Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! Sweet Tea Wine by Maiolatesi Wine Cellars

I have to admit that you won't see me drinking "flavored" wines often, but this one blew me away.  I absolutely, 100%, love ice tea.  I drink tea all summer and winter long, so naturally when I saw "Sweet Tea Wine" on the tasting room list at Maiolatesi Cellars in north eastern, PA... I just had to try it.  And I'll never regret it...

Sweet Tea Wine
(Photo by author)

Sweet Tea Wine by Maiolatesi Wine Cellars

The D-2010 Scale 

Sweet Tea Wine by Maiolatesi Wine Cellars (Pennsylvania)
Appearance (10 points possible): golden yellow and clear in color - considering it's base is grapes plus ice tea... - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): Minty, slight fruit note, and tea-like. - 15 points
Taste (10 points possible):  This is essentially like having a spiked mint ice tea in your glass.  It's medium bodied, smooth, minty and tea-like with a nice integrated kick of alcohol.  Slight sweetness in the finish, but not overbearing.  - 8 points
Balance (5 points possible): I think for a wine, it's balanced! - 5 points
Finish (5 points possible):  Slightly sweet and minty... as in fresh mint.  A good combination. - 5 points
Packaging *Introduction to the D-2010 Scale*
Quality of Package (5 points possible):  Uses a traditional Maiolates Wine Cellars label with gold trim.  Synthetic cork and no capsule. - 4 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible):  I think if you knew the Maiolatesi label, this would stick out.  But you would definitely have to read it to know that it is "Sweet Tea Wine."  The gold trim is attractive and does catch the eye. - 8 points
Other (5 points possible): There's nothing extraordinary about the package, but this is meant to be a simple, dessert or drink-by-itself kind of wine. - 3 points
Total Points: 88 points
Overall Thought: Here's another reason why wine scores don't make sense.  This is a good product.  Simple, yes, but the overall production of it is not.  There's something to appreciate in this uniqueness, but can it easily be compared to a great 1970-something Bordeaux?  Of course not!  However, if you are a tea drinker, this is a total winner for you.  I love it.  It sits here in my house as a "if-you're-alone-and-you-need-something-to-sip" kind of wine.  Sure to put you in a good mood.
Food Pairings:  This is a pool wine... or an outdoor bar-b-q wine.  You can pretty much drink this as if you needed a glass of fresh minty ice tea.
Cost: $11
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 1 - this is a bargain wine!
Where to buy:  Check out Maiolatesi Wine Cellars to find out where this is distributed.  This is a hot item for the locals... and they wait seasonally for it to come out!  :)  Cheers!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wine Country Style... Literally!

Have you ever dreamed about living in Napa and Sonoma's Wine Country?  Perhaps you've skimmed through pages of Sunset magazine, dreaming for the day you can live like a Californian...  Well, wait no more!  I recently found Kohl's Sonoma Life and Style collection for fashion and home decor.  And I have to say, it's not only affordable, but also slightly reminiscent of my life in Napa.  Just recently I purchased a necklace for $12 and I wish I had that to wear while I worked in Napa.  :)  It's like taking a piece of Wine Country style for half the price!  :)  And who doesn't like that?  Perhaps you'll find something you enjoy, too!

SONOMA life + style Orchid Shower Curtain
Chic Orchid Shower Curtain - Orchid's are a thing of the west

SONOMA life + style Petaluma Bath Towels
I saw a lot of dark brown and blue combos out there

SONOMA life + style Leaf and Striped Bath Coordinates
This would've gone perfectly in my Napa Valley house!

SONOMA outdoors Fire Pit
I can't walk by a fire pit without thinking of California ($110)

SONOMA life + style Single Bogo Ottoman
As space is tight out there, you learn to store things in unusual places!

SONOMA life + style Wine Rack
Can you live in CA without one of these?

SONOMA life + style Gold Tone Hammered Disc Multistrand Necklace
Pendants were a big thing out there... or so it seemed

SONOMA life + style Silver Tone Long Y Necklace
I just liked this one.  :)

Want to look for more?  Visit your nearest Kohl's (there's always stuff on sale... like those ottomans...) or visit!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Every Garden Needs Some Wine

As we come to a close on the summer months... I thought it'd be neat to pull out some gardening ideas for next year (start saving up!).   Wine bottle trees are especially popular, and you see them quite often in botanical gardens or at bed and breakfasts!  We saw one in California at a bed and breakfast - it was quite charming and went with the style of the house.

Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina
(Photo by author)

Don't have a lot of space?  Put one near your house!
(Photo from Google Images)

Tree decor!
(Photo from Google Images)

Your neighbors will know exactly what you like to drink with this one!
(Photo from Google Images)

This is probably my favorite - subtle ad changing with the seasons.
(Photo from Google Images)

Blending in with the surrounding garden
(Photo from Google Images)

Sunflower Wine Bottle Tree from Wine Enthusiast
(Photo from Google Images)

But I guess you may want to go with something more subtle.  I also found this small table at Achla Designs that can be taken in and out of your backyard landscape.  With 2 Adirondacks chairs beside, this thing would be the perfect backyard table to sit, enjoy the quiet, flowers, and a good book.  When you're not using it for wine, you could fill in the spaces with potted plants.  How pretty!

