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Andréa McBride
 
July 22, 2021 | Andréa McBride

Host A Summer Wine Tasting Party

We absolutely love wine tasting. You get to try wines from across the globe  and learn about your palate, which is how you individually identify characteristics of a wine through sight, smell and taste — while also spending time with your partner, friends, family or all of the above. We consider wine tasting elevated day drinking and it’s fun to do at home. You can dress up all fancy, try different wine varietals, set up a delicious spread and enjoy the day. With incredible weather, sunny beach days, and ideal outdoor temperatures, summer is the perfect time to throw a wine tasting party!

You don’t have to be a wine expert to host a wine tasting party. To simplify the process, we have provided you with a guide to everything you need to have an exciting self-hosted wine tasting event. Pro tip: Invite those you enjoy drinking with the most!

Party Tips & Tricks

One of the key ingredients for a successful wine tasting party is preparation. 

Get Ready:

  • Store white and rosé wines in an ice bucket or fridge to ensure each wine is served at its optimal recommended temperature. But don’t serve them too cold or the aromas and flavors will be muted.
  • A classic clear wine glass is the best glass to use as a default, if every guest is given one glass each. Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson’s The One is designed to suit red, white, rosé, and bubbly - a must for our next wine tasting party!

The Food:

  • It’s important to always have snacks at a wine tasting table for the hungry guests, but also to help cleanse your palate between wines. While the guests are snacking, ask them to take note of which snacks pair well with which wines and compare after the tasting!
  • For snacks, a cheese board is always a good idea. Have each guest bring their favorite cheese, charcuterie and fruit and build the ultimate cheese board.
  • Other fun snacks to try: Caprese skewers, hummus plates, sliders, chicken wings, popcorn or other snacks are a great go-to — more recipes and ideas below!

The Decorations:

  • Embrace the seasonal colors and decorate the space with summer flowers and unscented candles to highlight the accents and set the mood. 
  • Welcome tip: When guests arrive, set the party mood by handing them a surprise glass of white wine when they walk into the party. Once all the guests have arrived, ask everyone to guess which wine they are drinking. A small gift goes to the winner!

The Wine List:

 

You'll want at least one white and one red for your event but ideally, it’s great to try to have two whites, two reds, a rosé and a sparkling wine in order to taste them all side by side. 

  • Our most highly recommended wine tasting set of wines is our McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Wines. This California Reserve Wine Set includes our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Reserves are single vineyard wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County. This gift set is perfect for your smaller and more intimate wine tasting party. These wines are complex and express their terroir beautifully. 
  • For the larger wine tasting parties, look no further than our McBride Certified Tasting Pack. This 9 bottle pack of wines includes an array from our collections to give you the full line up. We recommend starting with the Sparkling Brut and ending on the Zinfandel. 

If you’re interested in learning more about wine, join our free McBride Certified Wine 101 Facebook course to learn about all things wine tasting, food pairing & more.
 

Don’t forget:

  • Plates and utensils to dig into the canapes!
  • A discard bucket to use if someone chooses to not finish their wine.
  • Water to rinse out the glass and keep everyone hydrated between glasses.
  • Pen and paper for each guest to take notes on the wines being served. 
To learn more about wine tasting, winemaking and key terms for a wine expert — join our free McBride Certified Wine 101 Facebook course to learn about all things wine tasting, food pairing & more.
 

Themed Party Ideas

It’s always fun to add a unique element to a wine tasting by creating a theme for the night! Try some of these different theme ideas to make your wine tasting one to remember:

  • Cool California Classics: When all the leaves are green and the sky is golden, California dreamin’ becomes a beautiful reality. Make a playlist of Californian bands and arrange the tasting around Californian wines. Try our sophisticated California Reserve Wine Set (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir) and pair with Californian canapes, such as this California-style shrimp cocktail, which will complement our Chardonnay perfectly.
  • A Summer’s Night in Tuscany: Transport your guests to the romantic hills of Tuscany, where beautiful architecture meets fresh produce and breathtaking scenery. Create an Italian playlist, an all Italian cheese plate complete with olives, and decorate the area with vines to really set the mood. 
  • Show & Storytelling: Ask each guest to share a story that corresponds with their favorite glass of the night, this could be a story the wine reminds them of, a drinking experience that they just can’t forget or maybe their dream destination to be enjoying the glass of wine. Alternatively, for a more educational experience, ask each guest to prepare 1-2 facts about the wines of the night and have each share their facts while sipping the corresponding wine, this would require telling them the wines in advance!
  • Guess the Price: A variation of blind tasting, this game focuses around guests guessing the price of wines being served. Have everyone taste each wine and rank them in order of low to high, along with their reasons for choosing so. This fun game will work well with our California Reserve Wine Set, which is on the higher end, in comparison to our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Trio, our most popular, but lower in price point than the Reserve Wines.

Wine & Food Pairings

Light whites with fruity or vanilla hints and floral rosés make the ideal summer drink, but we can’t forget about a vibrant and opulent Pinot Noir, or a cherry plum Red Blend. The perfect summer wine can be based on cooling you down in the hot climate, or it can come down to pairing with your favorite dishes - the choice is yours!

For this wine tasting party we’re exploring untraditional and elevated food pairings to match our prestigious California Reserve Wine Set and McBride Certified Tasting Pack. Open the tasting with some truffle popcorn, and save the rest of the food until after the tasting activities to ensure a clear palate. If guests get hungry in between tastings, you could also have a cheese board to snack on. Check out our cheese board guide here.

Pear, Pancetta and Pecan Puffs

Image and recipe via Taste of Home.

The perfect combination of savoury and sweet, these pear, pancetta and pecan puffs will be delightful with aromatic and refreshing McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut with the perfect balance of lush fruit and delicate tart bubbles​ — available in the McBride Certified Tasting Pack here. Is your mouth watering yet? 

Salmon Mousse Canapes

Image and recipe via Taste of Home

The contrasting textures and refreshing flavors of these salmon mousse canapes are only topped by the stunning presentation. Smoked fishes such as salmon are a match made in heaven with Pinot Noir. Get fancy with your snacks for your summer wine tasting and pair this dish with our McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Pinot Noir available in our California Reserve Wine Set, it's the pairing you may not expect but then you've eaten the whole plate and your glass of wine is gone! Thank us later. 

Oysters Rockefeller

Image and recipe via The Wicked Noodle

So simple, yet so impressive, Oysters Rockefeller will step up your wine-tasting party to the next level. This delicious dish pairs perfectly with our McBride Sisters Collection 2020 Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc available in our McBride Certified Tasting Pack here.


Wine Tasting Key Vocabulary

Impress your guests with some of our wine tasting key vocabulary words below, it’s a great way to teach your wine loving guests more about the wine tasting process and give them the chance to become an expert as well! 

  1. Palate: The sensory experience that you have individually while the wine is in your mouth. Understanding your palate is more than just the flavor of the wine in your mouth, it's the physical sensations (acid, sweetness, astringency, etc) of the wine after you take a sip.
  2. Aroma: The sensory experience of smelling and sniffing the wine, aroma also contributes to the flavors you taste when the wine is in your mouth. Aromas of a wine can also change the longer it is exposed to the air, oxygen so be sure to go back and smell the wine multiple times throughout the tasting.
  3. Terroir: The natural environment where a wine is produced and the grapes are grown. This includes the soil where the vines are planted, topography, climate and other factors that influence the composition and characteristics of the wine.
  4. 5 S’s of Wine Tasting: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor — the 5 S's are the 5 steps to tasting wine in order to activate your senses and identify the different characteristics of the wine. The 5 S's are steps to understand the wine's characteristics.
  5. Single vineyard: A wine where all of the grapes that go into the winemaking process for a wine come from a single vineyard. This can be from different vineyard blocks or even all from the same vineyard block. Single vineyard wines are not blends from multiple vineyards and are considered representative of the terroir of where they are grown.
  6. Vintage: The year that's present on the wine label, this is the year the grapes were harvested from the vines to begin the winemaking process.
To learn more about wine tasting, winemaking and key terms for a wine expert — join our free McBride Certified Wine 101 Facebook course.
 

