­

ARTICLES

Mar17, 2017

Raising Our Glass to Robert Osborne: 1932 - 2017

March 17th, 2017|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

Robert Osborne_blogIt has been a week and a half since we said goodbye to TCM Icon Robert Osborne. Since March 6th, it has been truly heartwarming to watch the world process this tragic and deeply felt loss, as writers, actors, producers, and fans have come forward to share their memories of this remarkable man.

Robert was originally from Washington, where he studied journalism. When he was a young man, he worked with Lucille Ball at Desilu Studios, and that experience helped kickstart his career as a movie writer. During his life, Robert worked in numerous capacities within the industry as a reporter, commentator, host, writer, and even actor. Robert reviewed Broadway plays and films professionally for years before finally settling down at TCM, where he hosted four movies a night, seven days a week. It has been because of his platform at TCM that Robert became a household fixture and voice of the movies for many American families over the decades. Truly, Mr. Osborne was acclaimed and respected as a film critic and writer. As many people have said over the last several days, the man knew his movies like none other. But even more than that, it seems that the world agrees that as much as he loved the movies and was a well of keen insight, it was his person that will be missed most of all. He was admired for his knowledge, but is beloved for his character and kindness. Writer after writer has said it in the last several days, and they couldn’t me more on the mark. Today, at the TCM Wine Club, we raise a glass to you, Robert. Thank you for all the memories, and for all the passion you shared with [...]

Mar10, 2017

Regional Spotlight: Rías Baixas, Spain

March 10th, 2017|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

Rias Baixas_Region SpotlightRias Baixas (Lower Inlets) is home to the impressive Sendero Des Santos Albariño featured in our current TCM Wine Club shipment. On the southwestern coast of Galicia, Rias Baixas is a damp, cool winegrowing region just to the north of Portugal. Here, the coastline is made up of four different Rias: small, funnel-shaped coastal inlets that send ocean water inland, where it mingles with fresh river water.

The thick-skinned Albariño grape thrives in Galicia’s cooler climate. In fact, Albariño, a beautiful, fresh, aromatic varietal with incredible food-pairing potential, originated here back in the 12th Century, when German monks brought the original clones from Northern Europe. For this reason, it is believed to be a close relative of Riesling, and contains many of the aromatic, floral, and acidic qualities of its teutonic cousin. Rias Baixas is also home to a thriving fishing community, and in towns like Cambados, visitors will be thrilled to find Albariño paired with exotic local mariscos (seafood) such as pulpo (octopus), percebes (goose barnacles), and nécora (velvet crab). Here at home, as the days get warmer and longer, white wine season is fast approaching. We look forward to pairing this with the first spring catch!

Have you tried the Sendero Des Santos Albariño? We would love to hear your food pairing recommendations on Facebook!  

Mar2, 2017

Bolo Nero ‘Edizione Limitata’ 2012

March 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

Movie & Wine Pairing

wine

Bolo Nero ‘Edizione Limitata’ 2012
Castel del Monte DOC, Italy

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
SUNDAY, MARCH 19 @ 02:15 PM
SUNDAY, APRIL 23 @ 10:00 PM

The vibrant, savory palate and smoky aromas of this wine are perfect for a noirinfused drama like Sweet Smell of Success, with its daring and memorable performances from its lead actors. Among them, Tony Curtis’ image as a matinee idol was quickly shattered by his role as a scheming newspaper assistant, and it deserves to be paired with a red wine of flavorful depth and intrigue.

RED BLEND

WINE STYLE

ROOM TEMPERATURE

RED MEAT

HEARTY PASTAS

The wines of Castel del Monte are hot right now – perhaps none hotter than Bolo Nero. Crafted at Francesco Liantonio’s acclaimed Torrevento winery in the sunny hills of Murgia, it was awarded the prestigious Tre Bicchieri rating in the 2015 Gambero Rosso guide (alongside $150 Sassicaia, $200 Biondi Santi Brunello and $250 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, just to name a few). A classic blend of deep, dark Nero di Troia and spicy Aglianico, Bolo Nero also has 88 points from Wine Enthusiast, whose editors wrote this delicious-sounding note: “Aromas of smoke, underbrush, espresso and grilled herb lead the nose … the palate offers dried black cherry, anisette, coffee and toast.”
Castel del Monte translates as ‘castle on the hill,’ named for the magnificent castle that anchors the appellation. Altitude is this sunny region’s key advantage. As Francesco explains: “In summer we have temperature changes between day and night of 15-30°F. This gives freshness to the wine.”

Torrevento’s vineyards are spread across Murgia, [...]

Mar2, 2017

Bees Knees Shiraz Viognier 2015

March 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

Movie & Wine Pairing

wine

Bees Knees Shiraz Viognier 2015
Stellenbosch WO, South Africa

I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17 @ 11:30 PM (ET)

Producer Val Lewton’s films from the 1940s don’t fit easily into one category, but they are all of consistent high quality and enduring appeal – much like this South African Shiraz-Viognier blend. Pour a glass and enjoy the macabre and highly enjoyable story of a nurse who discovers the disturbing cause of her patient’s mental paralysis on a remote Caribbean island, the perfect blend of film genres.

SHIRAZ BLEND

WINE STYLE

WELL CHILLED

GAME

BARBECUE

Travel to the heart of South Africa’s gorgeous Stellenbosch region, and at the end of your trek (a 21-hour flight from the U.S.), you’ll find the Gabb family’s aptly named estate, Journey’s End. “With quality remarkably high and consistent I was particularly struck by Journey’s End … Winemaker Leon Esterhuizen clearly does a fine job,” writes Jancis Robinson, MW. Their new release marries Shiraz (South Africa’s flagship red) with a splash of aromatic Viognier (5%), all grown during the stellar 2015 vintage. With ripe red fruit and lovely floral notes, it’s truly the bees knees!
Founded in 1996, Journey’s End is the type of small, quality-driven operation that’s putting South Africa on the fine wine map – with the acclaim from top shows like the International Wine Challenge and the Decanter World Wine Awards to prove it. Winemaker Leon Esterhuizen, whose experience includes harvests at Napa Valley’s Chappelle Estate and Spain’s Bodegas Castaño, has been working his magic in the cellar since 2005.

Often called South [...]

Dec20, 2016

National Sangria Day Is December 20th!

December 20th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

national-sangria-day_blogMaking the 20th of December National Sangria Day might not seem like the most intuitive choice, but in some respects we can't believe it didn't come sooner: this week of December is rife with holiday parties featuring huge crystal punchbowls, and Sangria makes for a great holiday punch, perfect as a make-ahead since marination is a big part of the final product's success. Introduced to the USA at New York City's 1964 World's Fair, Sangria's basic components are wine, fruit, orange juice, sugar, liquor and ice. These ingredients are always up for interpretation, but Winter provides an excellent opportunity to creatively bring Harvest and Yuletide flavors to a traditionally warm-weather drink.

The wine part of the basic Sangria equation, even in Winter, should still be a quality bold, dry Spanish red like Garnacha, Tempranillo or Rioja, but also consider trying the bubbly surprise of a white Sangria made with Cava or Prosecco, its effervescence pointing to the coming New Year celebrations. As for the type of fruit used in Winter Sangria, think seasonal: sliced Blood Oranges or pears, diced Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples, fresh cranberries or even figs. For the liquid citrus component, in place of orange juice pour apple cider, cranberry, or pomegranate juice. Using a sweetener with your recipe? Swap agave syrup or brown sugar for plain white, and don't be afraid of adding a cinnamon stick for kick if the spirit moves you. The traditional liquor additions for Sangria are brandy or rum, both of which are great December flavors, but cognac is also a nice choice this time of year. Even Sangria's humble ingredient of ice can be wintrified: frozen cubes of apple, cranberry or pomegranate juice will keep your Sangria both cold and undiluted.

Remember that [...]

Dec15, 2016

New Winter Tradition: Yuletide Yosemite

December 15th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

yuletide-yosemite_blogIf December has come to mean just staying home (or travelling to someone else's home) for the holidays, consider switching things from ho-hum to full-on Winter Wonderland with a visit to Yosemite National Park when it's covered with snow, not tourists. Family summer road trips have become such a collective rite of passage that it's easy to forget our national parks are indeed open year-round: Yosemite's winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and snow shoeing, as well as the more unexpected delight of ice skating at Half-Dome Village's outdoor rink (you can rent skates and store your shoes in a warming hut while you're on the ice)!

But the real reason to give this national park a Yuletide try occurs indoors: The Bracebridge Dinner At Yosemite. Inspired by Washington Irving's sketchbook, "A Christmas at Bracebridge Hall," this Christmas pageant extraordinaire was created in 1927 and is still performed each year in the grand Dining Room of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Over the years the pageant has been shaped by a committed cast of core members, at one time including photographer and part-time Valley resident Ansel Adams (whose script for the Bracebridge Dinner remains largely the same since its debut in 1929), and continues to evolve with the addition of choral music, new characters and costumes. There is also the food: the bounty of a seven-course 18th century feast, replete with modern stand-ins for the likes of Peacock Pie, Baron of Beef, and Plum Pudding and Wassail. And, wine stewards abound for help with the dinner's wine selections.

