Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery Wine & Tapas Pairing Dinner at Pacífico Restaurant in New Haven, CT

I am a BIG fan of the Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery (as you’ve probably already noticed). They are an amazing family bringing delicious wines to their community. It’s not uncommon for you to see the newest addition to the family, Marcelo Jr, running around the tasting room greeting customers. You’ll probably also spy their very own winery dog Otis greeting patrons while they take in the vineyard sites. So when I heard about their wine and food pairing dinner I knew I had to check it out.

When you walk into Pacífico restaurant you are surrounded by an instant glow of chill, beautiful, Latino vibes. From the decor to the menu you are transported to another world that encourages you to relax and enjoy the Pacífico experience.

Everyone who attended the event was greeted by winery owners Margaret and Marcelo. Margaret’s father is one of the original founders of Paradise Hills. It was great to see the next generation taking a commanding role in the winemaking and winery business. They both took the time to come over and speak to each table about the food and wine they were being served. And the pairings were amazing!

First we started off with a “Ceviche de Atun” – Yellowfin tuna ceviche, mango, pineapple, red onions, and citrus juices. This course was paired with their 2015 Washington Trail White Wine, an estate grown Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc blend. The combination of the ceviche and wine evoked bright flavors on your palate – a refreshing and tantalizing way to start off the wine and food pairing dinner.

The second course was a Pork Tenderloin with sugar cane skewers and roasted corn chimichurri paired with the Nostra Tradizione. The Nostra Tradizione is one of my all time favorites! The pork and wine worked perfectly together thanks to a little bit of extra spice on the palate with notes of strawberry and cherry. This wine can definitely handle a bold dish.

The third course was a Pan Seared Sea Bass perched atop a mound of couscous, with sweet plantains, roasted pepper, orange, and coconut jalepeno ginger mojo. This was paired with their 2016 Sauvignon Blanc –  which *Spoiler Alert* –  is a limited edition vintage released on April 25th! Make sure to get your hands on this wine before it’s too late. The Sauvignon Blanc is like summer in a glass, and paired with the sea bass was knock out of a combination. Talk about bright citrus flavors merging with a little spice and salt. Super delicious.

The forth course was a Grilled Skirt Steak with yucca fries and aji amarillo chimichurri paired with the 2015 President’s Choice – a Bordeaux Style Red Wine. My goodness was this awesome! The President’s choice is the Winemaker’s Private Blend (not even some of the family know what is in the blend!). Accompanied by the steak, the flavor explosion in your mouth was insane. Blackberry, currants, black cherry, and cedar woke up your palate. This wine was definitely worth the wait.

The fifth and final course consisted of a Passion Fruit Flan and Paradise’s 2015 Connecticut Cayuga White Wine. Another bold pairing of flavor. The passion fruit was ignited even more by the bright citrus and crisp acidity of the estate-grown Cayuga. An insanely delicious dessert pairing.

I couldn’t get over how well everything was paired and how each course pairing got better and better. It was clear that both Paradise Hills and Pacífico Restaurant took a lot of time to make sure every course and wine complimented each other perfectly. I want to give a big Thank You to Margaret and Marcelo of Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery and Pacífico Restaurant for putting on this amazing event. I can’t wait to see what next year’s event will have in store for us!

Also, I want to give a shout out to Manny Vargas Photography for providing the incredible photos. He really captured the amazing ambiance and atmosphere.

Winery: Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery (Visit)

Location: 15 Wind Swept Hill Rd, Wallingford, CT, 06492

Tasting Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11am-8pm and Sunday: 11am-6pm. Please call to set up private/group tastings (Info)

Tasting Options: Tastings are $10/person for 6 pre-selected wines or $15.00/person for 6 pre-selected wines and a logo’d glass.

Purchase Wines from the Event: HERE

Event Location: Pacífico Restaurant (Visit)

Experience Paradise Vineyards & Winery:

When you visit Paradise Vineyards you are greeted by friendly tasting room representatives and a delicious list of 6 wines to enjoy. Most of the tasting room staff either works in the vineyard or in the winery. They are very fun and knowledgeable. No matter if you are new to wine or consider yourself a connoisseur you can always learn something new while enjoying a great glass of wine at Paradise Vineyards!

The tasting room is cozy and inviting. There is a roaring fireplace in the winter time you can snuggle up to, or when the weather is warmer you can  sit out on their patio overlooking the vines.

