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8 Cocktail Recipes for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Why not treat the love of your life with a special pink cocktail?  Santa Margherita, Sparkling Ice, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale and Purity Vodka have recently come up with some delightful cocktail recipes to celebrate the day of love and friendship. Check out the recipes below and be sure to have the ingredients you need on hand for February 14 or any day you’d like to enjoy a thirst quenching drink.

This first recipe requires rosé ice cubes and all you need to make rosé ice cubes is the rosé and an ice cube tray. Other recipes call for  more unusual ingredients such as hibiscus flowers packed in syrup, rose petals and Small Hand Foods raspberry gum syrup.

Cheers!
Kathy

Sparkling Frosé

Sparkling Frosé

Ingredients

½ Bottle of Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade
8 Rosé Ice Cubes
1 oz lemon juice
Mint, for garnish

Directions

Pour rosé into an ice cube tray and place in freezer until frozen. In a blender, combine Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade, rosé cubes and lemon juice. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

 Sparkling Hibiscus

Sparkling Hibiscus

Ingredients

Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Whole hibiscus flowers, packed in syrup
8 tsps of hibiscus syrup used to pack the flowers

Directions

Place a whole hibiscus flower in the bottom of glass. Fill glass with Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG to ¾” of the rim. Carefully spoon 2 tsps of the hibiscus syrup down the interior side of each glass.

Sparkling Raspberry

Sparkling Raspberry

Ingredients

1½ ounces vanilla vodka
1 tsp. simple syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Sparkling Ice Grape Raspberry
Raspberry ice cubes, for garnish

Directions

Place raspberry ice cubes in glass and set to the side. In a cocktail shaker, add vanilla vodka, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice- shake. Strain over ice and add Sparkling Ice Grape Raspberry.

Rose Petal Rosé

Rose Petal Rosé

Ingredients

1 bottle of Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé
Pink rose petals

Directions

Pour glass of Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé. Place a pink rose petal on top and serve.

Sweet and Sparkly Champagne

Sweet and Sparkly Champagne

Ingredients

3 oz champagne, chilled
Cotton candy
1 oz Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade

Directions

Fill champagne flutes with champagne and Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeade. Place a small 2″ piece of cotton candy on top of glass as a garnish. Push the cotton candy into the glass for a fun disappearing effect.

Flor Adora

Flor Adora
Recipe Credit: Bruce Cost Ginger Ale

Ingredients

0.75 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz Small Hand Foods raspberry gum syrup
1.5 oz Plymouth gin
4 oz Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Original

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a glass with ice, garnish as desired. 

Purity Berry

Purity Berry H2O

Ingredients

4 Parts Purity Vodka
3 Parts Berry Water
1 Cup Mixed Berries
1 Long Piece of Lemon Zest
4 Parts distilled or bottled high quality water

Directions

Combine the ingredients in a glass pitcher and let sit, refrigerated, for at least 4 hours – or preferable overnight, before serving. Serve the vodka mixed with the Berry Water either shaken and strained or just combined over ice.

Rosemary Hound

The Rosemary Hound

Ingredients

2 Parts Purity Vodka
1 Part Simple Syrup
4 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves
½ Part Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
2 Slices Ruby Red Grapefruit, for garnish

Directions

Place the grapefruit juice, vodka and 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well to mix. Serve on the rocks, garnished with a grapefruit slice.

A Cava for Valentine’s Day

Pata Negra Brut Rosé Cava

We received a sample of Pata Negra Brut Rosé Cava. This cava is produced by Garcia Carrion Winery, established in 1890. The cava is a blend of Trepat and Pinot Noir and spent a minimum of twelve months aging during the secondary fermentation. The cava’s color was a reddish orange. Their were multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming both a center and circumference mousse on the wine’s surface. The aroma was reminiscent of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The mouthfeel was creamy and lively. The taste included berry fruits with cherries on the finish. The cava retails for $14.99. The varietal grape, Trepat, is an indigenous grape to the Catalonia region. It is one of the native grapes approved for use in the production of rosé cavas.

