Monthly Archives: May 2012

It’s Just So…Easy!: 2008 Hugel & Fils- Gentil “Hugel”

I cannot begin to praise the wines from the Alsace region enough. After a long, hectic day, I opened a bottle of Hugle & Fils Gentil “Hugel”. It is a lovely blend of the white grapes grown there: Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Sylvaner, and it is like the warm, gentle hug you need after a trying day. Spiced pear and honey on the nose; fresh and crisp on the palate with a zinger of lemon zest and minerality. It’s light, it’s refreshing, and much like Lionel Richie and the Commodores, it’s ‘Easy.’ It would be so perfect with sushi, or any type of shellfish, but tonight, it’s just perfect company as I unwind from the day.

If you are not familiar with the Alsace region of France and their wines (and I was guilty of the same until just recently) you need to be. Let me repeat, you NEED to make yourself familiar with them. Some of the greatest jewels of the wine world are buried there, and you won’t have to pay a king’s ransom to enjoy them. Even if you’re not a white wine fan (and I have been a confirmed red drinker for YEARS), you will not be able to put your glass down.

Which reminds me…it’s time for me to pick up my glass again and enjoy…cheers!

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make….Sangria!

It is only recently that I have begun sipping Rose wines again. There are some INCREDIBLY good, refreshing, food friendly, delectable libations in a glass out there. More often than not I have been opening up bottles of the ‘pink stuff’ that has made my tastebuds dance in joyous celebration.

Today, unfortunately, was not one of those days.

Instead, I opened a bottle out of California from a producer who shall remain nameless in this particular posting, took a sip, and it brought tears to my eyes…for all of the wrong reasons. It reminded me why I swore off roses so long ago. Sickeningly sweet, fruits bordering on rancid, no balance whatsoever. Not the joy I contemplated from a rose blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre.

It wasn’t a particularly expensive wine, so pouring it out wouldn’t have hurt much more than my wounded palate and pride, but the words of my dear departed Gram popped into my head, saying, ‘Sheral, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.’

Okay, I’m lying…she would have said, ‘screw this…open up the brandy’, which is actually what popped in my head and made me think of creating art from this garbage I found heaped into my glass.

I set the opened bottle of rose aside, and started piecing together the ingredients for a little Corked Cowgirl Rose Sangria recipe. After soaking peaches, oranges, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries for an hour in a quarter cup of sugar and healthy doses of generic Triple Sec, Hiram Walker Peach Brandy, and the cheapest Peach Schnaaps I could find, I filled the pitcher with ice, dumped the fruit goodness into the bottom, poured in a can of Schweppes Ginger Ale, and dumped what I normally would have called ‘pink poison’ into the mix.

Suddenly, the clouds broke and a choir of angels began to sing ‘hallelujah’ from the heavens. Absolutely magnificent and a perfect summer sipper.

My friends, this is just more proof that the grape is absolutely the most magical fruit ever to be created. Even if you don’t care much for one incarnation of it, you’re sure to find a way to make it work for you with a little imagination. Don’t hesitate to experiment and enjoy…if you find yourself presented with a bottle you don’t care for, pour it over meat and use it as a flavorful marinade, doctor it up with whatever other inexpensive spirits and fruits you might have, but don’t necessarily scratch it off your list.

If at first you don’t succeed…sip, and sip again. Perhaps your ‘grape’ is more of a social butterfly and won’t truly shine until you pair it up with other ‘friends’ for a ‘party’…in my case, a Sangria party.



Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Roses, The Perfect Summertime ‘Flower’: 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec

After a long, productive, and exciting week of wine education, I arrived home just in time for the weekend with so many thoughts and ideas pouring through my mind that I knew there was only one thing I could do…

…and that was to set it all aside and relax with a little BBQ.

I arrived at our friends’ home armed with a few bottles of 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose Malbec out of the Mendoza region of Argentina. As I opened the bottle and asked who would like a glass, I was met with resistance on all sides.

The men assured me they would never in a million years drink, let alone enjoy, a ‘pink chick drink.’ The women of the group objected with a resounding, ‘we don’t like those heavy, dry, red wines.’ I simply smiled, poured a mouthful into a glass for each of them and said, ‘You don’t like this type of wine? Prove it.’

Both men and women peered into their glasses, suspiciously eyeing the deep rose color/faded red color, and caught the scent of fresh strawberries and mild spice on the nose. Then came the moment of truth, the sip of strawberries and bright cherries mixing with that same subtle spice. Not too dry, not too sweet…balanced and refreshing. Not some thin, fruity little beverage. Not a heavyweight that bullies your tongue into submission. Just a perfectly wonderful companion in a glass.

The women smiled and said, ‘hey this is pretty good.’ The men, shocked, and trying to maintain their manly composure quietly commented that it wasn’t what they expected…while pouring more into their glasses.

Once I knew I had their interest, it was time to hook them.

I encouraged them to take a bite of the smoked brisket followed by a sip of the Rose. The men’s faces lit up with a smile; the women took a second helping. Then I encouraged them to take a sip along with a bite of the ham for a completely different experience. More smiles appeared, along with plates full of bbq and glasses being filled with the Crios.

By the end of the evening, three bottles had been emptied, all parties were asking for more and leaving the other bottles of wine untouched, and all wanted to know how difficult it would be to find it.

That’s what makes this wine even more special. The 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec is available pretty much everywhere, and you can find it between $10-13.

This is such a perfect number for the summer…it lends itself so well to summer fare of bbq, grilled chicken, salmon…as well as being an easy chilled sipper on the boat or on the back deck with friends.

With the hectic pace we find ourselves in so often, sometimes it’s good to literally ‘take time to smell the Roses.’ And in this particular case, to sip them often as well.




Tags: , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: