You know it’s summer when you see an Aperol Spritz being enjoyed by almost everyone in Los Angeles who is above the legal drinking age. They are FRESH, TANGY AND BUBBLY. A triple threat, if I do say so myself. But, what is Aperol and why does everyone love it?
Aperol is an Italian aperitivo that was created in the early 1900’s. The Straight Up, a great resource for all cocktail details and background behind our sipping favs, describes the ingredients to be an “infusion of herbs and plants.” These include rhubarb, herbs and other natural ingredients. According to VinePair, the flavor of this bright orange and stunningly consistent maintains a bittersweet orange and herbal undertone. The alcohol content on Aperol is approximately 11%.
HEY LADY CAN I GET A SPRITZ HERE?
I know, I know. What we’ve all been waiting for. The SPRITZ! I imagine using jazz hands every time I say the word Spritz. Cue Napoleon Dynamite.
The Aperol Spritz is taking Happy Hour menus by storm and cooling down the residents of the current heatwave. An Aperol Spritz, most commonly served in Northeast Italy (before Los Angeles got its paws on it). Similar to Lillet, if you remember my favorite French apéritif:
Apéritif (or Aperitivo): An apéritif is an alcoholic drink typically consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite
Sounds like dessert before dinner, if you ask me. Yes please.
An Aperol Spritz is made with Aperol (I hope you aren’t surprised), Prosecco traditionally, a “dash” of soda water and a slice of orange for decoration (and a snack).
“WHAT MAKES APEROL SPRITZ, APEROL SPRITZ
The orange is unmistakable, a vibrant color which lights up your toasts and adds joy to the moment. Everything else is brought to the table by the inner lighthearted spirit of the Aperol Spritz: the spirit that makes people spontaneously come together and sparks nothing but good times. This spirit is also unstoppable: it’s hard to hold back from enjoying a toast with friends, one orange sip at a time.”
It is assumed that I mean a Champagne diet PAIRED with food, good food. This is not the next keto, whole 30, paleo diet, the title is definitely a joke. Just in case that needed to be explained?
The Champagne diet is the glitz and glam of the wine world. I am going to help you understand what Champagne is, where it is made, a little history lesson, and some buying tips. I hope I am not the only person who instantly remembers Jay Gatsby holding up his, obviously vintage crystal, glass of champagne at his unbelievably incredible estate full of the 20’s elite. The Lana Del Rey montage throughout the entire Great Gatsby (2013) adaptation still gives me goosebumps. WHO KNEW we all needed to hear an entire film score of Young and Beautiful. Lana embodied the relentless hope and passion that Jay felt towards Daisy. A film we will be adding to Wine & Watch, let’s say with a bottle of Veuve? Yes, please.
Let’s set the scene. According to Le Comité Champagne, it was 496 AD in Champagne. In Northern region of France, Champagne was producing wines with the utmost elegance and prestige. The bubbles crafted from the Champagne region were from vineyards controlled and owned mostly by the monasteries of the area and following it’s creation, Champagne exploded like fireworks within the circles of French royalty. As wine is for the gods and goddesses, Champagne is the beverage of kings and queens.
“It became the practice to offer Champagne wines to any royal visitors to the region. Francis I, King of France, and Mary Queen of Scots both left Reims with several casks of the local wines. Louis XIV, was apparently presented with hundreds of pints of wine on the occasion of his coronation in Reims.” – From Vine to Wine, Comité Champagne
The Appellation of Champagne permits the growth of only the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grape varietals. The terroir of the region is where the beauty comes from.
the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.
The terroir of the region is the sole contributor to the complexity and unique sensory that the Champagne winemaking process brings to life. The soil, climate and geography of each vineyard play their part in the Gatsby-esque production of these special bubbles. The winemaking process of Champagne is a natural primary fermentation, meaning there is no yeast added (in the beginning) to initiate primary fermentation. The yeast that is a resident to the grapes and the sugar filled grapes will produce the alcohol in the finished wine.
Le Méthode Champenoise or Traditionelle, is a process of a multi-fermentation process involving a secondary fermentation after bottling to create that results in carbon dioxide and “bubbles.” This secondary fermentation is encouraged using the addition of a tirage, sugar and yeast, to newly bottled wine.
The only wine that can be labeled Champagne, must be grown and produced in the Champagne region of France. All other wines with bubbles are region specific and can typically referred to as Sparkling wines. Italy’s sparkling wine is Prosecco. Spain’s sparkling wine is Cava. More posts to come about those!
If you want to learn more about Champagne, Le Comité Champagne is a spectacular resource, in English, to learn all your heart desires about this wonderful wine!
Now. Let’s talk shelf selection.
You are looking to buy a Champagne to “celebrate” or maybe it’s just a Sunday? Buying sparkling wine, or Cook’s “California Champagne,” can suffice if you are hoping to make your own bottomless mimosas. But I do recommend indulging in a classique French Champagne, personally I love Veuve Clicquot. It’s a median budget, decadent and wonderful choice. Also – follow their instagram, they have great branding. Maybe even taste Cooks and Veuve side by side? There is NO judgement for buying a bottle of wine, on my blog at least, but what I do recommend is understanding and appreciating the difference. NOW, go and pop some champagne. I hope it makes you feel young & beautiful.
What is your favorite Champagne? Any recommendations? Cheers!
Oh, the holidays. Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I have in fact started in on a bottle of rosé. Sitting next to the Christmas tree with the fire ablaze, Seahawks game on mute with Micheal Bublé playing in the background while I am drinking pink. It’s dumping rain outside, welcome to winter in Washington. It may seem confusing, as the normal narrative is to drink rosé in the summer. But the heart wants what it wants! If you want rosé the night before Christmas eve, why not! I am here to give you my two rosé’s to drink THIS WINTER. A bold and chatty red wine will be your main course for the season, but at 4:00pm on Christmas Eve Eve, a rosé sounds quite nice! Wherever you are, put on your snow boots or flip flops depending on the current weather and grab a bottle of rosé for your next holiday party.
Go-To Winter Rosé:
Côte des Roses 2017, Gérard Bertrand
The best of the best! This is my favorite rosé. With a bottle with breathtaking detail, affordable price tag and enjoyable dry taste, it’s a must have. It’s fresh, light and upholds flavors of peach, lemon and honeysuckle. Some may call it collecting trash, or “hoarding” but I do save (and clean) the bottles. The beautiful rose detail on the bottom of the bottle does not belong in the trash can. I’ve wanted to make candles out of it for years, but yet no candle in sight and ten empty bottles in my closet. A thing of beauty, a drink of grace, a delicious drink for the holiday season. Pair it with peppermint bark or a red velvet cupcake and you’ve got a great pre-holiday party snack.
How’s it made? Well I thought you would never ask!
Cote des Roses is made in the Languedoc region of France. Famously known for the Pont de Gard. A famous roman aqueduct used to bring water to the French city of Nîmes. Still standing to this day and now a famous tourist destination. The famous grape varietals found in this region include but are not limited to; Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. This work of art from the winery and estate of Gérard Bertrand, as per the website, is grown in a semi-Mediterranean climate. The red varieties used in this rosé are Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. Rosé is typically made from red grape varieties that have minimal skin contact before fermentation. Stay tuned for a post entirely on rosé!
Where to buy: Costco!! Buy in bulk and save. World Market. Easy to buy around the country and also available online.
The Vincent Rosé 2017, Board Track Racer, Mark Ryan Winery
Just perfect. A rosé Evel Knievel might even enjoy. My favorite tasting room in the Pacific Northwest. This will be a more difficult wine to acquire if you are not on the West Coast of the United States. But keep yours eyes out. Mark Ryan is changing the Washington Wine World and creating a comfortable and enjoyable wine drinking experience that you could see the Wild Hogs enjoying quite nicely. This Mark Ryan rosé, The Vincent, is a crisp, balanced and tart wine. While perfect for the summer time, it’s a bright and colorful rosé for the winter as well. I would love the take the label and make a t-shirt out of it. It’s a rad rosé and would be great with a garlic and lemon based pasta dish or cheese board. For the holiday season, pair this wine with a holiday meringue or cranberry sauce dish to bring out the berry flavors.
How’s it made?
This Mark Ryan wine is of the Columbia Valley Appellation. In the Southeast of the state of Washington, this is an ever growing wine region. The Columbia Valley grape varietals grown at the highest planting percentage are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Chardonnay. Being the largest winemaking region of Washington, it’s fairly popular to have wineries within the valley and also tasting rooms within the Greater Seattle Area. The Mark Ryan tasting room that I could rave about until the end of time, is in Woodinville, WA. A thirty minute drive outside of downtown Seattle.
The grape varietals used in The Vincent rosé are Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Again, all red grape varieties grown in the Columbia Valley. A delicious and festive drink for the holiday season (and every other season!).
Where to buy: While I just spent the last few paragraphs convincing you to buy this wine, it may not be available anymore. The best bet is to stop by the tasting room to inquire about a new vintage! Some online websites have this wine available as well. Worth the wait and a great introduction to Washington pink wines.
Happy holidays to all! Leave Santa a glass of YOUR favorite rosé to switch it up for him this year. What’s your favorite rosé?