Perhaps even at home, this December will offer the chance to experience traditions in a non-traditional setting—hopefully paired with a great glass of wine!

Dec12, 2016

Regional Spotlight: California’s Central Coast

December 12th, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

regional-spotlight_central-coast_blogIn this season’s introductory case, we’ve included Ridgeridger Cellars Chardonnay from California’s Central Coast! The Central Coast is a large AVA (American Viticultural Area) spanning from Santa Barbara County all the way up through Santa Cruz (just south and west of the San Francisco Bay Area). The region encompasses many smaller AVAs with varied climates and soil types, including Santa Ynez, Paso Robles, and Carmel Valley. This strikingly beautiful region has launched some internationally recognizable, award-winning wines in recent years, and is giving Napa and Sonoma a run for their money. It has also been home to many classic movie sets, including The Ten Commandments, Scar Face, The Spirit of St. Louis, and Of Mice and Men.

Some of the most notable wines from the Central Coast have been Bordeaux and Rhône-inspired blends out of Paso Robles, Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County, and Chardonnay from the Arroyo Seco region. The Central Coast, which has been called “The Heart of Spanish California,” is a blossoming region tucked between the major cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and includes the most famed stretch of Highway 1. Along this very long wine trail, visitors get an eyeful of the Pacific Ocean and blue skies with endless options for passionately grown farm-to-table fare along the way. Best of all, the region is known first and foremost for being happy, friendly, and hospitable, which proves our long held theory that wine, no matter the price, always pairs best with kindness.

Dec5, 2016

Merry National Repeal Day!

December 5th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

merry-national-repeal-day_blogIt's hard to believe now, but for thirteen dark years early in the 20th century, alcohol was outlawed in the United States when Congress passed the 18th Amendment on January 16th, 1919, in an effort to curb many of the social ills that were thought to stem from drunkenness. Unfortunately, the banning of alcohol did little to decrease the blights of either crime or poverty, and in fact led to a rise in organized crime. The time-honored craft and customs of alcohol production were also left to wither, replaced by "bathtub gin" and moonshine.

Prohibition did have a few residual silver linings that endure even today, however. Before the ban on alcohol, public drinking mainly took place in saloons, which often barred women. Mixed-gender drinking (at least among the middle- and upper-classes) came about when alcohol was confined to speakeasies, hotel rooms and dinner parties. This new social dynamic also helped usher out traditional, formal courtship and introduced the concept of "dating," where men and women of different backgrounds and classes could meet at a speakeasy. Prohibition also had a hand in the creation of the mixed drink (something had to help mask the raw taste of moonshine), NASCAR (someone had to drive that moonshine from the still to the speakeasy), and "alco-tourism," where Americans visited Canada and Cuba to have their drink.

The 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition, was ratified on December 5th , 1933. This Constitutionally-sanctioned "holiday" offers the fine opportunity to raise a glass while viewing a film set in that era. We suggest pairing the deep, expressive red of Argentina's Alma Andina Malbec Reserve 2014 with Brian de Palma's gangster epic, The Untouchables (1987). Or, keep your tribute on the lighter side by viewing Billy Wilder's  Some Like It [...]

Dec1, 2016

Wine Region: Italy's Basilicata

December 1st, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

wine-region-italys-basilicata_blogItaly's Basilicata region is remote and virtually landlocked, but its volcanic soil--courtesy of extinct Mount Vulture--has provided it with one iconic wine (Aglianico del Vulture) and three DOCs. Settled by the Greeks in the 6th century B.C., it is believed they brought the Aglianico grape to the region and promptly began making wine. Following a historic period of strife, the region's economic prospects began to improve after World War II. In 1971, Anglianico del Vulture was given a DOC designation, and two other of the area's wines have been added to the DOC roster since. While red wines dominate the region's production, several white varieties have recently distinguished themselves. This month, we present Basilium Terre de Portali Greco Fiano 2014, a crisp, fruit-laced white that pairs perfectly with cheese and melon.

The Basilicata region may be austere, sparsely populated, and hard to reach, but the cities of Matera and Maratea make the area an off-the-beaten-path tourist destination. Matera features districts of cave-dwellings, which housed the very poor until they were deserted in the 1950's. Many of these caves have been renovated into hotels. Maratea is a picturesque hill village offering views of the Gulf of Policastro and several historic churches. Greek ruins abound for exploration, while Il Redentore (a 22-meter-tall statue of Christ the Redeemer) overlooks the city. Well worth the effort, the Basilicata region rewards the adventurous traveler with a one-of-a-kind experience of Italy, much like the Aglianico grape provides a world-class variety of wines.

Oct17, 2016

TCM Classic Cruise Sweepstakes - Enter Here

October 17th, 2016|2 Comments

Our TCM Classic Cruise Sweepstakes has officially launched and it's smooth sailing.
There are multiple ways to enter.  Use this form below, or simply snap a photo and tag it with #TCMWINECLUBSWEEPS  on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter account.
You can also sign up on our Facebook page.

Save

Save

Save

Sep27, 2016

Movie Musicals Were Made For Wine!

September 27th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

movie-musicals-were-made-for-wine_blogMovie musicals have been around for quite a while: since 1930 if you count The Jazz Singer (an early talkie with some songs), or 1929 if you’re in The Broadway Melody camp (the first “genuine” musical, folding singing and dancing into the plot). Musicals peaked in popularity and extravagance during the 1930s, with the stylish innovation of directors Ernst Lubitsch—who shot films without sound (dubbing it in later) in order to free up his camera movements—and Rouben Mamoulian (an early adopter of slow motion and split screen), as well as the dazzling geometric choreography of Busby Berkeley.

Musicals took full advantage of film’s new sound technology, using song and dance to both enhance and advance a story; a degree of artifice is inherent in the genre, an aspect that either delights or upsets viewers. A ready (and appropriate) solution to this aesthetic divide? Wine! Berkeley’s musical numbers instantly bring to mind corks flying from bottles of champagne, but a less expected pairing for a classic, color-soaked movie musical would be an equally vibrant Tempranillo (like Pagos de Tahola Reserva 2008) or fizzy Pinot Grigio (such as The Essentials Pinot Grigio 2015). Take these flavorful wines out for a spin on the dance floor from the comfort of your own couch, and toast almost 90 years of movie musicals!

Sep20, 2016

Region: McLaren Vale, Australia

September 20th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

mclaren-vale_blogMcLaren Vale—the birthplace of South Australia’s wine industry—is located 45 minutes south of Adelaide, yet has a distinctly Mediterranean feel. An artsy enclave of wineries, boutique breweries, and innovative culinary gems, McLaren Vale’s breezy beach lifestyle is focused on local producers and sustainability. The region’s warm, dry climate and wide range of soil types have allowed it to produce not only famed Shiraz wines, but also world-class Grenache and Cabernet. Named for surveyor John McLaren, the region has produced wine since its establishment in 1838, making it home to some of the oldest grape vines in the world. McLaren Vale wineries produced drier, heavy wines until the 1950’s, when wineries began bottling smaller batches of more select wines, and started offering cellar tastings. Also during this time an influx of Italian immigrants introduced olive and olive oil production to the area, an early harbinger of the region’s current bounty of almonds and rich local dairy products.

The close ties between fresh regional produce and stellar wines can be found via the excellent food pairings offered by virtually all local restaurants. McLaren Vale built Australia’s first and largest reclaimed water network; 100% of the region’s irrigation stems from a sustainable source other than river water and significantly reduces pressure from the natural groundwater. But even with all of this ecological innovation, McLaren Vale remains a relaxed outpost of taste and low-key refinement. Take a hearty sip of a spicy McLaren Vale Shiraz while trying to figure out what time it is Down Under; we think it’s a safe bet that right now the surf is up and the corkscrews are down!

Sep16, 2016

International Grenache Day

September 16th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

international-grenache-day_blogWondering why the 2010 Grenache Symposium dubbed the third Friday of September International Grenache Day?? Um…maybe because Grenache is awesome, due to its uncredited, mouthfeel-improving influence on blends throughout the wine world. The most widely planted red grape on earth, Grenache could also be considered the most eco-friendly, courtesy of the long, sturdy roots that reach deep into subterranean water tables and make it less dependent on rainwater than other varietals. A true Mediterranean grape, Grenache happily grows in places with sun and olives, like Southern France, Spain, Northern Africa, and California. Exhibiting soft, velvety tannins that meld well with a wide variety of foods, Grenache is an ideal table wine for just about any meal; to make it even more all-purpose, it is available in red, white, rosé, and sweet styles.

