Where Will Wine Take You? Our Newest Wines from the Most Southern Winegrowing Region in the World - Aotearoa New Zealand!
We're bringing you something new that has a piece of home beneath the label. With the release of our McBride Sisters Collection New Zealand Reserve Wines, we are showcasing a true expression of the Central Otago region. Robin and I are thrilled to share our latest releases - artisanal and limited production wines from prestigious vineyards in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand:
- McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Pinot Noir "Papatūānuku" Central Otago, New Zealand 2019
- McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Gamay "Rebels" Central Otago, New Zealand 2020
Both wines from Aotearoa New Zealand are dedicated to humanity’s deep connection to Papatūānuku Mother Earth. We wanted to honor nature’s influence in the Pinot Noir and Gamay, along with our quest to rebel against status quo culture.
The Central Otago wine growing region overloads the senses with its sparkling turquoise lakes, fast-flowing rivers, steep canyons, rainforest and perfectly snow-capped mountains. Wildflowers populate the landscape adding vivid color and vibrancy amid the rocky browns and soft greens of the sweeping landscape.
Situated on the 45th latitude South, Central Otago is the geographic counterpart to the world’s top Pinot Noir regions: Burgundy and Oregon.
The Southern Alps’ Main Divide mountain range protects the region from rain so grapevines are forced to grow deep into the mineral-rich soils, while snowfall on the surrounding mountains helps to moderate the climate.
However, the area’s extreme temperature shifts allow the grapes to ripen in warm sunshine while the cold nights seal in varietal character, fruit intensity, color and acidity. Most visitors choose to hike, bike or drive RVs around the area to best experience the powerful landscape. (And of course partake in the most amazing wine and food culture.)
Behind the Label - Reserve Pinot Noir “Papatūānuku” 2019
New Zealand is not only a fantastic place to visit, it’s my childhood home.
After landing in Aotearoa New Zealand at age six, I split time between my mum’s farming family in Blenheim, Marlborough and my Māori foster family in West Auckland. My childhood experiences ranged from planting Sauvignon Blanc vineyards to gathering at the family Marae (Sacred Meeting House) in the Bay of Plenty. Māori people have strong spiritual bonds to the environment, and believe that Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) sustains all life.
Our thoughtful crafting of the McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Pinot Noir pays homage to this bond and interconnectedness between humanity, environment and the wine.
The Reserve Pinot Noir grapes were hand harvested from vineyards in the Bannockburn, Gibbston and Pisa sub-regions of Central Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand.
Ripe aromas of cherry, strawberry and plum pair with notes of sandalwood, brown sugar and baking spice. This Pinot Noir is medium-bodied with velvety tannins and flavors of black cherry, violet and red fruits. Subtle minerality balances the fruit on the palate, making it an outstanding example of elegant, delicious, Pinot Noir.
THIS IS A LIMITED EDITION; ONLY 223 CASES OF MCBRIDE SISTERS COLLECTION RESERVE PINOT NOIR “PAPATŪĀNUKU” 2019 WERE PRODUCED.
Behind the Label - Reserve Gamay "Rebels" 2020
Of the tens of millions of sheep in New Zealand, very few are black. Culturally, black sheep are usually marching to the beat of their own drum. When Robin and I started out in the wine industry, we saw the business differently than most people and decided to do things our way, the McBride Sisters way.
From the beginning, we rebelled against the status quo of “how the industry works” and ultimately, found success by breaking the rules. Central Otago is not known for growing or making Gamay - it represents less than 1% of the wine produced in the region. This McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Gamay is an ode to the rebels who see things differently…
The Reserve Gamay grapes were hand harvested from a single vineyard in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. Gorgeous, fresh aromas of candied strawberry, pomegranate and raspberry jump out of the glass, followed by delicate notes of violet and lavender. A vibrant, dry wine with lingering raspberry and strawberry on the palate, this complex expression of Gamay has a savory, long finish enhanced by unique black pepper spice and a fruit forward core.