“SERVIR TRÈS FRAIS” — Serve very fresh (over ice, chilled, soon after opening)
Drink of the summer. Tastes like you are drinking a lovely sunrise on a warm summer morning. Deeply & passionately in love with you, Lillet. La Vie en Rose is playing through my computer speakers as I am accompanied by rosé Lillet over ice with a lemon twist. This French apéritif from Bordeaux started in 1872. The Lillet website, describes it’s creation beginning with the descendants of Jean Lillet, who ultimately founded Maison Lillet in a small village of Podensac.
Apéritif: An apéritif is an alcoholic drink typically consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite
Digestif: Served after a meal to aid digestion
Bordeaux: Southwestern region of France, known for winemaking and art musuems
Grape varietals from Bordeaux include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec & more
How is it made?
Lillet is a blend of Bordeaux wine varietals and macerated fruits. Fruit maceration is done slow and cold and are macerated into alcohol. After weeks of maceration, fruit pressing extracts the aromatic richness.
Next step in the process, vinage. Vinage is the fortification or mixing of the fruit maceration and wine. Lillet Rouge and Lillet Blanc are aged for months in oak barrels and Lillet Rosé is bottled directly.
“Sweet oranges from Turkey, Spain or Morocco, bitter oranges from Haiti, quinine from South America… Every year, we carefully select the best fruits, fruit peels and barks for their freshness and aromatic richness” – Lillet website
How to enjoy it!
Lillet is a gorgeous, fresh and crisp liqueur. It has the lightness and depth of a wine, but a sweetness and punch of a liqueur. The Lillet Rosé has a strong nose of peaches, stone fruit and honey suckle. The flavors of the Lillet Rosé over ice with lemon peel has a strong beginning of melon, cantaloupe and honeydew, and finishes with crisp green pear and tangerine.
Drink this over ice! I know that sounds funky because it is wine, but this is a drink it’s own cocktail. The flavors are enhanced by the colder temperature
A citrus peel! At Figaro Bistrot in Los Feliz, Lillet Blanc was also served with a lemon peel. Don’t forget to rub the peel along the rim for the finishing touch
As an apèrtif, you can drink this before your meal. As the perfect summer drink, enjoy with a classic french meal. Coq au Vin (marinated chicken in red wine), a salmon crêpe, brie & prosciutto baguette sandwich or as I chose to enjoy it, with escargot. Heart eyes.
Lillet is a effortlessly smooth drink bursting with flavors and history. Found in the liqueur section of the liquor store. I found it at Cap n’ Cork on Hillhurst and Prospect, never forgetting those cross streets as my mother and I argued for ten blocks about what the street corner was. Hillhurst and Prospect, I will never forget the location of a liquor store in Los Angeles, how useful?
Have you tried Lillet? It’s a mid-summer nights dream, you’ll thank me later.
HIP HIP HOORAY! Week 2 of Wine & Watch. Pairing movies with a glass (or bottle) of wine. This particular pairing was limited because ArcLight theaters in Hollywood only had two options, but two is better than none. I was such a fan of the movie this week that I needed it to be the next Wine & Watch. Nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING is better than wine served at a movie theater. Simple but unheard of in a lot of places. Who doesn’t want to lounge in the overly comfy, Lay-Z-Boy esque chair in a completely dark room watching a great movie with a glass of wine. Sounds more relaxing than hearing the radios from the cars sitting in traffic outside my Los Feliz apartment drinking a barely chilled bottle of rosé. I could argue you this for hours, but end of story – if you are going to go see a movie, make sure they serve wine.
Movie of choice: Crazy Rich Asians
W O W. This movie completely rocked my world. It’s hilarious, extravagant and extremely well done. I will not lie, I love love love a good romance. But I also can appreciate the depths this movie ventured to in order to candidly show this wealthy lifestyle seen commonly in Asia. Singapore looks like a dream and they did a spectacular job with filming and music. The soundtrack made you feel the extravagance in your bones. Go. See. It. Trust me, you do not know “well off” until you take a trip to the Young’s family estate in Singapore and Astrid’s 1.5 mill pair of earrings.. Dreamy.
Also – Rachel & Nick (the main couple) are wonderful actors and have a ton of chemistry. Casting was very well done! My favorite character, hands down, is Goh Peik Lin. She absolutely killed it. Delivery, improv, everything was extremely well done. Fav fav fav
I will be buying the next ticket from LAX-Singapore, BYE!
I have yes to read the book series, written by Kevin Kwan. But after loving the movie I will probably HAVE to read the books. It’s rare that I like a movie more than the novel, but this might be an exception. Let’s just say the budget did not seem TIGHT on this doozy of a film.
Wine of choice (of the two): Cabernet Sauvignon
This is not to say they only offer two wines in the ArcLight cafe, the wine list is below. Pretty typical selection. But at the popcorn kiosks, they only had two options and I was running right on time and had no intention of skipping the previews dining in the cafe. Between the Chardonnay and Cab, I went with red. Movie theaters are cold and doesn’t a Cab just fit the bit?
