SIX MUST-TRAVEL WINE DESTINATIONS

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SIX MUST-TRAVEL WINE DESTINATIONS

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – Anonymous

Lush vineyards, breathtaking views, and more wineries than one can imagine. Sounds like the perfect vacation to us, as you delight your palate while discovering a host of wines you may have never known. From majestic rivers to rolling green hills, we’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s great wine regions. Some of which are on our bucket list as well. So, if you can sneak in a little getaway, then you should definitely check out our top six must-see wine destinations.

Burgundy, France

Elegant Pinot Noirs and rich, full-bodied Chardonnays is why Burgundy makes our list. Although, tasting rooms here are a bit on the smaller side, it’s worth the travel. Just be sure to make reservations beforehand. Then take in the scenery while savoring a nice glass of vino. It truly is a taste of heaven.

Monterey/Central Coast, California

Spanning from the south of San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara, the Central Coast has become a premiere hot spot for wine aficionados with a desire to experience some of the most unique and diverse varietals in the world. With incredible views, lots, and lots of grapes, and more than 90,000 acres of charming vineyards, it’s no wonder why the Central Coast is a must-visit destination. Bask in the unparalleled beauty of Monterey while sipping on a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.  

Sonoma County, California

Slightly more relaxed than Napa, Sonoma boasts a plethora of wineries to explore. With the Pacific Ocean at its feet, Sonoma’s cool-climate makes for the perfect growing conditions for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Regal at best. There’s certainly no shortage of beauty here. Just an hour away from Cape Town, Stellenbosch is surrounded by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, which influences the regions cool climate, making it the perfect vacation spot to enjoy a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, or Syrah.

Everywhere, New Zealand

Emerald backdrops and snow-capped mountaintops, and no we’re not referencing a scene from Lord of the Rings, but beautiful New Zealand where delicate Pinot Noirs and aromatic white wines such as Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer flow. From the northern regions of Northland, Matakana, Auckland, and Waiheke Island to the southern sections of Central Otago, Waitaki Valley, and Canterbury, and everywhere in between, New Zealand has plenty to offer. All-year-round tourists from across the globe flock to the stunning countryside. However, the best time to visit is in late March or April, during harvest time. So, when you’re ready, let us know…we’re happy to provide our NZ travel guide.

Tuscany, Italy

If you’re seeking romance, than Tuscany is the place to be. Castles turned into wineries, delightful wines, and delicious foods are just a few reasons why Tuscany is a dream come true. Seriously, what better way to enjoy a glass of Chianti than under the Tuscan sun? 

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Parades, festivals, and all things green. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest party holidays of the year! So pop the champ, uncork the wine, and let the libations flow. Irish or not, there’s nothing wrong with letting loose and kicking back a few, especially when shamrocks are involved. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good party? Right. Even better when there’s actual cause for celebration. But a good party can easily turn sour if you’re not careful. So don’t try your luck…please drink responsibly.

Know your limit. This also means knowing when to quit. Everyone has a different tolerance to alcohol and you should know yours before consuming any type of alcoholic beverage. Also, moderation is key people. There’s really no need to binge drink on St. Patty’s Day, or any day for that matter. Your liver will thank you later.

Another thing, be sure to grub before you chug. Eating a proper meal before or during drinking can help you avoid those nasty hangovers the next day. Snack on meats, cheeses, or nutrient dense foods like fruit, vegetables and whole grains to prevent sickness.

But more importantly, and this should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway…Don’t Drink and Drive! Ever! If you plan on partaking in some of the festivities with alcohol in hand, then secure a designated driver. Uber also works wonders! It’s never okay to drink and drive. Every day, 28 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 53 minutes.

So, if you’re the hostess with the mostest who orchestrated the festivities, then you may want to stock up on some extra pillows and blankets and allow your guests to stay the night. Whatever it takes, just please don’t get behind that wheel.

Last, but certainly not least, it’s always helpful when you know exactly what it is that you’re drinking. Don’t be that guy, or girl blindly sipping. Know what’s in your cup, at all times, and always choose quality over quantity. Good quality wines, and top shelf liquor will less likely leave you with a hangover the next day.

