May 23 is National Chardonnay Day, and to celebrate the most popular white grape varietal, we rounded up seven bottles we've recently tried and adored. Whether you're a fan of the big oaky, buttery styles, prefer a clear and crisp version, or even lean toward sweeter white wines, we've got a bottle for you.
In your blog travels, you may have come across the Dekoop Gorgeous Helen Wine Shades which tops off your wine glasses to make easy votive lamps for your parties. I couldn't get them off my mind for months when I first saw them; I thought they were so clever. Sadly, they are no longer available for purchase but then, lucky me, I came across a DIY to make them. The project is fairly simple, and allows a lot of room for creativity. You can leave yours as plain vellum, or punch decorative holes in them, screen-print them, or even paint them! It's up to you, but regardless, this project is fabulous, inexpensive, and perfect for that wedding you're planning!
- 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of vellum (one per lamp)
- Decorative bladed scissors
- Decorative paper punch
- Glue pen
- Wine glasses
- Tealights or a LED battery-operated tealight
- Candle putty (floral clay)
Here's how, from Save On Crafts:
- Download and print out this lampshade pattern.
- Trace the pattern onto your vellum sheet. Cut out the shape with your regular scissors. If you want, you can use decorative bladed scissors along the bottom edge to add another element to the shade.
- If you like, use a paper punch to punch holes evenly or haphazardly throughout the shade, as shown in the PDF.
- Using the glue pen, apply a thin line of glue to one straight end. Wrap the other end over the glued end, and adhere together, forming the shade.
- Secure the tealight with the candle putty, and set the lampshade on top of your glass. Fini!
Breweries have been known to design a signature glass for their beer, so is it that out of the ordinary for a winery to develop a signature wine glass to enhance the tasting experience of its wine? Argentinian winery Graffigna Centenario doesn't think so: it's partnered with stemware giant Riedel to develop a signature, six-month-exclusive glass for the winery's Malbec wines. We were sent a pair of the new glasses along with a bottle of Graffigna's Grand Reserve Malbec to taste the difference for ourselves. But to detect differences in the Malbec's scent and flavor, we poured it in three different glasses: a standard wine glass, a red wine stem glass from The One, and the Riedel Malbec glass. Would the new stemware help us taste the Malbec through rose-colored glasses? What flavors would it bring out in the glass, if any? Continue reading to see our results.
With picnic season upon us, now is the perfect time to find a chic yet practical carrier to tote your wine bottles. With a mix of sleek leather options, colorful containers, and a few accessories for your outdoor sips, we're helping you bring style to all your alfresco meals. Prep for sunny lunches by taking a look at these adorable wine bottle carriers!
Can you guess what's in this drink? Don't let the orange hue fool you; these mimosas aren't made with oranges — instead, they're made fruity with the help of mango purée and grapefruit juice. Mango thickens and sweetens the mimosa, while the grapefruit provides a crispness that complements the sparkling wine.
Nothing beats fresh, so if you have time, then whirl up ripe mango chunks in a food processor to make homemade mango purée and squeeze some grapefruits in a citrus juicer. Keep reading for the recipe.
Conventional wisdom maintains that white wine pairs better with cheese than red. There's certainly some validity to that statement, but with the right kind of red wine and cheese, this can be done to elegant effect, as I recently learned at a seminar taught by experts Laura Werlin and Naomi Smith at the Artisan Cheese Festival.
Much of the issue with pairing red wine with cheese comes down to tannins (the bitter, mouth-drying component present in red wine, tea, coffee, and some fruits like acai), which are notably absent from white wine. When selecting wines, choose a red with integrated tannins — think smooth and velvety, rather than rough and harsh. Wines grown in a cooler climate — think Oregon, Washington State, or Sonoma versus Napa — and particular milder, lighter-bodied wines like Pinot Noir or a restrained Cabernet Sauvignon are a safer bet. Look for a wine with an alcohol content of 14 percent or less when pairing with cheese, as these wines are less likely to overpower their cheesy companions.
Looking to bolster our Italian wine knowledge, we recently attended a tasting put on by Slow Wine (part of Slow Food) where we sampled offerings from Italy's many storied wine regions. While many pleased our palates, some stood out more than others. Click through for our top picks, and get inspired to savor a bottle or two yourself.
— Additional reporting by Susannah Chen and Anna Monette Roberts
Has Grüner Veltliner's consonant-heavy name put off your interest in enjoying a bottle? Fret no more! Pronounced GROO-nur velt-LEE-ner, this Austrian gem is more than worth the enunciation effort, as is evident on the first sip of the mineral-rich white. Even better, thanks to its relatively limited prominence in the US market it's often a great bargain buy, with quality far surpassing its moderate price tag — many exceptional bottles are in the $15-$25 range. But before you snap up a bottle (or two) to try, let's delve briefly in the nitty-gritty of this superb varietal:
- While Grüner Veltliner is Austria's national grape — and commands the greatest acreage of any grape grown there — it's also grown (in much smaller quantities) in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and regions in Washington, Oregon, and California.
- Grüners are known for having a marked sense of terroir, making the region from which they hail a particular point of interest. Much of the crop comes from the rocky terraced river banks of the Danube river in the northern part of Austria, which lends a pronounced mineral note to the wine — something we can certainly get behind.
As a writer of food and drink, I have a pretty big blunder to admit. Though wine country is a mere hour away, I don't know the first thing about choosing a tasting room. On my last trip to wine country, I hit up three spots: one fantastic, another mediocre, and a third downright horrible.
If only I had known what I know now, after speaking with Tilar Mazzeo, the author of Back Lane Wineries of Napa and Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma, two helpful books that guide visitors to vineyards that are off the beaten track. After a lengthy discussion with her, I discovered that I've been approaching wine country all wrong. Not only that, but many of my perceptions about visiting wineries are completely incorrect.
Now that I'm much better equipped, I'm already plotting my next trip! Curious to know what mistakes you might be making? Read on.