How to Prep for International Merlot Day {11-7-17} *Sponsored*

Why Merlot? Why NOT Merlot?!

Ever since the movie Sideways, Merlot has gotten a bad rep. Merlot is one of the most delicious and versatile wine varieties out there. Awesome berry flavors, super smooth with a “liquid” cashmere like quality, and pairing great with most foods. What is there not to love about Merlot?

Since International Merlot Day is coming up,  I’ve been looking for a Merlot to enjoy/celebrate with. I was recently introduced to a Merlot from Washington State called The Velvet Devil from Charles Smith Winery…. and I’m pretty obsessed with it. First off, the grapes are sourced from 7 different vineyards, in different growing regions, with different soils throughout Washington State. That means there are a lot of different flavors and terroirs being blended together. So cool!!! The “wine dirt nerd” in me is freaking out!

The wine is ruby-garnet in color with aromas of ripe black fruit, raspberries, blueberries, and a hint of violets. {Yay for a little earthiness and fruit!} The wine was medium bodied with soft, supple tannins at the finish. An easy drinking and delicious wine for a great price, at only $12.99.

I would suggest pairing this wine with red meats, heavy tomato based dishes, and roasted vegetables. Although, I will say I enjoyed this wine with truffle burrata and it was an out of this world combination. The fruitiness and earthy combo made for a delicious pairing.

So… “How to Prep for International Merlot Day”

  1. Pick up a bottle of delicious Merlot
  2. Grab your friends
  3. Open the bottle
  4. Pour that vino
  5. And Enjoy! 😉

International Merlot Day: 11-7-17

Wine: The Velvet Devil

Vintage: 2015

AVA: Washington State

Cost: $12.99



UPDATED: How You Can Help People Affected by the California Fires

As many of you have heard devastating fires are ripping through Northern California. Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Solano County (Suisun Valley) have all been affected. Currently friends are evacuating to safety. In this time of sadness and chaos it is difficult being so far away from friends and my west coast family. It limits us to what we can do to help.  I will personally be making donations.  If you are inclined to help I suggest you donate to these relief organizations as the funds will go directly to those affected by these terrible fires.

Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund:  

Sonoma County Resilience Fund:

Red Cross Northern California:

Buy Wine: Lamborn Family Vineyards  will be donating 100% of their profits of their 2013 Zinfandel with 100% of profits being donated to the Napa Valley/Sonoma County relief effort.

The fires are still raging out West. They keep evacuating people to safety and the air quality is the worst in the country. Please donate if you can. Even $5.00 helps….

Read more about the fires here –> via CNN

Pictured below are my SSU friends – all affected by the fires currently raging out west…. looking forward to the day when these fires are no longer….

Women Winemakers of CT Featured in the CT Beverage Journal

I feel so honored to be part of such a talented, intelligent, kind, and hard working group of women. Thank you to the CT Beverage Journal for including us in this month’s issue. #GirlsMakeWineToo

Harvest Prep: Jim from Walker Road Vineyards

I was lucky enough to catch Jim Frey, owner of Walker Road for a few minutes before his crazy busy season started. We chatted about Harvest and what his pre-harvest traditions are over at Walker Road Vineyards.

How do you get ready for harvest? “We start by harvesting our Marquette grapes.”

The Marquette grape is the grandson of Frontenac and Pinot Noir. This grape creates a wine that is complex, ruby red in color, and very flavorful. The wine has notes of cherry, berry, black pepper, and baking spices. A delicious red wine.

Any other fun harvest traditions? Harvest snack/food of choice?

“Our friends and family always come over and help us harvest the grapes. It is a great day to share with everyone! After harvesting during the day, we crush in the evening (a little cooler) and have either pulled pork sandwiches or chili.”

Visiting Walker Road Vineyards:

Visiting Walker Road is like stepping into a “Vineyard Oasis”. Enjoy your wine tasting in their 150 year old barn overlooking their gorgeous vineyards. Owner Jim Frey just received the “Wine Person of the Year” award for CT and he truly deserved it. The vineyards are managed meticulously and the wines are exquisite. Jim and his wife are normally behind the tasting bar serving guests as they mingle and enjoy the scenery. Make sure to stop by and enjoy delicious wines, great stories, and great people!

Winemaker: Jim Frey

Location: 11 Walker Road, Woodbury, CT (Visit)

Tasting Hours: Sat-Sun 12-5, May through mid-December


Chamard Vineyards: Harvest Prep

I got to catch up with  winemaker Kristen Parsons of Chamard Vineyards. She was kind enough to give us a few minutes of her time to tell us how she prepares for her crazy busy season and their quirky harvest traditions.

Wine we make first: We make wine depending on which grape comes in first.  In the fall, the California grapes ripen first.  For our estate grapes, the Chardonnay usually is the first to ripen, and therefore the first wine made.

Traditional harvest meals: We have gardens here at Chamard Vineyards.  Our traditional harvest meal consists of salsa verde made from garden fresh tomatillos and jalapenos. Along with freshly picked tomato for salad, this accompanies grilled steak, sausage and chicken and corn tortillas.

Traditions: Everybody enters the betting pool on when and which day our Vineyard Manager, Jim, will cut his finger with the harvest pruning sheers.

Find out more about Kristin in here winemaker interview HERE.

Visiting Chamard Vineyards:

Visiting Chamard Vineyards is like taking a trip to the French country side.  Once you turn into the driveway you are surrounded by a myriad of beautiful grape vines and transported to a Chateau style winery. You can enjoy delicious wines while taking in the gorgeous views of a fountain and pristine vineyards.

A tasting includes samples of 5 wines and a Reidel glass which is your’s to keep. Each tasting is $10.00 per person. Chamard can accommodate parties of up to 10 people without a reservation. Stop in and sip on some tasty vino while you wait for your table at their Bistro.

The Bistro pairs delicious foods with the wines made on the property. Many of the vegetables and fruits that are sourced for the bistro are from Chamard’s on premise garden. Very much a farm to table atmosphere, Chamard Vineyards is a fantastic place to sip great wine and enjoy delicious food with family and friends. I hope you enjoy your visit! Cheers!

Winemaker: Kristen Parsons
Winery: Chamard Vineyards: Winery & Bistro (Visit)
Location: 115 Cow Hill Rd, Clinton, CT 06413
Tasting Hours: OPEN Monday – Saturday 11:00AM – 9:00PM, Sundays 11:00AM – 8:00PM