Serving Note: A frequent flub with Grenache is pouring it too warm. For red and sweet styles, shoot for a cool serve between 55 - 65 degrees F. For white and rosé, serve stoutly chilled, but no lower than 45 degrees F. Grenache’s flavor profile is a welcoming blend of fruit notes (cherry, strawberry, plum) with warmth and spice. Highly drinkable with rounded tannins and good acidity, this wine for all seasons has wide appeal in blends or on its own. Celebrate Grenache this September 16th by ordering it in a restaurant, or serving it with home-cooked fare to a thirsty group of friends, and consider enjoying this versatile wine more than once a year!

Sep2, 2016

California Wine Month

September 2nd, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

California Wine Month_blogHere in California wine country, we are in the thick of harvest! Fruit is coming in by the hopper-full, harvest interns are crushing, filtering, and doing punchdowns and pump-overs, and winemakers are working their fingers to the bone to see our 2016 vintage come to fruition after a much-needed wet year here on our drought-ridden coast! If you’ve never been to California to wine-taste, this September may just be the very best time to visit. Not only is the weather flawless this time of year, but you will you be able to catch special harvest tours and get a peek behind the scenes of California’s most exciting, romantic industry at the height of activity. There are also a host of live concerts, outdoor movie nights, winemaker dinners, and tasting festivals.

From the North Coast, to Edna Valley, all the way down to the wineries of San Diego, we have special events going on in September, with local restaurants showing their solidarity with our local wineries by offering special flights, discounts on California wines, and unique pairing menus. If you’re in California or planning to visit this fall, be sure to check out the complete list of events at  discovercaliforniawines.com. From all of us in the Golden State, happy California Wine Month, and a safe harvest to all our incredible, hardworking wine producers!

Aug25, 2016

Celebrate Pinot Noir!

August 25th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Celebrate Pinot Noir_BlogPinot Noir is a delight every day of the year, but August 18th has officially been designated National Pinot Noir Day here in the United States. Presumably meant to be a day of reflection on how this great grape and wine has enriched our lives, we also assume it is meant to include the imbibing of a glass or two of its inky gloriousness, perhaps in a rousing game of Pinot Noir Or Dare (which is really just drinking wine while committing minor larceny). But…what if you’re not the biggest fan of red??

Well, you are in luck because Chardonnay is actually related to Pinot Noir, the result of a natural crossing of the humble medieval grape Gouais Blanc (near extinct, now) and Pinot Noir. This explains their frequent proximity in the vineyard, so if anyone at the Pinot Party throws shade on your Chard, raise a glass and give ’em a history lesson. More good news is that there is indeed a White Pinot Noir. A touch obscure, this wine is made like a white (i.e. in the absence of skins), but with red wine grapes. The color ranges from almost-clear to a deep, bright yellow; the taste presents with strong baked apple and pear, touched with hints of honey and ginger. Paired best with cream-based soups and sauces (and especially with mushrooms!), White Pinot Noir can be appreciated on its own for its zest and complexity. Celebrate all the Pinots with a glass of your choice: Traditional, White, or Chardonnay!

Aug16, 2016

Celebrate Rio 2016 With Brazilian Wine!

August 16th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Celebrate Rio_blogThe Summer Olympics are finally here!!! THESE are the good games, where you can actually see the athletes’ faces and bodies in all of their exquisitely-toned glory, not the disappointing Winter games, where all of the participants look like Deadpool. In honor of the many years of training these athletes have endured to arrive in Rio, we recommend stepping up your drinking game to Olympic levels by requiring your viewing guests to wear swimsuits (oh, come on: it’s August), and taking a sip whenever an Olympic commentator shouts “That’s gotta hurt!” or there’s a grimace from a coach, or a compatriot falls behind the rest of the pack. Two seconds shy in a swim meet? Two sips! Four seconds behind in a relay race? Four sips! The incentive for those guests whose favored Olympians have prevailed to Gold? A glass (or bottle) of rare Brazilian wine such as Tennat, Ancellotta, or Touriga Nacional.  

Tannat is the grape that put Uruguay on the map, but it also grows well in Brazil. Its intense color and black fruit aromas are often used to enhance blends with other varieties, but it is powerful on its own. Ancellotta establishes an Italian influence to various blends, while alone it provides the aroma of black fruits like plum and blackberry. Touriga Nacional represents a Portuguese influence that exhibits a good flexibility with blends, while also showing a strong aroma and flavor on its own. Sip Brazilian during these 2016 Summer games if you can, and toast each Olympic athlete’s success!

Aug9, 2016

Clinking Buddies: Raise A Glass To National Friendship Day!

August 9th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Friendship Day_blogFriendship forms the quiet architecture of our lives, yet is often pushed far below family and romantic partners in the hierarchy of social importance. Unfair? Hallmark sure thought so, back in 1919 when it founded National Friendship Day. The market for this holiday dried up by 1940, but friendships continued to exist without cards until Winnie the Pooh literally saved the day in 1998, when he was named the World’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations, followed by the UN’s 2011 official recognition of July 30th as International Friendship Day (but most countries—the United States included—celebrate on the first Sunday of August).

The National Friendship Day declaration invites us to “observe this day in an appropriate manner, in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.” While true friendship is indeed unquantifiable, a good rule of thumb is: Friends + Sunday = BRUNCH, which is also just another word for MIMOSAS. For your brunch aperitif, try pairing a deep, berry-forward sparkling red with grapefruit juice, adorned with chilled pear slices. Or marry a dry, extra-brut with freshly-squeezed, sweet orange juice and a tall cocktail toothpick stacked with drained pineapple chunks. Whichever glass you raise this August, make sure to lock eyes with the close friends around you in honor of their important role in your life—Prost!

Jul26, 2016

Think Rosé Is Passé? Try Vino Azul, Spain’s New Blue Wine

July 26th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Blue Wine_blogThere is a certain existential dread attached to the notion of perfection: how useless indeed would one’s multitude of snide opinions and unrealistic suggestions be, if they dangled over the yawning mouth of nirvana?? Well, never fear: a group of six entrepreneurial Spaniards looked at the perfection of the entire history of wine—specifically its shameful offering of only “red” or “white” as colors—and created Gik, a wine that is blue. Hailing from Spain’s Basque region, this chilled sweet wine owes its neon blue hue to the organic pigments of anthocyanin (from grape skin) and indigo (from the Isatis tictoria plant), and owes its flavor to a variety of red and white grapes grown in Spain. Blue wine is not just a color, or a taste; it’s a movement, wherein the rules of traditional winemaking are eschewed in favor of a radically democratized ethos of the “anti-technical.” Marketed to Millennials, vino azul has hit American shores with a vengeance this summer, so why not try a glass? Like blue jeans, blue wine goes with everything…

Jul22, 2016

Because Bubbles: Fizz Out With Sparkling Reds This Summer

July 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

sparkling reds_BlogsThere is very little in this world that carbonation can’t improve (see: water, apple juice), but it has somehow taken a fair bit of time for sparkling red wines to hit their stride in this country. Yes, Lambrusco got an ill-deserved reputation in the 70’s and 80’s for some imported iterations being cheap and sweet, but it is actually a complex wine of staggering variety and depth. Hailing from Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Lambrusco sparkling red wine comes in sweet, dry, light, and bold varieties. For summer drinking, the two lightest styles are Lambrusco di Sorbara and Lambrusco Rosato (rosé), featuring a raspberry soda tang with very little tannin. The Official Sweet Scale of Italian Sparkling Wine is: Secco (dry), Semisecco (off-dry), Amabile or Dolce (sweet). A wise choice spanning all varieties of Lambrusco is Amabile, which consistently offers a good balance of tart and sweet, but each variety is worth a try.

Sparkling Shiraz is not just a dream, it’s a reality: quite popular in Australia (where it’s produced), this wine is exactly as described—a sparkling version of the hearty, high-alcohol red we’ve come to know and love next to our burgers, steaks, and remote controls. Finding a good bottle this side of the equator can be tough, and it seems that price indicates quality: expect to start drinking well at $30/bottle.

Brachetto D’Acqui is high in sweetness, low in alcohol, and perfect as a pairing for chocolate. From Piedmont, Italy, this sparkling wine’s spring berry and floral notes are the result of the Brachetto grape skins only being in contact with the juice for two days.

Languish in these last days of July, and drink sparkling red wine!

Jul19, 2016

La Rioja: A Winemaking and Culinary Crossroads

July 19th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

La Rioja- A Winemaking _BlogRioja is ready to rock! A featured star of this month’s shipment, Rioja wines hail from a Spanish region that is situated on the Camino de Santiago route, and has received the coveted DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada) classification. The exclusive use of Temperanillo grapes for Rioja wines leaves classification up to its oak-aging, with the broad assumption that higher quality equals more time spent in oak casks. Rioja (“vin joven” or young wine) wines retain a fresh fruitiness with very little tannin. Crianza class wines are aged a minimum of one year in oak casks, and are considered a high-quality daily wine, like a good Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Merlot with bite. Reserva level wines are serious, and have been aged for a minimum of three years. They dance between dominant flavors of fruit and oak, exhibiting both complexity and drinkability. Gran Reserva wines have spent at least two years in oak casks and three years in the bottle. They have the strongest tannin structure and exhibit the most aging potential; they can cellar up to 30 years, and are definitely Special Occasion Wines.

