I am afraid by saying it out loud that I am going to jinx it, but patio season feels like it may have arrived in Boston. . . fingers crossed that it stays! I have been longing for warm evenings outside on our patio and on the boat, and I recently tried a couple of wine samples that are the perfect additions to the season.

Patio wines should be easy to drink all by themselves, paired with sundresses and flip flops, but also delicious with summery foods.

Mas Janeil Hauts de Janeil Syrah Rosé 2015

Patio season obviously means copious quantities of rosé, and  Mas Janeil Hauts de Janeil Syrah Rosé 2015 from Languedoc-Roussillon is simply delicious. This blend of Syrah and Grenache is bursting with fresh berry notes and offers a beautiful ballet slipper hue. It really brings the acid that both refreshes and adds to a meal, especially one that is prepared on the grill. This wine would be perfect with grilled shrimp but also has enough personality to pair with grilled chicken, veggies, and even steak, because it’s summer, and everything is just better.

grilling

Food on the grill and summer wines basically equal heaven for me.

Dopff & Irion Crustacés 2014, If you’re looking for the perfect seafood white wine, look no further than Alsace.

Dopff & Irion Crustacés 2014

Now, I am not one to judge a wine by its label, but come on. . . this is the perfect addition to your summer clambake! This blend of Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc is light and mineral-forward, with hints of apricot and a bit of acidity. The label may make it part of the decor, but what’s inside makes it a perfect pairing with shellfish (Add a splash from your glass to your steamed clams!) and other seafood, including a hot buttered lobster roll, of course.

 

steamers

 

Both of these wines were provided as review samples; all opinions are my own.

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While we enjoy rosé year-round in our house and definitely sipped pink wine on our recent California trip, there is something about cracking open that first bottle of rosé when spring finally arrives in Boston.

We marked that occasion with a sample bottle I had recently received from Spanish DO Utiel Requena. More information on this region is at the end of my blog post.

 

Aula Bobal

This Aula Bobal Rosado wine is from Bodegas Coviñas and is 100% Bobal. Bobal is a dark-skinned grape that is native to Utiel Requena.

The first thing I loved about this wine was the color, of course. I love all things pink, and the vibrant color of this wine and the pretty label are just lovely additions to a summer dining table. This would be a perfect wine for a wedding or baby shower. I am picturing  baskets and baskets of bottles of beautiful pink wine. .  .

We opened this wine right after a long walk, and I was glad I had it chilled. It is perfect (at least for me) right out of the fridge, cool and refreshing. This is definitely not a shrinking violet of rosé wines. I would go as far as to say that it is bold and bright, with notes of strawberry and watermelon, not sweet and not super acidic, just really fresh and balanced but also with a richness about it, if that makes any sense. While this is the perfect addition to your summer wine list, it’s a rosé you could easily drink in the winter; it definitely has structure and flavor with a bit of oomph!

Aula Bobal

It’s also the perfect grilling companion. We had spice and citrus marinated chicken thighs with grilled mushrooms and peppers, and while the wine’s freshness and fruity notes went with the citrus and peppers really well, that bit of boldness it has made it a match for the stronger flavors of the mushrooms and meat. It was the perfect spring dinner!

Grilling

 

Utiel and Requena’s winemaking culture prides itself on tradition with over 2700 years of history. Archaeological digs in this region have proven that the production of wine and its commercialization have continued uninterrupted since the beginning of the Iberian age until present day.  Bobal is the signature grape of this area. Utiel-Requena includes 9 municipalities where you can find a range of micro-climes that help to make different kinds of wines to express the unique terroir found in the region.

 

This wine was provided to me as a review sample. All opinions are my own.

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Welcome to paradise! We made our now annual visit to Luquillo, Puerto Rico last month, and it was as perfect as we remembered.

Read all about last year’s trip to Puerto Rico here:

Colorful Old San Juan

Luquillo’s Kiosks

Outdoor Adventures in Puerto Rico

Luquillo, Puerto Rico, A Tropical Paradise

Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn We had a shorter amount of time for travel this year, so we decided to stay in Luquillo, with no plans other than sitting on the beach and swimming. The Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn was a perfect, beachy home base. I didn’t take many photos, but we loved our incredibly clean and comfy room, especially the balcony and the sound of the crashing waves.

Breakfast was free and delicious (coconut cream stuffed French toast!), as was WiFi, and the location really couldn’t be beat for our purposes. The staff was friendly and warm, and the office had beach towels, boogie boards for rent, as well as stuff like beers and snacks for sale. They provided us with a ton of information and recommendations on the area and generally made us feel right at home.

Luquillo Sunrise Views on views on views

Luquillo

Despite the comfy-ness of our bed, I slept as poorly as I always do, which meant I got to capture that famous Luquillo sunrise. Just me, the waves, and the rising sun at 5:50 am. . .

Luquillo Sunrise

Being up early meant I had time to get work done before our day truly started. Try as I might to take days off, I just can’t seem to.  It was nice to get out of the way and to mostly have the whole day ahead for relaxing. Luquillo Beach

Our days in Luquillo basically looked like this. We sunbathed (with loads of SPF), drank cheap local beers and fresh coconut water, swam, rode waves on our rented boogie boards, and that’s about it.


Medalla Light

 

Luquillo Beach

Luquillo surfing

Boardriders Luquillo

 Boardriders

We spent the rest of our time primarily at Boardriders, which was one of our favorite places on our last trip. Between the great cocktails, delicious food, and stunning views, plus laid back music and a bohemian vibe, Boardriders is right up my alley, and I miss it a ton!

banana pancakes

Banana pancakes and a BLT Benedict for brunch, accompanied by just a few passionfruit mimosas. .  . brunch We also chowed down on some of the best ribs we’ve ever had, along with tuna bites and multiple tuna poke bowls. Every bite we have eaten in Boardriders has been phenomenal.

poke bowl

We also enjoyed plenty of rum drinks, live music, beautiful sunsets, people-watching in this sleepy seaside community, and of course, the below gorgeousness.

La Pared Beach

Luquillo Puerto Rico

I love Puerto Rico!

 

Terruno

We ventured out of our little neighborhood briefly one evening to go to the kiosks, where we had great food and terrible service at Terruno. It was one of our favorites last year, and we actually kind of regretted not going to Boardriders instead!

Degree 18 Juice Bar

We didn’t plan on going to El Yunque Rainforest again, but after a few days of a ton of sun, heading into a dense, dark forest was just the thing we needed. We stopped at a beautiful new juice bar, Degree 18, which was near the road to the rainforest, and we hydrated with fresh fruit and veggie smoothies. . . with maybe just a touch of Don Q rum. . .

We absolutely loved this little gem, cats and dog and great music making it a lovely place to spend a sunny Monday morning!

El Yunque

El Yunque El Yunque was cool and fresh and dim, quenching our sun-baked skin and leaving us once again in awe of its beauty. What a beautiful world we live in!

El Yunque

El Yunque

We had the best time in Luquillo. It’s an easy JetBlue flight from Boston to San Juan, with a 45 minute drive after, all on quick main highways. For us, it’s the perfect place to relax and reconnect, but with all of the activities in the area and some calm beaches, it’s also great for families.

sunset

Until next time, Puerto Rico. . . we love you!

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