Remember, drinking responsibly not only ensures your safety, but others as well. From our family to yours, we wish you all a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers

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5 PERFECT GIFTS FOR THE WINE ENTHUSIAST

Still searching for the perfect holiday gift? There are so many fun and unique - quick gifts for the wine lover that you can check out here from decanters to wine glasses.  And below are our favorite go to, top five gift options for the wine lover in your crew.

The holidays are so much better with wine. It’s the perfect gift to bring smiles and good cheer, and one any wine connoisseur is sure to appreciate. Because it is a popular gift item, look for interesting wines with a story behind them.  For the true connoisseur the more exclusive it is the better. Go one step further and throw in some chocolate. Seriously, what better way to celebrate the season than with two of life’s greatest delicacies!

Aerate in style. A decanter is a great gift option because it is an important part of the wine experience and an essential item for all wine enthusiasts. Not only is it an elegant way to serve wine, but decanters also add a stylish and sophisticated flair to any dinner party. And with so many beautiful decanters to choose from, suitable for every budget, you should have no problem finding just the right one.

Toast to the good life. Wine glasses are a great addition to a wine lover’s collection, and one that will certainly be put to good use. Because people are likely to receive wine as a gift, (see option #1), wine glasses are the perfect complement. There are tons of different styles and designs to choose from, so you have the opportunity to bring forth something new. Tis’ the season, so go ahead and splurge on some monogrammed or engraved glasses for that tailored-made touch.

(Un)Pop that cork with ease. The latest accessory that’s got all the winos going crazy is the Coravin Wine Opener. It lets you extract the amount of wine you want from a bottle without removing the cork. “As you remove the needle the cork reseals on itself returning your wine to its unopened state. Four weeks later, or five, or six, you can return to that same bottle and it will taste just as fresh.” *As seen in Forbes*

Give the gift that keeps on giving. Celebrate good times with great wine all year-round with a wine club membership. It truly is a convenient and luxurious way to enjoy different wine varietals. And our eco.love reserve wine club is that, and more. For additional details on how you can purchase a membership or become one yourself, visit http://www.mcbridesisters.com/reserveclub#look-inside.

 Happy Holidays!

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So You’re Hosting Thanksgiving: Last Minute Wine Guidelines To Consider

By now you’ve realized that hosting Thanksgiving dinner is no easy feat. From crafting the perfect menu right down to the guest list, the idea alone can make the most poised person insane. But, relax—you got this.

The key to any successful holiday dinner party is preparation, and with Thanksgiving less than 24-hours away, we thought we’d tie up some of those loose ends by answering a few questions to ensure your Thanksgiving feast is the best one yet.

So, exactly which wines should I serve during my Thanksgiving meal?

Turkey and yams, cranberry sauce and stuffing, with so many different textures and tastes, it’s important to choose wines that are complementary to each bite. Although sparkling wines are extremely popular during the holidays, check out these red and white wine options that are sure to make your turkey day pop.

Do I really need a bunch of wine glasses at my dinner table?

Generally—no. If you are having more than one wine, you can simply “rinse” the glass by pouring a bit of the next wine you’re drinking into the glass, swirling it around and dumping it out!

What should I expect my guests to bring?

Nothing. If you’re hosting, don’t expect people to know what to bring, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to make small requests of your guests either.

Should I use a decanter during dinner?

Yes! We think so anyway. Pouring your wine into a decanter before you drink it allows a little air in to brighten up the aromas and fruit flavors in the wine. As an added bonus, there are really beautiful decanters out there that can add to your table décor. Just make sure to keep your wine bottle at the table to reference the wine info - and of course, if it’s our McBride Sisters Wines you can keep loving our gorgeous labels (if we do say so ourselves).

What temperature should my wine be prior to serving?