This cava pairs well with several occasions, especially Valentine’s Day. The red color and lively bubbles creates a setting of celebration. The cava would make a wonderful aperitif for Valentine’s Day and pairs well with different foods. Food pairings include almonds, cheese, avocado salads, and oriental food. We decided to pair with almonds and a stir fry. It matched up nicely with the almonds. The stir-fry included pineapple. The red berry taste of the cava matched well with the pineapple in the stir fry.

Placa from the Pata Negra Brut Rosé Cava

The label design took inspiration from the gate of Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Mila in Barcelona. More interesting than the bottle label is the placa (Catalan, placo French, chapa Spanish) on the cork. The placa shows a scene of two women, one sitting on a park bench. Many of the cava and champagne producers use decorative placas to protect the cork from the wire cage. We have been collecting placas since our first trip to Catalonia. If you have not started collecting them, the Pata Negra Brut Rosé Cava can be your first.

Garcia Carrion is a large business that includes juices and wines. The company portfolio of wines includes ten D.O.s including D.O. Cava. Their portfolio also includes non-D.O. wines and spirits.

Cheers,
Terry

Save the Date: April 12-15 for the Sandestin Wine Festival

Save April 12-15 dates for the Sandestin Wine Festival, a charity event

Coming up April 12-15 is the 32nd Annual Sandestin Wine Festival that takes place in Florida. The festival is for people new to wine and to those who are aficionados. Discover domestic and international wines.

The Sandestin Wine Festival takes place over four days and offers a variety of experiences. Look for special wine dinners, wine tastings, live music, culinary tents and more.

Tickets for the Sandestin Wine Festival are available online.

The Sandestin Wine Festival benefits The Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Sandestin Foundation for Kids.

According to the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast website: “Serving Military and Veteran’s Families in Their Time of Need A family’s love is always the best medicine. When a loved one is injured or ill, a Fisher House unites families and relieves the financial and emotional strain of being away from home.”

The Sandestin Foundation for Kids website notes: “Making a difference, one child at a time. The goal of the Sandestin Foundation for Kids is to make a meaningful and positive difference in children’s lives. The Foundation will support causes or organizations which have the most impact, and to make the best, positive difference in the lives of children, including health and economic issues.”

Even if you cannot attend the Sandestin Wine Festival, perhaps you can make a donation to the Fisher House or the Sandestin Foundation for Kids.

Cheers!
Kathy

Celebrate National Carrot Cake Day Paired with Ice Cider!

Ice Cider produced by La Face Cachée de la Pomme

February 3 is National Carrot Cake Day! If you don’t have time to bake a carrot cake from scratch, then use a box cake mix. Top the carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting. Try matching the carrot cake with cider, hard cider or even better an ice cider.

Ice ciders primarily are produced in Quebec, Canada where the winters are cold enough to freeze the apples on the trees. A few years ago, while visiting Quebec we came across the unique and delicious ice ciders at La Face Cachée de la Pomme (Domaine Neige), Cidrerie Du Minot and Union Libre.

When traveling to Quebec be sure to look for these very special dessert wines.

Minot des Glaces

Union Libre unique ice cider

Happy National Carrot Day!

Cheers!
Kathy

Winter Wine Captures First Time Attendees

Winter Wine at the B&O Railroad Museum

The marketing process for January’s Winter Wine at the B&O Railroad Museum paid off this year. The event was well attended from the onset of the sparkling wine reception through the grand tasting in the museum’s roundhouse. I spoke with several people, many stating that this was the first time they attended the event. There were also the comments that this was the first time they heard about the event.

Winter Wine is Maryland’s premiere wine event and one of the best wine events on the East Coast. The sparkling wine reception had five of Maryland’s sparkling wine producers pouring tastings of sparkling wines. There was an assortment of bubbles crafted from different varietal grapes. The one that caught my attention was Old Westminister Winery’s Pétillant-naturel Albariño. This sparkling wine is made with Albariño grapes, a variety that is showing much promise in Maryland vineyards. The wine was not disgorged, but rather left in the bottle with the sediment from the secondary fermentation. That sediment did not appear in the glass though.