Final Tips

 

To optimize your wine-tasting experience and provide the most enjoyable event, consider these final tips.

  • Keep in mind the order of tasting. Not an absolute must, but aim to follow the order of wines to taste, starting with sparkling then working your way from lighter to heavier.
  • To take things to the professional level, share the 5 S’s of wine tasting with your guests prior to taking your first sip. See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor. 

 

But most importantly, enjoy yourself! Wine tastings can often be intimidating, but we’re here to break the rules. It's time to drink the wine however, whenever and wherever you want. Cheers!

Xoxo,

 

Robin McBride
 
July 15, 2021 | Robin McBride

A McBride Guide to Chardonnay

The Perfect Summer Wine

The wine of the summer! Chardonnay is made in some of the world's most iconic winegrowing regions and is one of the most popular and loved white wines. For us, this grape varietal gives us the opportunity to break the rules of fine winemaking. Chardonnay can be medium-full bodied, cool or warm climate, unoaked or rich in oak. The winemaker can cultivate and create the style that they love, for us, we love a cooler climate Chardonnay with light to minimal oak because we want the varietal characteristics to shine through.

Our McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay 2019 is a wine we cannot live without. It’s a crowd pleaser at all of our events and one of our favorite wines to sip with a summer cheeseboard. This is not your gramma's Chardonnay. Drinks well with salmon garnished with fresh dill, Alfredo pasta with spring peas, or grilled portobello mushrooms. It’s not only a seasonal wine, you’ll find our glasses filled with Chardonnay all year round. 

This white wine is the perfect match for fresh seafood, buttery chicken, and caramelized vegetable dishes. A wine we love, always have in our wine rack and part of the story of Robin’s journey into winemaking. Celebrate this wonderful wine with us as we delve into the history, pairing suggestions, and recipes for Chardonnay. 

We recently released our new McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2019. This wine, called The Great Escape is very special to us and comes from one of the most incredible winegrowing regions in California. The Santa Lucia Highlands are located in Monterey County, California and given the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, unique topography and California sunshine, you're left with what we think are some of the best vineyards in the world. The Great Escape embodies our love for the Chardonnay grape, the beauty of Monterey County and the childhood memories that have brought us to winemaking.

“When I was a baby, my mom drove our bright red Volkswagen bug up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to a small town called Monterey. This is where I fell in love with vineyards and winemaking.” - Robin McBride

Learn more about the story behind the name and label on our website here. 

The Chardonnay Grape 

The world’s most popular white wine originated in the Burgundy region of France, with the earliest reference to the wine dating back to 1330. It wasn’t until the 18th century that Chardonnay was introduced to California by Spanish missionaries who planted the first vineyards in Alta California. The popularity of the light green grape grew rapidly over time, now being responsible for over 93,148 acres of vineyards, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual 2018 report. 

A rich, buttery flavor is what comes to the majority of people’s minds when they hear “California Chardonnay.” But that’s because that style of California Chardonnay become widely produced and popular until more recently. California has varying regions and microclimates that have a range of cool and warm climate conditions in the vineyards.

Other than California and France, Chardonnay is also cultivated in the majority of major wine regions around the world, from New Zealand to Chile, and Australia to South Africa. All producing great wines in unique and regional styles. Our Reserve Chardonnay is breaking away from the overly oaked style and using minimal oak to complement the grape and terroir characteristics instead of overpowering it. The maritime influence from the vineyard proximity to the ocean gives this wine it's special and delicious qualities. See the where the vineyard is located below.

Chardonnay is a chameleon of a wine, with its flavors varying depending on the terroir (where it is grown and the climate, soil and topography conditions of the region), and the winemaking decisions, including how much new oak that is used in the ageing process and how long it’s in contact. Cooler climate Chardonnays can have gorgeous notes of apricots and citrus, and warmer climates can showcase tropical fruit and honey flavors. 

The Ideal Pairing Dos and Don'ts

The perfect wine of the summer, Chardonnay is an easy wine for food pairings due to its versatile flavor profile. Whether you feel like whipping up a refreshing seafood salad, or a spring vegetable risotto, Chardonnay is the ideal drink to accompany you on a warm summer day. Below are our families pairing dos and don’ts to make sure you have the best experience possible. Cheers!

Dos

  • Serve Chardonnay with mild, creamy or buttery dishes.
  • Accompany with hearty fishes such as cod or halibut as well as shellfish, such as shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, scallops, oysters, and mussels.
  • Pair with pork and poultry dishes that have subtle flavors and plain seasonings.
  • Accompany oaky Chardonnay with foods that have a smoked or toasty flavor, such as roasted nuts or baked bread. 
  • Pair Chardonnay with sweet flavored and silky textured foods, such as caramelized roast vegetables, sweet corn, creamy soups, and risottos. 

Don’ts

  • Pair with aggressively, overseasoned foods and spicy dishes typically found in Indian and Southeast Asian meals. Also avoid pungent or over flavored cheeses. 
  • Pair with acidic or bitter foods that can make the Chardonnay taste sour or enhance the bitter aftertaste. 
  • Leave Chardonnay sitting on the table, or serve it too cold as this can reduce it’s pairing abilities. Aim to remove the bottle 15 to 20 minutes from the fridge and let it warm up to approximately 40 degrees.

Recipes 

Now that we have run through the dos and don’ts of food pairings, it's time to indulge in some delicious food recipes to try this season. Whip them up for your next happy hour on the patio, cheeseboard at the park or girls night at home.


Cheese Pairings & Snacks

Pair unoaked Chardonnay with soft and creamy cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, Mozzarella and Ricotta. Oaked Chardonnay pairs well with semi-soft aged cheeses with nutty flavors, such as Gruyère, Emmental and Comté.

Salmon Rillettes

 

The rich, buttery flavors of this French-inspired dish pair perfectly with our fruity, yet balanced McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay. These salmon rillettes make a delicious appetizer, or a snack to take for a picnic on the beach!

Image via Food and Wine & recipe here.


Main Dishes

The main course. You can sip on Chardonnay by itself, with appetizers, entrées and even dessert. These are our go-to summer recipes using fresh seafood and savory chicken. Do you have a favorite Chardonnay pairing?

Chef John's Bay Scallop Chowder

 

Scallops and Chardonnay are a match made in heaven, and this creamy chowder, complete with Yukon Gold potatoes, is no exception. This dish makes an excellent meal for a dinner party, or a chill night at home where you want to indulge in comfort foods. 

Image via All Recipes & recipe here.

 

 


Dijon-Tarragon Cream Chicken

 

The chicken dish we make every week, a Dijon-Tarragon Cream Chicken recipe that is full of Chardonnay-lovin’ ingredients. Pair with a fresh side salad and a glass of our crispy and beautifully balanced McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2019 and you’re all set for a summer date night, solo or with company.

Image via All Recipes & recipe here.


Dessert

Butter Pecan Crunch

 

Ice-cream makes the ideal summer treat anytime, but when combined with vanilla and butter pecan flavors, the result is a mouthwatering dessert that pairs perfectly with the lemon curd and honey flavors of our McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay. 

Image via Spaceships and Laser Beams & recipe here.


