New Year's Eve | Toast into 2014

I hope everybody had a great Christmas or Holidays and is ready for 2014!  Certainly hope that you stayed warm with some of the Christmas Wine | Holiday Wine winter cocktail recipes and ideas.
2013 was another fast year in my books, but non or less very exciting.  It doesn't happen all the time that you move cross Atlantic twice within 12 month, more or less. But while I toasted last year with some very nice Cava in Spain into 2013, I will certainly have real French Champagne touching my lips again this year.  There is just something about closing and starting a chapter in true style, that a Prosecco, Cava, Sekt or other sparkling wines simply can't deliver.
While Champagne often

Christmas Wine | Holiday Wine

I wish you all Happy Holidays!
The great thing about wine is that it doesn't matter what you celebrate or if you don't celebrate at all.
In the cooler (Florida) or cold (most other places) winter season, a nice mulled wine or a hot German Gluehwein, is always a nice touch and usually welcomed by all.
There are of course other and with that, plentyful choices of Hot winter beverages.  Below find a couple recipes for them as well as list of "warming" winter beverages.  Some with wine and some without:

Hot Apple Cider | Classic
Peppermint Paddy | Hot Chocolate with Creme de Menthe or Peppermint Schnapps
Russian Hot Chocolate | Add Vodka and whipped cream
Hot Toddy | Lemon Juice, Honey and Whiskey - If you like, add a sprinkle of Cinnamon
Irish Coffee | A year around popular drink
Winter Julep | Peppermint Tea, Brown Sugar and of course the mint sprig
Blizzard | Coffee, Whiskey, Hazelnut & Irish Cream (Baileys or similiar) liqour - topped with Whipped Cream and a drizzle of Grand Marnier (Or make it a Grand Marnier Whipped Cream)
Hot Buttered Rum | Butter, Brown Sugar, Powdered Sugar and Heavy Cream

German Gluehwein
Ingredients (serves 2-3 persons)
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine (750 ml)

Happy Thanksgiving | Beer or Wine

Which wine should I pair with my turkey for Thanksgiving?  Or should I just stick to beer?

That is always an interesting question and in my eyes, people make it way to complicated.  Isn't cooking all this food enough work as it is?  

If you like a red wine, nowadays, I would look for a California Pinot, such as La Crema or even a bit lighter and more fruit forward, Meomi Pinot Noir. 
As for white wine, I would go with a German Riesling (I am German, so that might have an influence :) ) Kabinet or Spaetlese. The have a higher residual sugar content, great acidity and mineralty, which make them good partners for your Thanksgiving turkey feast today.  Shall your selection be more limited, go with a nice Riesling from Washington State, such as Chateau St. Michelle.
Other white wines that work well with your turkey dinner are Gewuerztraminer, California Sauvignon Blancand/or Viognier.  As alternative red wines, I would suggest a Australian Shiraz and ripe California Zinfandel such as Klinker Brick Zinfandel.

On the beer side, stick with the new era of craft beers.  A nice Samuel Adams Boston Lager or a nice IPA from Sierra Nevada or Full Sail.  Can't go wrong with that.

Have a great day - Happy Thanksgiving.

Wine Lists | Wines by the glass

I recently went to a nice restaurant that is part of a larger chain.  I went to the bar area and ask for wines by the glass list.  Once I received that, it had a dead bug on the inside of the menu, despite the bartender opening the menu in front of me.  Maybe I really looked that hungry...
Anyways - I was in the mood for a glass of red wine, and given that the restaurant was a steakhouse, I assumed a great selection of reds by the glass.  Wrong! My excitment of having a nice glass of wine were quicky diminishing as the selection was mediocre at best.  My choices for a good glass of wine were limited to either a glass of Mura Reserve from Spain for $15 or spend $26 on a glass of Silver Oak,

Fall Season | Stews and Red Wine

I don't have to be a meterologist to know that the cooler fall and winter season is upon us.  Here in North Florida, we have been very fortunate and the weather been staying nice and warm thus far but that is changomg this weekend here as well.
Anyways, I am certainly not here to share weather updates with you, but rather the impact this seasonal change will and should have on our eating and drinking habits.  Most people already are done with the summer salads that had nice citrusy vinaigrettes over crisp lettuce et cetera and are scrolling right passed that section looking for a heartier dish.  It is the time of year where butternut squash and pumpkin

Beaujolais Nouveau | No Reservations

I received an e-mail from one of our wine distributors who calls for a "No Nouveau" campaign this fall.
My first thoughts were, WOW, I hope that he doesn't have a wine maker in his portfolio that actually produces one.  My second thought was, WOW, somebody really doesn't like Beaujolais Nouveau.  This supposedly easy drinking, refreshing newly pressed grape juice from Beaujolais.  mmmmhhh, I took a moment and thought, he has a point if he refers to the poor and undrinkable Nouveau, we get shipped here into the US in the last 5-7 years (might be even a bit longer than that).
How that one month occurrence a year and with that the push for this red wine especially in wine stores and grocery stores, destroys the reputation for an entire wine region, as most US consumers don't know any other wines from that beautiful wine region called Beaujolais.  And with such quality

Food Wines | Who is the Driver?