While waiting in line for a sparkling wine tasting, we met Katie and Tom Scott who were attending their first Winter Wine event. They were accompanied by Scott’s parents, Jeff and Linda Scott. Both couples had been tasting Maryland wines for a few years. Katie and Scott mentioned that they like smaller producers. Scott advised, “Check it out.”

Winter Wine at the B&O Railroad Museum

Tricia McGrath and Steve Linhard had been exploring Maryland wines for five years. The Winter Wine event had been a Christmas present. They were impressed with the beautiful venue at the B&O Railroad Museum. Both felt that the red wines outshined the white wines, a sentiment that was heard by others during the evening.

Frank Schrom has been tasting Maryland wines for two decades. He mentioned, that during that time, the wineries have moved from sweeter wine portfolios to a dry portfolio.

Cephas Thornton (pictured) has been tasting Maryland wines for five years. He enjoys Maryland wines; purchasing several bottles at the event. Cephas praised the Winter Wine event saying, “It was nicely done.”

The takeaways for the evening was that there were many first-time event attendees. Many people I spoke with enjoyed the red wines a bit more than the white wines. All of the people praised the B&O Railroad Museum venue for this event. The atmosphere was a bit more polished, not quite formal, but far away from t-shirts and jeans.

The Winter Wine event is held yearly near the end of January. Watch for the event on the Maryland Wine website.

Cheers,
Terry

Maryland Winter Wine Photo Gallery

Last week we attended the annual Winter Wine event at the B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. The event which showcased the wines from 18 Maryland wineries was delightful. With wine tastings, light appetizers and conversation the attendees were able to forget about the cold winter weather for a time. Below is a photo gallery for your enjoyment. Why not make plans to attend the 2019 Winter Wine event?

 

Champagne Laurent Lequart

Champagne Laurent Lequart Brut Nature at the APVSA tasting in Washington DC, January 2018

Champagne Laurent Lequart has 10 hectares of vineyards in the Passy Grigny village of the Marne Valley. The vineyards comprise of Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Meunier plays a vital role in the champagne house’s champagnes.

Six of the champagnes were available for tasting at the APVSA, Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America, tasting in Washington DC in January. The Réserve Brut Meunier was made entirely with Pinot Meunier. The yellow colored wine had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center mousse on the surface of the wine. The champagne had a very creamy mouthfeel and offered berry fruit and a crisp finish. The wine had 9 g/L of residual sugar and aged for two years.

Champagnes

The Blanc de Blancs Brut was crafted with 100% Chardonnay. The light yellow colored champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center mousse. Apple was predominant on the aroma and taste. The wine had a creamy mouthfeel and the finish had apple yielding to mineral. This champagne had 9 g/L of residual sugar and aged for 3 years.

The Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature was made from 100% Pinot Noir. The light yellow colored champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center mousse on the wine’s surface. The mouthfeel was lively and red berry fruit was noticed on the taste. The crisp finish had citrus yielding to mineral. This champagne had 2.5 g/L of residual sugar and was aged for two and a half years.

Champagne Laurent Lequart Prestige Pur Meunier Extra Brut at the APVSA tasting in Washington DC, January 2018

Prestige Pur Meunier Extra Brut was made from 100% Pinot Meunier. This light yellow colored champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a mousse on the surface’s center. The wine offered red berry fruits, mineral and freshly baked bread. The wine had a creamy mouthfeel, crisp finish and long aftertaste. The champagne had 6 g/L of residual sugar and aged for 6 years.

The Blanc de Meunier Brut Nature was made entirely of Pinot Meunier. With only 2 g/L of residual sugar, this champagne was very dry and food friendly. The yellow colored wine had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a mousse in the center of the surface. The wine had red berry fruits and a crisp finish. It was aged for two and a half years.

The Millesime Brut was a blend of equal amounts of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The champagne had 8 g/L of residual sugar and was aged for 6 years. The yellow colored champagne offered red berry and apple notes. The mouthfeel was creamy. In the glass, this champagne had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a mousse on the surface’s center.