The Rioja region reflects its position as a traveler’s crossroads in its cuisine, which features simple, top-quality local produce such as peppers, artichokes, chard, fava beans, and pork combined with the Muslim-influence of lamb and the firm presence of fish such as bonito, cod, and mackerel. Riojan chorizo is also a staple, as well as sweet black pudding for dessert. Rioja is a center of flavor to be reckoned with, starting with its wine and ending with its food!

Jul12, 2016

Rosé, White, and Bleu: Pink Sparklers To Celebrate Bastille Day!

July 12th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Bastille Day_blogHappy French National Holiday!!!! The July 14th date that we in the United States call Bastille Day is actually more a joyous commemoration of the new French Republic that also honors the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The French host the largest military parade in Europe for this day, which takes place along the Champs Elysées in Paris. There are also Fireman’s Balls--featuring dancing French firemen!—and fireworks above the tri-colored Eiffel Tower. Here at home there are large, organized July 14th celebrations in New Orleans and New York City, so why let just those cities have all the fun??! Host your own Francophile celebration of independence with a selection of sparkling rosé wines that are perfect for summer.

Rosé’s have had minimal controlled contact with red grape skins, and depending on the type of grape they are made with, they exhibit varying degrees of fruit, or even meat, flavors. French grape offerings like Provence and Mourvèdre rosés are fruit-forward with floral notes, and are delightful when chilled and paired with just about any dish, from spicy grilled lamb to briny olive tapenades and juicy charred burgers. Even when not technically sparkling, rosé wines feature a crisp effervescence that make them an ideal beverage to sip while watching the sun set on a long summer night, then waiting for the fireworks to begin. Vive la France!

Jul1, 2016

“Star of the Month” Pairing: Olivia de Havilland & Dry Muscat

July 1st, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

F For Fake_The ArtistMost know Olivia de Havilland for her role as the super-sweet Melanie in Gone with the Wind (1939). Now, this golden-age leading lady is TCM’s Star of the Month ! You can watch her in TCM screenings on Fridays all through July, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed! De Havilland’s enduring talent has left its mark on our memory in so many delightful roles, including acclaimed performances in The Heiress, To Each His Own, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. We can’t wait to revisit these and more!

This month, we’ll pair her films with a bottle of Dry Muscat. Unique, elegant, and lightly sweet (but never cloying), Dry Muscat is a delicious summer wine that pairs beautifully with the performances of this intelligent, talented, and timeless doe-eyed beauty. To read more about Olivia de Havilland and her contributions to some of the great films of the 20th century, visit TCM.com, and check out her movies on Fridays this July!

Jun24, 2016

Don’t Fear the Pink: June is Rosé Month!

June 24th, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

June is Rosé Month_blogRosé is making a splash this June in tasting rooms all over the west coast! And it’s no surprise: with so many different styles, shades, and food pairing options, Rosé is as versatile as that favorite little black (sun) dress. However, Rosé hasn’t always had such a stellar reputation stateside. Back in the 80s, cheap, cloyingly sweet or watery types (hello, white zin!) ruined American public perception of pink wine. But in the last few years, Rosé (the good kind, long celebrated in Europe as the compulsory accompaniment to summertime living) has made a screaming comeback, showing up on wine lists across the continent. We’re so relieved!

If you or a friend needs to get over your fear of pink wine, you may wish to start with a dry bottle of a high quality Saignée made from Grenache or Syrah, or a Vin Gris made with Pinot Noir. Lush, complex and light to medium-bodied, these wines offer a flavorful alternative to summer whites and are a must-have for any hot weather barbecue.

Do you have a favorite style of Rosé or a food pairing you love? Share with us on Facebook!

Jun22, 2016

Three Wines For The Poolside

June 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

Three Wines for The Poolside_blogSummer is here, and across the country, wine lovers are looking for the perfect wine to sip by the pool. But on a warm day, having a big glass of beefy west coast cab or zin (with alcohol content spiking into the high 15s) is a recipe for exhaustion. Keep cool this summer with these lower-alcohol European varietals! 

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese varietal that saw a surge in popularity a few summers back. One of the lightest and spritziest of white wines available stateside, Vinho Verde is refreshing and delicious, with alcohols ranging from only 8-10%. It’s also a bargain, so if your yard is a gathering place for friends and neighbors, you can share the love without breaking the bank.

White Riesling is a light, highly acidic German wine served across a range of sweetnesses and alcohol levels. For poolside sipping, aim for a dry or off-dry bottle, and look for alcohols around the 11-12 percent range.

Pinot Grigio is a lighter styling of the French Pinot Gris and has been popular in North America since the early 90s. Look for an Italian bottle — alcohols range from 10-12%. With lush flavors and bright acid, Pinot Grigio is refreshing, palate cleansing, and satisfying.

Europeans have long known that bigger isn’t always better, and lighter, more delicate wines are perfect for afternoon quaffing. So pour yourself a second glass. Go ahead; we’re not looking.

Jun17, 2016

Grillaxing: A Father’s Day BBQ

June 17th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Fathers Day Grillaxing_BlogIt’s no accident that the calendar placement of Father’s Day is right smack in the middle of high BBQ season: with tongs wielded as scepters and a sensible brimmed cap—err, crown—keeping the sun off his schnozz, Dads across the land rule summertime backyard cookouts with both benevolence and hickory-based secret sauces. In order to truly celebrate Dad on his day, don’t remove him from his natural habitat: instead, upgrade his BBQ accessories (it’s about time for a new Kiss The Cook apron, don’t you think?) and his ice chest choices with some seriously special wine selections worthy of the man who has always been there for you.

A bold, bright red—like Zinfandel, or a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah—is an excellent pairing with grilled meat, especially smoke-seasoned pork and beef. Even if Dad normally prefers beer, a Special Occasion glass of hearty red sipped alongside his signature slow-cooked ribs or bacon-wrapped filet mignon might just convince him that the right wine can complete the job of a good marinade by bringing out further nuances of flavor in cooked meat. White wine is also a great BBQ crowd-pleaser: an ice-cold Pinot Grigio or bubbly Vinho Verde provides the festive feel of a wine spritzer on its own, and a spice-cooling aspect on the tongue with food. As for toasts, a glass of red or white wine held high is always a classy choice, and a reserve vintage goes far in giving heft to any occasion.

It’s not easy being a dad, or the World’s Best Grill-Master: raise a glass in celebration of the man who has been The Best of Everything to you!

Jun3, 2016

Campfire Vino: I Would Love S’more Wine!

June 3rd, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

campfire vino_blogMost folks would agree that camping in the Great Outdoors is a wonderful way to commune with nature while also testing the strength of one’s resolve and hamstrings. An oft-overlooked bonus is the opportunity to convert any die-hard, beer-drinking members of your campsite to the pleasures of sipping wine al fresco. Your best friend in this scenario (besides your bota bag) is logic: even non-campers know that the lighter your backpack, the better your mood. What’s more, those heavy, clanking bottles and cans of beer offer far too little alcohol per ounce for the effort of lugging them into (and out of) the wilderness. Wine’s superior knack for repackaging gives it the better-for-camping edge here, with extra credit points for its higher alcohol content.

There are a variety of lightweight wine containers (ranging from traditional flasks to synthetic bota bags) available at camping supply outlets, as well as the old school option of simply removing the inner bag from that “box” of wine in the fridge, and stuffing that in your backpack—it also makes a handy pillow! Red wine is indeed the more hardy choice in terms of retaining its taste through temperature shifts and improvised drinking vessels (paper, plastic, metal), but white wine shouldn’t be discounted entirely: a sealed bag of white can chill quite nicely in a rushing coldwater stream, provided the nozzle is kept above the surface (or at least protected against contact with potentially bacteria-rich water). Bring some tried-and-true favorites, as well as a few experimental brands: nothing brings out the finer notes of any wine like relaxing next to a campfire under a canopy of stars.

May27, 2016

A Memorial Movie Night

May 27th, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

Memorial Day Movie Night_BlogMemorial Day, our nation’s tribute to those who gave their lives serving in the armed forces, is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends for a day of reflection and fun. The U.S. federal holiday is famously positioned on one of the best days of the year: on the brink of summer, everyone is feeling optimistic, and in most parts of the country, the weather is nearly guaranteed to be perfect.

This year, if you have a warm, dry evening on your hands, put a spin on the classic Memorial Day barbecue and break out grandma’s dusty old projector to take a jaunt into your family’s own cinematic history. Simply tack up a sheet to the side of the house, set up some lawn chairs, crack open the wine, grill up some dogs, and take a moment to remember. Retro home movies under the stars is a celebratory, heartfelt, and romantic way to reignite a respect for the past and those we wish to remember. Plus, your kids will love the chance to balk at the mullet you proudly sported in the 80s.