Not too warm or too cold! For reds, aim for below room temp but not refrigerator cold. If it’s at room temp, stick it in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes (max). You can enjoy the wine as it warms in the glass and shows more of its fruit flavors. Conversely, white wines should be cold, but not to the point of freezing. Too cold of a temp will mask the aromas and flavor. So give your whites some time to warm up before you pour…then enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

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RED (wine) WHITE (wine) and BLUE (berries) McBride Sisters 4th of July Cupcake Recipe

Happy Independence Day Weekend!  In the spirit of celebrating all things Red, White and Blue we're bringing back our recipe for our scrumptious cupcakes that your family and besties will swoon over this holiday weekend! 

McBride Sisters 4th of July Red, White and Blue cupcakes

eco.love Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1 cup grated peeled carrots
3/4 cup (lightly packed) sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 ounces imported white chocolate, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup powdered sugar

GARNISH (not optional!)

Fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries, one bottle of Truvée Chardonnay and one bottle of Truvée Red Blend!

PREP

For cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with muffin papers. Whisk sugar, oil, and eggs in large bowl to blend. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in medium bowl to blend. Stir pineapple, carrots, coconut, and pecans in another medium bowl to blend. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture until just blended. Fold in carrot mixture. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing equally. Bake cupcakes until tops are golden brown and tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack.

For frosting:
Melt white chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Using on/off turns, blend cream cheese, butter, lemon peel, and melted white chocolate in processor until smooth. Add powdered sugar; process until smooth. Spread frosting on cupcakes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Cover in fresh berries and make a toast over a chilled glass of McBride Sisters Truvée Wine!

ENJOY!

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6 Tantalizing Wine Terms & Definitions

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6 Tantalizing Wine Terms & Definitions

Ever wonder what the terms used in wine tasting notes actually mean? Can knowing Wine slang actually help you make better buying decisions or is it just a sugar coated marketing ploy? Read on for our take on 6 Tantalizing Wine Terms & Definitions! 

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Mix-and-Match Quiche & Cocktail Pairing

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Mix-and-Match Quiche & Cocktail Pairing

We love local food & unique pairings, so we decided to share with you our method for concocting a mix-and-match Quiche and Cocktail pairing! Without further adieu...

Quiche Recipe | Local's Choice

Ingredients (serves 2-4)

  • 5 large farm fresh eggs

  • 3⁄4 cup whole milk

  • 1 9-inch pie crust

  • 4oz package of goat cheese (or other farm fresh cheese)

  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, kale or chard

  • Locally sourced meat if desired (bacon bits make a great garnish)

McBride Sisters tip: Support local! Shop at your local farmer’s market if possible and if you have the option, choose providers who use sustainable farming practices.

McBride Sisters tip: Support local! Shop at your local farmer’s market if possible and if you have the option, choose providers who use sustainable farming practices.

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Lightly beat eggs in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Add greens and any additional ingredients you so choose (the best local produce options vary depending on your location!).

  4. Pour mixture into pie crust.

  5. Place quiche on cookie sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.

  6. Let cool slightly, add goat cheese and garnish.

Voila! We suggest pairing with the McBride Sisters "Rosy Sister" Rosé Cocktail! We may a little biased (since its our very own recipe!) but we love mixing it up on Mother's Day!

Hope you enjoy your Mix-and-Match Quiche & Cocktail Pairing!

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McBride Sisters "Rosy Sister©" Truvée Rosé + Tanqueray 10 Cocktail

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McBride Sisters "Rosy Sister©" Truvée Rosé + Tanqueray 10 Cocktail

We just launched our Truvée Rosé! 

And its available nationwide in store across the United States!  

We're absolutely thrilled with how well this 2015 Grenache Rosé from the Paso Robles region of California, has developed - its an absolutely stunning wine.

And like we do, every time we release a new wine, we get our friends together, taste them on the new wine and get their feedback (Which is always great). During our little soiree, we got onto the topic of Summer time fun, vacations, BBQ season, the beach, pool time, and then a long discussion about the perfect cocktail. This sparked an idea with Robin, she said "Lets make a Truvée Rosé wine cocktail!!". So we did some experimenting and what we've crafted is delicious!  

