“This ‘WINE [is] MAKING’ me Awesome”

Within the next week, I will be sharing with you the winemaking process with the Master Vintner™ Small Batch Wine Starter Kit from Northern Brewer. Throughout this video, I will walk you through the five essential winemaking stages and share with you exclusive winemaking techniques to give you the best wine results. They also make the process easy, fun and enjoyable.

Throughout the past four weeks, I have had a fantastic time learning more about the wine making process and making my own wine. Hopefully this video will inspire you to start your own batch. I promise you won’t be disappointed!!

I can’t wait to show you Winemaking with the Coloradan Wino. Stay tooned!!

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“Pinot Noir, You are a Star”

Pinot Noir grapes are grown around the world and consume a total of 290,000 acres of land, making it the most highly prized wine in the world. Pinot Noir is made predominantly from pinot noir grapes, a red wine grape variety known as Vitis vinifera. The name “Pinot Noir” is derived from the French words for pine and blackpine referring to the tightly clustered, pine-cone shaped, grape variety, and the black referring to the color of the grape.

Although the color of the grapes is very dark, the thin-skin and low levels of phenolic compounds within the grape cause it to produce wines are pale in color, translucent, and have subtle flavors. The acidity is medium to high and the tannin levels are low to medium. The grapes are usually aged in French Oak Barrels for any amount of time between two to 18 years depending on the style that the winemaker is trying to get.

Pinot Noir is predominantly grown in France, but other popular growing locations include: the United States, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. The grape is best grown in cooler climates in chalky clay. Below, you can see the Pinot Noir belt, this shows the regions and latitudes of those regions where pinot noir is best grown.

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Photo courtesy of Wine Folly

Growing the grape variety has been challenging for many winemakers because the grape, itself, is weak, the tightness of the grape clusters and sensitivity to wind, frost, cropping levels, soil types, and pruning techniques, causes the grapes to be very susceptible to a variety of diseases and mutations. Not only is the variety difficult to cultivate, but it is also difficult to transform into wine. The wine often goes through dumb phases, causing uneven fermentation and unpredictable aging.

The best serving temperature for Pinot Noir is when it is cool to the touch, being about 63 degrees F.

Flavors:

As stated above, Pinot Noir is very unpredictable. This causes the wine to create a wide range of flavors depending on the vintage and where it was grown.

The most common flavors of Pinot Noir are cranberry, cherry, and raspberry, but other common flavors include: vanilla, clove, licorice, mushroom, wet leaves, tobacco, cola, and caramel.

Pairings:

Pinot Noir is a wine that will make everyone happy because it is said to be a “catch-all food pairing wine”. Pinot Noir is light enough for salmon, but complex enough to hold up to some richer meat including duck. It also pairs well with chicken, mushroom risotto, grilled trout, and lobster.

It’s only fitting that the wine that goes with everything pairs perfectly with the cheese that goes with everything. The type of cheese that goes with everything is Comté.

 

Feature image courtesy of http://tourly.com.au

 

Over the next couple of weeks I will be making my own small, one-gallon batch of Pinot Noir wine. I will be giving a step-by-step tutorial as well as some great winemaking tips to make the perfect batch of wine every time. Join me on my journey of making my first batch of wine and hopefully it will spark some inspiration for all of you to try making your own batch! 🙂

 

“I’ll be Malbec!”

Often called Auxerrois or Côt Noir in Cahors, and Pressac in other places, Malbec is a dark fruit flavorful, smoky finish, red wine made from a purple grape variety. The grapes tend to have an inky dark color and robust tannins. Malbec has been known to be blended with Merlot and Tannat grape varieties to make darker, full-bodied wines. It’s only been of recent that the Malbec grapes have been made into 100% Malbec varietal wines.

In lower elevations, Malbec grapes struggle to produce the acidity they need to create great tasting and long lasting wine. That is why higher elevated areas with a wide diurnal temperature shift are better for growing Malbec grapes, making the grapes produce more acidity. The Malbec grape grows well in a variety of soil types, particularly in limestone based soils, where it produces its most dark and tannic manifestation. Even though it may grow well in a variety of soils, it is very susceptible to various grape diseases and viticultural hazards. The most common diseases and hazards are: frost, coulure, downey mildew, and rot. Because of this, the grape became less popular in Bordeaux after 1956 when frost killed off 75 percent of the crop. The Cahors vineyards were hit by the same frost, but Malbec was later replanted and continued to be popular in that area.

Malbec is most popularly grown in Argentina, where it produces a softer, less tannic variety of wine. It is also grown in Chile, Washington State, the Rogue and Umpqua regions of Oregon, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, British Columbia, the Long Island AVA of New York, Oregon, southern Bolivia, northeastern Italy and recently in Texas and southern Ontario, Virginia, and in the Baja California region of Mexico.

Malbec is usually aged for five to ten years, and is best served in a Bordeaux wine glass at a temperature between 60 to 64 degrees F.

Flavors:

The main fruit flavors in a glass of Malbec are: blackberry, plum and black cherry. Other pronounced flavors are pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, violet flowers, leather, and, depending on the amount of oak aging, a sweet tobacco finish.

Pairings:

Because Malbec does not have a super long finish, it is great with leaner red meats. It also pairs well with dark meat poultry, beef brisket, duck, chicken leg, lamb, beef, ostrich, buffalo, and pork shoulder.

Malbec pairs well with earthy or smoky flavors, so when you’re marinating your meat or adding a little spice to your food use flavors like: parsley, sumac, thyme, rosemary, porcini powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, juniper berry, clove, vanilla bean, garlic, shallot, green onion, or barbecue sauce.

When pairing with cheese, look for funky, rich, or soft to semi-firm cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses.

Looking for a healthy side dish for that entree? Mushroom, roasted vegetables, green and red bell pepper, potato, arugula, kale, chard, grilled endive, onion, beet, tempeh, lentils, black beans, and rice pair well with Malbec.

 

Feature image courtesy of http://michaelolivier.co.za/archives/31390

“I’d Love to Stay, but Moscato Go!”

More often referred to as Moscato d’Asti or Apiana, Moscato a sweet, bubbly white wine made from Muscat Blanc grapes. The acidity is considered medium and the alcohol content is very low, usually ranging between five to seven percent alcohol per volume (ABV).  Its been made for over seven centuries, making it to be one of the oldest cultivated grape varieties in the world. The first record of Moscato d’Asti winemaking dates back to the Medieval ages in Piedmont, Italy.

Moscato bianco is best grown in cooler regions in limestone and sandstone soils, which provide hydration and flavors to the grapes. Once the grapes have ripened, they are crushed and then chilled to the point of freezing to stop the fermentation process. Halting the fermentation process allows the natural sugars to be kept within the liquid, which gives the wine its sweet flavor. There is no secondary fermentation process used in the making of Moscato, but the wine is filtered through a filtration process before bottling, which gives the wine its translucent golden color.

There are three types of Moscato wine: sparkling, still, and dessert. The sparkling type of Moscato is made with Muscat Blanc grapes. This style is most commonly made in Italy and is called Moscato d’Asti. This sweet frizz ante, bubbly wine is noted for its high aromatics and light alcohol level. Still Moscato is less commonly made, and is also known as Muscat Blanc or Moscatel. It is typically white in color, dry, has alcohol levels of close to 12% ABV, and uses either Muscat Blanc or Zibibbo grapes. Dessert Moscato is made with Moscatel or Orange Muscat grapes. It has a thick oily texture as well as tawny color and oak aging is common. This style is most commonly made in the South of France, Southern Spain, Australia, and the US.

Sparkling Moscato should be served in a white wine glass at the temperature of 45 degrees F, still Moscato’s serving temperature is at 50 degree F, and dessert Muscat’s serving temperature is at 60 degrees F in a sauternes dessert wine glass.

Flavors:

Moscato got its name from its earthy, musky aroma. It has a one of the most unique smells of all wine types, giving off aromas of honeysuckle, vanilla bean, rose, orange blossom, perfume, jasmine, and caramel.

The common flavor profiles of Moscato include: apricot, peach, nectarine, Meyer lemon, and orange.

Pairings:

Moscato is most often enjoyed as a dessert wine, but its refreshing flavor profile makes it more than just a dessert wine.

Because of its low alcohol level and high level of sweetness, it tends to handle spicy foods perfectly. Moscato pairs nicely with aromatic spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, mint, basil, lime, teriyaki, sweet and sour, and chile peppers.

Wines like Moscato bode well with lighter meats like chicken, turkey, duck, light flaky fish, pork tenderloin, shrimp, crap, lobster, halibut, and cod. It can also stand up to BBQ Pork just as well as an ice cold coke.

It does well with medium to firm cheeses, like cheeses made with sheep or cow’s milk.

For all those veggie and fruit lovers out there, it also pairs well with crisp carrots, celery, fennel, tofu, red and yellow bell pepper, mango, pineapple, orange, and green onion.

 

Feature photo courtesy of Bottega Dei Quattro Vini.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon Meatballs

With the cooler weather sloooooowly creepin’ in, football season in full swing and hockey season now starting, I thought it would be a great idea to make some warm, tender, juicy meatballs as an appetizer for this game day, and of course, game days are never completely with something cooking in the crock-pot!

I found this recipe while I was researching Merlot a few weeks back and decided that instead of using merlot, I was going to try them with some Cabernet Sauvignon. These meatballs are made with a balsamic vinegar and Cabernet Sauvignon wine reduction that’s infused with garlic and honey for a flavor profile that will blow your traditional game day sauces out of the stadium! As the Broncos played last night, against the Texans and kicked butt *whoot whoot*, I decided that it would be a perfect time to give these bad boys a try. Surprisingly, they were a huge hit. Living with two guys, who don’t like wine and only know grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, they chowed!

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The crock-pot really made the meatballs just melt right in your mouth, and the SAUCE…. WOW!! seriously soooooo good!! I was licking my plate and slurping it like soup, I just couldn’t get enough of it. Plus, the ingredients doesn’t call for too much of the wine, which makes it so you have plenty leftover to enjoy while you cook.

This recipe makes enough that you could feed an entire football team, which means it makes for a great pre-game appetizer for any game day party, or if you just feel like doing something a little different with your meatballs. If you wish to enjoy it as more of a meal, feel free to try it on top of cooked pasta, like traditional Swedish meatballs.

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Cabernet Sauvignon Meatball Recipe:
Ingredients:
  • 1 (26 oz.) bag of bite-sized Italian or Swedish meatballs
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp water
Instructions:
  • Turn on the slow cooker to low heat and add the meatballs so they can begin thawing.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar, Cabernet Sauvignon, garlic, soy sauce, and honey to a saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Then add the cubes of butter to the mixture, stirring constantly to thicken as the butter melts.
  • In a small prep dish, stir together the corn starch and water until starch dissolves, then stir into sauce.
  • Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, then pour sauce over the meatballs in the slow cooker.
  • Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 1½ to 2 hours or until meatballs reach an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F.
  • Chop green onion to garnish on top before serving. Add salt and pepper for extra flavor.

Makes 50 Meatballs

Total Cook time: 3 Hours

“Call me a Cab”

Pronunciation: “Cab-er-nay  Saw-vin-yawn”

Sometimes nicknamed “Cab Sauv” or just simply “Cabernet” or “Cab”, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most successful and famous red wine grape in the world. It is grown in practically ALL wine regions in the world and is most frequently used in wine blends, such as: Malbec, Cabernet Franc, or Petit Verdot. The best places to get Cabernet Sauvignon are Bordeaux, France; Tuscany, Italy; and Napa Valley, USA.

Cabernet is a black grape used to make red wine. The grape is recognized by its thick, durable skin, and the vine’s resistance to the elements of rot, insects and frost with naturally low yielding, late budding. The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is said to grow better in gravel-based soil. The gravel soils offer the benefit of being well drained while absorbing and radiating heat into the vines, which helps the grape ripen to almost perfection. The grape itself is historically known as the “Frankenstein” grape, because it was created by crossing the red Cabernet Franc grape with the white Sauvignon Blanc grape in the 17th century.

As a wine, Cabernet Sauvignon has a dark color, full body, and an alcohol content over 13.5 percent. Most Cabernet Sauvignons, especially those from places such as California, Australia and Chile, have an alcohol content of more than 14.5 percent and sometimes even more than 15 percent. The wine is dry and has noticeable high tannin and acidity levels.