Champagne Laurent Lequart is looking for distributors in the United States.

Cheers,
Terry

Champagne Pierre Launay

Champagne Pierre Launay Rosé at the APVSA tasting in Washington DC, January 2018

I had an opportunity to attend a tasting of wines at the APVSA, Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America, tasting in Washington DC in January. One of the producers was Champagne Pierre Launay. The Launay family settled in Barbonne-Fayel in the 1920’s. Champagne Pierre Launay was established in 1973, now three brothers, Laurent Launay, Jérôme Launay and Lionel Launay operate the vineyards and winery. We met Laurent at the tasting and asked a few questions by email.

Wine Trail Traveler: When did your wine journey begin?
Laurent Launay: It started 45 years ago. My parents started to plant vines 50 years ago at the end of the 60’s, then installed their first press in 1971 and sold the first bottles in 1973. The last two sons started to work with them in 1996 and Laurent (me, the first son of the 3) came back to work at the domain in 2005, when our parents retired.

Wine Trail Traveler: How many hectares of grapes are in the vineyards your family owns?
Laurent Launay: We work on 14 hectares, (9.5 hectares in the villages of Barbonne-Fayel and Broyes, in the Côte de Sézanne region, and 4.5 hectares (one third) 100 kilometers far away in the Aube region called Côte des Bars). In our vineyards, Chardonnay represents 46%, Pinot Noir 52% and Pinot Meunier 2%.

Wine Trail Traveler: How would you describe the differences in your champagnes compared to other champagne producers?
Laurent Launay: Our champagnes are blends around 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir which gives a good balance. Chardonnay gives freshness (acidity) with floral notes at the nose, citrus notes on the palate (when young) then butter and brioche/toast notes (when older). Pinot Noir brings body, fruit and smoothness. This balance produces pleasant champagnes quite easy to drink, fresh and light thanks to the Chardonnay half and smooth and fruity with the second half of Pinot Noir.

The Champagnes 

Champagne Pierre Launay Rosé at the APVSA tasting in Washington DC, January 2018

Laurent had four champagnes at the Washington DC tasting. Champagne Tradition White was a blend of Chardonnay 60% and Pinot Noir 40%. In the glass, there were multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a mousse on the surface of the wine. The yellow colored champagne offered apple, citrus and mineral notes. The mouthfeel was smooth. There was 8 g/L of residual sugar on this champagne that aged for six years.

The Selection was a blend of equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the first pressed juice. This champagne also had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a circumference mousse. The yellow colored wine had a very creamy mouthfeel and offered apple, mineral and freshly baked bread on the aroma and taste. This champagne had 8 g/L of residual sugar and was aged for four years.

The Blanc de Blancs 2008 was crafted from only Chardonnay. This wine had multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a center mousse on the surface of the wine. Apple and mineral notes accompanied a creamy mouthfeel and crisp finish. The champagne had 2 g/L of residual sugar and was aged for 7 years.

I also sampled a Rosé (pictured above). Although beautiful at any time of the year, this champagne is especially appealing for Valentine’s Day. It was a blend of equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with additional Pinot Noir wine added for the color. There were multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a total surface mousse. The reddish orange colored champagne offered citrus and red berry fruits on the aroma and taste. The wine had a creamy mouthfeel. The champagne had 6 g/L of residual sugar and was aged for 4 years.

Champagne Pierre Launay is looking for distributors in the United States.

Cheers,
Terry

Discover “Once Upon a Wine” Events

Bourgogne Gamay, one of many wines at the APVSA event

The APVSA, Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America, is a unique business with a focus on providing exposure to wine and spirits producers to importers. Throughout the year they host numerous events for wineries to promote their wines.