THIS IS A LIMITED EDITION; ONLY 28 CASES OF MCBRIDE SISTERS COLLECTION RESERVE GAMAY "REBELS" 2020 WERE PRODUCED.
Join us and take a sip of what Central Otago has to offer...
- Andréa McBride John
Brunch on Sunday is a weekly ritual. We gather with family and friends to wine down, reconnect, laugh, and always eat really good food. Check out some delish food pairings from our girl Alex Hill [@justaddhotsauce] and our wine cocktail recipes featuring McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wines + Grand Marnier. Get ready to level up your wine and food game!
Robin & Andréa
Wine & Food Pairings by Alex Hill
Crab Pimento Cheese Dip
Pair with McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast California Chardonnay
- 8oz sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 1 cup jumbo lump crab meat
- 8oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup mayo (I love Dukes Mayo)
- 1, 4oz small jar pimentos, drained
- A teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon of old bay
- Green onions for garnish
- Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Combine all ingredients together and bake in an oven safe skillet until bubbly and garnish with green onions!
Cardamom French Toast Bake
Pair with McBride Sisters Collection Hawke’s Bay New Zealand Sparkling Brut Rosé
- 1 challah bread, cut into ¼ inch thick pieces (day old so just leave it on your counter uncovered overnight)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 5 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- A good pinch of kosher salt
- Brown Sugar Crumble
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- ½ cup raspberries
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup blackberries
- ½ lemon, freshly juiced
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 lemon, zested
- Maple syrup & whipped cream for serving
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl except the challah bread.
- Once the heavy cream, spices and eggs are combined, pour over the challah and make sure all the bread is soaked.
- Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 3-6 hours in an oven safe casserole dish or cast iron.
- Prepare the brown sugar crumble and spoon over the french toast bake.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and let cook for 45 minutes to an hour.
- While the bake is cooking, prepare the macerated berries. Let sit for at least an hour before serving so the juices for the berries release!
- Serve hot with berries on top, whipped cream & maple syrup!
Spicy + Sticky Tamarind BBQ Wings
Pair with McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast California Red Blend
- 1lb chicken wings (seasoned to your liking)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup tamarind concentrate or tamarind pulp (note below)
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar (or more)
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- a couple of dashes of hot sauce (prob ½ teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup or more of apple cider vinegar (depending how tangy you want, you may want to add more)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper
*Note: if you have a tamarind pulp which is my fave to use, scoop out about ½ cup worth of the pulp and add about a cup of water in a pan. Place the pulp in the pan and turn the heat on medium high heat. Let the pulp dissolve into the water. What will be left is the seeds and pulp. With a fine mesh sifter, pour the tamarind syrup into a measuring cup and boom you have tamarind concentrate!
*Note: I fried these in my air fryer and I was not a believer in the air fryer but this thing is a must have! It’s quick, no fuss, just stick them in and let it do its thing for 30 minutes (after 15 I flip them over). If you don’t have one, you can either fry these in small batches of vegetable oil for about 10 minutes or bake them in the oven on 375 for about 35-40 minutes. Turn them over to crisp after 15-20 minutes.
- CLEAN YOUR CHICKEN! Rinse with water and I clean mine with white vinegar then rinse again. Season the chicken to your liking. I generously used salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder & garlic powder. I like to at least let the chicken marinade for 2 hours.
- In a saucepan on medium heat add everything in there except the apple cider vinegar, habanero pepper and wait to season with salt and pepper.
- Bring your sauce to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes. Once it starts to simmer add the habanero pepper and season with salt & pepper. The sauce will start to thicken up and reduce. If you can coat the back of the spoon your sauce is at its desired thickness.
- Add the apple cider vinegar. I would say adjust the tangy-ness to your palette. I love a tangy bbq sauce so I always go heavy on the ACV but if you like a rich sweet bbq sauce use less then ¼ cup ACV.
