White Wine Spritzers: 31 days of Deliciousness for Summer

Summertime is the best time to enjoy a wine spritzer. It’s the perfect drink for the mom who wants to sip on something refreshing but also wants to be able to have more than one! The bubble water dilutes some of the alcohol and adds a little more excitement to the drink. Here is a list of recipes for the HOT July afternoons.
31 days of deliciousness created with the starting base of the 2013 Trione Sauvignon Blanc {you can use any white wine that you like because all recipes are still driven by the wine, you want to make sure it’s one you dig!} and bubble water.
ENJOY!!
Base wine and bubble water recipe:
3 parts wine to 1 part bubble water

Adjust as needed for larger groups

Basic simple syrup recipe:
3 cups water
3 cups sugar
Method:
In medium sauce pan bring water to boil then add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves (about 4-6 minutes). Turn heat down and simmer for 3 minutes then remove from heat and chill completely before using.
Buy a soda stream to have bubble water all year round! 

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One
Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water
squeeze of lemon

 

Two
Sauvignon Blanc
1 ounce of Aperol
bubble water
garnish with orange twist

 

Three
Sauvignon Blanc
1 ounce of mint simple syrup
raspberry bubble water

 

Four
Sauvignon Blanc
thyme simple syrup
lemon bubble water
2 squeezes of Meyer lemon
garnish with Meyer lemon wedge

 

Five
Sauvignon Blanc
jalapeno zest
2 wedges of lime
simple syrup
lime bubble water
floater of 7up
garnish with jalapeno zest

 

Six
{Bloody Mary}
Sauvignon Blanc
3 ounces fresh tomato juice
basil
lime and lemon bubble water
garnish with lime

 

Seven
Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water
floater of St. Germain
lemon twist

 

Eight
Sauvignon Blanc
orangina
garnish with strawberries

 

Nine
Sauvignon Blanc
3 ounces of fanta

 

Ten
Blend:
Prickly pear peeled
2 ounces margarita mix
1 lime squeezed
1 lemon squeezed
simple syrup
Sauvignon Blanc

 

Eleven
Sauvignon Blanc
1 package of blueberries, pureed
simple syrup
lemon bubble water
a splash of sprite

 

Twelve
Sauvignon Blanc
1 grapefruit, squeezed
bubble water

 

Thirteen
Blend:
basil simple syrup
10 strawberries
add:
Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water

 

Fourteen
Cheryl-Temple:
Sauvignon Blanc
1 ounce grenadine
bubble water
garnish with cherry

 

Fifteen
Sauvignon Blanc
peach puree
bubble water
garnish with mint

 

Sixteen
Sauvignon Blanc
lemon bubble water
muddle blueberries
garnish with frozen raspberries {use the raspberries as ice cubes}

 

Seventeen
Watermelon soaked in Sauvignon Blanc blended
then add Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water
garnish with watermelon wedge

 

Eighteen
Sauvignon Blanc
Lemon grass simple syrup
1 blood orange, juiced
bubble water
garnish with a blood orange slice

 

Nineteen
Sauvignon Blanc
muddled mint and cucumber
{or make cucumber water by shredding it, blending, then straining}
lime bubble water
garnish with mint and slice of cucumber

 

Twenty
Blend:
Rosemary simple syrup
2 peaches, peeled
Sauvignon Blanc
Add:
bubble water
garnish with peach.

 

Twenty-One
Sauvignon Blanc
1 ounce lillet blanc
bubble water
2 wedges of tangerine, squeezed
garnish with a slice of tangerine

 

Twenty-Two
Sauvignon Blanc
10 strawberries thinly sliced
1 thyme sprig
6 ounces of lillet Blanc
2 lemon wedges, squeezed
bubble water

 

Twenty-Three
{Sangria}
2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
½ pineapple, cut into chunks
4 apples, cut into chunks
4 pears, cut into chunks
4 peaches cut into chunks
Add:
Floater of brandy
top with bubble water for each serving

 

Twenty-Four
Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water
4 dashes of bitters
orange twist for garnish

 

Twenty-Five
1 ounce lemon thyme simple syrup
Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water

 

Twenty-Six
Sauvignon Blanc
1 ounce ginger simple syrup
1 pear, pureed
Bubble water

 

Twenty-Seven
Sauvignon Blanc
Bubble water
fruit cube {link to JPV fresh blackberry, lime, grapefruit ice cubes}

 

Twenty-Eight
Sauvignon Blanc
1 ounce limoncello
1 lemon, squeezed
top with bubble water
garnish with lemon slice

 