For us, Chardonnay is so much more than just a wine, it is part of our heritage and heart, it is an origin story. Taste our Chardonnays and get ready for your next summer feast by ordering on our website here or finding the wines in store near you. Get out and enjoy your summer, one glass of Chardonnay at a time!

Xoxo,

 

Robin McBride
 
June 30, 2021 | Robin McBride

Grilling Season with the McBride Sisters

It’s almost that time of the year. The time to celebrate summer’s landmark national holiday, Independence Day, or Fourth of July. With the weather heating up, Andréa and I are getting ready for our favorite wine & food pairing season. As you might have heard in Wine 101 our free Facebook course teaching you about all things wine, the McBride family loves a great BBQ. Our favorite pairing, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers and our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Merlot — now available in the perfect red wine bundle on our website. What's yours? For some folks, especially those located in warmer climates, grilling season is an all-year round activity, and for others, the start of the summer season signifies outdoor activities, picnics, and grilling. Bring on the warm weather!

According to the 2020 “State of the Barbecue Industry” report from the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, roughly two-thirds of adults in the United States own a grill or smoker. This means that one out of every three people you know owns a grill. So if you’re not one of them, it’s likely that one of your friends or family does. We know that sharing is caring, so if you’re a grill-owner, invite your friends and family over for a summer cookout, and if you’re not, buy the necessary grilling supplies and take them to your bestie with a grill. How could they not love you for it?

Since the month of July is National Grilling Month, there’s no better time than the present to start prepping your grilling events. From planning your menu to conserving the food, we’ve got you covered. Stay safe, get outside, and let's get grilling!

McBride Guide to Grilled Food & Wine Pairings

We like to break the rules. That's why we don't let the rules about which wines to drink in a specific season ever stop us. We're drinking rosé in the winter and red wine in the summer! All year around we're sipping on our favorite wines. But there's a little secret about grilled food and wine pairings that we can't wait to share. It's time for red wines to shine. 

There is nothing better than meat or veggies right off the grill & a sip of a perfectly chilled red wine. That's right, chilled red wine is here and ready to play! We don't mean ice cold, but given the warmer temps, it's nice to keep your red wines on ice to bring them to the perfect temperature during your family BBQ. When we drink red wine in the summer we feel bold & boujie, that's why our new Bold & Boujie red wine bundle is your grilling season must have. Order yours on the website here.

Flavor Hacks to Step Up Your Grilling Game

Looking to add some punch to your grilling flavors, but not sure where to start? Try these simple, yet incredibly effective flavor hacks that will have you quickly crowned the Grilling King. 

  • Who else loves their meat juicy and succulent, with a slight tinge of apple? If you’re not salivating yet, you soon will be when you try spraying your meat with apple cider or apple juice. This trick works wonders on pork and chicken. 
  • Herbs really are the spice of life. To revitalize your traditional grilling brush, tie a bunch of fresh herbs onto a wooden spoon, dip your new brush into oil, and use it to paint your produce in a new and flavorsome way. 
  • Prevent fish from sticking to the grill by cooking it on lemon slices. This hack provides two benefits: delicious, lemony fish that also saves you the headache of scraping it off the grill.
  • Turn your grill into a DIY smoker with two simple tools: aluminium foil and wood chips (such as oak or hickory). Create a pouch out of the aluminium foil, throw in some wood chips, poke some holes in the top of the pouch, and add it to the grill. The pouch will slowly begin to release a smoky flavor and add a unique taste to what you are cooking. 

Must Try Grill Recipes + Wine Pairings 

What’s cooking? Whether you’re a dedicated carnivore, a chicken lover, or a herbivore, there is something that can be thrown on the grill for everyone!

A Delicious Starter: Grilled Chicken Shawarma 

Bursting with deliciously fresh Middle Eastern flavors, this grilled chicken shawarma is not only fast and simple, it is perfect for summer as it goes well with fresh salads such as tabouli, or dips like hummus or tzatziki. 

Image via feastingathome.com
Get the recipe here.
 

Wine Pairing: Grilling chicken adds smokiness to the flavor, which stronger, acidic wines match perfectly. Our highly acidic 2020 Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc provides lemongrass and citrus aromas that pair perfectly with the spices of the dish.

For the Herbivores: Portobello Mushroom Veggie Burger

A veggie burger so good it’s adored by both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, we knew we had to include it. This portobello mushroom burger is incredibly succulent, with juicy mushrooms fresh off the grill it makes the perfect summer dinner.

Image via Love & Lemons
Get the recipe here.
 

Wine pairing: Due to the variety in flavors and richness that veggie burgers can have, they are often able to pair with a range of wines. A fruity red blend, such as our 2019 Central Coast California Red Blend is one option, as it is a well-balanced wine great with any meal. Another option is our 2019 Central Coast California Chardonnay, which is a heavenly match for grilled portobello mushrooms with its balanced texture and aromas of lemon curd and honey, pineapple and ripe pear.

For the Meat Lovers: Churrasco with Chimichurri Sauce


Photo via Sweet Tea and Thyme
Get the recipe here.
 

Wine Pairing: As the saying goes, red meat gets red wine. Steak pairs well with a variety of red wines, and you will find that our Black Girl Magic 2018 Merlot, Black Girl Magic 2018 Zinfandel or our Black GIrl Magic 2019 California Red Blend will each pair perfectly with churrasco, and will complement the heavy garlic in the chimichurri with individual fruity notes. 

Grill + Play

We’ve got a jam-packed weekend ahead of us for this Fourth of July celebration, there are countless options for grilling cookout fun! Spending time with family and loved ones is important, and what better way to do it than over a hot, smoking grill?

If you’re planning a big get together, be sure to pick up some of our canned collections such as the SHE CAN Dry Rosé Spritzers Mixed 12 Pack, which are perfect for larger groups and come in two refreshing flavors that are sure to cool you down on a summer’s day.

Other Grilling Essentials 

The secret to enjoying a perfect grill is careful preparation and mindful cooking. It would be a shame to have all your food go to waste over careless grilling that resulted in overcooking! Here’s a few other tips to make sure you make the most of your grilling day, so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine:

  • Keep everything sanitary and clean. Make sure everyone that is handling food has washed their hands and doesn’t touch their face while handling any food.
  • Store the food in a cooler or somewhere cold until it is ready to cook. Leaving meats and fresh produce out for too long can allow bacteria to develop.
  • Be mindful not to mix raw and cooked foods, and keep them separate at all times to avoid any bacteria from raw foods contaminating the cooked meals. 
  • Keep salads and other cold items chilled on ice to stay fresh. 

Now that you’ve got your recipes, prep, and events planned, the next step is to get your grilling crew together! We hope you have a wonderful grilling season & Fourth of July weekend — let's get sizzling one delicious glass of wine at a time.

Xoxo,

 

Andréa McBride
 
June 16, 2021 | Andréa McBride

#TracingOurRoots through Barbados

We’re celebrating Black History long after the month of February. Through Juneteenth, we are #TracingOurRoots through the African Diaspora by highlighting different cities, countries and regions. For each region we focus on, Robin & I are hoping to celebrate the traditions, culture and cuisine that have been influenced by the routes of migration of African peoples. For our next stop, we’re on the beautiful island of Barbados, located off the Southeastern coast of the United States in the Carribean. A one-of-a-kind region, Barbados is a country with a unique history that contains traces of a multitude of ethnic influences. It also happens to be where my husband is from, please enjoy our photos from the trips we’ve taken back to his home.

Since the 13th century, the island has been inhabited by the Kalinago indigenous people, and other Amerindians after. It was then invaded by Spanish settlers in the 15th century, followed by the Portuguese Empire who abandoned it in 1620. Less than ten years later in 1627, ships from England colonized the island to became the first permanent settlers and they brought the African slave trade along with them. 