Ideal Barbecue Pairings: Pinot Noir with grilled franks / Syrah with bacon burgers

May17, 2016

Cool & Crunchy Wine Slushies!

May 17th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Wine Slushies_BlogSprinklers, Sparklers, and Slushies: It’s never too early to prepare a hot weather cooling strategy—Summer’s almost here!!! For those sizzling days when it feels like your wine just can’t ever get cold enough to cool you down, here are a few Wine Slushie ideas to try out:

Sangria lends itself well to frozen form: combine ice with a dry, fruity red—like Granacha (Spanish-grown Grenache), or Bonarda from Argentina—a splash of orange juice, ripe chilled watermelon chunks, agave syrup (if desired) and a touch of tonic water. Blend, pour, garnish with a fresh orange slice, and sip!

Sparkling Frozen Lemonade contains its components in its name: blend ice with a sweeter sparkling wine like Prosecco and lemonade, then enjoy all of that crisp lemony goodness through a wide straw!

Mint-Basil Slush features fresh mint and basil leaves, a fruit-forward red like Pinot Noir, ice cubes and a couple twists of fresh ground black pepper: blend and garnish with a sprig of mint before sipping with a smile!

Pinot Peachio keeps white wine drinkers happy by blending a crisp Pinot Grigio with ice and frozen peach slices, keeping a couple of those peachy spears reserved for garnish.

 Straight-Shooter Slush keeps it simple with a 2-to-1 ratio blend of frozen red wine cubes and frozen water cubes, garnished with a few frozen red grapes. Stick a straw in it and call it good!

What other icy wine combinations sound good to you?? Share your ideas in the comments section!

May9, 2016

Mother’s Day Mambo

May 9th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Mother's Day Mambo_blogExcuse me, but exactly when did breakfast food become the official sponsor of all Mother’s Day celebrations??! From woefully undercooked pancakes presented to sleepy moms by their single-digit-age moppets to those traditional, over-priced Sunday Brunch reservations, Mother’s Day tributes as a whole are sadly bereft of both imagination and, well…alcohol. Brunch technically affords the opportunity for mimosas, but good luck flagging your server down for a refill on a busy prix fixe afternoon.

A better option is treating Mom to a home mimosa tasting (you can provide the obligatory pancake breakfast if you wish, perhaps by utilizing that great benefit of adulthood, catering). Offer Mom and her guests several types of sparkling wine (Extra-Brut, Brut, and Extra-Dry for a range of sweetness; Prosecco, Cava, and Sekt for a range of countries), as well as a variety of more exotic juices such as guava and blood-orange (just imagine Prosecco’s sweetness matched with tart pineapple!). A good mimosa ratio-of-thumb is one part juice (poured first in the glass, to avoid excessive foaming) to three parts bubbly, but of course adjust as Mom desires—after all, it’s her day.

If Mom prefers her wine bubble-free, offer to be the designated driver and whisk her (and her Mom-friends) away for an afternoon winery tour! A walk among grapevines with family and friends will make for a memorable Mother’s Day. Be sure to pay special attention to her favorite sample pours, and discreetly purchase a bottle or two to leave her with when you drop her safely home.

However you celebrate the day this year (yes, even if it’s with brunch), remember to raise a glass in thanks to the woman who made you who you are!!

May5, 2016

Cinco De Malbec: Wines to Celebrate Mexico’s May the Fifth

May 5th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Cinco De Mayo_Cactus_BlogPut down that ketchup and pick up some salsa: it’s Cinco de Mayo!!! This anniversary of the Mexican army’s underdog win against France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla has become an all-encompassing celebration of Mexican culture here in the US, featuring a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Tequila and cerveza notwithstanding, our Neighbor to the South boasts a long history of vino-centric innovation, starting in 1597 with the oldest known winery in North/Central America, located in Coahuila, Mexico. Currently, Mexican wines from the Baja Peninsula—featuring untraditional blending—are getting raves.

Wine drinkers can absolutely get in on the Cinco de Mayo fun, starting with their Mexican food dinners and appetizers: the rule of thumb is to pair spicy food with wine that is low in alcohol. Chiles intensify the taste and effect of alcohol, so lower-alcohol reds like Pinot Noir and chianti are good when paired with a dish like carne asada. When in doubt, that old rule of red meat/red wine and white meat/white wine applies well with Mexican food: Cabernet Franc and Malbec are good for reds, while Cava and Vinho Verde are fantastic choices for whites. Taking note of the colors in one’s dish is also wise: a preponderance of green herbs screams out for a white wine with higher acidity and pronounced herbaceous flavors, like a Sauvignon Blanc; Spanish whites from Rioja are also good.

Cinco de Mayo gives everyone a reason to celebrate Mexican culture with a glass of their choosing—consider pairing a great wine with your meal before ordering those tequila shooters this year!

Apr28, 2016

Regional Spotlight: Transylvania

April 28th, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

Translvania_Wine Region_BlogIn our current TCM Wine Club Members-Only shipment, one of the more unexpected offerings is a bottle of La Catina Viognier Tamaioasa Romaneasca, a white blend from the hilly region of Romania. Transylvania, made famous in the west by Count Dracula (a local resident), is a picturesque region known for its millennia-old winemaking history. Though the wine industry suffered greatly under the farming collectivization that happened during Romania’s communist period, vineyards and wineries have made a screaming comeback in recent years, with the simultaneous revival of historic winemaking practices and the infusion of new farming technologies and enthusiastic international investment. In this way, Transylvania is poised to emerge as a 21st Century contender in the international market while retaining much of its old-world values and charm!

In Transylvania, the primary varieties grown include lush, flavorful native white varieties like Fetească Albă, Fetească Regală, and Tămâioasă Românească (blended here with the Rhône all-star Viognier), and imports such as Riesling, Pink Traminer, and Sauvignon Blanc.

For more information on Transylvania or the other exciting global regions featured by the TCM wine club, check out our tasting notes, and taste along with our artfully curated movie pairings!

Apr26, 2016

Spring A-Straightening: The Best Wines To Clean By

April 26th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Spring Cleaning & Wine_BlogAhhh—SPRING!!! It’s that time of year when a good glass of wine (or two) is needed before hunting down those Winter dust bunnies with tranquilizer darts (or mops). Spring cleaning is a ritual made EVER the more palatable by a smart choice of wine—however else are you going to determine if your wineglasses are spot-free than by filling them with Gruner Veltliner (a white wine grape variety from Austria and the Czech Republic with a big hit of white pepper in its aroma, just to keep the cleaning party going), or a crisp Spanish Albarino??

Your Spring cleaning soundtrack? That old vinyl LP (if you still have it) of The Specials, whose Ska-stylings still pair well with physical exertions such as vacuuming and mopping, and a chilled, fizzy white wine such as the Portuguese Vinho Verde.

Vacuuming and dusting is thirsty work, and the popped cork of a bottle of Prosecco turns any Spring moment into a life celebration as the sun’s setting rays shine through windows polished by Windex. A suggestion for everyone’s Spring Cleaning Weekend? Keep the wine you sip clear, sharp, and chilled while wiping away the overlooked grime of the past year in order to make room for a bright, shining future.

Apr22, 2016

Green Wine: Decoding Sustainability Labels

April 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

Green Wine_BlogEarth Day is the perfect time to celebrate what our winegrowers and winemakers are doing to improve farming practices and care for the earth. But how do we cut through the noise and decide which wines to purchase? All three of the following certifications have something unique to offer the planet and to wine consumers. All require a third party audit and an annual certification. Here the ways they differ:

Organic

USDA Organic is a national-level certification that asserts wines were grown with only organic-approved chemicals, with attention given to water quality, soil conservation, biodiversity, and habitat.

Biodynamic

Biodynamic wines, spiking in popularity in recent years, are grown with spiritual-scientific practices based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. These practices, which include natural composting, avoidance of all manufactured chemicals, and adherence to a strict harvesting and pruning calendar, are meant to improve vineyard health, nourish vine and soil immunity and nurture each farm’s unique ecosystem.

SIP (Sustainability in Practice)

SIP, a designation run by a California-based eco-nonprofit, The Vineyard Team, meets similar standards to that of USDA Organic. It also includes an emphasis on air quality, energy and water conservation, social responsibility, and sound business practices, such as fair pay for vineyard workers.

This Earth Day, try a sustainable wine, and let’s raise a glass to the many winegrowers who are making strides to improve the care of our planet!

