An Easy Fall Cocktail: The Apple Cider 75

Hi wine friends!  Today, I’m trying something new.  Hubby and I have been drinking more cocktails, particularly when we’re out, and we’ve started talking about making more cocktails at home. Since I’m going to be experimenting, I thought it would be fun to share what we’re trying. Admittedly, I don’t expect to post cocktail videos every week, but rather have a few extra videos a month.  First up is a fall variation of one of my favorite cocktails – the French 75.

I always gravitate towards gin drinks, and I clearly lovely bubbly, so it’s probably not a surprise that I frequently will order a French 75.  The French 75 was created in the Paris bar called Harry’s New York, and and it’s supposedly named after a 75mm Howitzer cannon, which was used in World War I.  If you’re not familiar with the drink, the classic version is made with gin, lemon juice, and sugar then topped off with Champagne and a twist of lemon or orange for garnish.  The drink is usually served in a chilled Champagne flute, although historically it was put into a Collins glass with ice.

Alleigh’s Apple Cider 75 Recipe

Alleigh’s Apple Cider 75 – This cocktail is a fall variation of the classic French 75 cocktail, and I made it with Tanqueray Gin, apple cider, and sugar. Cheers! |

Alleigh’s Apple Cider 75

  • 1.5 oz Tanqueray Gin (or whatever brand you use at home)
  • 1 oz Apple Cider
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Champagne or other sparkling wine
  • For the sugar rim on the glass, use 1 TBS sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

Put ice into a cocktail shaker. Add the gin, cider, and sugar. Shake well. Use strainer to pour into a chilled glass that has cinnamon-sugar rim. Top with Champagne (or other sparkling wine). Garnish with thin apple slice.

You can watch my YouTube video as I make Alleigh’s Apple Cider 75!

Questions of the Day:

  • Are you interested in more cocktail videos?
  • Are you a cocktail drinker?  If so, what cocktails do you tend to drink?
  • Do you like French 75s?  Have had any variations of it, like an Apple Cider 75?

2016 Il Palagio Roxanne Red Blend by Sting

Hi wine friends, and Happy Wine Wednesday!  Today, I’m sharing the 2016 Il Palagio Roxanne Red Blend by Sting, which is a red wine blend from Italy. I don’t know if you knew that the singer, Sting, and his wife, Trudy, have a winery in Italy, but they do.

When Sting talks about wine, he describes wine as being like a song because each wine has its own story.  He says this is why he named each of his wines after his most famous songs.  And, as someone who grew up loving both The Police and Sting as a solo artist, once I discovered the winery, I couldn’t resist giving the wines a try.   You can watch my YouTube video to get all my thoughts, as well as background on the wine, or you can keep reading!

The back of the 2016 Roxanne Red Blend explains that Roxanne was the wife of Alexander the Great, was Cyrano de Bergerac’s unrequited love, and was the eponymous subject of one of Sting’s earliest and most famous songs.  With an description like that, it’s probably not surprising that I thought the Roxanne Red would be the perfect choice for trying Sting’s wine for the first time.

Sting and Trudy started doing renovations on Il Palagio, which is their winery in Tuscany, in 1999.  On the property, there is a private residence, 65 acres of vineyards, over 8,000 olive trees, and 80 bee colonies.  Their wines are all certified both organic and biodynamic.

2016 Il Palagio Roxanne Red Blend by Sting – At $18-20, this red wine blend from Tuscany, Italy is made by the singer Sting and his wife, Trudy. The wine is perfect for the fall weather, as it hints at a warm berry pie. It would pair well with red pasta dishes, as well as make a nice addition to a Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a wine that is worth looking for, particularly if you’re a fan of Sting. Cheers! |

2016 Roxanne Red Blend by Sting

The 2016 Il Palagio Roxanne Red by Sting is a between $18-$20 online and is blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, and 10% Syrah.  The wine had a lovely deep purple color.  On the nose, there were a lot of blackberries and black cherries, with a hint of blueberries, sweet baking spices (mostly cinnamon and nutmeg), and violets.  In the mouth, there were blackberries and black cherries mixed with the sweet baking spices to create flavors that reminded me of a dark berry pie.  The wine had medium-to-medium high tannins, medium-to-high acidity, and a medium body.