Through its complex history, a strong and incredibly vibrant culture has emerged, resulting in unforgettable cuisine, arts and style that people from all over the world travel to experience. Pack your bags and join us as we hit the easy breezy Carribean island of Barbados, one delicious glass of wine at a time.

Image via wikiwand.com

An Island of Traditions 

Barbadian, or Bajan traditions are a fusion of West African and British practices that have resulted in a range of electrifying festivals, intricate arts and crafts, and extravagant performances. 

Landship

Landship is an inherent part of Bajan culture, with origins dating back to the 1800s. It is best described as a theatrical group that performs complex dances reflecting the passage of ships traveling through rugged seas and the adventures that occur onboard. 

The performers wear costumes similar to those worn in the navy and the dance is based around the structure of the British Navy but they are performed to an African rhythm that is typically accompanied by a Tuk band, another intrinsic part of Bajan culture.

Image via Nationnews.com

 

The Crop Over Festival

The Crop Over Festival is an exciting, vibrant 200 year old festival that marks the end of the sugar cane season. Rooted deep in the colonial history of Barbados, when sugar cane ruled the island, this festival is now all about celebrating creativity from indigenous art and crafts to flower and folk performances. Lasting for three months starting in August, the finale of the festival marks the most exciting day of the year when you will hear Bajans say: "Crop Over it sweet fuh days!" This gives us a reason to stay in Barbados for three months, you coming?

Dancers at the Crop Over Festival. Image via theglassmagazine.com
 

The Food

As a small island with an incredibly vast culinary heritage, get ready for a melting pot of incredible flavors from India, Africa and England that combine to create a range of unique, varied dishes that intrigue all the senses. 

With an abundance of fresh produce, local Bajans produce an array of tasty dishes including macaroni pie, fish cakes, bakes, cassava pone, salt bread, rice and peas, conkies, coconut turnovers, and of course, the national dish. 

Ask any Bajan what to eat in Barbados and they point you towards the national dish - flying fish and cou cou. Flying fish is a native fish and is so important that it’s featured on the country’s national currency. Barbados, at one point in history, was referred to as the “island of the flying fish” due to the abundance of flying fish that inhabited the waters. The fish tastes great on its own, steamed with acidic lime juice or fried, however, with cou cou, which is similar to grits or polenta in texture, it’s a dish you’ll never forget.

Fried flying fish image via trip101.com
 

The Recipes

Flying Fish & Cou Cou

You know we love the iconic flying fish, however, it’s time to share the wonders of cou cou. Made from a combination of cornmeal and okra, cou cou is a warming comfort dish that you will come across at many restaurants in Barbados. Tasting like a savory porridge, cou cou pairs perfectly with spicier Bajan dishes too. If you want to follow Bajan tradition, prepare this dish on a Friday or Saturday, or throw it together mid-week for a delicious work day indulge. Your tastebuds will love you for it. 

Get the recipe here. 

The Wine Pairing

 

Flying fish is a mild white fish, with a firm, tender texture, similar to cod or haddock. If you’re able to fry your fish at home we’d recommend pairing it with a chilled glass of our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut as the bubbles will balance the delicious greasy fried fish and complement the diverse flavors in the dish.

If your fish is grilled or baked, this medium-textured fish would pair beautifully with an aromatic white wine with high acidity. Sound familiar? Pair this traditional dish with our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Riesling, the aromatics will complement the fish and the high acidity will travel to the end of every bite of the fish and cou cou.

For the Cocktail Lovers

 

Being the birthplace of rum, it goes without saying that we absolutely must include a rum-based recipe. We’ve taken this Barbados Rum punch recipe and given it a twist with our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut, since you already have the bottle open from the wine pairing above! Enjoy, and as the Bajans say, time flies when you’re having rum!

What we're making: Barbados Rum Punch

 

Ingredients 

 

2 ounces aged Barbados rum (such as Mount Gay)

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)

1 dash Angostura bitters

McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut

Nutmeg and lime wheel, to garnish

Image and original recipe via liquor.com

 

Method

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.

Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice.

Top up with McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut

Garnish with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a lime wheel.


Robin and I have loved taking this trip to Barbados with you. From vibrant food to mesmerizing performances and strong traditions this is a country we believe should be on everyone’s bucket list. Now, for our next and final stop… we’re heading to NOLA! 

Xoxo,

 

 

 

 

 

Robin McBride
 
June 12, 2021 | Robin McBride

Rosé All Ways

Celebrating National Rosé Day!

Just in time for the start of summer, National Rosé Day is upon us. Falling on the second Saturday of June every year since 2014, today we celebrate! It’s time to call all your friends, pull out your favorite summer outfit (something pink to be in theme), and share a bottle (or can!) of Rosé while basking in the warm summer sunshine.

Rosé has been growing in popularity over the years, due to its versatility and ability to be enjoyed dry, sweet, still, or sparkling. It also pairs well with all kinds of foods, from seafood to barbeque to salads, and more, making rosé the perfect accompaniment for any occasion. National Rosé Day is one of our favorite holidays, so we’ve put together a guide to the history of rosé, matching your personality with our rosé range, and some delicious recipes and activities to keep you celebrating, and drinking rosé all day! If you want to learn more about Rosé wine, join us on our McBride Certified Wine 101 for a free Facebook course on all things wine from Andréa & I — hint: head to Module 6 for rosé!


A Little History

While the exact moment that rosé was first made is said to date back thousands of years ago, the sweet elixir is newer to America, being popularized in the late 20th century. National Rosé Day was formally established in 2014, after being proposed by Swedish brand Bodvár - House of Rosés - to raise awareness about rosé wine and give affectionados the opportunity to gather and celebrate. 

Which Rosé Are You?

Trendsetter, sassy, the BFF or the life of the party - so, which one are you? 

Trendsetter

You’re just like our brand new, limited edition range, Black Girl Magic Cans Bubbly Rosé, which provides the quintessential strawberry and tangerine notes of the season, for a memorable experience that everyone will be raving about. Being served in a sleek, smooth black can you’re ahead of your time. Be warned: they are going fast. 

Sassy

Like our McBride Sisters Collection NV Hawke’s Bay New Zealand Sparkling Brut Rosé, you know when the occasion calls for a sudden pop to shake things up. You like to keep things moving and stirring, with all the right ingredients including crisp apple and citrus and floral notes. You sassy thing, you!

The BFF

You’re the warm hug that makes everything better, the one who can fix a makeup disaster at the last minute, the contagious smile that always makes you laugh. Just like our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2020 California Rosé, you are classic, sophisticated, yet fruity - the best friend forever. 

Life of the Party

You know the secret to fire up a party, and you know that variety is the spice of life. Coming in two delicious flavors - Island Citrus and Coastal Berry - SHE CAN Canned Wine Dry Rosé Spritzers Mixed 12 Pack provide the perfect range to suit just about any tastebud and liven up any social scene. 


Rosé Recipes

Did you know that rosé is made from the same grapes as red wine? The only difference being that when red wine is made the skin is left on for longer during the fermentation process, resulting in the darker color. Despite sharing the same grape, rosé has a completely unique flavor, one that is the perfect ingredient for a range of delicious summer cocktails. 

Frozé (Frozen Rosé)

The drink that has taken summer parties by a storm, Frosé, needs no introduction. Equally as simple to make as it is delicious, Frosé is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Ingredients

1 Can of McBride Sisters Collection SHE CAN Rosé

1 tbsp Simple Syrup

6 Strawberries, hulled, quartered

1 Fresh Lemon

Aperol

 

Watch full SHE CAN Frozé recipe video here.