Apr15, 2016

DIY Cork Bookmarks

April 15th, 2016|1 Comment

by Paullette Gaudet

DIY Cork Bookmark_blogWine corks often seem far too beautiful—or potentially re-useable—to simply discard, yet even the most sentiment-heavy of these all-natural bottle stoppers are rarely kept long enough for inspiration to fully strike. One thoughtful way to repurpose these memento vinos is as cork bookmarks:

  • Insert a screw eye into one end of a wine cork (you can also attach a small spring clip or tiny key chain ring to the screw eye, or just leave as-is).
  • Thread the screw eye (or spring clip) with sturdy, sumptuously-sheened thread, then string an inch or so’s worth of different colored and sized jewelry beads and metallic tokens.
  • Create a substantial thread knot under the last bead or token, using this to anchor the addition of two more strands of thread to the primary string by simply twisting the three strands together (and using a little glue, as needed).
  • Allow 12-13 inches for this plain segment of the bookmark, then end with an inch or so of beads and tokens to tie it off, leaving a little fringe.
  • The bookmark’s total length should be 13-15 inches, depending on how decorative you wish your cork top and beaded bottom to be.

A homemade bookmark from a beloved bottle’s cork is indeed a thoughtful gift, but it will definitely present as far more generous when paired with an equally thoughtful book: a solid choice for the devoted wine-lover is The Diary of Samuel Pepys, wherein man-about-town Pepys recounts his adventures with work, women and wine circa 1660’s London—Cambridge University recently celebrated the 350th anniversary of Pepys’s April 10, 1663 mention of Chateau Haut-Brion in his Diary, one of the first mentions of that wine in literature (bested only by a 1660 reference in a cellar book of King Charles II).

Salut!

Apr13, 2016

Peanut Noir: Pairing Wine and Nuts

April 13th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Peanut Noir_BlogOkay: so peanuts aren’t *really* nuts, but you don’t exactly need Don Draper to tell you that “Beer Legumes” isn’t the best advertising slogan on earth. You are also correct in suspecting that beer isn’t the only alcoholic beverage that goes well with peanuts—when looking for quick, classy munchies to serve with wine, nuts provide a welcome, healthy and unexpected opportunity for inventive flavor pairings.

The workhorses here are sparkling wines (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco) and Cabernet Sauvignon: both pair superbly with sweet or spicy nuts. Sparkling wines in particular are fantastic with salty foods, so they naturally make perfect companions for saltier nuts—and any type of almond. Cabernet Sauvignon and other deep, rich red wines are ideal matches for the meaty, aromatic intensity of roasted nuts. Pecans pair well with Pinot Noir and other lighter reds, while Rosé plays well with walnuts. White wines tend to favor the lighter nuts: zesty whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Sancerre bring out the best in cashews and pistachios, while Chardonnay’s rich, fruity taste is perfection when paired with hazelnuts.

Quick Tip: When in doubt with hard-to-pair foods like salad or asparagus, a handful of chopped nuts tossed onto them makes all the difference by providing a flavor anchor for a suitable wine pairing.

Salút!

Apr6, 2016

Varietal Vignette: Riesling

April 6th, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

Varietal Vignette - Reisling_BlogRiesling, sweet, dry, and off-dry, is loved around the world for its aromatic profile and bracing acidity, but what is the story behind the grape, and why is it making a sudden comeback in the United States? Take a look at these fun facts about America’s fastest rising wine star.

Darling of the Rhine

Riesling, a white wine with perfumed aromas and gorgeous, lush flavors, originated in the Rhine region of Germany starting around the 15th century. There, it still the most widely grown varietal, and has since spread in popularity to places like Austria, France, and the United States. In the 80s and 90s, sweet Riesling got a bad rap in America when it was being made as poor-quality bulk wine, but since then, Riesling from California, Washington, Oregon and the Finger Lakes is making a comeback with serious wine enthusiasts. Among the reasons cited for this is the white’s diverse expression, unique pairing ability, and crowd-pleasing flavor profile.

Fun Fact: The International Riesling Federation (IRF) has developed a scale published on the back of many Riesling bottles marking the level of sweetness of each bottle!

Reisling Description

Descriptors: Riesling runs a range of aromas and flavors, but common descriptors include pineapple, Meyer lemon, jasmine blossom, apricot, and minerals. Many Rieslings three or more years of age will develop the famed “Petrol” note - a highly sought characteristic in European Rieslings.

Have any favorite Riesling food pairings? We’d love to hear your suggestions!

Mar31, 2016

TCM Classic Film Festival Sweepstakes Instructions

March 31st, 2016|1 Comment

SWEEPSTAKES INSTRUCTIONS: HOW TO ENTER

Sweepstakes Instructions-01

Visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/tcmwines

1.  Like our page

2.  Click the Sweepstakes tab OR Sign Up botton and enter your details on our entry form
 
 
Option Two
For those who do not have a Facebook page you can also enter by US Mail.  We must receive it no later later than April 14, 2016.

1.  Send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope with your contact information

2.  Address it to: TCM Wine Club Classic Film Festival Flyaway Weekend for Two c/o TCM Wine Club, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 1101 New York, NY 10107

3.  Official rules still apply
Mar24, 2016

Keeping It Cool: Wine Refrigerators for Any Budget

March 24th, 2016|1 Comment

by Sarah Shotwell

Wine Refrigerators for any budget_blogsizeFor those who are patient enough to wait for the perfect age time on that special bottle of GSM or Cab, having a safe, temperature-controlled place to store wine can mean the difference between a transcendental tasting experience and a deflating disappointment. Nothing is worse than opening up a wine lovingly stored for years, only to discover that it has gone flat, suffered oxidation, or turned to vinegar.

You’ll never have that problem again if you invest in a slick wine fridge, now designed to fit within any lifestyle or budget. There are built-in, portable, or countertop options holding anywhere from six to hundreds of bottles. And good wine storage isn’t only for the disciplined: for spontaneous types, what could be better than having perfectly chilled wine ready to go at a moment’s notice?

Do you have a wine refrigerator that you love? Have you found that it makes a difference?

Let us know! Twitter - Facebook - Instagram

Mar15, 2016

Overlooked Grape Alert: Pinotage

March 15th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

Pinotage_Blog size

Pinotage may sound like a Pinot Noir drinking game involving dice, but it’s actually a little-known red wine native to South Africa. Developed in 1925 when scientist Abraham Perold crossed Pinot Noir and Cinsault (also called Hermitage) grapes, Pinotage more closely resembles Shiraz in both flavor and color than its distant relation, Pinot Noir.

Pinotage grapes are very dark (often described as “inky”) and high-tannin. These traits, combined with their trademark high crop yields, made the grape notoriously difficult for winemakers to properly manage, and gave Pinotage wines a reputation for unpredictable quality. In recent years, the concerted efforts of many producers to reduce crop yields and refine winemaking techniques have resulted in a more predictable, global-market-friendly flavor. Pinotage also lends itself well to blends, particularly with Shiraz, and for dinner it pairs exceptionally well with the bold taste of BBQ.

Have you tried Pinotage? Let us know what your favorite food pairings have been on Twitter,  Instagram, or Facebook!

Mar9, 2016

Tasting Room Etiquette: To Tip or Not to Tip?

March 9th, 2016|0 Comments

by Sarah Shotwell

To Tip or Not to Tip_blog sizeTo Tip or Not to Tip? The topic of gratuity is one that can spark much debate and confusion. Here in the states, we tip everywhere and for everything. We tip the cab driver, the server, the hair stylist, the barista, the bartender, and the masseuse. In wine tasting rooms, however, where hosts might offer multiple pours, an advanced wine education lesson, a tour, and/or up to an hour of personalized conversation to a customer, often without the promise of even a tiny sale, tips remain inconsistent. Tasting room attendants don’t really know if they should expect tips, and customers don’t really know if they should give them. With that in mind, and with almost a decade of tasting room hosting experience under my belt, I thought I would offer some basic suggestions.

To start, if you received outstanding, memorable service, do tip your host. Five to ten dollars per party is a solid amount. On the other hand, if you received really poor service, please don’t tip. The wine industry prides itself on passion. Reinforcing bad or neglectful service just hurts everyone involved. Lastly, if your friends would like to tip, please don’t tell them not to. This is something we’ve seen a lot in the tasting room: even after receiving exceptional service, a customer will tell his or her eager, generous party not to tip because “it’s not what you do at a winery.” This is not true. It’s also demoralizing to a host who has done a great job. Ultimately, whether or not to tip (and how much) is really up to the customer. Just know that in the tasting room, just like any other service establishment, tipping is a way you [...]

Feb23, 2016

Sweet Wine Of Mine: A Dessert Wine Primer

February 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

TCM_SweetWineOfMine_blogAhhh…youth. Age may dull the memory and sharpen the palate, but there likely shines a time in the sweet, adolescent mists of your past when the word “wine” was just a precursor to the word “cooler.” You’ve of course grown since then, matured and ripened; for one thing, it’s much easier to drink indoors as an adult—no more twist-off caps left behind in public park grass! Your taste buds have also been refined to the point where a sip of your old beloved Mixed Berry cooler might make you...well, wince. Understandably so: that stuff was sweet. But sometimes…in those sweet, adult mists of your mind, you might miss the ease of empirically sugared alcohol.

