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Winter whites. I wish I could wear them, but with me being generally accident-prone year-round, and with the dirty, wintry conditions of city-living,  they don’t make it to my wardrobe. Winter white wines, however, are more than welcome in our home, and I love to have a chilled, hearty white wine with a roasted chicken or other cozy meal. For recipes, please visit my recipe post page.  Today’s wine of the week, like last week’s was enjoyed at my favorite Galway wine bar, Sheridan’s. If you ever visit Galway, definitely give it a try!

Domaine de Coussergues Chardonnay Viognier

Tasting notes for this Domaine de Coussergues Chardonnay Viognier blend actually call it a summer wine, and while I can see that, I think it’s perfect for colder weather. The Chardonnay gives it a crisp acidity and citrusy notes, but it’s the Viognier that makes it stand up, giving it that weighty mouth feel that I love most about Viognier. Baked apricot and mango, big, forward, ripe fruit make this wine pack a flavor punch with a lingering finish. I loved it and loved that, when in Europe, I am better at trying European wines, where at home we tend to drink a lot of wines from the US. One of my favorite parts of tasting wine is discovery of a new favorite in my glass or a new place I want to visit.

Don’t limit your wine pairings to what other people  might find seasonally appropriate; enjoy what you like year-round!

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Tags: chardonnay, Viognier, wine, wine and food, wine bar, wine of the week, wine tasting, Wine Wednesday, winter whites

I was recently contacted by the PR agency for Vine Brook Tavern in Lexington regarding their series of wine classes. They hold a class monthly with the focus changing each month, and the class last night was Chardonnay Around the World.

Vine Brook Tavern

Classes start at 7:30 p.m., but we decided to get to the restaurant early for some food at the bar. It was hard to choose from a really delicious looking menu, but we decided to be healthy-ish with two salads and a pizzetta. Of course, after the class we split a burger at the bar.

heirloom tomato and burrata salad

Heirloom tomatoes were bursting with sweet summery goodness, paired with one of the best partners a tomato can have, creamy burrata.

cauliflower salad

Even better was the shaved cauliflower salad, a healthy and flavor-packed mix of kale, quinoa, carrots, beets, Brussels, with ginger sesame vinaigrette. Our unhealthy splurge was the lobster pizzetta, which was a delicious bread-like dough topped with bacon cream, caramelized onions, and lobster meat.

lobster pizzetta

After dinner we headed upstairs to the class, where we had   six glasses and a tasting sheet set out for us.

Chardonnay tasting   

The restaurant owner guided us through some information on Chardonnay and how the way it is made varies in different parts of the world, then we blind tasted the following:

Charles Krug, Carneros, Napa

Talbott, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey

Dominique Cornin, Macon Villages

JJ Vincent, Pouilly Fuisse

Hobbs, Felino, Vinos-Cobos, Mendoza, Argentina

There was also a Sauvignon Blanc in there! It was very easy to pick out, with its grapefruit, grass, and mineral notes. I wasn’t as adept at figuring out the others, unfortunately, and got a couple wrong. It became easier to tell the wines apart on the second round and after we knew some more information about each specific wine, such as whether or not they had undergone malolactic fermentation and if they were aged in oak or not. My favorite wine of the night was the JJ Vincent Pouilly Fuisse which was light, crisp, and very acidic, perfect for the humid summer evening. I have to say though, I liked them all.

The class was fun and informative and actually really helpful in learning to taste wine. It was a good group, unafraid to call out the tastes and smells each person was getting from the wines. Classes are monthly and cost $30/person.

I attended the class as a guest of Vine Brook Tavern. All opinions are my own.

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Tags: chardonnay, Dining out, wine, wine events, wine tasting

Happy Travel Tuesday! How is everyone? I have missed this space as it has has definitely taken a back seat to work life and summer fun these days. I have so much catching up to do, but most days after a 12 hour work day, marathon training run, gardening, and attempting to eat healthy, I just want to curl up on the patio with a good book. Weekends have been full of seeing friends, and beach, boat, and pool time and little else, meaning our poor house is a mess as it tends to be every summer. I am definitely still traumatized by winter; I had  nightmare about it last night. I want to squeeze out every drop of sunshine.

Still I have so much I want to write about, and I have missed this space! I am still mapping out posts from my recent work trip to Sonoma County, and today’s features a new favorite winery that you must visit if you head to Sonoma or Napa.

Ram’s Gate Winery is an architectural and natural masterpiece, set at the gateway of Napa and Sonoma amongst gorgeous hills and vineyards, capped off by perfect blue sky. 

Ram's Gate Winery

Every inch of the winery has been designed with incredible attention to detail and taking into account the views and the light that this location is bathed in. I loved how, upon arrival, we could see right through to the other side of the building and out to the hills. The photo doesn’t capture even 10% of how amazing it was.


Ram's Gate Winery

As we took our tour, each room brought more ooh’s and aah’s. From the barrel room to the various tasting areas to the chef’s kitchen, each space is meant for entertaining and education. I loved how each corner brought a new seating area or something different; this place is perfect for group get togethers or small tastings as a result.

Ram's Gate Winery    

 Ram's Gate Winery As we traveled through the winery to the outside, the beauty just kept coming. Nestled above the vines, the property really boasts some pretty views.

Ram's Gate vineyards


Carneros Chardonnay

And just as the property delights with details and finesse, so does the wine. It was a hot and sunny summer morning when we visited, and a cold splash of bright, tropical Carneros Chardonnay was a welcome treat for our walk around. Ram’s Gate’s wines reflect their unique sense of place, and Carneros Chardonnay is beautiful.

Carneros Chardonnay

Our tour concluded with a tasting of three Chardonnays and three Pinot Noirs, grapes the Carneros area specializes in. As always, it was fun to taste through the same grape grown in different places to note the differences created by the conditions in each location. Ram’s Gate makes Pinot Noir in a range, from the cool climate Carneros region to Northern Russian River, and they really pride themselves on the knowledge and craft of those wines, highlighting the characteristics driven by terroir. As their website says, they like to get specific about where the grapes come from; they can pin it down to the actual row the grapes came from.

wine tasting

Ram’s Gate is a true experience not to be missed. It is open by appointment only, so be sure to check their website and call before your travels. I can’t wait to bring my husband there when we visit later this summer.

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Tags: Carneros, chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Travel, wine, wine tasting

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