Dona Chai – Review

I’m a dirty chai person.

This feels like a confession.

A few years ago a good friend of mine introduced me to what became my tried and true:

Iced. Venti. Double. Dirty. Chai.

It’s an iced chai latte with 2 shots of espresso.

Now I get 3. Some days..4. I can say triple dirty but after that I just say 4. The Galleria folks know me and when I walk up they just say “Hey Breann. 3 or 4 today?”

Making a dirty chai at home hasn’t been as satisfying.

Until recently…

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Dona Chai.   

Hot or iced this is the best at home chai I have found. I highly recommend it if you are a chai person. It’s not that hard on the wallet either.

Coffee gets me through until it’s wine time. Am I right?

-Bre

Easy like weekend living..

I don’t have a wine review for you… exactly.

I do have a photo of a very pretty cheeseboard, however.

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We almost didn’t have enough for our guests:

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Saturday night we had my friend Keri come from Scout & Cellar. She tasted about 4 or 5 wines with us. I liked the bubbles and this one cabernet was amazing. We ordered 6 bottles because… of course we did.

Sunday we enjoyed a pretty good weather day.

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What did you do over the weekend?

-Bre

Third wheel Valentine

Allow me to set the stage for you so you can envision our Valentines dinner…

Lee comes home with kabobs from Central Market.

While those are on the grill we steal a dance in the kitchen.

The song: Kiss the Girl from The Little Mermaid.

We sit down to eat with cloth napkins and our wine and enjoy our entertainment – Ursula getting stabbed in the gut by a surprisingly sturdy spear for having been underwater forever.

Our daughter announces she pooped.

I offered the option to clean the kitchen or change the diaper.

I won the diaper.

This is valentines 15 years and 2 kids down the line.

And it was fabulous.

(Our son was at church singing Ash Wednesday service).

While at the store, Lee picked up this:

This spurred a thought – when and why should you decant?

Usually the answer is because you are trying to be fancy.

The real reason is straightforward enough: let it breathe. Necessary when you have an older wine or when recommended by the wine maker. I also don’t prefer to leave a wine opened overnight. It either needs to be vacuum sealed or at least put a decanter stopper on top to prevent the wine from losing it’s punch.

We tend to decant French Wines since they seem to taste a little flat straight from the bottle. They aren’t always as fruit forward like New Age wine.

Understanding French Wine vs. American or other wines is a true process. Understanding New World vs. Old World is also a process.

I would being doing you a true disservice to not send you on to Leah Travels to read all you could want to know about Burgundy Wines.

My next endeavor will be trying to explain how we choose a french wine while standing in Central Market with a screaming child in the cart and the other one running laps. It’s as anxiety inducing as it sounds.

Here’s hoping you had a great V-Day!

-Bre

Underwood Pinot Noir – Review

Nothing floats my boat more than a “price conscious” wine. We call them daily drinkers. Aka – keeps us away from the pricey stuff in the back of the wine cellar.

I discovered Underwood when I found the cans last year. Needless to say I was stoked to see it in a bottle at the store. Bonus: it’s screw top.

This is yum. Black cherry – bright – baking spice – currant – fruit forward rather than alcohol forward.

In the glass you can tell by the color it’s a light drinker. Lighter in color. Pro-tip: tip your glass and the more clear liquid you see at the edge the higher in alcohol. This one? Not that high. Also if you swirl the glass and the liquid comes down in sheets rather that big fat drops, also a sign of lower alcohol. Now you see why us nerds are swirling.

Location found: Whole Foods (Post Oak Location).

Price Point: $18 ish

We paired this with …. “pre dinner.” Sundays we start a little earlier. Otherwise dinner was Pork Chops in a white wine cream sauce with mashed potatoes and roasted broccolini.

This guy is a little too easy to sip down.

Let me know if you find and and what you think!

-Bre

Valentines Wine – On a Budget

Let’s be real.

Valentines Day is..a day. Lee and I rarely do dinner out. Sometimes we catch lunch or just cook something special at home.

