Friday, October 30, 2015

Things You Must Taste and Try

First and foremost, I’d like to give a shout out to Tishbi Winery for a most memorable experience on my recent trip to Israel. If you make it to the Tel Aviv area this place is worth a trip for both the wine and food, but you don’t have to go there to experience the wine as it is exported.

You can’t go wrong with anything here, but the Brut Sparkling and Viognier are my favorites.

One of the most memorable things I ever did was to spend a weekend in a cottage in the middle of a vineyard. It was on the property of Donnafugata in Pantelleria, Italy.

During those three days, and in the following days at their Marsala winery, I was able to taste and enjoy many Donnafugata wines.

I recently received some of Donnafugata's latest vintages and they are even better than ever. They are also still readily available in the U.S. so pick up…

Sedara-A bit of fruit and a bit of spice make this red, made mostly with Nero d’Avola grapes, easy to pair with anything;
Anthilia-This Catarrato blend is citrusy, especially with grapefruit, and also has notes of floral, making it a good mix with light pasta or fish;
Lighea-When I was in Sicily, this quickly became my favorite wine. It’s made from the Zibibibo grape and while it’s described as dry, I call it more “crispy” and full of flavors, including white peach.

I’m always interested in checking out new travel products and a few came to my attention that I really liked:

Totlogic 2 in 1 Wash & Shampoo-This is gentle, child safe, and smells great. It leaves my hair and skin softer than any other two in one product I’ve tried. Also, I found it gentle enough to wash my clothing items with in the sink while traveling. You can order TotLogic 2 in 1 Body Wash & Shampoo here. 

Thinoptics-I’ve previously mentioned Thinoptics, the thin, flexible reading glasses that can attach to your phone. They’ve since upped the design and offered more options. If you haven’t checked them out previously, now’s the time to buy Thinoptics .

Dreft Pre-Treater-Speaking of washing clothes, I often change hotels every night on trips and don’t get a chance to wash and hang dry. That can do damage to clothes if you let stains sit – and I always manage to wear some of my food on the run. Dreft now has a pre-treater for stains in a squirt bottle for your suitcase, or a pen for your bag, and it works quite well.

Znzi Travel Pillow-I have tried a number of different travel pillows and have yet to find one worth lugging around – until now. Znzi uses magnets to easily change to one of six comfortable positions. It’s also light and easy to carry and will be with me from now on. I am even buy a few for gifts this upcoming holiday season.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wine and Spirits to Warm your Fall

It’s that time of year when a chill starts to come into the air. What better way to warm up than with a glass of something tasty. Here are some of my recent finds.

Walnut Street Winery Shanle Tropical Breeze
This small winery in the suburb of Rochester, Illinois, went big, using grapes from all over the world and then blending the raw grapes into their own products. I’ve only tried one so far and it’s a winner. The Shanle Wines Tropical Breeze is an ideal viognier, easy drinking with light citrus and tropical notes.

Baglio Di Pianetto Ficiligno Viognier
This viognier from Sicily is quite different than the Shanle. It’s not quite as sweet and easier drinking, with hints of kiwi and lemon.

Vigna di Pettineo
Also from Sicily are two wines for those who want drier reds. Vigna di Pettineo Nero d’Avola is an excellent choice with strong chocolate flavors. It’s got a Chianti-like taste, dry, but fruity.

Vigna di Pittineo also has a Sedara which is well done, but very dry, with pepper and smooth tobacco notes.

Little Black Dress
If you are looking for an inexpensive Pinot Noir that even a non-pinot drinker (like me) will enjoy, this is the one. You’ll notice it’s lighter on the tobacco and pepper than most pinot noir, but has enough flavor to keep your interest.

Also from Little Black Dress is a Rose Pinot Grigio that was a nice change. It had a nice strawberry flavor, but it wasn’t too overpowering. Just make sure you chill this one well for full flavor.
Frontera Pinot Grigio, Concha Y Toro
This is the wine you want to stock up on and keep in your refrigerator. At only $11 a bottle, this Chilean pinot grigio is what you pull out when the neighbors drop by to sit on the porch, or when you don’t know what to bring to a large dinner party that will require more bottles than your budget will take, but you want to make a good impression. 

Frontera Pinot Grigio a very light wine with subtle notes of pear and just a bit of honeysuckle. It will go with everything.

New Amsterdam Pineapple Vodka
For a while, it seemed as if flavored vodkas were being delivered to my door all the time. It was the spirit to make and I tasted the good, the bad, and the ones that should not have wasted a bottle. It’s been months since I’ve gotten any flavored vodka, but this one was worth the wait. New Amsterdam did Pineapple Vodka just right, with lots of fruit flavor while keeping it from getting too sweet.

I’m fine with this just on the rocks, but a little coconut water could make a very light pina colada.