Method

Step 1

Pour 2/3 of the chilled SHE CAN Rosé into a glass and set aside 

Step 2

In a blender or nutribullet cup add the six cut strawberries, simple syrup and the rest of the SHE CAN Rosé that is still in the original can and blend until smooth

Step 3

Strain blended mixture into a pan and place in the freezer for 1-6 hours (If time is of the essence, 30 minutes will work but it will be more like a slushie)

Step 4

Once frozen, scrape mixture back into the blender cup. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice, 1 oz Aperol and purée until smooth. You can add additional ice here if you want more. 

Step 5

Once the Frozé is ready pour it into a glass and top it off with the SHE CAN Rosé that was set aside at the beginning. Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy! 


Rosé Lemonade

Everyone’s favorite summer drink is here with a peachy twist. Perfect for entertaining on a hot day, the combination of sweet rosé with tart lemon will delight, refresh, and impress!

Ingredients

1 bottle McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2020 California Rosé

1 oz fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 cup of cold Water

0.75 oz Simple Syrup

Lemon for garnish

Ice

 

Watch full Rosé Lemonade recipe video on our Instagram here.

Method

Step 1

Add ice to your cocktail glass and combine lemon juice, water and simple syrup. 

Step 2

Fill the glass with the chilled McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Rosé, genorously 

Step 3

Mix, garnish and enjoy!


National Rosé Day Activities

You’ve got your beverages sorted, now to plan the activities. Rosé is the ideal summer drink that makes for a fun and light celebration, perfect for any trendsetter, sassy queen, BFF, or life of the party. 

Throw a Pink Soiree 

National Rosé Day is about all things pink, and throwing an all-pink party is a perfect way to celebrate in style. Tell all guests to come dressed all in pink and decorate the space in varying shades of rosy hues. Serve up rosé in pink cups alongside delicious pink desserts such as this rose, raspberry and coconut fool.

Host a Wine Tasting

In the comfort of your own home shop our Rosé All Ways sets and pour them into pitchers, so that they can be served without labels. If they are sparkling or bubbly rosé pour into the sparkling glasses ahead of time and keep it a mystery that way. Place the empty bottles and cans near the pitchers, not in a corresponding order. Leave blank tasting cards next to each pitcher, so that every guest can write down their guesses on which pitcher matches which bottle/can and drop it into a box. At the end of tasting, read out the cards and whoever guesses the closest to all four bottles/packs correctly wins a prize! 

Whatever you decide to do, join us as we celebrate National Rosé Day, and remember to rosé all day!

Xoxo,

Robin McBride
 
May 20, 2021 | Robin McBride

Picnic Season with Robin & Andréa

Spring has officially sprung and it’s time to spend some time in the sunshine with our favorite wines, snacks and playlists.

Andréa and I love picnic season spent in our favorite parks around the Bay area with our cups filled with chilled rosé, our favorite cheeses and some even better company. This year, we could all use some quality time with our friends and family. What better way than with a sunny picnic! For this picnic season we’re sharing our food & drink must-haves and a sneak peek of what’s in our picnic baskets. 

Get our no-cork screw required Wine Must Haves with our new McBride Sisters Collection & Black Girl Magic Wines Picnic Essentials for the perfect set of wines to have for all your picnic needs! Get outside, stay safe, pack a picnic & forget the corkscrew. 

Best Picnic Food + Wine Pairings

You’ve got your picnic basket ready to go, now to figure out what to put in it! Picnics are meant to be fun and easy, and that means delicious finger foods that can be handled easily and shared around. The best picnic foods can be made ahead of time, are easy to transport, and will still taste incredible the next day without much preparation. Let’s dive in!

The Sandwich: Caprese

A great sandwich can be the highlight of an entire meal, and we are advocates for the perfect picnic sandwich. They are simple to make, are compact and can be eaten with your hands. When it comes to packing, simply wrap in foil or wrap so they stay together until it’s time to eat.

Image via jessicainthekitchen.com
Get the recipe here
 

Great picnic food often contains minimal ingredients that are well put together, and this Caprese sandwich screams ultimate taste with minimal effort. With juicy tomatoes, smooth mozzarella and fresh basil, you be coming back for seconds.

Wine Pairing: Pair this fresh sandwich with our McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc available in the Picnic Essentials six pack here. 

The Salads

Get your picnic going with these delightfully fresh salads. You’ll be celebrating being outside basking in Mother Nature’s energy once again.

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Image via jamieoliver.com
Get the recipe here

 

What can be more refreshing that a watermelon salad? Mixed with red onion, sprigs of mint and mouth-melting feta cheese, this is a blend not to be missed.

Wine Pairing: Pair this sweet & salty salad with our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Rosé available in the Picnic Essentials six pack here. 

Creamy Potato Salad with Prawns & Salmon

Image via bbc.co.uk
Get the recipe here

 

A great potato salad is show-stopping. Just when the original has been perfected so many times, here comes this recipe with shrimp and salmon. Treat yourself.

Wine Pairing: Celebrate this light, summery seafood salad recipe with a glass of McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Riesling iavailable in the Picnic Essentials six pack here, The off-dry and high acidity of this wine will compliment that flavors of this salad perfectly! 

The Dip 

Is it even a picnic if you don’t have dips and chips to snack on? We think not. Dips are great because they can be added to almost everything from sandwiches to salads, and can be eaten on their own with cut vegetables or chips.

Beetroot, Yoghurt & Lime Dip

Image via olivemagazine.com
Get the recipe here
 

Beetroot lovers rejoice! This deliciously tangy dip is perfect for warm spring days and will create a burst of flavor in your mouth. Try this with your favorite pita chips or even fry some halloumi ahead of time to dip. 

Wine Pairing: This tangy and delicious dip will pair perfectly with a glass of McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Rosé available in the Picnic Essentials six pack here. The off-dry and high acidity of this wine will compliment that flavors of this salad perfectly! 

The Dessert

After all the tasty savory foods, it’s time to cater to your sweet tooth. Top it off with a celebratory glass of McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Bru available in the Picnic Essentials six pack here for the perfect end-of-meal treat.

Salted Peanut and Honeycomb Rocky Road

Image via olivemagazine.com
Get the recipe here

 

Who can say no to a rocky road? Featuring salted peanut and honeycomb, this is a great twist on the classic and will cater to all tastes.

Other Picnic Essentials

Whenever you have a picnic there are a few items that you should bring to ensure everything goes smoothly for you and the space you inhabit. Remembering to bring the following will make a difference in the long-run and help you picnic happily and sustainably:

  • Always remember to bring a trash bag to clean up after yourself. You want to leave the beautiful spot in nature just the same way as you found it, so many more can enjoy it after you. 
  • For hot days, throw some ice packs into your picnic basket to ensure everything stays cool and fresh.
  • Bring additional water for drinking and cleaning sticky hands. 
  • A first-aid kit can always come in handy when you’re outdoors. You never know what you may stumble across!
  • Remember to bring a picnic blanket.

Lastly, enjoy yourself and never forget the wine! Xoxo,

 

Andréa McBride
 
April 27, 2021 | Andréa McBride

Celebrating African Diaspora Cuisine

Food and wine tell a story. They allow us to document and experience culture across generations and help us honor where we came from. We celebrate Black History always (long after February), and want to continue tracing our roots along the African Diaspora, highlighting the powerful influences that these routes of migration have had on culture and society today. Robin and I are drawing from as many sources as we can find (e.g. books, experts in the category, people we know, the inna net) to guide and shape these pieces of the puzzle through the diaspora. If we get it wrong, we’re sure you’ll let us know. But we’re hoping we get this right and can share what we find and what we learn so we can educate, celebrate and cultivate community, one delicious glass of wine at a time!  