There is a very adult loophole to the suppressed desire for teenaged sucre: dessert wines. There are sweet sparkling wines that fit this bill, yes—Dolce/Dulce and Moelleux—but for serious sugar-smacking reminiscence there are Gewurztraminers and Rieslings, nuanced German whites made from extra sweet wine grapes, and Moscato, made from ancient Muscat grapes. Sweetness here is induced by halting the fermentation of these grapes before yeast turns the entirety of natural grape sugar into alcohol; killing yeast = the creation of sweet. Not sweet enough for you? Try a Late Harvest Spatlese (more time on the vine results in grapes with more residual sugar), or wines from the more exotic ‘Noble Rot’ (the prized Botrytis Cinerea spore that imparts flavors of ginger and honey) tradition, like the French Sauternes and German Auslese.

Ice Wine (Eiswein) is the ultimate dessert wine — most often made from Riesling or Vidal grapes, this wine is pricey due to the rare conditions required for its existence: a vineyard must freeze, and all harvesting and pressing of grapes must occur while those grapes [...]

Feb17, 2016

Red, White, & You: Choose The Wine You Really Want Without Worrying About Stained Teeth

February 17th, 2016|0 Comments

by Paullette Gaudet

RedWineStain1_blog“Red wine, or white?” is usually the easiest choice of the night at any given party, unless you favor reds and are attending a more formal event where the risk of meeting a future employer/client/in-law with purple-stained teeth forces you to abstain from your usual poison. If you’re tired of choking down Chablis at high-stakes events when you’d much rather sip Sangiovese, a new solution is nigh: tooth gloss!

These portable tubes of clear dental gloss provide both shine and stain protection on-the-run, and many boast teeth-whitening properties, to boot. White wine drinkers can also join in on the fun: tooth gloss comes in tubes, pens and power swabs, and is a quick way to freshen breath between Chardonnay refills or erase enamel stains from, say, that second slice of cherry pie. Arm yourself to the teeth and smile without fear!

Let us know what your favorite tooth gloss is on Facebook or Twitter!

Feb4, 2016

Movie & Wine Pairing - The Love Parade

February 4th, 2016|0 Comments

Our next scheduled movie & wine pairing for the TCM Wine Club will take place Friday, February 5th at 8:00 PM (ET)

The Movie: The Love Parade (1929)
The Wine: Castello di Spessa Friulano 2012

 

The Love Parade-posterpw-Castello di Spessa Friulano 2012

A count finds his marriage to a queen less than satisfying.
Dir: Ernst Lubitsch Cast: Maurice Chevalier , Jeanette MacDonald , Lupino Lane .
BW-109 mins,

Tasting Notes:

Varietal/Region: Friuli Isonzo DOC, Italy

Friulano is the grape behind some of Italy's most
expensive whites. Pair this versatile wine with a versatile filmmaker... Read more >

If you are taking part in this movie & wine pairing, please leave us a comment on our Blog or Facebook.

Enjoy!

NEXT Movie & Wine Pairing takes place on Sunday, February 14th at 2:15 AM (ET)

Not a member yet?  Join the Club Today!

Dec11, 2015

What is a Varietal You Ask?

December 11th, 2015|2 Comments

Join us on location at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, in Sonoma County, California. You’ll hear TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and Master of Wine Justin Howard-Sneyd answer the question - Just what is a Varietal.

Whats a Varietal from TCM Wine Club

HINT- Here's the answer:
Well, a varietal is the term given to the type of grape variety you've used to make that particular wine. So, right behind us here we have a vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon. That is a grape varietal, and wines made that are called Cabernet Sauvignon are made from that varietal, and there are literally thousands of different varietals around the world, it's 2,000 in Italy alone. So it's quite complicated but there are probably a handful of varietals that really are wines that you'd encounter all around the world and are well-known names of the wine world.

Dec7, 2015

Movie & Wine Pairing - Lust for Life

December 7th, 2015|3 Comments

Our next scheduled movie & wine pairing for the TCM Wine Club will take place Wednesday, Dec 9 at 3:45 PM (ET)

The Movie: Lust for Life (1956)
The Wine: Grande Reserve de Gassac Blanc 2014

Lust-for-LifeGrande-Reserve-de-Gassac-Blanc-20141

Tasting Notes:

The rugged landscape of the southern France lends itself to this wine’s concentrated notes of wild herbs and citrus just as it did to painter Vincent Van Gogh’s richly concentrated colors. Watch Kirk Douglas’ layered performance as Van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956) and enjoy... Read more >

If you are taking part in this movie & wine pairing, please leave us a comment on our Blog or Facebook.

Enjoy!

NEXT Movie & Wine Pairing takes place on Monday, December 14th @ 10:15 PM (ET)

Not a member yet?  Join the Club Today!

 

Dec1, 2015

Secret Santa: The Gift Of A Re-Organized Wine Journal

December 1st, 2015|0 Comments

By Paullette Gaudet
Journal
When Time isn’t busy healing-all-wounds or making-hearts-grow-fonder, it can often be found moonlighting in the proving-uncomfortable-truths department. One of those tricky things you only learn with age is that a person really CAN have everything, which is fantastic for them but distressing to the well-intentioned gift-giver.

But never fear! Another gift-giving cliché also eventually proven true with time: It is, indeed, the thought that counts. This year, offer your well-appointed friends the gift of organizing an item they already own!

[...]

Nov26, 2015

Movie & Wine Pairing - Lost Horizon

November 26th, 2015|0 Comments

Our next scheduled movie & wine pairing for the TCM Wine Club will take place Friday, Nov 27 at 11:45 PM (ET)

The Movie: Lost Horizon (1937)
The Wine: The Gooseberry Bush Colombard/Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Lost-Horizon The-Gooseberry-Bush-Colombard-Sauvignon-Blanc-20141

Tasting Notes: Shangri-La may be the stuff of dreams, but its joys can be experienced in both this wine—produced in an idyllic setting between mountain ranges—and in Frank Capra’s adaptation of Lost Horizon (1937). Read more >

If you are taking part in this movie & wine pairing, please leave us a comment on our Blog or Facebook.

Enjoy!

NEXT Movie & Wine Pairing takes place on Wednesday, December 9th @ 3:45 PM (ET)

Not a member yet?  Join the Club Today!

 

Nov22, 2015

Movie & Wine Pairing - On an Island with You

November 22nd, 2015|6 Comments

Our next scheduled movie & wine pairing for the TCM Wine Club will take place Wednesday, Nov 25 at 4:15 PM (ET)

The Movie: On an Island with You (1948)
The Wine: Sunday Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 

On-an-Island-with-YouSunday-Bay-Sauvignon-Blanc-20142

Tasting Notes: Pair this blast of tropical fruit with Hollywood’s refreshing girl-next-door Esther Williams in On an Island with You (1948). Savor notes of passion fruit while romance ignites onscreen between Williams and costar Peter Lawford, stranded together on a beautiful but remote tropical island. Read more >

If you are taking part in this movie & wine pairing, please leave us a comment on our Blog or Facebook.

Enjoy!

NEXT Movie & Wine Pairing takes place on Friday, November 27th @ 11:45 PM (ET)

Not a member yet?  Join the Club Today!

 

Nov19, 2015

Movie & Wine Pairing - The Big Country

November 19th, 2015|0 Comments

Another scheduled movie & wine pairing for this weekend will take place Saturday, Nov 21 at 5:00PM (ET)

The Movie: The Big Country (1958)
The Wine: Alambrado Malbec 2014

The-Big-Country-1958pw-Alambrado-Malbec-2014

 

Tasting Notes: Head out west with the infinitely appealing Gregory Peck in The Big Country (1958) while sipping on this subtly spicy, smooth-finishing Malbec. While filming locations like California’s arid Red Rock Canyon State Park may be a world away from the Andean foothills of Mendoza, they provide an equally stunning backdrop for this epic Western tale of rival ranching families. Read More >

If you are taking part in this movie & wine pairing, please leave us a comment on our Blog or Facebook.

Enjoy!

NEXT Movie & Wine Pairing takes place on Wednesday, November 25th @ 4:15 PM (ET)

Not a member yet?  Join the Club Today!

 

Nov17, 2015

Movie & Wine Pairing - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

November 17th, 2015|1 Comment

Our next scheduled movie & wine pairing for the TCM Wine Club will take place Friday, Nov 20 at  8:00PM (ET)

The Movie: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
The Wine: Chateau La Commanderie de Queyret 2012

The-Hunchback-of-Notre-Dame-1939pw-Chateau-La-Commanderie

 

Tasting Notes: Charles Laughton’s dark and mysterious Quasimodo becomes an unlikely hero in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), just as violet and plum flavors emerge from this Bordeaux red’s dark tones. Read more >

If you are taking part in this movie & wine pairing, please leave us a comment on our Blog or Facebook.