- Let the ACV incorporate for another 5-8 minutes then taste your sauce again for desired seasoning.
- Fry your chicken according to the note above and pour the sauce all over the piping hot chicken in a bowl and ENJOY!
Truffle Hot Sauce Sliders with Homemade Ranch
Pair with McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Bubbly Riesling Can
- Dutch oven
- Wire rack
- Bowls to marinate
- Meat/oil thermometer
- Sweet Hawaiian slider buns
- 1 full bottle of vegetable or canola oil, any neutral high heat cooking oil (enough to deep fry the chicken)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (this will get the chicken extra crispy)
- Reserved everyday seasoning
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut up into bite size pieces to fit the slider buns)
- Note: 1 lb makes about 5 sliders
- 2 cups buttermilk (full fat)
- 2 tablespoons of your favorite everyday seasoning (this should include sweet or smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- About 1/3 cup of your favorite hot sauce (I used Truff hot sauce. A hot sauce infused with light truffle)
- Season chicken with salt, pepper, everyday seasoning & hot sauce in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and let it marinate in the fridge for 24-48 hours.
- 1 cup mayo (I love Duke’s Mayo)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Less than 1/3 cup buttermilk (full fat)
- Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients together, let it sit in the fridge for one hour to let the flavors come together. Taste to adjust seasoning like more salt or squeeze the other half of the lemon.
Truff Hot Sauce
- 1 cup of Truff Hot sauce or your favorite
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Combine all together in a sauce pan on low heat until butter melts and well combined
Frying the Chicken
TIP! Bring the chicken to room temperature before frying. Take it out the fridge for at least 30 minutes. It is key to fry chicken at room temp so the oil’s temp is still hot. If you fry cold chicken the oil’s temp will drop.
- In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch & reserved everyday seasoning (eyeball it, season with your heart!)
- Take the chicken from the buttermilk marinade, dip the chicken thighs in the flour, get the flour on all sides & then sit on a wire rack. Repeat steps for the rest of the chicken. I like to leave it for like 10 minutes so the batter really sticks!
- In a deep pot, bring oil to 350. Only add about 2 pieces of chicken into the oil so the temp doesn’t drop. Deep fry for about 4 minutes each until golden brown until chicken reaches 165 degrees with your meat thermometer. Place the fried chicken on the wire rack to let excess oil drip.
- Place chicken on the slider bun, pour over truff sauce or whatever buffalo sauce & lots of ranch!
- ENJOY (with lots of ranch & hot sauce dripping down your hands, lol)
Sisters Grand Sangria Rosé
- 8.5 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge⠀
- 1 Bottle McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Rosé
- 8 oz cranberry juice
- 1 cup ice
- Pour all the ingredients in a 2 L pitcher and stir.
- Garnish with raspberries and strawberries.
Black Girl Magic Riesling Rouge
- 13 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
- 1 Bottle McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Riesling
- 8 oz club soda
- 8 oz grapefruit juice
- 1 cup ice
- Pour all the ingredients in a 2L pitcher and stir.
- Garnish with grapefruit slices.
For far too long, the “rules” have overshadowed the experience when it comes to wine. With the McBride Sisters Collection, modern epicureans (aka Foodies) finally have a home that matches the fearless way they want to live. The only rule of McBride Sisters Collection is that … there aren’t any. This pairing guide is for those who love to cook, experiment and expand their palate when it comes to wine and food. With recipes created by Alex and beautifully paired with our McBride Sisters Feelin’ Myself set of wines, download the e-cookbook to start cooking these incredible, exclusive recipes!
Alex Hill is a former Brooklyn girl now Washington, D.C. based, self-taught cook with a passion for making food that’s filled with flavor, functional and affordable. Her affinity for cooking developed at an early age watching her mother, Evelyn, create mouthwatering dishes for their family combining both her Puerto Rican and African-American heritages.