Early this week we traveled into Washington, DC to attend the Once Upon A Wine wine tasting event. This particular wine tasting was located about three blocks from the well known Union Station. The majority of wineries represented were mainly  from France, although there were also wines from Portugal and Spain. The French regions represented in this week’s DC tasting were: Champagne, Bordeaux, Rhône, Roussillon, Occitanie, Languedoc, Provence, Bourgogne, Centre Loire, Beaujolais, Val de Loire, Alsace and more.

Monday’s Once Upon a Wine event took place from 12:00 Noon until 5:00 pm. Wineries and French Champagne Houses were represented. Tables were arranged around the circumference of the rectangular room and each table had a representative from the wineries to answer questions about the wines, vineyards, varieties and cost.

With so many wines available at the event this week, it was not easy to decide which ones to taste and write about. Terry and I decided to write about different wines from different producers. Terry’s preference was to visit the Champagne Houses while the majority of wines I tasted were reds. Future blogs on Wine Trail Traveler will focus on several of these wine producers.

In January and February 2018, the Once Upon A Wine event is traveling from city to city with the intention of promoting European wineries to wine importers. In addition to importers, wine writers are also invited to attend.

In 2018, Once Upon a Wine has already been held in several North American cities including Montreal, Halifax, Toronto, Detroit, Columbus, Washington DC, and New York City.

The schedule thru February 8 is below. If you are a wine importer or a wine writer try to attend one of these sessions.

  • Orlando: January 25
  • Miami, January 29
  • San Antonio: January 30
  • Phoenix: January 31
  • Los Angeles: February 1
  • San Francisco: February 5
  • Portland: February 6
  • Vancouver: February 7
  • Calgary: February 8

Watch for our future blogs about the individual wineries and wines we tasted at the Washington DC event.

Cheers!
Kathy

Discover LEAF Vodkas

LEAF Vodka Cocktail

Earlier this month we enjoyed making a cocktail from a sample of the LEAF Vodka made with Alaskan Glacial water. Check out the Wine Trail Traveler blog about that first vodka and the Alaskan Winter cocktail for cold weather. We were also sent a second sample of a LEAF Vodka made with Rocky Mountain mineral water. Both LEAF vodkas are labeled organic and non-GMO. They are 40% alcohol, 80 proof.

LEAF VODKA emphasizes the special waters they use to produce their vodkas. There is a difference  between the LEAF vodka made with Alaskan Glacial water and the one made with Rocky Mountain Mineral water. The mouthfeel is different. I found the Alaskan Glacial water vodka to have a smoother mouthfeel at first ending with heat towards the end. The LEAF vodka made with Rocky Mountain Mineral water offered a pleasant sense of heat that lingered on the finish.

One of the recipes sent with these vodka samples was  Cinnamon LEAF which calls for LEAF Rocky Mountain which is, as its name suggests, produced with Rocky Mountain Mineral Water.

Cinnamon LEAF Cocktail

Ingredients

2 oz. LEAF Rocky Mountain made of Rocky Mountain Mineral Water
1 oz. orange juice
0.5 oz. cinnamon syrup
0.5 oz. lemon juice

We put all of the ingredients into the shaker with ice and poured it into our decorative vintage crystal stemware. The vintage crystal was the perfect setting for the Cinnamon LEAF.

This cocktail was a lovely lemony color. The cocktail aroma included notes of lemon, orange and cinnamon. The cocktail created a sense of warmth and there was a bit of heat on the finish. The LEAF VODKA made with Rocky Mountain Mineral Water allowed the essence of the cocktail ingredients to shine through.

According to the LEAF VODKA website, “Because water is the Spirit of Vodka. Water is the spirit of vodka. There’s something in it that shapes the taste, character, and finish of the world’s favorite spirit. There’s something that makes our vodkas stand apart. That difference is the water.”

Consumers will want to try both types of vodkas from LEAF. Use each in the cocktails you usually make and see which you prefer.

If you plan on making a cocktail for Valentine’s Day, you may want to try the lovely Alaskan Sunset cocktail on the LEAF website. The ingredients include: LEAF Vodka made from Alaskan Glacial water, lemon juice, simple syrup, raspberries and a sprig of rosemary.

Cheers,
Kathy


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