That being said, we can use this day as another excuse to drink wine.

As if we needed one.

(Hello… kids.)

While on an expedition to Target alone, I stopped down the wine aisle. I am pretty picky on wine but I was curious what I could find if I needed something in a pinch. Here are my top picks.

Bubbles: 

Korbel Brute Rose´.

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We visited the Korbel Winery in Sonoma and the location is gorgeous. We were able to taste several offerings and I really liked the Brute Rose. It’s affordable and easy to drink on it’s own. Other Korbel tends to be better in a mixer. This one is a great, not too sweet, bubbly fun wine. I put one in my basket after taking this picture.

White:

I realized a few years ago that certain Chardonnay’s that are made to “taste oaky” give me a horrible headache even after one glass. When at a store with limited selection, I look for different methods of aging. Silver is an old favorite we discovered years ago that’s a great option for crisp white without that “butter” taste.

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Reds:

This one is tough as most reds I saw on the shelf here are going to be sweet. I usually compare these to the Dimatapp we had as kids.

I started with Pinot Noir – which is a favorite varietal in our home.

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Oregon is prime Pinot country and A to Z has been a great go to.

If you are feeling extra generous, grab that bottle of The Prisoner. Great hostess gift as well ! (Hint: are you visiting me soon?)

Cabernet was my next stop. Valentines day or “Date Night” meals tend to include a steak and most of the time Cab is the best pairing.

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Chateau Smith is a fun one. It is a little sweet but if the steak/meal has a fair amount of peppery spice it will be a nice pairing.

These of course our my opinions. Everyone has a favorite style. Some people enjoy the sweeter wine and others prefer dry. It really is preference.

If you happen to grab one of the above and want to let me know how you liked it, or if you have go-to’s you think I should put on my list, let me know in the comments! I’m always open to new findings.

Happy excuse to drink wine Valentines Day!

-B

Wine Review – Underwood Pinot Noir

When you live in Texas in the summer, there is one main survival tactic:

The swimming pool.

The #1 rule at our pool is NO GLASS.

I’m not a beer person. I usually pour wine into a tervis of some kind to enjoy without the worry of spills.

Until the invention of WINE in a CAN.

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Site: UNDERWOOD

The real kicker? It’s GREAT!

So far my preference is the pinot noir. It’s very very strawberry forward and easy to drink, chilled, in the sun. I am going to be on the hunt for the Rose′.

I was able to get the cans easily at Total Wine or Trader Joe’s and today found the bottle at H-E-B for $12.99.

Bargain!

The pinot gris is really good for super hot days, but a little heavy on the grapefruit for me. Sauvignon lovers should like it a lot.

Stock up! Enjoy!

 

-Breann

Monday Night Dinner – Wine Review

Our Monday was something else.

It was actually going quite well.

Put a chicken in the sink to thaw.

Get the kids to school.

Work stuff.

Pick kids up from school .

Then enter the MONDAY part of Monday..

Go back to the school that exists basically INSIDE the GALLERIA OF HOUSTON and retrieve left behind lovey.

This takes an hour.

Trade many phone calls with husband on dinner – deciding to let the chicken be a mulligan and order in . Chinese? Zoe’s?

Get phone call after I am home from hubby still undecided on dinner. You know what? This chicken is in the sink. I got this. COME HOME YOUR KIDS ARE WILD (in my voice, he understood it).

You see – I keep one of these in my freezer most of the time:

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It cooks in an hour.

It tastes like I made a fuss.

Paired with green beans and some rice pilaf (yes, from a box) and dinner is served and amazing.

The thing that undid the mondays of Monday was our amazing Houston weather. We opened our patio doors, played some Van Morrison, and drank wine while the kids chalk colored the entire patio.

We drank this – Rock AngelIMG_5284.jpg

Any Rose lover, as myself, has more than likely had Whispering Angel. I like it, but I often feel as though I am drinking pink water.

Enter Rock Angel. It’s like Whispering Angels’ older sister wearing eye liner and taking up the phone line all day with her friends.

