Fil A small french fries (310)
Chick Fil A large french fries (520)
Chick Fil A small milkshake - vanilla or chocolate (550)
Chick Fil A large milkshake - vanilla or chocolate (690)
McDonald's vanilla milkshakes:
  Small (530)    Medium (670)    Large (820)
Chipotle burrito (1000+)
Panda Express Orange chicken with fried rice bowl (900)
Subway 6 inch Meatball Marinara (480)
12 inch Turkey, Bacon, and Guacamole Sub (880)
Taco Bell Cheesy Bean and Rice burrito (430)
Taco Salad with Shell (900)
1 Tablespoon of Ranch Salad Dressing/Dipping Sauce Average (70)
Regular bag of M&M's (230)

It is now October and those cute, small, tempting snack-sized candies are already being offered in almost any business you walk into. 
This will continue until almost Easter time really.
So the goal is to be AWARE!
Aware of the number of calories found in those Fun Size or Snack Size candies!
Most of us have gone through the years where we grab one here and there throughout these months and not even realize how many extra calories we are consuming.
Here is a helpful list of most of the candies that you will encounter soon if not already.  
Remember these are the "fun or snack size" - not even the full bar or bag:


Calories in One SNACK or FUN Size Serving:

Snickers (84)
Baby Ruth (83)
3 Muskateers (64)
Nestle Crunch (60)
Milky Way (80)
M&Ms (73)
Peanut M&M's (90)
Heath (77)
1000 Grand (95)
Kit Kat (70)
Skittles (60)
Twix (80)
Butterfinger (100)
York Peppermint Patty (60)
Whoppers (32)
Junior Mints (50)
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (110)
Reese's Pieces (70)
Nerds (50)
Sour Patch Kids (45)
Payday (90)
Raisinets (67)
Tootsie Roll (140)
3 Mini Tootsie Rolls (70)
Tootsie Roll Lollipop (60)
Blow Pop (60)
Hersheys's Dark (42)
1 Hershey's Kiss (22)
Swedish Fish (50)
Almond Joy (80)
Mounds (80)
Twizzlers (46)

We are obviously advocates for a nice relaxing glass of wine or two :)
Here is the skinny on calories in vino:

Calories in Wine

A typical standard glass of wine is a 5-ounce pour.

Red Wine    Average is 125 calories per glass
White Wine   Average is 120 calories per glass
Dry wines on average are about 10 fewer calories per glass.

A 5-ounce pour of Merlot has 122 calories where Sauvignon Blanc has 119 calories.

A glass of Pinot Noir has approximately 120 calories where Chardonnay has 123 calories.

Looking an entire bottle of wine, which is 5 glasses of wine, your calories will look like this:

Bottle of Pinot Noir ~ 605 Calories

Bottle of Syrah ~ 610 Calories

Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon ~ 610 Calories

A Standard Bottle of Red Wine has Approximately 625 Calories

Bottle of Sauvignon Blanc ~ 593 Calories

Bottle of Chardonnay ~ 615 Calories

Bottle of Riesling ~ 590 Calories

A Standard Bottle of White Wine has Approximately 605 Calories


We believe that if you do count calories, you will definitely find that you have room for more wine than you imagined!

Cheers!!


Friday, October 6, 2017

Simplicity of Fall Wines

Fall Wines 

Autumn has definitely arrived with boldness and confidence!

This gorgeous time of year gives us the chance to wear our favorite fall clothing while we take in Mother Nature's beauty.

Color changes and leaf piles, tailgating and pumpkin patches, enjoying every day before winter arrives. 

Slow cookers and comfort foods come out strong, along with the excitement of trying new recipes to warm our souls.

It's time to revamp your wine list for this welcomed seasonal transition.




Butternut Squash   Maple   Apples   Pecans 

This is just some of the deliciousness that we all can enjoy this time of year.

Savory is the perfect description for the shift that happens in fall cooking.

Whether you are making your grandmother's stew or a hearty soup to a dish of flavorful pasta or buttery fish, tasty and warm is the common thread.

From stir-frys and seafood to vegetarian and vegan dishes and even desserts, we have the perfect wine suggestions for your fall meals!

Butternut squash soup, lobster, crab, chicken alfredo or apple pie all pair remarkably well with a Viognier or Roussanne.
Serve roast with Syrah, or your favorite Red Zinfandel with maple glazed meats or red sauce pasta.
You will find that your most versatile fall wines are Pinot Noir for the red while Chardonnay is your go-to white. Serve either of them with soups, stir-frys, butternut squash, pasta marinara, vegan dishes, scallops, turkey, apple and pecan pie.




Enjoy finding your own favorite fall wines as you try them all!

Keep a list of the wines you would repeat, and a list of those you would not.

Discovering new wines comes in handy for dinner parties and gift giving!

Your favorite wines will also make a terrific holiday addition, possibly a new tradition! 

We will offer simple tips throughout the year to help you create your year-long wine list of favorites.

Here is a Fall Wine List you can start with on your next wine shopping day.

_________________________________________________________________________________


White Wines:         Viognier               Chardonnay                   Roussanne 

                                                                           

Red Wines:             Pinot Noir            Red Zinfandel                Syrah


_________________________________________________________
 



Wishing You a Fabulous Autumn!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Cooking with Wine


When your recipe calls for wine, what do you use?




First of all, let’s get the obvious initial thought of using cooking wine out of the way.

Please do NOT use that cooking wine that you find at your grocery store, no matter what.
This type of cooking wine has been severely processed with amazingly high amounts of salt and additives – it will, unfortunately, ruin your meal.

Your selected recipe deserves the proper wine to allow your taste buds to thank your decision.