From the smallest migration region of Mozambique in Southeast Africa to the largest migration origin of the Republic of Congo and Nigeria in West Central Africa, our African ancestors come from a diverse continent with subregions, each with their own culture, cuisine, languages and more.

Every country in Africa is distinct, with its own traditions, flavors and methods of preparing food. Each of these countries have their own occasion and moods. We will explore through our evolved definition of terroir (eco-system, tradition & culture), starting our journey of tracing our roots along the diaspora in Central Africa, exploring culinary influences and cuisine along the way, and of course pairing our wines to match the food and mood. 

Source: A map of Central Africa | © Peter Fitzgerald / WikiCommons 
 

Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Along the Western coast of Central Africa, bordering each other are the Republic of Congo (also referred to as Congo-Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (also known as Congo-Kinshasa). The Republic of Congo was colonized by the French, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was colonized by Belgium. Both countries gained independence around 1960, and use French as one of their official languages, but according to The Culture Trip, both still maintain many other subregional languages and cultures throughout. Even in recent history, colonization and wars have made life extremely difficult for the Congolese. Despite these challenging & traumatic times, we want to educate and highlight the beauty and Black Joy that can be found in these countries, regions and cultures. 

Democratic Republic of the Congo - Image Source: Journeys By Design

 

The Food: Saka-Saka

A vibrant, mostly plant-based diet is common here, and consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and often seafood. Congolese cuisine is grounded in strong roots that date back 80,000 years, mixed with French and Belgian influence following colonization. Saka-saka is the Congolese word for cassava leaf and is the namesake of this simple yet delicious dish that is a staple in the Republic of Congo and the Democatic Republic of the Congo. 

Because we don’t have Cassava leaf available locally (it can be found in the ground-up form in African and Filipino food shops), we substituted for a mixture of kale, collards, turnip greens and spinach, and then we added shrimp and paired with our Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut.

(Side note: This dish tastes even better on Day 2!) 

Shredding the greens up reminded us of cooking with our Aunty Annie May in her kitchen in Camden, Alabama. My mind made the instant connection to her collard greens and ham, passed down to her from our grandpa who loved to cook. I wonder if Saka-Saka had evolved from Africa throughout the Diaspora to the United States in the form of how we prepare Collard Greens today? 

Image & Recipe from @ImmaculatebitesShop the Wine Pairing: Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut

The Mood: The Congolese Birds of Paradise

Source: CNN Photo Courtesy of Daniele Tamagni
 

Le Sape ("Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes" - the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People) also known as the Sapeurs and Sapeuseare are what would be described as Congolese Dandies. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the aristocratic superiority of one’s mind is the symbol of the Congolese Dandy. In Brazzaville and Kinshasa, their appearance is STRIKING in the context of the living conditions of many Congolese. Those conditions were a result of wars that decimated their economy for many years. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around tailored designer clothing in this context, so I had to dig in and learn more. In reading, the topic is very controversial. The French word Saper means to dress up or to undermine. This Congolese Dandy phenomenon can be traced historically to the 1920s when young African men began to combat the racist attitudes of their masters by rejecting the second-hand clothes they were often given instead of wages. Instead, they took the style of the colonial overseers, exaggerated it with beautiful bold colors and prints and made it their own.

"A group of sapeur women strike a pose during a sapeur event in Brazzaville"
Source: OZY - Photographs by Victoire Douniama

Badouin Mouanda, a member of the Congolese Photography Collective shared his insight in a fascinating interview with Marion Nur Gonde in Africultures:

“I realized that S.A.P.E. played a very important role in Brazzaville in 1998-1999, after the civil war. There wasn’t anything left to do in town; everything was shut down. The sapeurs recreated the atmosphere that is part of Congolese day-to-day life. For the traumatized population, the attraction of the sapeurs was to show that you had to have hope. Their message was, “We didn’t get dressed up to stay at home! We have been spared by the hostilities and we are lucky to be alive. There’s no point in fighting; We can talk and take each other by the hand”. The sapeurs often advocate this peaceful message. That’s why I, as a photographer, wanted to follow them. Images travel and spread messages. I want to show that a joyful Africa exists.”

Inspired by the Sapeurs and Sapeuseare, we’ve crafted and paired an after-dinner drink to meet this occasion and here’s why. Our Black Girl Magic Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Red Blend from California is inspired by the great Red Blends, found in the right bank of Bordeaux, France, but remixed by us with our New World expression. We are then going to pair this with Grand Marnier, which is a mix of Cognac (which is a spirit made from wine grapes in France) and Orange liqueur and make a beautiful Sisters Grand Sangria Rouge. We feel like this will complete your after-dinner mood, topped off with a playlist from the artist Fally Ipupa (check out his hits on YouTube)!

The Recipes

Saka-Saka (Cassava Leaf Soup) 

Check out Immaculate Bites for more incredible recipes by Imma here via africanbites.com

Ingredients 

3 lbs cassava greens (or feuilles de manioc), or substitute kale, collards, turnip greens, spinach, or similar, stems removed, cleaned, and cut or torn into pieces
1 pound beef cut in bite size pieces
½ pound smoked chicken, turkey, or fish
½ - 1 pound of shrimp (optional)
3 tbsp red palm oil, Moambé Sauce, or any cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup ground crayfish or dried shrimps
4-5 tablespoon ground groundnuts or peanut butter puree
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
Salt and pepper to taste
 

Steps

  1. In a large saucepan, season meat with salt, chicken bouillon and onions and boil until tender, depending on the choice of meat. You should have at least 1-2 cups of stock. Remove the meat and beef stock, reserve.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions and crayfish and sauté until fragrant for about 1-2 minutes. Add beef and or / smoked meat 
  3. Stir in peanut butter or groundnut paste, then add stock about a cup cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Throw in the drained cassava leaves and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes.
  5. Finally add shrimp (if using) - cook until shrimp turns pink about 3-5 minutes
  6. Adjust seasonings (chicken bouillon, salt, soup consistency with water and oil) to taste
  7. Serve warm over rice

 

Sisters Grand Sangria Rouge

 

Ingredients
 

Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
1 bottle of our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Zinfandel (or Red Blend - available in store)
2 ripe Oranges
1 bottle lemon-lime Club Soda
Ice

Steps

  1. Fill your glass with ice
  2. Add in 1.5 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
  3. 3 oz Black Girl Magic Zinfandel (Or Red Blend)
  4. 2 oz fresh squeezed Orange Juice 
  5. 2 oz lemon-lime Club Soda
  6. Mix well, serve immediately 

 

 

Xoxo,

 

 

Robin McBride
 
April 27, 2021 | Robin McBride

Best Red Wine Selection & Pairing Guide | McBride Sisters

We're Feelin' Bold & Boujie

We'll enjoy a great glass of red wine all year around. From a medium-bodied silky Merlot to a full-bodied, rich Zinfandel, we love pairing a glass with a meal on our Wine Wednesday, or as an end-of-the week wine down. When we have a glass of red wine in hand, we feel bold and boujie — spice up your palate with our all Red Wines set here to taste the differences between the wines & find your favorite red varietal. This wine set with set the mood and it includes our Merlot and Zinfandel - two online exclusive wines that you can only get on the website. Hurry before they're gone!

Apart from being a delicious drink, red wine is said to also has a range of health benefits, with studies finding that the red elixir is not only heart healthy, but it may also help you live longer, and boost your brain function. We’ve also read that red wine can also help you from getting sick. According to a study conducted from the University of Auckland, the antioxidants contained in red wine can reduce the chance of catching a cold. Sign us up!

Aside from all the amazing benefits and taste, how do you decide which red wine is right for you, and what food should you pair it with? We’re here to share the difference between some of the popular red wine varieties, a couple of must-try red wine recipes, and the best food to pair with each. Check out our red wine guide you on the best way to maximize each wine. Salut! 