We focused on keeping the ingredients simple and matching the aromas and flavor profile of the Truvée Rosé: Strawberry, raspberry, citrus and white florals, so we used small batch gin (Tanqueray 10)  that has been fermented in botanicals, ruby red grapefruit juice, simple syrup and a light garnish of an aromatic flower. So please enjoy our McBride Sisters recipe:    

McBride Sisters "Rosy Sister"© Rosé Cocktail 

Truvée Grenache Rosé, Paso Robles, California - 12 Ounces 

Tanqueray No. 10 Gin - 6 Ounces 

Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice - 12 Ounces

Simple Syrup - 1 Ounce (or to taste) 

Aromatic edible flowers - Garnish 

Serving size - 6 

 

 

      

 

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Drop the Elitist Attitude but Keep the Wine Slang

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Drop the Elitist Attitude but Keep the Wine Slang

If you ask us, wine is about connection and celebration. We gather and toast accomplishments, unwind from long days with close friends and gift it to show our gratitude for the ones we love. But hold up, then why is it wine is also associated with pretentious behavior and an elitist attitude? One of the big problems we see is wine language

Wine is about connection and celebration.

In our effort to keep wine a pleasurable experience for all, we bring you a breakdown of common wine slang starting the series with a free glossary of terms to help you navigate the basics of tasting wine.  Ok, time to breakdown the BS!

SWEETNESS:

Wine’s sweetness comes from residual sugar (RS) that stays in the wine after the alcohol is created during fermentation. Typically, sugar is not added to wine to make it sweeter. There can be any level of sugar remaining from bone-dry (dry meaning no sugar) to super sweet.  

ACIDITY:

Andrea McBride holding red wine grapes

Acidity is what makes lemons sour and your mouth water, but it’s also what makes wines racy, vibrant and refreshing!  The acids in the grapes determine the level of acidity you detect in the wine. It’s presence is necessary to balance the overall taste, especially of sweet wines.

TANNINS: 

Andrea McBride holding red wine grapes skins at the vineyard.

Tannins are found in red wines and come mostly from the skins of red wine grapes.  You have to think of tannins as more of a feeling than a flavor. High tannins can feel mouth-drying or gritty and can create a bitter sensation in the back of your mouth. Wines that are high in tannins are also usually served with food.  Softer tannins can give richness and body to the wine.

ALCOHOL:

Higher alcohol wine will have more of a “burn” as it goes over the back of your tongue. We refer to this feel as a wine being HOT! Sweeter wines (more residual sugar) tend to have lower alcohol content. 

BALANCE:  

Robin McBride drinking well balanced wine.

 

A wine is considered well-balanced when all of these characteristics are in harmony and do not overpower each other. It may be the last on our list, but this feeling is exactly what we seek when we are tasting wine! 

 

Have a #wine related question for us? Leave us a comment and check back every #WineTipTuesday on Instagram and Twitter

 

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Food and Wine Pairing | ESSENCE Magazine Feature

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Valentine’s Day Food and Wine Pairing | ESSENCE Magazine Feature

What do Valentine’s Day, food, wine and ESSENCE Magazine have in common? They’re some of our favorite things!  For those of you who didn’t catch our feature in the February issue of ESSENCE Magazine, here are our food and wine pairings for you and that special someone this Valentine's Day and beyond. 

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken 

Fried Chicken 

Seduce your special someone -or enhance your own palate- with perfectly golden fried chicken. Add a glass of sparkling wine. The saltiness of the food harmoniously accentuates the fruit flavors of the champagne.

Oysters

Oysters with horseradish and chives 

Oysters with horseradish and chives 

Research suggests that the rich amino acids in shellfish like oysters can have a lingering effect on your libido. Pair your oysters on ice with an eco.love chilled Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. This style of wine is bursting with passion-fruit, nectarine and citrus flavors, while also being a dry wine - not a lot of sugar.  

Figs

Figs with goat cheese 

Figs with goat cheese 

Some scholars believe the forbidden fruit Eve gave to Adam was actually a sweet, pulpy fig. Try this succulent treat with an eco.love off-dry Riesling for a nice balance of peaches, florals, ginger, honey, a touch of sugar and great citrus flavors that keep you asking for more! 

