Sparkling Cabernet Franc and Jewish Eggs Benny

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Happy Christmas! If you didn’t know already, I’m Jewish and my husband is atheist so we’ve never been super into Christmas. That said, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to enjoy the time off and the ability to become a shut in for 24-48 hours. Our Christmas tradition is to binge watch Harry Potter and make some really great food. On the menu this year is Jack Wife’s Freda’s eggs benedict for brunch and pulled pork for dinner. As far as the eggs benny go, they are basically the Jewiest eggs benedict one could make, with the poached egg sitting atop a base of a sweet potato latke, lox, and topped with a beet hollandaise sauce. I bought the Jack’s Wife Freda cookbook for my mother in law for Hanukkah and stumbled upon this recipe and thought, YES. Perfect for a Jewish Christmas.

I was unsure what wine to pair this brunch dish with until I went to my favorite wine shop, Underdog for a tasting on the 23rd. The real reason I was there was to meet Andrew Major (he’s a KC dude, did you know?) and try his new Gamay. In addition to pouring the Major Wine’s Gamay (more on that later) they were pouring several bottles from Broc Cellars. I fell in love with Broc when I was in Dallas for Thanksgiving. I tried the Old Vine Zin and rather than taking notes on it (or sharing it with anyone else) I savored it all myself and didn’t write a blog post about it. Oops. But when I told Ryan from Underdog how much I loved it, he promised that he would be getting in some Broc before the end of the year. Well the time has come and I was able to try four bottles. All were amazing, but one stood out to both my husband and me-- the sparkling Cabernet Franc.

This sparkling wine is 100% Cabernet Franc grown in Santa Barbara using sustainable practices. Total production was only 72 cases of this, their 2016 vintage. This is their fifth vintage of the sparkling Cabernet Franc. On the nose it is bright cherries and red fruits. On the palate it is cranberries and seawater. The acidity of the Cabernet Franc cuts through the saltiness of the salmon and latke and the richness of the egg and hollandaise perfectly. This was both my first time making poached eggs and my first time making hollandaise sauce so I’m super happy with how it turned out. I asked my husband if it was beautiful and he said, “not really, but it tastes great.” I disagree, I think the fuschia beet hollandaise is both surprising and gorgeous but then maybe I’m biased because I slaved away over it for an hour and some change.

This whole dish is a super fun take on eggs benedict and perfect if you’re serving pescatarians or someone who keeps kosher. Or it’s perfect for a Jew and an atheist to each on Christmas morning. Despite being Jewish, there are still some Christmas traditions that I enjoy, like listening to Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas album and watching Christmas movies. When I expressed this sentiment on Facebook and noted that I wish people would quit policing others’ Jewishness, some dude who I don’t even really know informed me that “he didn’t want to sound like he was policing me but Jewish law forbids Jews from celebrating even the secular aspects of Christian holidays.” I didn’t handle this well, as I tend to have little tolerance for mansplainers. I informed the guy that yes, this was the policing behavior I was talking about and I could decide if and how I celebrate holidays, including Christmas.

I’m over it now for the most part but seriously, can’t we trust other adults to make the right decisions for themselves and their lives? Oh well, I am going to go back to watching my Christmas movie and drinking this sparkling wine. Oh, and as I mentioned, we are eating pulled pork for dinner and I give zero fucks. I hope you have a very merry Christmas or Festivus or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate but whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re doing it with good people and good wine.

Battle of the Cans: Foxie and Fiction

Foxie

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Foxie is the amazing collaboration from two of my favorite winemakers, Andrew Jones of Field Recordings and Josh Rosenstein of Hoxie Spritzer. This particular spritzer is made with Chardonnay, citra hops and sour cherry essence. The Chardonnay is full bodied but the hops and sour cherries brighten it up and make it feel energetic. It is fruity without being sweet, like a La Croix. Spritzers are perfect for when you want to keep your wits about you since they are lower in alcohol than straight wine. I had a friend over last night and between him, my husband and I we had like 4 bottles of wine so I am not in the mood to get crazy tonight and a spritzer is perfect. In fact, I’m pairing this with Broad City, which I have been watching in my sweats all day-- it’s a great combination. This can reminds me of the pool. It is the best shade of light blue and would be so perfect to sip poolside. I am a professional pool-drinker and one mistake I notice novices often making is choosing a beverage with a high ABV. You don’t want anything with too much alcohol because the sun and heat can deplete your energy real fast and leave you wasted by 3:00 p.m. This is why spritzers are the perfect pool drink. I either make my own or bring Hoxie with me, but now I am dying to take this Foxie to the pool before pool season officially ends.