The Red Wines to Know

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted red grape in the world, and for good reason. The wine is derived from a special kind kind of grape, a hybrid of a red Cabernet Franc grape and a white Sauvignon Blanc grape, which first occured in Bordeaux region of France. The dark, full bodied red wine is more on the juicy side and typically is drank alongside food, due to its heavier nature. In some regions, this wine is heavily oaked, giving it a coconut, nutty and vanilla profile.

Food pairings: Cab Sauv pairs well with other heavier dishes, such as red meats or pasta dishes with creamy red sauces. For a cheese pairing look to aromatic types such as blue cheese or camembert. 

Try pairing our McBride Sisters Collection 2018 Central Coast California Red Blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a ribeye or sirloin steak or a roast or grilled lamb. For non-meat eaters try pairing with a juicy stuffed portobello mushroom recipe. Available in our Bold & Boujie set here. 

Merlot

Known for its soft, sensual texture, one of the world's close second favorite red wine (after Cab Sauv) is extremely food friendly and produced for a range of price points. The easy-drinking red has an approachable style that makes it great for those new to red wine. With notes of chocolate and plum, this smooth and velvety medium bodied red wine has a versatility that makes it perfect both on its own and in blends.

Food pairings: Merlot matches well with a wide range of foods due to its medium bodied nature. Typically, Merlot pairs well with light meats such as chicken or lightly spiced darker meats.

Try our Chicken Merlot or Red Wine Brownie recipe below that adds Merlot in the recipe! We are all about the Merlot here, our online only McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2018 California Merlot is a must try for red wine lovers and can only be ordered online. Our McBride Sisters Collection 2018 Central Coast California Red Blend is also going to be the perfect red blend to try featuring Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. Try both in our red wines bundle here. 

Zinfandel

The late-ripening red Zinfandel wine produces a jammy flavor bursting with fruity aromas of blackberry, cherry, plums, black pepper, and cinnamon with varying levels of oak. A fuller bodied wine that is high in alcohol content, Zinfandel is known for its fruity meets spicy kick with a smoky body. Previously known as California’s grape, it used to be made in a sweeter wine style but is now grown all over the west coast and internationally as well produced in a more dry style.

Food pairings: Due to its unique flavor profile, Zinfandel pairs well with pizza, cheese lasagne, or any other dishes with tart sauces or cheese. It would also pair well with BBQ meat dishes (think juicy ribs) or even a spicy curry. Try any of these dishes with our online exclusive McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2018 California Zinfandel. Taste our full red wine selection here. 

Shiraz/Syrah

Shiraz/Syrah (they’re the same!) produce a dark, heavy-bodied wine that can be peppery, spicy and bold. With notes of darker fruits such as blackberries and plums, this dry wine has a high level of tannins, which means it can have a high level of health-benefiting antioxidants.

Food pairings: In addition to pairing well with any bold foods, this is one of the rare wines that can also pair perfectly with spicy foods and will actually help enhance the spices in the dish. Alternatively, try balancing out the heavier taste with a charcuterie board containing a range of cheeses to bring out the subtle nuances in the wine. 

Malbec

Similar in flavor profile to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec is an easy-drinking wine that has its origins in France, but is now primarily produced in Argentina. The fruit-driven wine has plum and cherry flavors that meet hints of vanilla and tobacco.

Food pairings: Malbec pairs well with lean cuts of meat, such as lamb or sirloin. 

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a popular light bodied red wine native to Burgundy, France, that is known for its flower and spice aromas which are complemented by a smooth finish. Despite being notoriously difficult to grow, the internationally producted wine is one of the few fruits that is often made into red, rosé, white, and sparkling wine. Typical flavors of a French Pinot Noir will be mushroom, cherry, potting soil and rose.

Food pairings: Due to its light body and complex structure, Pinot Noir pairs well with most foods. A fruitier Pinot may pair well with a roasted salmon dish or another fatty fish, while a more tannic Pinot can pair well with heavier game such as duck or with a beef stew. 

Have you been enjoying our wine guides? If you're hoping to learn more about the wines you drink, join our McBride Certified Wine 101 community for an wine course to learn all things wine, winemaking and wine tasting to give you the tools to feel comfortable in any situation. 


 Red Wine Recipes 

Sisters Grand Sangria Rouge

Ingredients

1 bottle Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
1 bottle of our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Zinfandel (or Red Blend - available in store)
2 ripe Oranges
1 bottle lemon-lime Club Soda
Ice

Method

  • Fill your glass with ice
  • Add in 1.5 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
  • 3 oz Black Girl Magic Zinfandel (Or Red Blend)
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed Orange Juice 
  • 2 oz lemon-lime Club Soda
  • Mix well, serve immediately 

Chicken Merlot 

Image & recipe via askchefdennis.com

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (3 - 4 lbs)cut up in pieces - skin taken off
1 large onion cut up into chunks
16 ounces of mushrooms cute into slices
3 carrots peeled and sliced into thick pieces 
5 stalks of celery diced into large pieces
1 can cannelini beans drained and rinsed
4 cloves of garlic
6 ounces of tomato paste
8 ounces of McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2018 California Merlot
8 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried basil 
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

Method

  • Place chopped vegetables and cannellini beans in the bottom of your slow cooker
  • Add chicken pieces on top of the vegetables.
  • In a bowl whisk together tomato paste, wine, stock and spices then pour over chicken and vegetables.
  • Cover and cook on low for approximately 5 hours or high for approximately 2 1/2 hours.
  • Remove vegetables and chicken after cooking and cover to keep warm.
  • Pour all liquid from slow cooker into a saucepan and reduce by half until sauce is thick and clingy.
  • Pour sauce over chicken and veggies and serve with rice, potatoes, pasta, or your favorite grain.

Red Wine Brownies 

Ingredients


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2018 California Merlot
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups light or medium brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Image & recipe via bromabakery.com

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8″x8″ baking dish with parchment paper or oil.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat melt the butter. Once melted, add in chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted completely.
  • In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, add in brown sugar. Slowly pour melted chocolate mixture into brown sugar with the mixer running on medium speed. Add in eggs, one at a time, with the mixer still on. Beat for 30 seconds, until the color of the batter lightens just a bit.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add cocoa powder, flour, salt, vanilla extract, and wine, beating for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for roughly 40 mins, or until a knife inserted in the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean.

Xoxo,

Andréa McBride
 
April 22, 2021 | Andréa McBride

The Can Queens

When Robin and I launched SHE CAN Canned Wines, we scoured the canned wine landscape and Archer Roose stood out above the rest. It might have been their logo of a woman riding a moose, or the fact that they also make an imported Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc (but from Chile) or the bad-ass leadership of CEO & Co-Founder Marian Leitner-Waldman. Not only were we both creating wines from regions that are close to our hearts, we were doing it in a can.

Archer Roose’s tagline is “Worldly Wines for the Curious” and their wines are from vineyards as far-flung as Argentina and Greece. We applaud Marian’s fierce commitment to quality wine in a sustainable package.

We’re chatting with Marian about her perspective on the wine industry and exploring the similarities and differences between her Chilean Sauvingon Blanc and our New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. We’re bringing you bottle quality wines from international regions with the convenience of a can for your next get-together.

Check out our interview and happy hour chat with Marian on Facebook here, featuring both of our Sauvignon Blanc wines in a can & the best moods or foods to pair them with. 

Meet Marian Leitner-Waldman

Andréa: What would you most like to change about the wine industry?

Marian: Customer centricity. So much of what we are told to like and how we are told to enjoy it is driven by a small group of people. But wine, like all foods, is subjective. I want people to feel empowered and WELCOMED into wine, to explore great wines from around the world and describe how they like them. By doing this, we create a more inclusive and fun industry!

