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Great Grapes Wine Festival

4 May

by Green Gourmet L

What do you do when it’s sunny, 70 degrees, spring time, and Saturday? Drink wine of course! And what’s more fun than drinking wine? Drinking lots of wine. You can sample up to 200 different wines at the Reston, VA wine festival. If you missed it this weekend, not to worry. The Great Grapes festival will be back this way in the fall (Sept 10th and 11th). Don’t live anywhere close to Virginia? The festival also stops in Cockeysville, MD and Charlotte/Cary, NC. Check out the website for more info on the festival.

Now onto the good stuff…the wine! There were two wineries that we liked the best:

Granted, we didn’t have the time (or the stomach) to sample all 200 wines, so we had to pick and choose based on eye-catching signs and proximity to our blankets. Each tent gave about 5-9 samples, which were a mixture of whites, reds, and some sweet wines. The nice thing about drinking local wines (similar to eating from local farmers) is that you’re giving money back to the community and supporting small, local businesses. Many of these smaller vineyards offer tours, wine dinners, or even a chance to stay overnight. What a fun weekend trip! Here are the two wines that we loved:

Chardonnay Reserve 2008

Grown at an altitude of 1700 feet, the 2008 Chardonnay Reserve is a wonderful wine with a toasty vanilla nose, a delightfully light mid palate filled with citrus and apples and a subtle oak finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2007

Tight nose opens to feature hints of plum and other dark stone fruits. Upon the palate, this wine widens to include blackberry and raspberry tones, leading to a hint of anise on the finish. Slightly lighter body and delicate tannins follow a more Italian winemaking tradition and are indicative of the 2007 harvest. Enjoy with braised or grilled beef or lamb.

Cheers y’all, and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets! Thanks given to Matt Higgins for the great pictures.


Inexpensive Sparkling Wines for New Years Eve

29 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

The Green Gourmets are at it again with our picks for some great (and inexpensive) wines for your New Years Eve celebration. There always needs to be some bubbles involved when it comes to ringing in a new year. But how do you choose which sparkling wine would work for you? Here are a few options that could suit your soiree:

Minoetto Il Prosecco

Prosecco is an Italian wine that has grown in popularity as a cheaper alternative to Champagne. Proseccos can be either dry or fruity and contain about 12% alcohol by volume. Il Prosecco has light flavors of peach and apricot and is a nice balance of fruity and dry. This wine can be found for $10-12 in many wine/grocery stores.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Rosé

Rosés have become very trendy in restaurants recently. Technically, Rosés are an “unfinished” red wine;  the wine goes through the red wine making process, but is stopped before extracting too many red wine characteristics. The Blanc de Noirs is made of a combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, which creates a beautiful pinkish hue. Flavors of strawberries, black cherry, and vanilla. This is a splurge bottle around $19, but it’s worth it for a special occasion.

Mumm Napa Valley Brut Prestige

Here’s the Californian Champagne you’ve been dreaming of. This was recommended by a friend who has great taste in wine. Even though I haven’t tried it yet, this might be the one that will grace my presence for my anniversary (thanks!). It’s a bit of a splurge at $20, but all the reviews say it’s worth it. And you’re worth it too! The Wine Enthusiast says, “#48 on the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010: Crisp and elegantly styled, with floral apple and yeasty spice aromas that lead to layered flavors of baked pear, citrus and creamy vanilla. Drink now.” I think I will.

Punkt Genau Sparkling Gruner Veltliner

This is a sparkling Gruner Veltliner, which is a rarity. If you have never tried a Gruner Veltliner, you should definitely look for it next time you are in a wine store. It’s an Austrian wine with white fruit flavors (think apples, peaches, floral but not too fruity). It tends to be light and crisp, and with bubbles it’s about to rival my favorite Prosecco. And for around $15-18 bottle, totally worth trying!

Vinho Verde Espiral

I drank mine from a champagne flute.This is a fantastic summer and spring wine, but could also be a nice, light way to celebrate if you don’t want alot of alcohol. This is not necessarily a sparkling wine, but it has an effervescence to it that still feels festive. It has light, tart citrus flavors and is clean and crisp. Very easy to drink, and you don’t have to worry because the alcohol content is only 9%. And huge bonus, it’s less than $5. Look for this at Trader Joes.

Happy New Year Fellow Green Gourmets! We are excited to share more recipes and our passion with you in 2011!

Holiday Wines for around $10

13 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

When I was living in Columbia, SC, I started a wine club. There were so many nights when I felt myself staring at the same 3 bottles of wine at the grocery store. And I figured, if there are enough other wino-s out here in Cola who want to learn a little more about good wines, maybe we could get together and drink once in a while. Well, it worked! And we had (and they continue to have) some great times and drink some great wines.

I continue to want to find good, inexpensive wines that are perfect for any occasion. Wine is always a good thing to pick up for a dinner party, a hostess gift, or as a thank you for taking care of my cat (!). I am a fan of “3 buck chuck” from Trader Joes on week nights, but on weekends and with friends it’s time to step it up.  Since it’s the holidays, the time is right to start popping open those zinfandels and pinots and malbecs (oh my!).  Here’s what I’m obsessed with at the moment. And good news, they are all around $10-12…can’t go wrong with that! All of these wines were found at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and our neighborhoood DC wine shop.

Wily Jack Zinfandel

This wine gives huge bang for the buck. It’s a Zinfandel, so lots of jammy plum and blackberry flavors. The bottle says you can also taste sweet vanilla and toasty flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg spices. Perfect to pair with turkey/chicken, pizza, tomato-based pasta dishes and stews.

Santa Isabela Malbec

Brilliant ruby red in color, this wine gives flavors of plum, anise, raspberry jam, and black cherry. Choose a malbec to go with your spicy ethnic dishes like Mexican, Italian, and Cajun. This also stands up to hearty meats like lamb and sausage.

Castle Rock Pinot Noir

This wine is elegant and medium bodied, with a smooth and silky texture. It has flavors of black cherry, plum, and spice. Pairs well with lighter meats, salmon, and grilled veggies.

Note: They also make a Cabernet that I found at Trader Joes for also around $7. Bonus!

Castle Rock Cabernet


And for something sparkling, I found this delicious Cava at Whole Foods for under $15. Perfect for making champagne cocktails or just sipping on Christmas Eve.

1+1=3 Cava

Cava is an excellent sparkling wine to drink for any occasion. It is typically cheaper than Prosecco and Champagne but still has a nice, crisp taste. Cava is a great wine for appetizers and desserts, but you can also eat it with light fish, seafood, salad, and pasta. 

Have fun drinking your favorite holiday wines! And don’t forget to tell them you read about it on Green Gourmets!