Flavors:

Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of green peppers, tobacco, cassis, and dark fruits such as cherries. Sometimes there are notes of vanilla, which comes from the wine being aged in oak. The flavors are custom to the type of climate that the grapes are grown in.

Grown in cooler climates is where the wine tends to have blackcurrant notes that are accompanied by green bell pepper, mint, and cedar notes, which become more pronounced as the wine ages.

In more moderate climates, the blackcurrant notes are often accompanied by black cherry and black olives notes.

In the hotter climates is where the wine becomes over-ripe and “jammy”.  Which I don’t think sounds as good, so when you look for a Cab Sauv wine, look for ones that are grown in cooler to moderate climates.

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Pairings: 

Because of its acidity, tannins and high alcohol content, Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that needs to be drank with food. It is best served after three to six hours after opening the bottle, in a Bordeaux wine glass, at 63 to 67 degrees F.

It is commonly described as the ideal red meat wine. With the strong tannins, heavy body, and the oaky, spicy aromas of the wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect match for grilled beef, ribeye steaks, t-bones, or burgers. If you’re a not so traditional meat person and like to eat not so traditional red meat, Cab Sav also pairs well with ostrich, buffalo, or lamb.

For anyone who likes to add flavor to their meats, Cab works very well with typical BBQ flavours, making it a good match for baby back ribs or marinated skewers. As for Asian spices and cuisines, cab sauv works well with chicken yakitori or teriyaki. However, if you like spice, I would not suggest this wine type because it doesn’t pair well with spicy food.

Mushroom-based dish are highly compatible with Cabernet Sauvignon as well. Risottos, pastas, and casseroles would be the way to go.

When it comes to cheese, Cabernert Sauvignon works well will cooked paste cheese, such as gruyere, beaufort, or comté.

For all those sweet tooths out there, Cab Sauv pairs very well with dark, rich chocolate. It also will pair well with chocolate with berry flavors added into it.

 

Join me next week as I make Cabernet Sauvignon Swedish meatballs. 

 

Feature image from www.tongueexplorers.com

Peach & Mango Riesling Sorbet

It looks like fall; but still feels a lot like summer. Since the weather has been continuously warm, it’s been pretty obvious that Colorado doesn’t want to let go of summer yet. Because of this, I think it’s still an acceptable time to make some sorbet, annnnnd I also promised you guys a couple weeks ago that I would share this recipe with you. So here it is!

Today I prepared a fresh peach and mango Riesling sorbet, made with just six simple ingredients. It’s dairy-free and refined sugar-free. I’ve decided to pair the Riesling with fresh peaches because one of the various natural fruity notes of Riesling is peach. Peaches and mangoes are both tropical fruits meaning that they will compliment each other well. Put all three together and you have created a sorbet that is not too tart and not too sweet. It has a light and airy texture, which reminds me of the fresh, crisp, bubbly taste and texture of Riesling.

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This recipe will be a hit at any spring or summer gathering, or if you just need to feed a sweet tooth craving. Now I know its fall and some fruit is no longer in season, buut if do you find yourself among a few ripe peaches and mangoes, you definitely have to give this one a try. It’s easy, healthy and sooooo delicious!

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Peach & Mango Riesling Sorbet Recipe:
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup Riesling wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 pound peaches, cored, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound mangoes, cored, peeled and cubed
  • ** Pre-sliced or frozen fruit will also work for this recipe
  • ** When selecting a Riesling for the sorbet, use a good quality brand to give a rich and flavorful taste. Not too sweet, but not too tart either.
Instructions:
  • Peel and pit the peaches and mangoes, then chop into squares.
  • Next, combine the water with the peaches and mangoes in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Let cool.
  • Once cooled, add in the wine.
  • Puree the mixture in a blender with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • Transfer the mixture to a container and store closed in the refrigerator until chilled through, about 4 hours.
  • ** If you’re crunched on time, or you just cant wait to taste the crisp sweet sensation of peach, mango and Riesling, you can transfer the liquid into a gallon ziploc bag, seal the bag and chill in an ice-water bath for 20 minutes.
  • Once the sorbet liquid is chilled, pour the sorbet into the pre-frozen canister of the ice-cream maker.
  • Churn for 30 minutes or until the sorbet acquires a creamy consistency of your liking.
  • Transfer the sorbet into a freezer-safe airtight container and place a piece of parchment paper on the surface and pack it down to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  • Freeze for 4 to 6 hours to firm before serving.
  • Remove from the freezer, serve yourself a nice big scoop and enjoy!