Twenty-Nine
¼ cup of black cherries, blended or muddled
1/2 ounce agave nectar
Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water
top with ice
garnish with blueberries

 

Thirty
{Martini}
Sauvignon Blanc
1.5 ounces dry vermouth
top with bubble water
garnish with a sprig of tarragon
serve in a martini glass

 

Thirty-One
{Aper-tini}
Sauvignon Blanc
bubble water
apple juice
garnish with apple slice

 

 

 

Thankful

Thanksgiving is a time for love, appreciation, memories, family recipes, and great food but behind all of that…{the elements that nobody wishes to discuss: the grudges, the distractions, the insults, the insecurities, the secrets, the embarrassing times, the family history… the list is endless} is something really special: the things that make family holidays more joyful and desirable than they are! Heck, if they weren’t so absolutely fantastic and desirable, we would do them more than twice a year, right?! We all have our vices  that get us through. Whether it be the long week of shopping, the late night of prepping {mostly because you go out Wednesday to hang with the “old buddies” and hoop it up because everyone is home} or simply because we are hosting and that could be traumatizing enough depending on the situation. In any case, my anecdote is some really delicious craft beer and local bubbles.   Here are my must haves for this Thanksgiving, whether it be to get you through or to pair with your dish, these treats will do the trick.  St. Florians’s IPA:  a hometown brew. When they first started selling their awesome craft beer, we were conveniently having our wedding so we were able to get a keg for the party! Next up is the Wunderlust IPA from one of my favorite breweries in Portland: Breakside. In a recent venture to PDX we sought out Breakside and it was the best thing we did that day! The bartender passed us this hoppy delight from behind the bar because we seemed like we were serious beer drinkers and really loved the hops. It’s not on tap but I highly recommend a bottle to accompany any part of this Thanksgiving feast, especially the prep. Finally, something very close to my heart, the Harvest Moon Sparkling Gewurztraminer. Now, I may be bias to this exceptional bottle of bubbles because my dear, dear friend Erin { @SparklingLover} is the main gal there BUT I do have to say, I have had many great holidays with this in hand. It’s well balanced, fruit forward, dry and crisp. Harvest Moon’s bubbles pair beautifully with any classic or new/hip recipe for the holiday season. A must have. So, that’s what I choose to have in my glass while I create the deliciousness that will be my Thanksgiving feast tomorrow.

beer

A Taste Of Summer

As the temperature is rising and summer is just around the corner I am reminded of why it is so fun to be a local in Sonoma County: pairings! From food and wine to beer and burgers to coffee and pastries or even pancakes and smoothies, the most exciting pairings are those off the beaten path, the ones that have to be stumbled upon and discovered.

Down the Bohemian Highway, in the charming town of Occidental is Howard’s Station Café, voted “Best Breakfast” in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In-the-know locals flock to this country café for hearty and healthy comfort food. Howard’s is famous for its homemade-style breakfasts, the organic juice bar and the bakery.

Be sure to try the sinfully rich and creamy berry shakes and the blueberry pancakes. Howard’s hotcakes are made with cornmeal and a generous helping of fresh blueberries, served thick and steamy with melted butter that seeps into the cake and mixes with the warm juices from the berries. A glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice will help wash the delicious breakfast down and start the day off with a perfect pairing. P.S.—Howard’s is old school, so be sure to bring green because the café is cash only.

The summer heat means windows down (or tops down for you convertible drivers) with a warm, wine country breeze that undoubtedly evokes feelings of tranquility. For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than driving through the back roads of Sebastopol and admiring the old houses and lush countryside.
Nestled in the heart of rural Sebastopol is a rustic country store at Twin Hill Ranch with delicious summertime treats and an old fashioned feel. Be sure to pick up a loaf of the famous apple bread to serve sliced and toasted with vanilla-bean ice cream after dinner. Their apple butter also makes for a great accompaniment on any fresh greens from the local markets. My personal favorite is apple butter with sautéed Brussels sprouts; it adds a nice sweet touch to the sprouts’ earthy flavor.

A summer pairing for me would not be complete without one of my staples in life—bubbles! Harvest Moon Winery has a very special sparkling Gewurztraminer. With only 120 cases produced on any given year, it’s not an easy product to taste, let alone purchase. Aromas of apples and passion fruit, with clean flavors of lemon zest take over the palate with the delicate texture of the bubbles. This Gewurztraminer is wonderful served with any freshly baked bread and cheese.