I had the great opportunity to attend a very interesting wine training this past week.  And besides the fact that it started with pouring the sample wines as early as 6am for all of the attendees, it was GREAT.
The training was for our staff from various departments within our company and was all about Wine, Wine, Food and Wine and the comfort to sell the EXPERIENCE!
The training was conducted by the Constellation Academy of Wine and the trainer was no less than Luis Torres, a Master of Wine!
First training session was to learn more about the Super Palate!   Super Palate?
I could tell that the attendees thought "I am going to hear more about wine descriptors such as wet stone, barnyard, hint of extra ripe Meyer lemons, moist Forrest floors et cetera! So, they got really excited when this wasn't the case. They will not be sitting in a boring class learning about different soils, sun exposure and other great things they may never need in life instead they will actually learn the basics about wine and what is likely important to use when selling/describing a wine to a guest. So instead of stating that the wine has "oaky" notes or is acidic, they would describe the wine as juicy (from the acid) and share that the wine has notes of Coffee or Chocolate (characteristics that develop during the oak aging) et cetera.  Cool Stuff for the waitstaff and great to help the guest make up his/her mind for what they might want to order a glass or bottle of.
The rest and majority of the class was then committed to identify

Labor Day | Patio and Beach Sippers

After my one year in Spain or more specific the Canary Islands, I am back in the US, back in Florida!  And let me tell you, I am happy about it!  There is always more to find in a European Country of Origin than here, but the challenge is, it is only that.  In Spain, most of your wine stores carry nothing but Spanish wines - Which is great and fully understandable, but frustrating when looking for a nice French Burgundy or Aussie Shiraz!
Anyways, back at full swing, I wanted to make sure that I don’t miss out giving a couple of tips for some nice patio sippers for these hot few days (at least here in Florida).  One style of wine that is coming more and more to the forefront in wine stores and restaurant wine lists alike, are the stainless steel fermented Chardonnay’s from California.  The wines remain with a lot more of their fruit characteristics, a higher acidity which makes them great for small bites, spicy foods or just to sit outside and sip away a chilled glass of wine on the patio. Lincourt does a Steel Chardonnay from the Santa Rita Hills,

Champions League Finals | Bavarian Style

I am sure that not everybody will watch the Champions League Final in Wembley tonight, but worldwide over 300 million people will watch this game live on television! Just as a point of reference, the American Super Bowl had 113 million worldwide, watching the game.
Anyways, while I am not going to suggest any wines whatsoever in today's blog, I will share with you what you should be drinking and/or eating tonight before or while watching the CL Final.
Bavarian Weisswurst with German Pretzels ( the big ones) and drink a Franziskaner Hefeweizen with that!  Of course if you happen to be a Dortmund fan, that properly wouldn't be your choice and you already used the back arrow button on your browser.

I have been enjoying this traditional Bavarian meal before every Champions League game with my family and thus far, FC Bayern München has always won, so you can guess what's for dinner tonight.
You are right, so as they say, Pack Ma's! Mia San Mia.

Prost und Guten Appetit

And if you need some music to go along, listen to the "Stern des Südens" Team song.

Song: Stern des Südens

Memorial Day | BBQ

Who isn't looking forward to Memorial Day weekend to start?  Most of us already have their vision of how they spend their afternoons in the backyard, grilling, drinking and spending quality time with friends and family.  But what will you be throwing on the grill? And what will you be drinking?
If the weather is nice, most of us are likely to enjoy a few beers while grilling, but then what?
BBQ ribs and beer?  Sure, there is nothing wrong as long as you drink a nice micro brew,

Pinot Noir | Edition Spain

It is save to say, that I had my fair share of Pinot Noir, from really good to bad, from regions where I where everybody knows that Pinot Noir is king to regions where I didn't know Pinot was grown and/or could make a good wine. 
Such a region is Navarra in Spain.  Located in the north east, near the border to France and the Pyrenees Mountains, is this great wine region where wine is being made since the 2nd century BC by the ancient Romans.  Pinot Noir is certainly a minority player

Spring Time | Wine Time

With the spring finally on most people's doorstep, it becomes time to wipe of the outdoor furniture, wash the cushions and make a trip to your favorite store, the wine store!
Sitting outside, enjoying a nice fresh rosé or vibrant white, while having the sun shine in the sky, never gets old!  But what should I be looking for this spring?  While most young, fresh and vibrant wines will do, it wouldn't be me, if I didn't find a few that you might haven't heard of yet. One of those grape varietals is called Fiano.  Mostly known in the the south of Italy, in Campania as well as in Sicily.  The grape displays floral notes and hints of fresh apples

Economic Wine Approach | Less can be good

From the Restaurant point of wine sales view

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that we still have lots of economic challenges in our restaurants.  One of them is the average beverage check. More specifically, our bottle of wine sales have decreased noticeable! While we can't single-handed change today's outlook on the worlds economy, we can change our approaches on how we see and sell wine.  We have factors such as