Chocolate

The Aztecs were believed to be one of the first to use cocoa beans to increase sexual desire. To turn up the heat, combine chocolate-covered strawberries, pineapple or bananas with a sweet wine, like a Port Wine or a Moscato.

*Article as seen in Essence Magazine 

 

 

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What Are You Serving With That Turkey?

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What Are You Serving With That Turkey?

…we’re talking wine of course!

Crisp air, big sweaters, football games, and turkey! It’s officially the last month of autumn, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Whether you’re heading out of town this year or opening up your home to family and friends, there isn’t a better time to begin planning your Thanksgiving Day feast then now. From the turkey and yams, to the cranberry sauce and stuffing, with so many different textures and tastes, it’s important to choose wines that are complementary to each bite. So, exactly which wines should you serve during your Thanksgiving meal?

Although sparkling wines are extremely popular during the holidays, let’s take a look at some red and white wine options that are sure to make your turkey day pop.

 

Red Wine Options

ecolove-reserve-pinotnoir-closeup-bottle-2016.jpg

 

Pinot Noir: A traditional favorite for Thanksgiving, Pinot Noir is lighter in body and softer on the palate. Its earthy notes along with those red berry fruit flavors pair really well with turkey, stuffing and gravy.

Syrah/Shiraz: The peppery notes of Syrah will pair exceptionally well with the herbal notes found in your stuffing, also drawing out those savory flavors from the turkey.

Red Blends or Zinfandel: For the spice and slightly sweet flavor dishes, pour up a robust medium to full bodied red to balance out the taste.

Alternatively, a great white can too serve as the perfect contrast to balance out all those flavors from your Thanksgiving spread.

 

White Wines Options

Sauvignon BlancThe crisp citrus-based flavors and herbal undertones are a perfect pairing for turkey and winter salads.

Chardonnay: The creamy, buttery, nutty, vanilla flavors from a California Chard, will go great with a big helping of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Riesling: Whether dry or sweet, this white wine will work well with dishes that are spicy, salty or full of sugar. The apple, apricot, and honey notes against those sweet potatoes are enough to send you straight into a food coma.

Pinot Blanc: With a touch of warm spice, this highly aromatic white wine pairs deliciously well with turkey and gravy.

But, no matter what ends up on your table, just remember that Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude…so raise your glass and give thanks! 

Cheers!

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Five Reasons to Visit Wine Country in November

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Five Reasons to Visit Wine Country in November

If you’ve ever gone to the wine country over the summer or during the September and October harvest season in the Northern Hemisphere, then you know just how busy it can get. Millions of wine lovers all across the globe travel to the vineyards during this time each year just to see the grapes in full swing. However, if you don’t love long lines and hot weather, November is the month for you!  Here are 5 reasons why:

1. No Crowds

Wineries can get extremely crowded during peak season, and one of the busiest times to schedule a tour. November draws in much smaller crowds as the harvest is over, and people begin to prepare for the holidays. Not only is this an excellent time to visit due to low tour demands, but the staff may be able to give you a little extra one-on-one time as well.

2. The Weather

You can avoid summer heat spells! The weather is typically sunny, but brisk. The mornings are much cooler, and the afternoons are warm, but by the time evening arrives, it can get chilly. You’ll be wearing a coat and scarf in the morning and taking it off by noon. November is the perfect month for layers, and a great time to don your chic autumn wine country wear! 

3. Beautiful Scenery

Two words: fall foliage. In November, the views are absolutely breathtaking. There aren’t too many places in California where you can see the color changes as drastic as in the wine country. So before the winter sets in, grab your camera and head to wine country for some incredible photo opps (and selfies of course!).

4. What Traffic?

During the month of November, not only will you discover a more peaceful environment, great weather and beautiful scenery, but the traffic flow is substantially low compared to traffic in the high seasons; and nobody likes traffic!

5. Show Me The Money

Visiting the wine country doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. For all those wine enthusiasts out there on a budget, November is one of the least expensive times of the year to visit, especially if you’re looking for a relaxing wine tasting experience and want to avoid premium hotel pricing.

Still, no matter what time of the year you decide to plan your travels, the wine country is beautiful all year round!

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