Tag Archives: summer sips

Summer in Style with Bubbles & Balls

Summertime is in full swing, and I’ve joined a boccé ball league.

Yes, I did.

I’ve never played before and now was as good a time as ever. I showed up early on a Friday evening ready to impress my team — with 2 bottles of Simonsig South Africa Kaapse Vonkel sparkling wine in-hand, one a 2016, and an award-winning 2015 brut. I skipped the first game and spent time popping corks over introductions with my team. We noshed and sipped in preparation of my inaugural boccé ball game (pétanque if you’re French).

I knew this Simonsig would be a winner because I sipped this last summer and fell in love with  this elegant South African rosé of pinot noir bubbles. It’s also got a bit of chardonnay and pinot meunier to add complexity — always a good idea to add finesse.

Bring a bottle to a friend’s for brunch on a lazy Sunday morning, or saber open a bottle with some takeout sushi. Bring a bottle and pay a corkage fee to enjoy Simonsig with a dozen oysters and a good friend.

By the time the first game was over, so was the Simonsig. Although I didn’t drink alone, I realized I had imbibed liquid courage to play this strange game that wasn’t quite like bowling as I’d thought when my first ball hit the wall, but more like pool. In fact, I kept this thought in my head as I took out my opponent’s green ball and moved my red in its place, but a bit closer to the palino (that little white target ball thrown out as the game begins).

My bubbly bribe worked, and I made new friends who shared my love for this South African brut. It was a win-win-win as my team won my first game, the bubbly I brought was a winner, and I won over a group of new friends.

Check out Simonsig bubbles at Quintessential Wines.

 

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Three Shades of Rosé

The little black dress isn’t only for women. Sorry, ladies, but according to a 2018 Wine Intelligence Study, over half of rosé wine drinkers are male! Excelsior Wine Company discovered a way to cater to both sexes… with a gender-neutral label of a script acronym, “lbd” and to cater to the ladies… its new vintage has been featured as part of LBD Cares Initiative supporting women at nationwide events. How’s that for keeping everyone happy?

My bottle of Mendocino County, California 2017 ldb rosé pours a full-flavored watermelon and berry sweet summer sip. It is the perfect blend of zinfandel and petite syrah in a pink-salmon shade that speaks of summertime.  The price point doesn’t break the bank, either. At $12/bottle, visit www.lbdwines.com to locate your Little Black Dress. If you’re feeling cocktail creative, here’s a recipe for an LBD Spritzer:

  • 4 oz. LBD Rosé
  • 1/2 oz. lychee liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Pama liqueur (or POM juice)
  • 2 dashes of rhubarb bitters
  • Dash of Strawberry Rhubarb soda or Club soda

Fill a wine glass with ice. Combine LBD Rosé, lychee liqueur, Pama liqueur, and rhubarb bitters. Top with strawberry rhubarb soda or club soda. Garnish with fresh-cut strawberries and wheels of lime and fresh sprig of rosemary.

Next, I sipped a Vivanco 2016 Tempranillo Garnacha. This is a deeper shade of rosé and hails from Rioja, Spain in a blend of 80% tempranillo and 20% garnacha from Vivanco’s estate vineyards. The bottle was inspired by an original 18th century bottle on display at the Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine. Visit www.vivancowineculture.com for more information. The buildup to taste begins with aromas of red licorice, raspberry, and strawberry wrapped in a floral mix of roses and violets. This affordable bottle retails at $14.99.

Last, but not least is a Western Cape, South Africa sparkling Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut produced at Simonsig Wine Estate. I brought this straw-colored bottle to a Fourth of July celebration/cookout and it was a huge hit! I will definitely be ordering more bottles to pair with breakfast (scrambled eggs), lunch (sushi) and dinner (duck) with dessert of almond cake suggested as the perfect pairing. Priced at $25/bottle, I’m impressed.

Three varietal staples of sparkling wine went into this brut: chardonnay, pinot noir and a touch of pinot meunier. If you enjoy sipping light flavors of apples and pears, you’ll love this sparkling imported by Quintessential Wines. Note of interest: In 2004, winemaker Johan Malan created the first ever blend of Pinotage.

The pinot gris of summer is liquid gold from MacMurray Estate Vineyards

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My preferred white wine sip of the summer winner is… MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris ($20). When I opened this elegant beauty, my senses swirled in pleasure, beginning with the aromas of pear, baked apple and dried fig in a blend that would win the hearts of the world’s most sensitive sniffers. The color is of liquid gold, as refined as its fruit forward taste made with grapes from MacMurray Ranch Vineyard and Two Rock Vineyard, both in the Russian River Valley of California.

Buy as much as you can now because this vintage will not last forever. It’s that good. And it’ll only enhance with age.