PS- Check out more more photos from the event below and more information about Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery! Cheers! 🙂

#ThrowBackThursday – Suisun Valley Sauv Blanc

As harvest comes to an end I find myself missing the vineyards. Harvest is fast and furious with crazy ups and downs. I wouldn’t miss a minute of it no matter how grueling or stressful, but I do enjoy some chill vibes. We had our last delivery of Suisun Valley grapes to Hartford, CT and I can’t help but think about the great times at Wooden Valley Winery in Suisun Valley. Suisun Valley is a fantastic up and coming wine region just outside of Napa. They are well known for their interesting wine varieties such as Petite Sirah and Cabernet Clone 169.

A few months back my friends and I had a little down time and were able to enjoy some Sauvignon Blanc at Wooden Valley. The Sauvignon Blanc was incredible. Delicious notes of guava, tangerine, and lemon. The wine was easy to drink and had a balanced finish. An easy and tasty drinker no matter what time of year.

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img_7156      Purchase HERE {only $16.00!!}

Wooden Valley – Known for their Sweet Whites, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy a tasting of 5 wines of your choosing. The friendly tasting room staff is happy to help you pair the wines to your palate preferences. Enjoy a glass or bottle of wine out on the patio or visit for one of our Food Truck Fridays. {walk ins welcome}

Tasting Room Hours: 11:00AM – 5:00PM Everyday (closed for specific holidays)

Tastings: Walk Ins Welcome

Tasting Fee: $10.00 to taste 5 wines, the fee is refundable if you purchase a bottle of wine

Tours: By Appointment

Location: 4756 Suisun Valley Rd, Suisun Valley, CA 94534

After a few glasses of SB we decided to take few pictures out in the vineyard. It was such a beautiful day we couldn’t resist!

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Wearing:

Top: Tobi 

Necklace: BlogShop SF gift bag

Skirt: JCrew Outlet

Shoes: Justfab.com

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Cheers!

Wine Tasting in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Wine Country far exceeded my expectations. The wines were delicious, the scenery was gorgeous, and the people were very friendly.

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One of my stops was Labelle Winery in Amherst, NH. I walked into the tasting room and was immediately greeted by a kind girl at the door. She explained that I could sit down for lunch and have a tasting or go up to the bar for a tasting. Off to the side was a retail area full of fun items foodies would geek out for. There were cheese plates, cooking wines, different types of foods, and fun kitchen items to make cooking a breeze.

After surveying my surroundings I decided to go to the bar for a quick tasting. The woman who poured my tasting was incredibly kind and knowledgeable. She talked me into staying for one of the free winery tours they had. I tried 5 of their most popular wines at the bar, purchased some wine, then sat down for a cheese plate in the bistro area while I waited for the tour. The wines I purchased were the Halcyon, Seylval Blanc, and Americus.

The Halcyon is a blend of Riesling & Apricot which made for a very tasty, light, and refreshing white wine. I am not normally a sweet wine drinker but this had the perfect amount of sweetness for my palate. For me personally this is a delicious patio pounder.

The Seylval Blanc was very tasty. It was light, floral, with some tasty crisp notes of bright citrus fruits. A great wine to pair with chicken, fish, or a summer salad.

The Americus was pretty bold with some very vibrant tannins. I would pair this with a steak or some type of heavy meat dish.

The tour was wonderful. They took us through the the vineyards, the entire winery, explained all the major pieces of winemaking equipment, and we even met the winemaker! All in all it was a great morning at Labelle Winery. I would highly suggest stopping there the next time you are in New Hampshire.

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(cheese plate at LaBelle Winery)

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(view from the balcony at LaBelle Winery)

Another stop was Summit Winery in Westmoreland, NH. Summit Winery is in a great location right outside of Keene. It’s on your way to the top mountains for skiing. It’s a great place to stop on the way to or from the mountains.

The winery is in a large barn that was beautifully built. {Insert magic pintrest barn dreams and you’ll get the idea} The barn was beautiful on the inside with a fantastic deck off the back, overlooking the mountains and the gorgeous New Hampshire scenery.

The wines were lovely. I tasted 5 wines. The Sauvignon Blanc, Un-Oaked Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Sauvignon Blanc had awesome notes of lemon grass, bright citrus, and a great level of crisp acidity. It is the perfect SB for hot a summer day. Can stand up to many different types of food and/or can be enjoyed on it’s own.

The Un-Oaked Chardonnay was very well balanced with bright acidity and notes of green apple. Very refreshing and delicious.

The Sangiovese really surprised me; in a good way. It had this smokiness to it while maintaining fruity notes and being true to the grape variety. Really fantastic wine that I am looking forward to enjoying with friends.

The Zinfandel was full bodied with notes of cherry and raspberry. A great Zinfandel that could stand up to most foods.

The Cabernet Sauvignon was fantastic with multiple layers of flavor. The first layer started out with fruity notes of blackberry then hints of chocolate moving to hints of oak and smoke. A very complex Cabernet Sauvignon.