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Did you try this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment below. I love hearing your feedback!

A Plentiful Harvest

So, I know I mentioned that I would be making sorbet this week, buuuuuuuut I had to opportunity to go to Balistreri Vineyards Harvest Party this last weekend and I just have to blog about it!!!

Last Sunday, October 2, 2016 was the 14th Annual Harvest Party, hosted at Balistreri Vineyards. They do this party every year to celebrate the new years harvest and release the new wines made from the previous year’s harvest. This event is where you and all your wine loving friends can go taste the new wines, enjoy some amazing food, dance to the local band and splurge on a couple bottles of wine while you’re at it.

I never knew about this event until I was given the golden ticket as a birthday gift from one of my friends….Who I CANNOT stop thanking because the event was so much fun.

The event ran from noon to 5:00 PM and man, let me tell you, get there about an hour early because the line to get in was craaaaaazy long!!! Luckily my friends got there before I did to save us a table otherwise we wouldn’t have had a place to lounge.

When you first enter the venue, you walk straight into the wine bar where all new wines were lined up to be shown off to the guests along with the wines that were proudly wearing their award metals from previous years. As you walked around the bar, the room opens into a huge open event space filled with tables. All the back doors were then folded open to the back garden area where many more tables and the gazebo housing the band were placed. Just beyond that were two large open tents with more tables and the array of the hors d oeuvres and finally in the very back were the tables for wine tasting. I know it sounds like a huge space, but in all honesty it really wasn’t and there must have been a couple hundred people there. It was amazing.

Before I get to the wine….I have to obsess about the food for a little bit. Of course they have the cheese, crackers, vegetables, and salami that one would normally pair with wine, but they also had plates full of fruit with dipping chocolate and pecan and raspberry glazed croissant brie desserts, oven fired pizza, pulled pork, spiced potatoes, and OH MY GAWD the best soup I have ever had. Hands down. It was a creamy soup with a hint of pumpkin that had cranberries, apples and pumpkin seeds garnished on top. It makes my mouth water every time I think about it. Annnnnnd the worst part about it is, you can only find that soup at the harvest party. They won’t release the recipe anyyyywhere for it. Terrible right??? If you were there, you would know what I was talking about!!

Now, the wines on the other hand…those can make my mouth water too… They had three white wines, 13 red wines and three dessert wines out for tasting. We could only make it through half of the list because the pourers were treating us with a good amount to taste. The set up was nice because no one was forced to buy anything, one could taste the wines as much as they wanted to, but there were also options to buy a glass of your favorite or you could buy a whole bottle. Bottle prices ranged anywhere between $20 to $56. And if you wanted to get more than one bottle, they offered discounts like if you bought six bottles, you’d get 10% off; 1 case and you’d save 15%; and 2 cases, 20%.

Not only was it a party for adults, but kids were invited too. About halfway through the party, the vineyard hosts a Children’s grape stomping event, where all the kids that come are welcome to stomp the grapes to make next years Colorado Little Feet Merlot wine. I think this I the cutest idea and the wine isn’t too bad either. Those kids know how to stomp pretty well!!

If you can’t wait until next year, the winery is open for wine tasting, winery tours and lunch seven days a week from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM. I strongly suggest paying them a visit, you will not be disappointed! They also can accommodate for various types of events whether it be private parties, corporate events, weddings, or bridal showers,

Now that i’m finished gushing over how fun the event was, I thought I’d share with with some of the wines I enjoyed most:

White Wines:

2015 Colorado Orange Muscat: dry, but loaded with tropical flavors and aromas, such as: ripe pineapple, caramelized orange and lemon zest.

2015 Colorado Riesling: notes of pear pastry and apple pie, with a subtle touch of citrus pith, give the wine a pleasant tang on the finish.

2015 Chardonnay: With aromas of honeysuckle and sweet malt and a palate of baked apple, herbal tea and playful acidity made this wine taste like no other.