In 2017, she created Just Add Hot Sauce as an outlet to show an expression of love to the people you care about the most … through their stomachs. From dinner parties and blogging recipes to teaching cooking classes and trying new techniques, cooking is what brings her joy. Whether you want to add a little flavor in your recipe or a boost in your day, you can always get a kick when you ‘Just Add Hot Sauce’!
Get To Know Alex Hill
As a food expert, how does wine play a role in the dining experience?
Alex: Everyone loves a good glass of wine and as I’ve gotten older I appreciate it even more with good food. Wine should always be a compliment to a dish and vice versa. One shouldn’t outshine the other, you know? Some wines bring out more flavors in a dish while other wines almost act as a palette cleanser to others.
How do you create a dish from scratch that’s designed to pair with a specific wine?
Alex: I always think about the notes of a dish and what feeling am I trying to portray through a dish. Is it cozy with notes of cinnamon so I think about how a specific wine will compliment that dish? OH, and whenever I’m using a certain wine in a dish I always, always drink a glass (or two) first and think “Do I want to drink this?” then of course it is going to be amazing in a dish.
What’s your favorite food & wine pairing?
Alex: Ugh, a good hearty pasta with red wine! FAVE PAIRING EVER! Especially if the wine is used in the sauce.
Family is the foundation to the McBride Sisters Collection, how does family play a role in your brand, Just Add Hot Sauce?
Alex: Family is my foundation as well. My whole brand started because of my Mom. She taught me how to cook and more importantly she taught herself how to cook when she was in the midst of a divorce from my Dad. She was always a good cook but she wanted to become better being that now she was a single mom. So whenever we were at my Dad’s house on the weekends she used that time to try new recipes then she would test it out on us. I loveeeeee being in the kitchen with my Mom, plus I feel like Mom’s cooking is ALWAYS better.
Your Mother’s cooking has played such a pivotal role in your life and the career you’ve built. You’ve mentioned how no matter what, she made sure to have a sit down family dinner every night with you and your family. How has that shaped the way you enjoy food and the meaning of a family meal?
Alex: It’s so, so important to me. When I was younger we would have such great convos over dinner and my brother being the class clown, we would be cracking up laughing at dinner - so bellies full and heart full. For me food is community and an expression of love so my favorite part is not just the cooking process but enjoying the food with my friends & family - and a good glass of wine.
Can you tell us about one of your favorite wine & food experiences? From the varietal, setting, music, any details you can remember — but a moment that is frozen in your mind as a perfect wine experience.
Alex: OMG, definitely when me and my partner went to this amazing vineyard in Cape Town, South Africa. It changed my life! We went to multiple vineyards via a tram and it was so beautiful and this may sound dramatic but I feel like every note they were describing, I tasted it every single note and it paired so well with what we were eating. I distinctly remember having this amazing sauvignon blanc with notes of pears and they served a cheese board with this thinly sliced prosciutto, I swear my mouth exploded with flavor. The fattiness & saltiness of the prosciutto with the wine wine was a match made in heaven!
What role has your cultural background played in your cooking and how does it influence how you envision the future of the food and wine industry?
My background is so important to me, I’m Black and Puerto Rican and I honor both sides of my culture through the cuisine I cook. It’s both soul food and hispanic with a mix of caribbean culture. I tell stories through my food and I hope there are more multi-cultural women in these spaces of food media represented. There’s so many white women in food getting these opportunities like book deals, TV shows,etc. so it always feels good when you see someone that looks like me and talking about the food I grew up on - and also, I’m a millennial! Where are the spaces for us?! I love to cook and also enjoy a really great glass of wine or cocktail!
How does the Sister’s story resonate with you?
I’ve known about the sisters for a while but listening to their NPR’s “How I Built This” interview really resonated with me, I cried listening to it and often refer back to it when I doubt myself in this new entrepreneurial world or having imposter syndrome. What really resonated with me was their ‘dream drives’, I do something similar on my morning walks where I dream and manifest about my life. The sisters really went for it, beyond their wildest dreams and look where they are now! It’s truly beyond inspiring.