A Cabernet Sauvignon is bold. Just like this movie. You can feel the warmth of a good California Cab from the moment it hits your tongue to even after swallowing. They are hearty, powerful and distinct wines that carry a bit of California sunshine as artillery. It was a $12 glass of wine in a plastic cup, so do not be fooled, it was nothing glamorous. But it was a lovely sipper during a great film.
This Wine & Watch was a bit off kilter, but here’s a reason to go out and see a movie! Have a date night or enjoy it by yourself (like I did) and have a relationship with your glass of Cab! I love movies, I love wine and I think pairing them together is quite possibly my favorite combination. This movie was heartwarming, hilarious and transcended traditional Hollywood in many ways. A big bold badass wine paired very nicely. I will most likely be seeing the movie again, but if you haven’t seen it yet: THERE IS A SHOWTIME NEAR YOU I PINKIE PROMISE. Enjoy your Thursday, I am currently grabbing my passport and getting a one way ticket to Singapore.
I will be the first to say I am a huge Game Of Thrones fan and I most definitely bought my latest bottle solely because I am having GOT withdrawals and the label really felt like an anecdote. Not only does this label appear in full support of the Starks (yes and yes) but it also is a Red Blend from South Africa. Made from 71% Syrah, 28% Mourvèdre and 1% Viognier. Fascinating because Viognier is a white grape, so it appears to be a two red and little hint of white variety, cool right? The history behind the name and label is the myth of wolves in the area. I’ll buy into any good myth
“A Wine Drawn from Legend
When the farm was founded, the Franschhoek valley was far wilder than it is today – as the wolf trap we once discovered goes to show. Today, the mountains are still alive with indigenous animals, including the majestic leopard. No evidence of wolves has ever been found though, so we created this wine to remind us of the mysteries and legends of days gone by. The Wolftrap is a rich, deep red blend that includes Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Viognier.”
Where to buy? I mean I have no idea where to find it in a store near you (absolutely not helpful at all, I do apologize), but I found this scrumptious little thing at 365 Whole Foods for $11.99.
Where is it from? South Africa. Way way up on my list of wine country to visit. This particular wine is from Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek, “Cape of Good Hope”, South Africa.
The Boekenhoutskloof estate was established in 1776 and has a wide variety of grape varieties planted. From their website, here is a map of their estate and their varietal planting grid.
What to pair it with? I enjoyed this deep, plum and blackberry red blend with a cucumber greek salad and Spaghetti alla Carbonara from il Capriccio on Vermont in Los Feliz (AND they deliver). This red wine is hearty and has a similar sweetness as a ripe blackberry or sweet deep purple cherry. Other pairings I could imagine with this wine:
Lasagna, Mousakka (a greek beef dish similar to lasagna), a pork or turkey based dish, and honestly I bet this wine would taste damn good with a hot dog or if you are fancier than that, a bratwurst or sausage.
A chocolate mousse or berry pie. Marion berry is my hands down favorite pie and would pair nicely with this wine
Inexpensive, intriguing and wonderfully complex with a twist off cap is a perfect wine for exploration into South Africa and to give you a bit of nostalgia that GOT’s last season still isn’t until next year. Just buy and buy this wine until we can see Jon Snow again, sounds good to me? Enjoy!
Have you had any of the Boekenhoutskloof wines? What are your favorite South African wines?
I’m starting a new series about pairing a bottle of wine with a movie I am watching. Movie and wine pairing? I’m into it. Every movie has emotions, themes and an aging process. Kind of like a bottle of wine, right? I might be stretching it but I think wine and movies might be my two favorite simple pleasures in life.
Tada! Welcome to my first wine & watch. The series premiere! Film = 2014 Female comedic classic: The Other Woman.Hilarious, heartbreaking, and relatable. I will forever be a DIE HARD Cameron Diaz fan. Was anybody else hooked after that opening scene in Charlie’s Angels?
The Other Woman is hands down in my top 10 favorite movies. It is scandalous, adorable and based in New York City and Connecticut, you won’t be complaining.
Amazing!! Watch and then watch it again, and don’t forget to “cry on the inside like a winner.”
Now now now, for wine. You guessed it, or maybe you didn’t haha. Rosé. Chilean rosé to be exact! My current wine of the week is Loma Negra, 2017 Rosé. Made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. At $4.99 a pop from Trader Joes, it’s affordable and delicious. Very dry, light on the nose and has peach, apple and lemon flavors. Make sure you put it in the fridge about an hour before you drink it, most Trader Joe’s have no wine refrigeration.
Money well spent, an evening well spent and my ideal Thursday night. Enjoy! Stay tuned for next week’s Wine & Watch!!