Some long-standing advice from chefs and wine connoisseurs has been to cook with wine you would drink. You can prove them right or wrong, but have fun doing it!

Create your meal with joy and relaxation so you can intuitively appreciate and enjoy the wine that you chose to flavor with.

"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach and use your head." – Julia Child

Absolutely Julia!

Keep it simple and try not to overthink your choice of vino.

When recipes call for a red or white wine without a hint for the meal, then all you have to do is experiment. Stay committed to the recipe! Don’t skip to another one that looks easier.

Most recipes want to give you the freedom to choose for your own palate, so please don’t be intimidated by that.

You will also come across recipes that have specific wine recommendations – and they are a pretty safe bet – unless they state a “cooking wine” as we mentioned in the beginning.


Helpful Tips for Choosing a Wine to Cook With


If your dish calls for red wine, start with some basic reds that contain low tannins such as a Pinot Noir, Burgundy or Merlot.

This is because the higher the tannins, the more you risk your dish turning out to be too bitter to tame.
The longer the wine is cooked with your meal, the less alcohol “taste” will be detected.  This goes for whites or reds. Your level of cooking with wine will evolve into an art, your palate will guide you to gratitude each time.

If your dish calls for white wine, choose dry and remember that white wines already contain low tannin levels.

Your dish will highly approve of white Bordeaux, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry Riesling.

Select any wine containing recipe and have fun with it!

"The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile." – Julia Child



Friday, September 22, 2017

How Does Wine Affect Sleep?

Two Life Essentials: Wine and Sleep


How do they mix?




Does wine really promote sleep?




Let's break this down and look at what is involved with sleep and how wine is connected to our nighttime slumber.

First of all, here's a tidbit of anatomy and physiology.

In our brain lies a tiny but powerful little gland called the pineal gland. Its main purpose is to secrete melatonin for the regulation of your sleep pattern. 

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in animals and regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Melatonin is also produced in plants where it functions as the first line of defense against oxidative stress.
Notably, high melatonin concentrations have been measured in popular beverages such as coffee, tea, wine, and beer, and crops including corn, rice, wheat, barley, and oats.(Wikipedia)


With this information, one would assume that having a glass of wine would increase melatonin enough to help you sleep like a baby.
Due to certain grape skins containing higher levels of melatonin, it is reasonable to think that wine improves sleep.
Wine definitely acts as a sedative on our nervous system, one of the main reasons a glass of wine is poured upon walking in the door or at happy hour after a long day at work. 
RELAX is our commonly spoken lingo as if demanding ourselves and those around us to do just that and we know it's easier to do with a glass of vino.

Seem too good to be true? Possibly.
Obviously, there are other factors involved as the hours unfold as one prepares for bed and attempts to get a restful nights sleep.

How many glasses have you had?
Each person has their "sweet spot" for any altering substances, from medications to alcohol. 
Knowing your relaxed buzz state and realizing when you have had your limit is key for allowing wine to help promote your sleep. 
The 2 drink rule is very ideal for most individuals...this allows you to relax and actually sleep very well.

How much water and food have you had?
Feeling that initial sip of wine hit your stomach after a long day can be bittersweet. 
Drinking water along with your wine and staying hydrated all day long can only help your system handle the alcohol to your advantage.
Eating is equally important so you minimize or eliminate any negative effects.

Are there any underlying health conditions?
If you experience uncomfortable symptoms after drinking wine you may have an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.
Common symptoms for an overtaxed liver are night sweats, restless sleep, irritability, rashy skin, headaches and severe cravings for wine.
Supporting your liver is critical for supporting your body's ability to detox.
Add fresh lemon to your water every day and drink herbal liver teas including green tea. Pay attention to your body so you can drink successfully.

How late are you drinking wine?

The earlier you consume wine in the evening the better chance it will positively affect your sleep.
Drinking wine right up until bed will interfere with your sleep cycles and you will more than likely notice a restless, disturbed sleep...even if it appears deep.
Dialing in what time you need to stop drinking is critical if you want restful, productive sleep.
Let's remember that melatonin is stimulated by darkness and certain red wines, but light and too much alcohol suppress its release. 
An example of this is how you can work a night shift or travel late, your pineal gland is very sensitive and obedient to your habits.
Your lifestyle heavily influences when your pineal can release the sleep-promoting hormone. 
This is clearly why sleep masks and blackout curtains for daytime or restless sleepers can be a fantastic health saving solution.
The screen light on any device (phone, iPad, computer, iPod, etc) also interrupts the pineal gland as well. 

So it makes sense that if you struggle with falling or staying asleep, the combination of sipping wine while you are staring at a screen right before bed is not going to help you.

Are your stress levels mild or severe?

Each happy hour or evening is different...a variety of emotions can be at play anytime. 
It comes down to are you relaxed or stressed? 
Like a grapefruit, when squeezed, what comes out? Grapefruit juice.
When you are squeezed, meaning stressors, what is coming out?
If you are calm at the core, drinking wine will be beneficial.
If your stress levels are severe, be aware that drinking wine or any alcohol can increase your negative moods.

What type of wine are you consuming?

Ever notice that after drinking certain red wines you literally feel like you could go to sleep?
It's because the grape skins of some red wines have a significantly higher concentration of melatonin.
So if you want are consuming wine in the evening to promote sleep, try one of these red wines first.

Here is a list of wines with the highest melatonin content:

Nebbiolo
Croatina
Sangiovese
Marzemino
Cabernet Sauvignon 
(Cabernet Sauvignon has 75 times more melatonin than Cabernet Franc)
Cabernet Franc
Merlot
Barbera

Wine can absolutely affect your sleep.
Now you have some tips on how to dial in your favorite kind to do the trick.


Cheers and Good Night!