Overall, this was a lovely wine.  It would pair well with red pasta dishes, as well as make a nice addition to a Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe it’s because my mind is embracing the fall weather, but this wine just screams fall wine and food to me. It’s a wine that I think is worth looking for, particularly if you’re a fan of Sting.

Questions of the Day:

  1. Are you a fan of Sting or of the Police?
  2. Have you had any of Sting’s wines? If so, which ones, and what did you think?

Virginia Wine Month with a 2015 Breaux Vineyards Meritage

Hi wine friends, and Happy Wine Wednesday! October is Virginia Wine Month, so I’m sharing a Virginia wine that was actually part of a larger Virginia Wine Twitter Tasting—the 2015 Breaux Vineyards Meritage.  You can watch my YouTube video to get all my thoughts, as well as background on the wine, or you can keep reading!

Also, in full disclosure, the Twitter tasting was organized by Frank from Drink What YOU Like, it was sponsored by Visit Loudon, and all of the wines, including the Breaux Meritage, were sent as samples.

As the name suggests, the 2015 Breaux Vineyards Meritage has an SRP of $42 and is a red wine blend—50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 23% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec.  It’s a small production wine, with only 376 cases produced.  The wine was a nice dark, inky ruby color.  On the nose, there were a lot of blackberries and tobacco with some  green tea and baking spice notes.  There was also a little bit of earthiness, the type of smell that reminded me of walking in a forest right after a little bit of rain.  It was an earthy, dirt smell, but in a very nice way.  In the mouth, there were juicy, ripe blackberries practically hitting me in the face, followed by green tea and tobacco and more subtle notes of nutmeg and cinnamon. The wine had a medium-to-full body with tannins that just clung to my mouth.

2015 Breaux Vineyards Meritage – At $42, this red wine blend from Virginia is too expensive for an every day waine, but is a fantastic option for a fall special occasion or Thanksgiving dinner.  Everything about it screams chilly weather, light sweaters, fall leaves, some football, and chili. Cheers! |

2015 Breaux Vineyards Meritage

Overall, the 2015 Breaux Vineyards Meritage is a beautiful wine, although it definitely needs to breathe a little bit before you drink it, which is something I learned during the Twitter tasting because I didn’t.  That said, because it does so nicely with some air, it was still beautiful when I enjoyed a glass the next day.

If you’re ready to start drinking a little more red wine and have been thinking about pulling out some of your heavier clothes, but maybe you’re not ready to dive right in and drink that big juicy California cab yet, this is exactly what I think you should be going for.  It’s the perfect wine for transitioning into fall. It has a little bit of that smokiness and a little bit of that structure that is perfect for the weather getting chilly.  It feels to me like a wine that I want with fall leaves, some football, and chili.

Also, as you’re starting to thinking about the holidays, it’s a wine that would be perfect for Thanksgiving.  It’s a little more on the expensive side, so it’s not one of those wines I’m going to open up every day, but for a special occasion like Thanksgiving where I’m family is coming over and I want to share a bottle or two of something special, this would be a perfect option.  It has the characteristics of a crowd-pleasing wine and it’s festive.

Questions of the Day:

  • I know Breaux Vineyards wine has started making its way outside of Virginia, so have you had a chance to taste any?  If so, which ones and what did you think?

Wine Club: VineOh! Fall 2019 Unboxing

Hi wine friends, and Happy Wine Wednesday! Today, I’m sharing my Fall 2019 VineOh! subscription box, as well as tasting the 2017 Speechless Chardonnay. In case you aren’t familiar with it, VineOh! is a $60 per shipment quarterly box that comes not only with two bottles of wine (your choice of reds, whites, or a mix), but also other lifestyle items, sometimes they are even “wine lifestyle.”  You can watch my YouTube video to get all my thoughts on the wine and discover what was in my box, or you can keep reading!

The 2017 Speechless Chardonnay is $26 and is a California Chardonnay that was bottled specifically for VineOh!. It's not very complicated, but easily drinkable. |

2017 Speechless California Chardonnay

The 2017 Speechless Chardonnay is $26 and is a California Chardonnay that was bottled specifically for VineOh!, so you’ll need to head to their website for a bottle. It’s a bright lemon yellow color.  On the nose, there was citrus—mostly grapefruit and a lemon custard.  In the mouth, there was a lot of the lemon custard mixed with grapefruit and a hint of white flowers.  The wine had good acidity and a light-to-medium body.  Overall, it didn’t blow me away, but it was tasty.  It would be a nice wine to enjoy in a bubble bath with a good book, which is exactly what I expect from the VineOh! wine box.

