Enjoying a taste of the Belle Ambiance

“We all have a place to relax and unwind, to enjoy and forget about the world, if only for a little while…” This is line that greeted me when I opened the box from Belle Ambiance Family Vineyards. Oh man, relax and unwind? Forget about the world? Sign me up!

Since life’s pleasures are best when shared, I took a bottle of Belle Ambiance 2013 Pinot Grigio to my sister-in-law’s house for Easter. While the kids dyed eggs (and their fingers… and probably the couch… and maybe the dog) we enjoyed a cold glass of this delightfully fresh white wine.

ImageThe pinot grigio has a delicate balance of honeysuckle and melon, cucumber and a blade or two of green grass. The light Imageeffervescence made it feel like a guilty treat that we probably didn’t deserve while the husbands were cleaning up egg shells and dye, but we didn’t really care. The cares of the world are not match for springtime sun and a cold pinot grigio!

The soft pink label only added to the feeling of serenity, and belied the very affordable retail price of $9.99. This is a wine I’d feel  confident bringing to a brunch with the aunts and mother-in-law or sharing with my wine-snob friends.

While Belle Ambiance is a new line of wines, it comes from the well-established Delicato Family Vineyards in California, which has been producing wines since 1924. It strives to bring premium, responsible wines to the Millennial market. Belle Ambiance means “beautiful place,” and I like that it’s striving to make this world a more beautiful place by producing certified-sustainable wines in my budget. I can feel good about taking a few minutes to myself to enjoy the sun on my shoulders and the crisp bite of wine on my tongue. Cheers to my own belle ambiance!

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Three party-friendly wines for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is around the corner (two days, to be exact), and I’m feverishly trying to figure out which wines I want to take to my in-laws for the big dinner. I’m a red drinker, but not everyone likes red, and all the experts say you’re supposed to drink white with poultry. To make everyone happy, I’m taking one of each. dreaming tree

The red choice was easy. I love Crush, a red blend by Dreaming Tree Wines. This is Dave Matthews’ vin-venture with veteran winemaker Steve Reeder, and they knock it out of the park. (is there anything that man can’t do?) I love Reeder’s philosophy: “I make wines for people to drink. I don’t make wines for people to put into their cellar.” Crush is so drinkable, I know that anyone in my eclectic group coming together this Thanksgiving will enjoy it. I won’t have to worry that it’s too tannic, or too sweet, or too… red. It’s the perfect easy-drinking red.a bottle of each. (for my first review of Crush, read here)

The white choice was a little harder, mostly because I don’t drink much white wine. I’m pretty picky with my whites, but I guess that means that if I bring a white wine that I like, there’s a good chance that everyone will like it. I’m pretty hard to please. Image

I recently sampled a rose’ by Sequin Wines and have a bottle of the winery’s pinot grigio at the ready. I opened it tonight and think it will make an excellent choice for Thanksgiving dinner. Sequin wines are “delicately bubbled” and have just a touch of fizz on the pour. The carbonation is so light, it’s just a breath of fizz on the tongue. Don’t worry, you won’t be taking up valuable real estate in your belly before the turkey arrives. Sequin pinot grigio is sweet, but not syrupy or heavy. It would balance nicely with a roasted turkey and green bean casserole (can you tell which dishes are my favorite?).

Party bonus: The Sequin website has some great recipes to turn their wine into festive party drinks. (hello, “Sequini”!)

Because Sequin isn’t readily available in every region, I’m suggesting an alternative for your white wine: 14 Hands Chardonnay.

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I know that some chardonnays can be heavy and oaky, and that is NOT what you want for this National Day of Eating. But 14 Hands is wonderfully versatile – a balanced blend of floral and fruity. It has touches of apple and pear with a hint of green grass and fresh flowers. 14 Hands can be found in most grocery stores with a decent wine aisle, and is priced around $15. (I reviewed it here.)

Whatever your plans are this Thanksgiving, may your day be filled with gratitude… and a healthy pour of great wine!