I ended up going home with the Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I can’t wait to open these at the next dinner party.

Summit Winery was wonderful. It was relaxing {I felt like I was tasting wine in a secluded bungalow in the woods}, the people were incredibly friendly, their dog was super adorable {obsessed with winery dogs}, and the wines were delicious. Summit is a must stop in New Hampshire, reminds of the wineries in the hills of Napa and Sonoma.

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(views from Summit Winery)

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(Summit Winery winery dog)

Another winery I stopped by was Walpole Mountain View Winery. A quaint winery in the hills. It was an interesting tasting. You walked into the tasting room and and were greeted by people behind the bar. They explained the wines and asked you pick 6 wines to try. Then once you chose your wines they brought into another room to watch a video about their vineyard and winemaking processes. Then once the video was finished they walked you into a gorgeous tasting area. The views in the tasting area were worth the drive. It was almost like an enclosed deck that was enclosed with glass walls.

The wines were mostly hybrids from the North East. I ended up purchasing the LaCrescent. It was a very light and fruity white wine. It would be a wine to be enjoyed on a hot day  by the pool or at a barbecue. If you are interested in tasting the hybrid grapes this is the winery to go to. They have a large selection of hybrid wine varieties.

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(Walpole Mountain View Winery)

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(tasting area at Walpole Mountain View Winery)

Last but not least, after all of that wine I needed a beer. Thankfully I was close enough to swing by Able Ebenezer Brewing Company in Merrimack, NH. The beers were AWESOME! I did the sampler and feel in love with the Emma Wood. It was the perfect light ale, it was almost fully in consistency. The IPA’s were fantastic too. They have one called “Burn the Ships” – it’s an IPA infused with smoked hops. I brought home a growler of the “Burn the Ships”, a can of the Aburn Ale, and a can of the Emma Wood. It was the perfect chill spot with couches, sunlight, and delicious brews to end my day.

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(Able Ebenezer Brewing Company)

What a great day trip to New Hampshire. I hope you take the time enjoy some of the great wineries and breweries of the New Hampshire. Cheers!

Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Pinot Grigio, & Viognier from Chile

The white wine grapes Chile have arrived and they look amazing. Below are the Brix levels for our Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.  It looks like it’s going to be a great vintage!

Chardonnay: 22.5

Pinot Grigio: 23.5

Sauvignon Blanc: 23.0

Viognier: 22.5

Brix (°Bx) is a way to measure the potential alcohol content of a wine before it’s made by determining the sugar level in grapes. Each gram of sugar that’s fermented will turn into about a 1/2 gram of alcohol. (via wine folly)

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click here if you would like to purchase Chilean Wine Grapes

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR SOUTH AFRICA

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The Breede River Valley is surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and is nestled between the Simonsberg and Drakenstien mountains.  Because of this unique topography, cool air from the oceans flows through the valley creating small, cooler micro-climates.  Farmers are able to use the Breede River to irrigate their vines, thus creating ideal grape growing conditions in an otherwise un-farmable part of South Africa.  The valley is an hour’s drive from Cape Town and more temperate than the Stellenbosch Valley – resulting in grapes that express good fruit characteristics without overripe jamminess.

Yet even with the cooler micro-climate and irrigation, South Africa had a very dry growing season. Unseasonable heat waves in December and February caused earlier-than-normal harvest schedules.  These heat waves also caused some varieties to become unavailable to us this year. Unfortunately due to this season’s climate and berries not reaching full maturity, the Cabernet and Merlot from South Africa did not meet our quality standards and thus will not be available this season. However, the Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc matured perfectly and are on their way to Connecticut. We expect the grapes to arrive around March 18th. While the hot and dry growing conditions this Hseason will result in lighter yields, the berries will be more intense thus leading to more complex and intense finished wines.

Note about Pinotage:  The Pinotage Grape was created in 1925 and is a cross between two vinifera grapes, Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Abaraham Izak Perold created the grape to bring out the brilliant robust flavors that both Pinot Noir and Cinsault possessed, while making the grape easy to grow. Now Pinotage is known to produce smoky, earthy flavors with hints of tropical fruits. Pinotage sourced from the Breede River Valley produce wines that express notes of cedar, plums, and dark berry notes. The wine then rounds out with a smooth, tannic structure. Enjoy these wines with a hearty stew or red meat.  Please note that if you punch through too vigorously during fermentation you can get an almost burned plastic characteristic. It is better to ferment Pinotage at lower temperatures.

Note about Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa: Sauvignon Blanc produced from the Breede River Valley are often very complex and with notes of minerals such as flint, and bright fruit flavors such as apricot.

Cheers! And Happy Winemaking!