Enjoy!

NEXT Movie & Wine Pairing takes place on Saturday, November 21st @ 5:00 PM (ET)

Not a member yet?  Join the Club Today!

 

Nov12, 2015

What’s the purpose of the swirling?

November 12th, 2015|0 Comments

What’s the purpose of the swirling you may ask?  Join Master of Wine Justin Howard-Sneyd & host Ben Mankiewicz at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery to learn about the art of the swirl.

Swirl and Smell

Ben: You’ve done a couple of things right off the bat right there.  You swirled it. What’s the purpose of the swirling?

Justin: Well a lot of the flavor of the wine is captured in the, in the aroma, and with a glass like this, it nicely sort of channels and funnels that aroma above the wine. Actually when you swirl it, what you are doing is releasing a little more of that aroma. You’re letting the air mix with the wine and the aroma kind of swirls off, so when you then put your nose to smell it, the aroma is enhanced and extended because you’ve, you’ve done that swirling.

Explore the world of films and wines with the TCM Wine Club

Oct27, 2015

TCM Wine Club

October 27th, 2015|0 Comments

Welcome to the Wine Club - www.tcmwineclub.com

Oct27, 2015

TCM Wine Club Launches Today - Read the Press Release

October 27th, 2015|3 Comments

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Launches TCM Wine Club To Help Consumers Discover Wine Through The Lens Of The Movies
TCM, Direct Wines and Wines That Rock Partner to Deliver Originally Produced and Expertly Selected Exclusive Wines from World Renowned Vineyards

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Launches TCM Wine Club To Help Consumers Discover Wine Through The Lens Of The Movies (PRNewsFoto/Turner Classic Movies)

ATLANTA, Oct. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced the TCM Wine Club, a new venture which curates originally produced wines inspired by classic films as well as expertly selected varietals from renowned vineyards around the globe – all with the convenience of home delivery. TCM has partnered with Direct Wines, specialists in direct-to-consumer wine partnerships, as well as Wines That Rock, the pop culture wine company behind classic Rock 'n' Roll-influenced wines and more, to create an exclusive club for film buffs and wine enthusiasts alike.

As part of the inaugural offer, new members will receive fifteen special bottles including the first-ever release of Cafe Zoetrope, a custom-crafted red from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Members will also enjoy True Grit Limited Edition Zinfandel along with The Essentials Cabernet Sauvignon – the first in a series of single-varietal wines, specifically curated for TCM Wine Club members, to showcase the world's great grapes.

Each quarter thereafter, club members will receive twelve bottles encouraging a journey of discovery around the world, which include movie-themed wines handpicked by TCM Wine Club experts. All cases will be accompanied by detailed background notes on each wine and suggested movie pairings.

"We are always looking for new and exciting brand extension opportunities and are thrilled to partner with Direct Wines and Wines that Rock [...]

Oct21, 2015

Magnum P.I.—Solving The Mystery Of Large Format Bottles

October 21st, 2015|0 Comments

Magnum P.I.—Solving The Mystery Of Large Format Bottles

by Paullette Gaudet
bottles1Ah, the holidays are upon us once again, bringing with them our yearly role as Holiday Party Guest #1, and including all attendant pleasures and responsibilities. The swirly fun of shopping for new party togs—and rehearsing new anecdotes!—is somewhat tempered by the requirements of party punctuality and, of course, keeping one’s re-gifting list straight. Speaking of which: keep those questionable dinner guest wine bottles—the liquid equivalent of fruitcake—out of circulation this year and stand out from the party-guest-pack by upgrading your gift wines to large format bottles.

[...]

Oct21, 2015

Varietal Vignette: Petite Sirah

October 21st, 2015|0 Comments

Varietal Vignette: Petite Sirah

by Sarah Shotwell 
VineyardPetite Sirah (also known as Durif) is a big, dark, spicy red wine with an alluring past, and it’s making a bold comeback in California.

Mysterious Origins

Petite Sirah has a bit of a winding, head-scratching history. In 1880, it was created by a French botanist who grew a vine from the seed of Peloursin, an archaic French variety, and pollinated it from an unknown source (now believed to be Syrah). This new wine had an inky black color and a bold, juicy, tannic profile. In France, it was called Durif, after its creator.

Though its origins were then unknown to American farmers, the grape came to California in the late 1800s, and stood strong while the local Syrah crop was bing decimated by Phylloxera, a dangerous pest native to North America. But here in the States, the grape’s true time to shine was during Prohibition, when because of its thicker skin and tightly packed clusters, it was one of the few varietals strong enough to be shipped on trains to home winemakers back east. There was a dip in production in the second half of the century, but now, winemakers throughout the Golden State are rediscovering their love for a varietal that continues to surprise and delight wine drinkers, many of whom are encountering it for the first time.

Descriptors

Petite Sirah is most famous for its inky, black color and bold, fruity, tannic expression. Its ripe, blackberry flavors are kept in check by notes of pepper, leather, and herbs. It’s an excellent addition to the winemaker’s blending kit, or, done right, the wine can stand alone as a satisfying accompaniment to hearty winter fare like wild game, lamb stew, and sharp cheeses.

 

Oct21, 2015

Spotlight: San Luis Obispo

October 21st, 2015|0 Comments

Spotlight: San Luis Obispo

by Sarah Shotwell
 San-Luis
Appellations:
Edna Valley AVA, Arroyo Grande Valley AVA
Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Gris
Climate: Region 1 - cool, misty marine zone with warm afternoons
Soil types: Limestone, sandstone, shale

Profile: A few years back, San Luis Obispo received worldwide attention when it was named “The Happiest City in America” by a writer from National Geographic. It’s not hard to see why. This sun-soaked village sits in a coastal valley caught between emerald-green peaks and is only ten minutes from the beach. Unaffected by the traffic and population that clogs much of the Golden State, the remote town is shared by a mix of energetic young college students and low-key, quirky, long-time locals. The dining scene is wine-friendly and locally-sourced.

Stretching south and east from town are miles of cool-climate vineyards and wineries boasting delicious and reasonably priced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Riesling. These wineries are staffed with students and graduates of the state-of-the-art winemaking and viticulture program at Cal Poly, the local university, offering the region immediate access to the state’s most promising up-and-coming talent.

Though famous for its joy-factor, San Luis Obispo is often skipped over by the visiting winos seeking Pinot in northern Santa Barbara County (brought to fame by the 2004 film Sideways) or big red Cabs, Zins, and Rhone-inspired blends in Paso Robles to the north. But “SLO”, as locals call it, is more than worth a stop. The longevity of the region is alone impressive, with a winemaking history reaching back to Spanish arrival in the 1770s.

These days, a vibrant, laid-back, family-driven culture colors the tasting experience. It is not ncommon for owners and winemakers to be hanging out in the tasting rooms, chatting with customers and pulling barrel samples. Everyone is eager [...]

Oct20, 2015

Old & New: 5 Alternatives to Oak Barrel Aging

October 20th, 2015|0 Comments

Montes; Colchagua Valley; Chile

Montes; Colchagua Valley; Chile

By Sarah Shotwell

When it comes to fermenting and aging wines, barrels have dominated the scene for awhile now. But that wasn’t always the case. These days, some hip, creative winemakers are turning to both new and old materials to up their oenology games.

French Oak Puncheons
The typical 225-liter barrels we see everywhere today are being challenged by larger, 500-liter puncheons and giant upright oak fermenters. Word is that our common, small barrels were designed for ease of use, but they can give off an oak characteristic that is too aggressive and concentrated for more delicate varietals. Winemakers all over the world are trying out larger vessels with varying aging times to find the perfect ratio of oak influence for each wine. Wine fermented and aged in French oak tends to take on toasty caramel and vanilla characteristics. [...]

Oct13, 2015

A Brief History of Wine in the Movies

October 13th, 2015|0 Comments

hollywoodhjby Kimberly Lindbergs

The movies have had a long and passionate love affair with wine. From zesty Zinfandels to crisp Chardonnays, an endless variety of wines have been seen on the silver screen, and drunk in abundance. In the silent era, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle and Charles Chaplin used wine to generate big laughs in comedies such as Fatty’s Wine Party (1914) and The Adventurer (1917). Wine also encouraged wonderful flights of fancy in F. W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh (1924) and William A. Wellman’s Oscar-winning war drama Wings (1927). During this period director Alfred Hitchcock developed an interest in sparkling wines that lasted throughout his career and is apparent in many of his films including The Ring (1927) and Champagne (1927), which tells the story of a young heiress whose fortune rests in bottles of bubbly. Sparkling wines also make notable appearances in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Rope (1948) and most famously, Notorious (1946), where keen-eyed viewers can spot the Master of Suspense sipping a glass of champagne in one of his many famous cameos. [...]

WINE CLUB TIP -  Break out your Principe Strozzi Selvascura 2013 Toscana IGT, Italy Sunday nights in November!