2016 Tines California Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Tines California Cabernet Sauvignon

The other wine in the box was a 2017 Tines Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a $26 red wine from California.  I didn’t taste the wine in the video, but the notes said it will have dark fruit flavors, toasted oak aromas, and pair well with a steak or braised short ribs.  That sounds to me like a wine meant for fall and football.

The other items in my box included:

  • Spongellé Body Wash Infused Buffer in French Lavender — $16
    The notes say that the sponge is good for 14 washes.  It is supposed to fully cleanse and nourish the skin, while having a lasting lavender scent.

  • Sole du soleil double circle necklace — $49
    The double strand necklace is a polished coin pendant layered with a medallion and some clear-cut stones.  It’s 18k rose gold and has an 18inch chain.  It looks to me like a necklace that could dress-up a T-shirt or sweater, as well as be a fun brunch weekend accessory.

  • Good Morning & Good Night Wine O’Clock Notepad — $15
    The to-do list note pad definitely goes with the wine theme, as it is a list of things to do before wine o’clock.  The company that makes this notepad is small business founded by a married couple in Kansas City.

  • Voesh Collagen Socks — $5
    These single-use socks are essentially a way to give your feet a mask.  There is a removeable piece for toes, so it’s up to the individual as to whether her/his toes are covered.  The socks are infused with collagen and supposedly have soothing properties, instant plumping action, and hydrating benefits that soften calluses.

  • Sebastian Professional Dark Oil Candle — $12
    The candle had a strong smell that was nicely unisex.

  • Lark Fine Foods Salted Rosemary Shortbread — $3
    The cookies are rosemary seasoned and lightly dusted with sea salt.  They were delicious and didn’t last very long!

All in all, most of the items in the box fit nicely together.  Once everything on the “Finish Before Wine O’Clock” to-do list is complete, you can light the candle, jump into the bath with the Spongellé sponge and a glass of the Chardonnay.  When you’re done soaking, you can use the collagen sock mask while drinking a second glass of the Chardonnay and enjoying one of the salted rosemary shortbread cookies.  That sounds like a very relaxing evening!

Questions of the Day:

  • Have you ever heard of VineOh! before? 
  • If so, are you a VineOh! Box subscriber?  Did you get the same wines as I did?
  • If not, what do you think of the idea of a wine and lifestyle subscription box?

2016 Intrinsic Red Blend Wine Review for Washington Wine Month

Hi wine friends and happy Wine Wednesday!  March is actually Washington State wine month, and so I’m sharing one of the Washington wines from my recent haul—the 2016 Intrinsic Red blend.   You can watch my YouTube video to get all my thoughts, as well as background on the wine, or you can keep reading!

I bought this wine back in February 2019, but by the time I recorded the March video, it looks like is sold out of the 2016 vintage.  However, it’s still available in my local grocery store.

2016 Intrinsic Red Blend

2016 Intrinsic Red Blend

The wine on this wine is absolutely amazing.  It’s actually done by Brooklyn street artist, Zimmer.  I know very little about street art, and the little I know is from Googling, but Zimmer used wild style to create the labels for both the Intrinsic Red Blend and the Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon.  The combination of wine and street art was done purposefully to draw attention to the process of using the environment to create art.  Intrinsic wine is trying to bridge the gap between the agriculture side of winemaking, which is where the grapes grow, and the urban side of winemaking, which is where people enjoy drinking of the wine that is made.

The 2016 Intrinsic Red Blend is a red wine from mixed with some licorice, hints of lavender, and a lot of cedar.  In the mouth, there were a lot of blueberries and blackberries with licorice, milk chocolate, and cedar, as well as hints of lavender and mint.  The wine has a medium body, medium acid, and medium-to-high tannins.

Overall, this wine is an easy drinker, but it has a little bit of a kick because of the alcohol level.  You would never know, though, because it’s well integrated.  I wish I had some grilled lamb or Portobello mushrooms to go with the wine.  It will definitely be a nice addition to a cookout, as the weather gets warmer.  This was the perfect wine to open in honor of Washington Wine month!

Questions of the Day:

  1. Have you seen the Intrinsic wines where you are? Have you had one?
  2. What do you think of Washington wines? Do you have a favorite?