What was your favorite part about creating this e-cookbook Pairing Guide and how can the audience use it this holiday season?
Oh my gosh, what was really great was serving my friends after! I made all this food and called them like do you want to come over and eat! I loved creating these recipes and loved photographing them even more! My aesthetic is comfort and really showcasing the food and I really think that came across.
What’s next for you in your career? We know you love manifesting, what’s something you’re manifesting for yourself right now?
I’m getting intro products right now which is really fun! I recently released a kitchen candle which sold out twice and I’m releasing another product for the kitchen soon! I’m manifesting a published NY Times Best Selling Cookbook & a cooking show on a streaming platform - If I was in the car with the sisters on their dream drive, I would definitely say this!
We love a great glass of McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel. Right now it can only be purchased online and is not available in stores! Produced in California, this wine can welcome you into the world of complex reds. From a fruit forward beginning to a hint of spice at the end, this grape is best paired with food (see our pairings below) and can be a great wine to expand your palate! Scientists predict that Zinfandel is one of the oldest grape varietals still being produced today. According to Zinfandel.org, it’s been traced back to 6000 BC. Zinfandel dates back to the 1700’s in the United States, being brought over from Austria into the Boston Harbor.
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.
Zinfandel is a grape that can be largely misunderstood due to the ways in which it was produced in the New World (United States). With grape origin being somewhat of a mystery, scientists are now linking its roots to Croatia. Zinfandel, in Italy, is called Primitivo but while they have different names, they are the same grape.
Zinfandel Tasting Notes
The taste of a Zinfandel wine can vary greatly, depending on the producer, region and winemaking. The style of the wine can be altered with winemaking techniques, making it important to try multiple producers to find your favorite style. Our Zinfandel is a red wine is a lovely purple-tinged ruby red wine with intensely aromatic fresh plum, dried cherry and delicate crushed black pepper followed by soft oak notes and a hint of spicy Madagascar vanilla. This wine has a generously fruit forward palate with bold flavors, berry jam and dried fig with a grand finale of dried cherry and subtle peppercorns.
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 Black Girl Magic California Zinfandel.
Zinfandel Vs Other Red Wines
A popular red wine comparison can be found in Zinfandel vs Merlot. Merlot is known for its soft, sensual texture, and one of the world's second favorite red wines (after Cab Sauv). It 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. Zinfandel is typically more jammy than Merlot but both can be made in medium-bodied styles. Zinfandel is usually a more heavy-bodied red wine than your typical Merlot.
Another comparison we hear about often is Zinfandel vs 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 produced 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. Pinot is a lighter-bodied red wine. There are less intense ripe fruit notes than on Zinfandel.
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 a wine course to learn all things wine, winemaking and wine tasting to give you the tools to feel comfortable in any situation.
It’s time to elevate your charcuterie board prep skills & have the wine pairings ready to go - we’re ready to entertain!
How To: Build Your Board
Our Go-To Wine Pairings:
Crisp, dry white wines
Crisp, lighter-bodied white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or a bubbly Sparkling Brut pair well with fresh, unripened cheeses such as mozzarella, feta and burrata. Fresh, young and soft cheeses are perfect with our crisp McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc, our new McBride Sisters Collection Pinot Gris or the McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé — turn any vibe into a celebration!
Fruit forward, medium bodied white wines
White wines that are more fruit forward and medium bodied with subtle oak pair well with creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert or with your salty charcuterie, like salami or prosciutto. We highly recommend our McBride Sisters Collection Chardonnay from Central Coast, California to pair with your soft, buttery cheeses + aged, cured meats.
Medium-heavy bodied, fruit forward red wines
Aged cheeses pair perfectly with the medium to heavy bodied red wines with complex tannins. Wines with ripe fruit profiles such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. These cheeses include Cheddar, Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano, with a bite of berry jam or chutney. Reach for our McBride Sisters Collection Red Blend, a balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Sip on this with one of these hard cheeses and jam, thank us later!