Serving Cart with Tray - Natural Oiled
Eucalpytus Serving Cart ($170)
(Photos from Achla Designs)

Swap those plants for wine, and again, we have the same idea!
(Photo from Google Images)

Here's an iron example
(Photo from Google Images)

Eco-Friendly Cart from Furniture Home Design
(Photo from Google Images)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Wine News You Can Use: Alcohol Levels Can Make a Big Difference

I think today's article goes without question.  There's no doubt we need to be responsible, even when we are drinking wine.  Pay attention to the alcohol content on the bottle. 

This article was originally published by the SF Gate.  It is pasted here for your convenience.

(Photo from Google Images)

Alcohol levels can make a big difference

"I only had two glasses of wine."

It's not an unreasonable amount to drink with dinner, yet how much you feel from those two glasses can vary widely - whether you're worried about a curbside Breathalyzer or just hoping you don't feel the effects the next day.

Despite the frequent discussion of rising alcohol levels in wine, the effect on blood alcohol concentration is often overlooked. Does it matter whether you'd been drinking a lean white at 12 percent alcohol instead of a ripe Chardonnay with 14 percent alcohol or a high-octane Zinfandel?

It's a difficult question to answer because it depends on how you metabolize alcohol - and it's different for men and women. But, in a word, yes - it most definitely does matter.

Although the liver breaks down most of the alcohol we consume, alcohol metabolism really starts in the stomach, which contains an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, similar to the ones found in the liver. But not all stomachs handle alcohol the same way; gender, age and whether you ate while drinking all help determine how much alcohol is broken down in the stomach before it makes it into the bloodstream.

Women have less of this enzyme than men (or it doesn't work as well because it might be estrogen sensitive). As a consequence, women break down less alcohol in their stomachs, which means they will have a higher BAC even if they drink the same amount as men. Some scientists believe that the enzyme becomes less functional with age, which might help explain why people become less alcohol-tolerant as they get older.

Alcohol is distributed only in the portion of the body composed of water, as opposed to fat. Since men's bodies contain a higher proportion of water than women's, the alcohol is dispersed in a larger volume, which means a man would have a lower blood alcohol despite drinking the same amount as a woman.

The stomach pushes its contents into the small intestine, where most alcohol is absorbed. It empties more slowly when filled with food, so drinking while eating means alcohol stays in the stomach longer, where it can be broken down, resulting in lower blood alcohol levels. So eating before or while drinking - but not after - will result in a lower blood alcohol than drinking on an empty stomach. (As for the urban myth about eating butter before drinking to "protect" the stomach, it's not true, but it will result in a lower blood alcohol.)

Those who drink wine regularly - one or two glasses a day - will have lower blood alcohol levels than those who drink occasionally. Drinking one to two glasses of wine daily tells the liver to recruit more enzymes - to rev up the factory - to break down alcohol. Everything else being equal, a chronic imbiber will have a lower blood alcohol than a sporadic drinker because the liver has more enzymes ready to break down the alcohol.

Most daily wine drinkers recognize this phenomenon when they have a brief illness, such as a cold, and temporarily stop drinking. After a week of abstinence, the first glass of wine has a bigger impact than usual. After a week of not drinking, the liver is out of practice.

Even if you enjoy wine daily, how fast you drink is important because the slower alcohol is presented to the enzymes - whether they are in the stomach or liver - the more efficient they are in breaking it down before it reaches the bloodstream.

So if you're a 200-pound male who drinks wine regularly and has just finished two glasses over a two-hour meal, your blood alcohol will be dramatically lower than that of a 130-pound woman who drinks occasionally and has polished off those two glasses quickly.

Still, don't discount even the small differences in the alcoholic content of what you drink. Obviously, drinking 80-proof spirits can have more impact than drinking an equal amount of wine. But even a 1 to 2 percent variable in the alcoholic content of wine can make a big difference. (See table below). When practicing moderation, keep the wine's alcohol level in mind.
Alcohol content Blood alcohol concentration
12% 0.065%
13% 0.073%
14% 0.081%
15% 0.088%
Source: Formula at

Read more:

BAC comparison

Does a 14 percent wine really get you more drunk than one at 12 percent? It can. The table below shows the blood alcohol concentration for an average 130-pound woman who consumes two 5-ounce glasses of wine over 1 1/2 hours.

While the alcohol content of the wine rises 25 percent (from 12 to 15 percent), BAC goes up by 35 percent - above California's legal driving limit of 0.08 percent. As more alcohol hits the stomach, more of it gets through into the blood.

These calculations are rough estimates because the formula does not account for differences in how the liver metabolizes alcohol, so don't rely on these values or other calculators for determining whether it is safe to drive.

-Michael Apstein
Read more:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet

I am totally in the mood for ice cream these days!  A friend of mine reminded me about Ciao Bella's Blackberry Cabernet sorbet that is available in almost any grocery store these days.  Total plus, it's only 130 calories per serving!  You can't beat that deliciousness.  Plus... no alcohol in this product - only the rich grapey taste of Cabernet grapes and fresh blackberries!  It's an antioxidant rich food that is sure to please your taste buds (and the wine lover within you)!  Enjoy!

Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet
(Photo from Ciao Bella)

This makes me want sorbet... right now!
(Photo from Google Images)

Side bonus: if you don't want a wine flavored sorbet, sorbet itself can be an awesome dessert pairing portion of an evening meal!  I've seen many chefs pair sorbet flavors with wines!  Give it a try!  Even match flavors of wines and sorbets, and drizzle some chilled wine over the sorbet of choice.  (I especially enjoy a touch of bubbly here!)  It's a perfect hot weather treat!  You have to enjoy these last moments of summer somehow...

(Photo from Google Images)