**It was interesting because while tasting the white, the pourer mentioned that the color of their whites were darker because they fermented the juices right on the skin of the grapes, giving the finished wine a darker color.

Red Wines:

2015 Colorado Sangiovese: With a vibrant magenta color and hints of cranberry and spice, the wine was bright and had a refreshing tart, crisp finish.

2015 American GSM: Which includes all three grape varieties of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, gave a mouthful of raspberry, cinnamon spice with a hint of grapefruit. ***This one was my all time favorite red!!

“Everything happens for a Riesling”

Made from a white grape variety, Riesling is the 20th most grown grape variety in the world. Even though it might not be on the top of the most grown list, it is one of the top three white wine varieties, along with Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. The grape, itself is very aromatic and very acidic. While most rieslings are sweet, the grape is also used to make dry, semi-sweet, and sparkling wines.

When grown in cooler climates the riesling grapes tend to have a higher level of residual sugar, which results in the wine having apple and tree fruit flavors with noticeable levels of acidity. On the opposite side, when the grapes are given a little bit more time to ripen and are grown in warmer climates, the resulting wines tend to develop more citrus and peach flavors. Whether it be grown in warm or cold climates, it should always be served in a white wine, wine glass at 43 degrees F.

By serving riesling at a cooler temperature, it makes the wine more delicate, intense, crisp, juicy, refreshing, complex, transparent and dense. It is an “immediately pleasing” wine that has unique character and a vibrant personality.

The best rieslings come from the fertile, well drained, cool soils of Germany, but it is also grown in Australia, France, Austria, New Zealand, Washington and California.

Flavors:

The high natural acidity of the riesling grapes pronounce the various fruitful flavors of apricot, nectarine, peach, apple, pear, pineapple, lime, and lemon. It also brings out the strong aromas of honey, honeycomb, bee wax, ginger, and citrus blossom. Unfortunately the high acidity will also make some riesling wines give off the sents of petrol, rubber, and diesel fuel. I know what you’re think, it’s gross right? Buuuuut I’m sure the wine still tastes good.

Pairings: 

If you are someone who loves spicy food, then Riesling is the wine for you! Its sweetness and acidity make the perfect accompaniment to spicy food.

Highly spiced and aromatic herbs that riesling should be paired with include cayenne pepper, ginger, clove, cinnamon, allspice, turmeric, madras curry, Sichuan pepper, shallots, soy sauce, sesame, marjoram, basil, rice vinegar, and teriyaki sauce. Whether any of those spices be used on duck, pork, bacon, chicken, shrimp or crab, you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t like meat, you’re in luck. There’s vegetarian options to pair with riesling wine as well. Roasted vegetables and veggies, with natural sweetness including coconut, red onion, bell pepper, eggplant, tempeh, squash and carrot, pair amazingly well with it.

Riesling also pairs finely with cheese, but try it with less stinky and delicately flavored soft cow’s milk cheese, like brie, gouda, and blue cheese, and dried fruit also pairs  good with riesling.

 

If you’re a riesling fan like I am, then you definitely want to tune into my post next week because I’ll be making peach, mango riesling sorbet… yummmmmmm!!

Dark Chocolate Dipped Raspberry Merlot Popsicles

Because of the continuous warm weather here in Fort Collins, I thought it would be a great way to cool off with some dark chocolate dipped raspberry Merlot popsicles. Can you say yummmmm??!!

In case you didn’t know, or if you didn’t read my last post, Merlot and dark chocolate pair very well together, aaannnnnnd they pair even better with raspberries. Put all three of those things together, in the form of a popsicle, and you’ve got yourself one delicious popsicle!! I can already feel my mouth watering as I talk about them! Can’t you???

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I’ve also decided that these popsicles are completely healthy…. red wine, fruit and dark chocolate, how much healthier can it get?? Plus that makes it more reasonable to have more than just one…I won’t tell if you won’t! 😉

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Be sure to save this recipe for your next summer party, girl’s night, or even if you just want to splurge and treat yourself. These popsicles are great for any occasion, really, and with one bite, your guests will instantly fall in love with the rich, crisp, fruity taste of the combined flavors of the chocolate, wine, and fruit. It’s a dessert that won’t disappoint!!

What’s that? Merlot isn’t your favorite wine?? Don’t fret, this recipe can also be made with any other type of red wine, and strawberries would make a good substitute for the raspberries.