I like to enjoy it with a thin-crust pizza topped with Trumpet Royales from nearby Gourmet Mushrooms, basil, Caggiano sausage, Bellwether Farms Carmody, Ramazzotti olive oil, and tomato sauce. For private events, the winemaker will come in with fresh veggies from his garden along with his own specialty olive oil and share samples of his brick oven delights. For those wanting to create their own pizza, Andy’s market is down the road and all the goods are available there.

One of the most beautiful areas to discover and explore is Chalk Hill Road, perfect for a midsummer day’s drive or bike ride. Be aware, however, that some wineries may require an appointment. Medlock Ames Ranch is among my top places to pair wine with the beauty of Sonoma County. The ranch can be found between Windsor and Healdsburg, up a long private road located on Bell Mountain.

This little piece of heaven is a hidden gem where guests {you must join the wine club} can arrange for a tour of the property. This spring, I was fortunate enough to be presented with the opportunity to dine on garden-fresh fennel, beets, baby greens and grapefruits with Kobe beef, carrots and asparagus, all fresh from the Medlock Ames garden that day {except the Kobe, of course}.

“At Medlock Ames, we believe wine is best paired with food, especially when we grow it ourselves,” says Mickey Peterson on our private tour. Many of the herbs and produce grown in the garden are used to make sauces and scented soaps that are sold in the tasting room. This is an estate worth the efforts it will take to discover.

I cannot say that my laundry list of summer pairing favorites is close to being finished. As a native of Sonoma, indulging in everything the area has to offer is how I love spending time. I am concluding my pairing experiences with just that, an experience. This is not a taste or a smell but a feeling, kind of like the one you get from watching a really good sunset.

A visit to our precious, bountiful little part of the world would not be complete without a trip to the best restau­rant in Sonoma County {in my humble opinion}: The Underwood Bistro. It’s in Graton, a quaint town between Forestville and Sebastopol.

Folks drive from all over to chat with the Underwood bartender or sip on a delicious mint mojito, a Dark and Stormy, or—my personal favorite—a Maker’s Mark Manhattan. Pair your drink with the everlasting fun of the bocce court at sundown. The excitement of throwing an iron ball down a path of crushed rock, combined with refreshment and laughter is everything a local or a visitor needs on a warm summer eve.

 

Article from the Summer issue in Sonoma Discoveries Magazine.

 


Ringing in 2012

2011 was a great year and what better way to begin to top it than by ringing in 2012 with awesome food and insanely amazing wines?! My amazing fiance slaved for a few good hours and created a menu to die for: Sea Bass and caviar, arugula salad with cranberries and basil vinaigrette, dungeness crab cakes, roasted turnips and caramelized carrots. WOW!!  Does it get any better? Not likely…. But it does when you bust out the wine! We had a 1976 Chateau La Mission Haut Brion Graves. A Cabernet and Merlot based blend with a touch of Cabernet Franc. This wine was truly amazing; smooth tannins, well structured still, slightly brick/brown in color but so earthy and delightful with the sea bass, the color did not even matter. I have not had a wine that aged before and it was really a great experience to taste something like that.

Aside from this amazing wine, we opened a long list of gems definitely worth mentioning: Starting the night off (a little backwards I suppose since you are really supposed to pop the bubbles at the stroke of midnight) with bubbly from one of my local favorites, Windsor Vineyards. The light and fruity Brut was the perfect accompaniment with the delicious truffle cheese Sherri (@SLHousman) and Dennis (@MrHousman) brought over.
Siduri 2004 Pinot Noir was fruit forward, had great weight on the palate and was a perfect sipping wine. The Sonoman 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon was as delightful as I remember when I first tried it at a Sonoma Meetup last fall. We opened this and let it hang out before drinking it, as it benefited greatly from the oxygen. Next up on the list was a 1998 Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. OMG. This wine left me speechless. It could have gone either way, depending on how it was stored and thankfully Tim has a climate controlled cellar because this wine was perfect.  Sherri was not a huge fan, though really enjoyed the chance to taste it. I on the other hand, thought it was spectacular. The light forest fruit on the front of the palate lead up to the smooth earthy mushroom, leather and coriander spices on the mid and back palate. The wine touched the mid palate, then moved to both sides and lingered in the back like velvet. This goes down on my list of greatest wines, for sure.
One other wine worth mentioning is the Stags Leaps 2002 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon. Everything you can imagine a 2020 Napa Cabernet would be. It was still quite heavy and very firm tannin structure, lots of great dark fruit and well rounded; great with Tim’s (@UncleTimmy24) Cabernet chocolate cookies with the “Uncle Timmy’s spice rub”.
My version of ringing in 2012 was exactly what I had hoped it to be. I hope everyone had a great New Years celebration and I wish everyone a wonderful 2012!