White and rosé wines are popular during the summer months because they're usually served chilled, making them so crisp & refreshing. They are placed in ice buckets at your table while dining out and pulled out of the fridge on warm Saturday afternoons to drink on a sun-drenched patio. We've been told that white and rosé wine varietals belong in the fridge and red wine belongs on the wine rack, served only at room temperature. We don't know who wrote these rules on wine drinking, but we’re here to break them once and for all! This summer, let your red wines have the limelight and serve them chilled. We promise, you’ll never want to go back.
The beauty of a chilled red wine is that as you sip, it will slowly warm up in the glass, making every sip a little bit different from the last — giving you the full expression of the wine. When red wine is chilled, the warm fruit and hot alcohol will be slightly muted, resulting in a crisp and refreshing mouthfeel while maintaining the tannic structure and boldness of the wine. As it warms in your glass back to room temperature, you are slowly introduced to the flavor characteristics and the influence of the alcohol and tannin.
Since you’re still reading, we know you’re interested! Read on to find out:
- The best red wine varietals to serve chilled
- How to successfully chill your wine to the perfect temperature
- Our favorite chilled red wine cocktail recipe and food pairing
Make chilled reds your new summer crush!
Which Wines To Chill?
Truth be told, sometimes we chill all of our red wines! Why? Because we love the flavor expression and evolution of the wine in the glass. Also, in the warm summer months our red wines get too warm and it can ruin the complexity and depth of the wine when they’ve warmed above room temperature.
But as a rule of thumb, the best reds to enjoy chilled are usually light to medium bodied with a lower alcohol volume. It’s best to avoid heavy reds with heavy tannin and oak influence. We’d recommend focusing on lighter, fruitier red wines. Young bright Pinot Noirs, Beaujolais from the juicy Gamay grape, or Cabernet Francs from cooler climate regions are ideal for chilling.
- Try chilling our vibrant and opulent Reserve Pinot Noir, which has succulent aromas of crushed raspberry, rhubarb and candied cherry. We’re always reaching for a Pinot Noir when we want a nicely chilled red wine. Pair with a warm summer evening, grilled salmon and vegetable kabobs.
- For a wine that’s more full-bodied, chill our McBride Sisters Collection Wines 2019 California Red Blend about 20 minutes before you’re ready to sip. Enticing black cherry and warm cocoa aromas are mixed with fresh raspberry and plum on the nose. As the wine warms up, the nose evolves into toasty oak, vanilla and black tea leaves. Chocolate and cherry follow you into the palate with luscious and silky tannins. It’s a great wine to pair with seared tuna or a filet mignon. Get the wine in our Bold & Boujie red wine six pack here.
Even though some reds may be more suitable for chilling, we suggest you try chilling any red varieties you want and see what works best for your taste and palate!
Be mindful of approaching chilling red wine with care, as overchilling can alter the flavor profile. The key is to make sure the wine is chilled but not cold. According to Vinepair, if a red wine is too cold, below 55 degrees, the flavors will almost be completely muted making the astringency a bit overwhelming. Here’s a few tips to maximize your cool red wine experience:
- Chill your wine in the fridge for approximately 30-40 minutes before drinking
- Use a metal or plastic wine cooler (or ice bucket) to help keep the temperature low once the wine is out of the fridge
- Avoid adding ice cubes to your glass as it will water down the wine
- For those in a hurry, pop the bottle in a freezer for 8-10 minutes
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 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.
- 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!
- 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 them 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!
- 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 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 lineup. We recommend starting with the Sparkling Brut and ending with the Zinfandel.
- 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.
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 it 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 on 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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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!
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.
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 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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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?
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)! Pair with this Saka-Saka (Cassava Leaf Soup) recipe and enjoy!
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.