These popsicles are supper easy to make, and all of the ingredients can be found at your local King Soopers or Walmart.

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Dark Chocolate Dipped Raspberry Merlot Popsicle Recipe:
Ingredients:
  • 16 ounces raspberries, washed
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (simple syrup substitute: 1/2 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup water heated over medium heat until sugar dissolves)
  • 1 cup Merlot wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 ounces good quality dark chocolate, melted
Instructions:
  • Add all of the ingredients except the dark chocolate into to a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and insert a popsicle stick.
  • Freeze overnight.
  • Once frozen, microwave the dark chocolate in 30-second intervals stirring each time until the chocolate is just melted, be careful not to burn it.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  • Remove the popsicles from the mold and dunk them in the melted chocolate and then lay them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Be sure to work quickly to avoid having them melt, then immediately place them back in the freezer to harden.
  • Once the chocolate is hardened, remove from the freezer and enjoy!
  • Store the finished popsicles in a single layer in a freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Chill Time: 6-8 Hours

The amount of popsicles made will depend on the size of the popsicle molds.

“You had me at Merlot”

Merlot, or as the French would say, Little Blackbird, is the second most popular red grape across the globe. Why they call it a red grape, I’m not quite sure because the grape is more of a dark blue color and tends to have a higher sugar and lower magic acid content. Merlot has medium tannins and tends to be more on the dryer side of the spectrum.

If you are all about Merlot wine, it might be time for a little traveling because the merlot’s grape homeland is located in France with about two-thirds of its plantings done there. It is also very popularly grown in Italy, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, Croatia, Australia, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina. Too far to travel? No worries merlot is also planted locally, right here in the US in California, Washington, Virginia and Long Island. It is best grown in cooler soils. If it is grown in warmer areas, it will ripen too early.

Be very careful because Merlot contains at least 13.5% of alcohol, and some types of it can contain at least 14.5%, usually the types that are grown in warmer climates. It might not seem like much, but after a glass or two it might creep up on ya! If you wish to get the best taste out of your Merlot, it should be served at 62 degrees F. and it is recommended to also be served in a bordeaux glass after being aged for five to ten years.

Flavors:

Merlot’s best quality is that it includes so many beautiful flavors!!

Fruity: cassis, black and red cherries, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, mulberry, ollalieberry and plum.

Vegetable and earthy: black and green olives, cola nut, bell pepper, fennel, humus, leather, mushrooms, rhubarb and tobacco.

Floral and herbal: green and black tea, eucalyptus, laurel, mint, oregano, pine, rosemary, sage, sarsaparilla and thyme.

When fermented in oak barrels for a longer period of time, Merlot may contain notes of caramel, chocolate, coconut, coffee bean, dill weed, mocha, molasses, smoke, vanilla and walnut.

Pairings:

Luckilyyyyy Merlot has so many diverse flavors that it can lend itself quite nicely to a wide array of pairing options. Cabernet-like Merlots pair well with grilled and charred meats. Softer, fruitier Merlots go well with dishes like salmon or mushroom-based dishes. Light-bodied Merlots can go well with shrimp or scallops, especially if wrapped in a protein-rich food such as bacon or prosciutto. Hmm, I don’t know about you, but this is definitely making me hungry!!

If you’re feeling a little nutty, Merlot also pairs well with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or toasted cashews.

Or maybe you’re feeling cheesy and if you are, then pair Merlot with gorgonzola, brie, camembert, cheddar. You won’t be disappointed!

The darker the wine, the darker the chocolate pairing! Merlot goes best with dark chocolate truffles. Yuuuummmm!!

Ooooor if you’re one of those people who has a deep love for pizza and cannot get enough of it, Merlot also pairs well with pepperoni pizza. Who would have know pizza and wine could be paired? I sure didn’t.

 

Not so much a fan of the red wines??? Well you’re in luck, because there is also a White Merlot! Welllllll, I guess it’s more of a rosé, with a hint of raspberry, but I bet it still tastes delicious!! You can thank Switzerland for this wonderful creation!

 

Join me next week when I take my favorite Merlot and make chocolate dipped fruity popsicles. You won’t want to miss this. They’re to die for!