Oops. Aged myself there.

This was made for almost summer days on the patio with wild kids covered in chalk. It was made for dancing in the kitchen while dinner is in the oven.

I highly recommend you grab this one. It’s clean. Crisp. Citrus forward.

NOT pink water. Definitely edges out the little sister.

Go forth. Stock your freezer with chicken and your fridge with this rose. Have Alexa play Van Morrison and enjoy a little sunshine.

What else are you going to do on a Monday?

 

-Bre

Wine Review – Kistler Dutton Ranch

Last May Lee and I made our first trip to wine country. While we figured we would join a few wine clubs, we did the novice thing and got drunk tipsy and joined every winery we stopped at, more or less.

This included Kistler.

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Taken with my iphone with a glass of wine in my hand… 

BEAUTIFUL property, first of all. Even if the wine had been so-so the visit would have been worth it for this view.

Trust me – the wine is magnificent.

Until this visit I was giving up on Chardonnay. I find that the $20-$30 bottle I grab at the store tastes quite “manufactured.” Artificial. And then I end up with a headache the next day because of whatever was done to the wine to make it “taste oaky.”

Bring in Kistler and their bright wonderful Chardonnay.

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Dutton Ranch – One of many varietals

Acidic, citrus, honey, and even a little toast on the end. Just amazing.

-Breann

Impromptu Date Night

When you have children, Date Night is usually something planned in advance, at least a week, with much thought to when and where.

Friday my husband emailed me that one of the wine clubs we belong to, Gary Farrell, was hosting a wine dinner Tuesday night of the next week. A weeknight date is very unheard of for us so I was really excited to have this planned.

The location was at Max’s Wine Dive where we were sat at a long table, a bit squeezed in. Upon arriving Lee told me another couple was joining us which made this date night even more unique! This couple was with us at our tour of the winery last May as well.

The menu looked quite fun for sure:

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Of the evening, I would say we all enjoyed the 4th course wine the most and even ordered a bottle to split before we left.

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One of the things that made this experience special was that not only the winery manager was there (and sat with us several times to chat) but also the wine maker! The wine maker is the one who is tasting all the vintages to decide what get’s single vineyard (like the above) or what barrels will work best in a blend. Then she sits and figures out what % of each barrel finally works for the perfect bottle of wine. Wouldn’t that be a cool experience?

This was a great impromptu evening that I enjoyed very much.

Even though it was very hard to get up the next morning…

-Breann

Wine Review – La Vielle Ferme

An ongoing tradition in our home is Sunday Night Dinner. Over the years, we have had mostly the same faces each Sunday evening, with and addition here or there. Most Sundays it is my sister-in-law, Kelly. Sometimes we add my best friend Donald and his husband, Jamie to the table.

One thing remains the same each and every Sunday:

Wine.

Lately I have been really interested in learning about Rose′. I believe the day came when I was at a dinner party and they were serving Miraval.

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When I asked what this was, every woman there looked at me like I was nuts. I also just found out while googling a photo it’s owned by the former Jolie-Pitts.

I don’t get out much.

Since that day, I have been studying up onRose′. With Spring arriving in Houston, every store has a huge display of Rose′ wines from all over the world. I took my chance to dive in.

Finally arriving at my point, I was shocked to see this little gem on the very very bottom shelf at Central Market: La Vieille Ferme

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Hello, Sunday Night!

I want to make two very important points here:

1 – This was lush.

2 – This cost me $7.99. Yes. Really.

Bright, light, highly drinkable in the way that it has a super simple bouquet. Citrus. Strawberry somewhere hiding in the end. Not what I expect when something is hiding pretty much on the floor. And it’s screw top.

This one will be something I buy by the case and keep at the ready. (I do hope my husband reads this.)

Side Note: I have been told to grab any and all wines by this maker when you see them. The site shows they offer a Rouge and a Ferme Blanc.

Let me know if you pick this up and enjoy it (or not).

-Breann

P.s. I wasn’t paid to review this wine. I just love wine and want to share my findings with you!