Andréa: Spring is here. When the pandemic subsides, who are you raising your first glass with and why? 

Marian: My girlfriends. So much has happened to us in this past year that we couldn't celebrate together: babies were born, puppies adopted, master's degrees obtained and new companies launched. I have missed drinking too much wine with them and having the heart-to-hearts that can only happen when you're in the same room, feeling the love and support of people you know have your back. I have missed them so much.

Andréa: Tell us about the mentors and those who inspired you on your path.  

Marian: I am so lucky to stand on the shoulders of many incredible women. My grandmother was a fiercely intelligent woman who taught me the power of imagination. My mother taught me that kindness and thoughtfulness can be a powerful legacy. My aunts are badass working mothers who dominated in their fields but always made time for their "chicks" even when I am sure they were exhausted. And my sisters and blood sisters show me time and time again that success is not about personal achievements, but carrying others as you climb. This is how you can combat the loneliness at the top - and ensure someone else has your back when you get there!

Andrea: What is the story behind the name, Archer Roose?

Marian: A rebel and boundary breaker, Archer Roose travels the world living by her own rules. With boundless curiosity, she explores far flung wine regions. Our portfolio of worldly wines tells the stories of the places she visited on her travels. And our logo - her portrait riding her moose - reminds us that adventures, like wine, should be a little whimsical.

Andréa: What advice would you give to women who want to pursue nontraditional careers that combine their work and passions? 

Marian: The single most important quality to success is grit. Be prepared for the marathon ahead but know that the peaks will be the highest high you've ever known.

Andréa: What are you most excited about in your work right now? 

Marian: The team we are building. I am in such awe of the amazing womxn (and mxn!) that I get to work with every day.

Andréa: Which wine varieties or styles are most often on your table? Do you have a favorite MSC wine, and a recipe, cuisine or mood to pair with it? 

Marian: I love the SheCan SauvyB! Perfect pairing for wine walks with friends :)


Thanks for joining us as we chat all things Sauvignon Blanc & how we came to have these delicious wines from the Southern Hemisphere. Shop SHE CAN Wines on our website here and Archer Roose Wines here. 

 

Xoxo,

 

Andréa McBride
 
April 12, 2021 | Andréa McBride

A Trip Through New Zealand Harvest

We’re heading to the Southern Hemisphere on the blog this month. We love to take you to one side of the world for a glass of deliciousness and then bring you back to California from time to time

 

As you likely know, the seasons are flipped, so while we just entered Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s Fall for our winemaking team in New Zealand. Harvesting grapes, or picking the fruit, is the first and most important step of the winemaking process. Whether you’re hand picking or machine harvesting, it takes time, patience and a little bit of intuition. Knowing when to pick the fruit isn’t an exact science — it requires measuring the level of sugar in the grapes (this is called brix) and some degree of gut feeling to know when the grapes are ready, which is usually based on taste.

Our Assistant Winemaker Diana Hawkins is based in New Zealand (you may remember her from our Women’s History Month feature - read it here). We are going to get to see harvest through her eyes. It’s not too often that you get the chance to go behind the scenes with the women at work in the vineyards and winery. But that’s just what we do. Break the rules. Drink the wine.

Winemaking in New Zealand is an art that spans across 10 main wine regions. Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago are areas which all attract a significant amount of wine tourism due to their international reputation for producing excellent wines, and they are where we make our wines at McBride Sisters. 

  

Map Source: Wine Traveler

The McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc comes from the top of the South Island in Marlborough and the McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé (available in store only) comes from the Hawke's Bay region in the North Island.

Now let’s catch up with Diana as she heads to Hawke’s Bay for harvest of our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé this year. 

Hawke's Bay

Located on the North Island, Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region, with the first plantings of vineyards dating back to the 1850s. It is also the second-largest wine region, with production reaching approximately 41,000 tonnes of fruit in 2018 which is approximately 41 million bottles of wine, according to New Zealand Winegrower’s Annual Report. The temperate climate and excess sunshine, which is moderated by the region's proximity to the sea, make it the perfect area for fruit-growing. 

Source: Audley Travel

The Drive Down

Diana: “The drive down to Hawke’s Bay was stunning, with winding mountain roads and breath-taking views. It’s tucked between the Kaweka and Ruahine ranges and the Pacific Ocean. Like most of New Zealand, the region is geologically active. It borders a geothermal power plant and isn’t far from Lake Taupō, which is, technically speaking, atop a dormant volcano.

When you come down the mountains, the coast finally comes into view. Then, in the blink of an eye, you’re out of the hills and surrounded by vineyards and orchards. Hawke’s Bay is known as the fruit basket of New Zealand. With ample sunshine and warm summer days, fruits and veggies grow abundantly here, including grapevines. Between the farm-fresh produce and award-winning wines, it’s a foodie’s paradise. 

After settling in, I checked out the towns of Hastings and Napier. In 1931, Napier and parts of Hastings were razed to the ground after a 7.8 earthquake. The quake also changed the entire layout of the area, raising some coastal areas by almost 6 feet and turning them into dry land.  When the towns rebuilt, they did so in an Art Deco style. To this day, Napier embraces that era with 1920s themed shops and attractions.” 

We’re Off To The Races

Diana: “The next morning, I joined the team at the winery to get to know some of the vintage (another word for harvest) crew. The first fruit was Pinot Noir from the Twin Rivers vineyard in Te Awanga. The fruit was picked in the vineyard and delivered to us in the winery. We’re working with Pinot Noir grapes first to make our Sparkling Brut Rose. These grapes are picked earlier than other varietals because sparkling wine grapes are picked for flavor and acidity.”

Pinot Noir Vineyards in Hawke's Bay are in blue & pink shown via Google Maps
 

The earlier grapes are picked during harvest, the higher the acidity they will generally have. Acid in sparkling wine gives these crowd pleasers life and vibrancy. 

“The vines themselves were planted on sandy loam soils at a vineyard between the Tukituki and Ngaruroro rivers. The vines were trellised using the Sylvos method, which is pretty unique and something I hadn’t come across before. It’s utilized here because it allows for better airflow and higher quality fruit for sparkling wine.”

From Grapes to Wine

Diana: “When the grapes came in, they are immediately pressed. We press them more gently because we want to get the juice out of the grapes, but not any of the bitter flavors that are present in the seeds. Grape skins are what give red wine its color. Without them, you end up with a pale pink rosé, which is exactly what we’re looking for.

Once the juice was pressed, it was sent to tanks for fermentation. Fermentation occurs when yeast gobble up sugars and produce alcohol and CO2. Because they’re living breathing organisms and essential to the winemaking process, as a winemaker it’s really important to ensure they’ve got everything they need to get the job done. That could mean giving them a bit of nutrition or a cheerleading session by yours truly to keep their spirits up. 

 

Once fermentation starts, the color of the juice gets paler, the sugar level goes way down, and the key flavors you usually find in the wine start to take shape. It is no longer Pinot Noir juice; it’s officially baby Pinot Noir rosé with an electrifying acid backbone and hints of strawberry and raspberry. A wine that will eventually make our delicious McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé!” 


The harvest in New Zealand is something very special. The country is unlike any other region in terms of natural beauty and a pureness of place, the climate is simply perfect for the wine styles we produce. Harvest takes a village and we have Diana leading the charge to make sure we craft the most delicious glass of bubbles you will ever taste.

We can’t wait for you to pick up a few bottles of our next release of McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé that’s being made right now. We hope this look into the winemaking process gives you more of an idea of the work and LOVE that goes into every bottle.

Xoxo,

 

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