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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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Tags: rose, Rosé season, seafood, wine, wine pairings, Wine Wednesday

My love affair with Vermentino continues, thanks to recent Sardinian wine events. A while back, there was a day on a boat with Santa Maria La Palma tasting some absolutely beautiful Sardinian wines. A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of a delicious wine lunch with Vigne Surrau at Select Oyster Bar, cementing my desire to wander around Sardinia on our trip to Italy this coming summer. We have a wedding in Tuscany in July and are hoping to tack on another destination. We’ve both done Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, and the beautiful Le Marche and Abruzzo regions (BEST wine tasting day ever), so Sardinia is looking like a real possibility.

Okay, enough of our travels for now.

Back to the wine. . . Vigne Surrau wine lunch Warm and charming hosts from Vigne Surrau welcomed us into a cozy space in the back of Select Oyster Bar, wine and information awaiting our arrival. Learning about where wine is grown is always fascinating to me, especially when it is on an island like Sardinia, and all of the conditions of the island affect the grapes. Surrau’s vineyards are in Gallura in the northern part of Sardinia, and they are directly affected by the Mistral wind and the granite earth and clay where they grow. Their website says “Nature imitates art and man pick it”, a concept I found so beautiful as the wines truly were works of art created by nature.

Sardinia is home to incredible Vermentino, and that’s what we started our lunch with.

BRANU Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G.2015

Lemony and with a great, food-friendly acidity and freshness, this wine’s stainless steel fermentation means that the flavors are not influenced by oak or anything else. This wine was like sunshine and a day at the beach, but has enough body to be a winter white, we all agreed.

SCIALA Vermentino di Gallura D.O.C.G. 2015

This wine is a blend of the best Vermentino and aged on its lees, making it feel like a more substantial wine. Less lemon and more pineapple/mango/minerals than the BRANU.

Sardinian wine

 

 

select oyster bar

While we learned about Vigne Surrau, we also indulged in perfect pairings of the seafood that Select Oyster Bar is known for. Heavenly salmon crudo and Vermentino are quite possibly the perfect pairing. This menu was clearly planned keeping both the food and wine in mind.

salmon crudo

 Vermentino

As we moved onto our second course and the red wine, I deviated from the seafood menu because there was AVOCADO TOAST. I’m sorry, but I just can’t say no to that. Last sips of Vermentino cut through the creamy fattiness of the avocado and brightened it up in the best way, while my first sips of Cannonau added a bit of spice to the pairing.

avocado toast

As I mentioned in my last post on Sardinian wines, Cannonau makes for a beautiful, light red that can be enjoyed year-round. We compared the SINCARU and the Riserva, two different vintages, and noted similarities and differences. As simplistic as it sounds, both were just so delicious. The Riserva is aged in Slovenian oak which gives it a fuller body and richer texture, and I also noticed a slight hint of saline or minerals on this wine. Truth be told, the 2014 was my favorite of the two because of the spicy notes. . . I could see it being perfect for a casual pizza night in front of the fire.

SINCARU Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. 2014
SINCARU RESERVE Cannonau di Sardegna D.O.C. Riserva 2013

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vigne surrauFor the final course and wine, I went back to seafood, a steaming bowl of clams with chorizo, I think the key component of pairing with the wine.

BARRIU I.G.T. Isola dei Nuraghi 2013

This blend of Cannonau, Syrah, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon was big and bold, notes of baking spices and pepper along with stewed fruit. It was so cozy, and while you might not think a red would go with clams, the flavors in the broth along with the salinity of the clams really worked with the wine’s beautiful characteristics.

sauteed clams  

This wine lunch was a delicious and educational way to spend an afternoon. Thank you to Vigne Surrau for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston, events, Sardinia, sardinian wine, seafood, wine, wine and food pairing, wine blog, wine events, wine tasting

When it comes to making it to blogger events, I have been a big slacker lately. Being up to my ears in work and working from home make it easy for me to work into the evening and beyond, and even if I do finish a bit early, my tendency has been to either take a virtual Barre & Soul class (client) or sink into a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine and a book for a few precious moments. 2016 has been a crazy year.

But I love and miss the networking that goes with blogger events, and when I was invited to Ocean Prime for a social media tasting, I jumped at the chance and am so glad I did.

truffle popcorn

I arrived early (always) and snagged corner seats at the bar for me and my handsome date. We had a spot right next to Ocean Prime’s excellent live music, reason alone to make a return visit. The bar itself was just gorgeous, and the service super friendly. To go with my glass of Chandon bubbles, I received a complimentary bowl of truffle popcorn; I love a good bar snack, especially with sparkling wine!

Ocean Prime Boston

Once it was time to head to one of Ocean Prime’s private rooms for the main event, I coveted their wine walls and wondered what it might be like to have this in my house. Love.

wine wall

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The event itself was “Eat, Drink & Be Social” and a chance for us to mingle with other social media fanatics while sampling cocktails and seafood.

martini glassesketel one

We enjoyed a cocktail demonstration, learning how to make Ocean Prime’s most popular cocktail, Berries and Bubbles, which was just slightly too sweet for me, but tasty nevertheless.

Ocean Prime cocktails

And it’s pretty! Dry ice adds a dramatic flair. I could see this cocktail being the perfect signature drink for an event. If Sex and the City took place in modern day Boston, the Berries and Bubbles cocktail would be the new Cosmo.

berries and bubbles

Every inch of space at Ocean Prime was gorgeous, and if it had been less busy I would have taken more photos. I did love this fireplace in the private room; what a brilliant idea in this cold and windy city of ours!

Ocean Prime Boston It was the food that won me over the most. We were spoiled with towering mountains of fresh, delicious seafood paired with perfect sauces. The crab legs and oysters were my favorites.

seafood tower I am not usually a calamari fan, but one of the servers said it was a must-try item, and I found that it was to-die-for delicious. Sweet chili sauce and tender calamari, not rubbery like it so often is, were mixed with candied cashews and veggies for some great flavor.

calamari

This truffled Deviled Egg was one of the best I have ever had. I could have eaten the entire plate of them, and since it was set down on my table, it was a possibility for a few minutes. Don’t worry, I shared.

truffle deviled egg A beautiful sushi display was also part of the feast, and every piece I had was amazing.

I love that Ocean Prime has a sushi menu and that it’s really good sushi; sometimes I am in the mood for sushi but also for other types of food and feel limited by sushi restaurants’ menus. Ocean Prime gives you the best of both worlds.

sushi

 

sushi    sushi

I had a great time meeting some new bloggers and the team at Ocean Prime. Everyone was genuinely nice and welcoming, and I loved the vibe at the restaurant, which felt special but not stuffy. It wasn’t as loud as some of the similar restaurants I have been to, and it felt like a place that could both be a regular stop for after-work cocktails or a destination for a birthday or anniversary. The live music several days a week is an added nice touch, and you can bet you will see me at the bar again soon.

Thanks to Marlo Marketing for the invitation and to Ocean Prime for hosting us!

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Tags: Boston, Boston blogger, Boston Food Bloggers, cocktails, events, seafood, wine

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