Fiction Red

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If you read my blog religiously, well, then you’re probably my mom (hi, Mom!) But seriously, if you read my blog regularly you might be like, “Sarah, wtf? You reviewed Fiction Red a few months ago and P.S. you talk about it all the damn time!” All true. But guess what, I’ve never had Fiction Red in a can! Cans totally change the way a wine tastes so I thought it was fair to give Fiction Red in a can its own review. Here’s the story I tell again and again about Fiction Red (sorry if you’ve heard it one million times already) it was my introduction to good wine about three years ago. I have since fallen in love with everything under the Field Recordings umbrella but I still keep coming back to this solid red blend. Speaking of blends, it is a crazy blend of a bunch of stuff including Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Viognier. I like chilling this wine because as I’ve mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of non-chilled wine in cans and I’m also a fan of chilled reds. This wine is bold and tastes of boysenberry jam on biscuits hot out of the oven. There is also a hint of tobacco on the palate. I hung out with a lot of poets in college and one was super into smoking tobacco from a pipe. This tastes the way that smelled (minus the pretentious tude).

Battle of the Cans

I’ll keep it brief, but here is what I’ll tell you upfront; These wines are both from Alloy Wineworks, which is under the Field Recordings (my favorite) umbrella. They are from the Central Coast of California and they are great. That’s kind of all you need to know.

Alloy Wine Works Weissland

It is so hot in Kansas City right now that I just want to jump into an ice bath and pour La Croix down my throat. Instead, I’ve been stuck running around the city in my car, having to get out so often that the AC never seems to have a chance to really cool down. Today, the management team from my office took a team building excursion to an escape room. Two things I’m not really into are team building and puzzles. It was fine though but no, my team did not escape in time. Afterwards, we went to one of my favorite bars, Tom’s Town, for a quick drink. When we finished, my coworker and I decided to walk back to where our cars were parked, about a mile away.

I was dripping with sweat by the time I reached my car and I couldn’t wait to get home and open the Alloy Wine Works Weissland that I bought last night. This weather just calls for canned wine, preferably a sparking canned wine. The Weissland is a sparkling Chardonnay made with hops. I’m not a big beer drinker so I was dubious about whether I would like the wine or not. Luckily, it tastes like a sour beer, which I happen to love. It is bright on the palate, tasting like sour cherry pie. It is pretty perfect for the weather as it is super refreshing.

I’m really bummed that it is so hot because I would love to be porch-sitting with this wine reading my light, feel-good summertime book, Missoula. Have you read it? If so, you’ll know that i’m joking as it is about as heavy as it can get, focusing on rape on college campuses and the justice system. It’s really great though and a topic that desperately needs attention. But no, I’m on my couch, energy zapped, watching Breaking Bad. Luckily I have this refreshing wine by my side.

Methodé Aluminum Pinot Noir

All right, it is the next day and I honestly think it may be hotter outside today than it was yesterday. Why can’t we stay home when it is crazy hot like we stay home on snow days? I got an email today that our ceiling is collapsing from the heat at my office and immediately went home. Anyhow, I tried the Methodé Aluminum sparkling Chardonnay a few months ago and was truly impressed. This is saying a lot because it was in the height of my Chardonnay nay-saying days. I was super excited to give the Pinot Noir a try because this is a varietal that I’ve virtually always loved. I popped this in the fridge because a. It’s hot af (see above) and b. I like my light-bodied reds a little chilly.

I just opened this and exclaimed to myself, “Oh my God, I can’t believe this is sparkling! I didn’t expect that and I am so excited!” Had I read the entire label instead of just tearing into this like a disgusting sweat monster, I would have seen that this was sparkling. This is so fucking refreshing and I know that a lot of people don’t think of red wines in that way. All I have to say to that is, GO LIGHT-BODIED, HONEY. Get on that Gamay or Pinot Noir train and never look back (until fall).

This tastes like straight up raspberry juice. Why isn’t that a thing? I’ve seen cran-ras, of course, but never just raspberry. That sounds so delightful. This has the nuttiness of fresh raspberries, like sliced almonds in a spinach salad. I have finally cooled down to the point that my toes are cold and honestly, it feels so good. I never want to put socks (or pants) on again, or at least not until October. I’ve never had a sparkling red in a can and it is so perfect. There is something a little odd about opening a can of still wine…  Don’t get me wrong, I still love non-sparkling wine from cans but I don’t know, we are just conditioned to expect bubbles from a can. Therefore, this is absolutely great. It would be perfect by a pool or on a beach somewhere. Mmmm.

Okay, I know "Battle of the Cans" insinuated a competition. But this is the best kind of competition where everyone is a winner! C'mon, you know I'm a millenial and am all about participation trophies. But seriously, I will only ever feature wines that I believe in on this blog. 

A Guide to Day Drinking

This is my most sacrilegious post thus far. I’d apologize, but I don’t really care. If you’re a rabbi or super religious Jew, maybe just skip this one.  

The cool thing about working for a Jewish agency is that you get a ton of random days off throughout the year. I mean, they aren’t random, they are for Jewish holidays. But when you aren’t the most religious Jew, you can just sleep in and chill most of the time. This week happens to be Shavuot. Here’s the extent of my knowledge about Shavuot: we eat cheesecake. Also, maybe some people tried to kill us thousands of years ago and we survived or something. I don’t know, that’s just a guess but it’s usually the case.

 I reached out to my friend Andrew, who also works for a Jewish agency and is probably even less religious than I am and I asked if he wanted to day drink one of the days we were off. His response was “you had me at shalom.” So yes, he was down. He also informed me that he thought Shavuot was actually a celebration of the harvest ending, or something, and that people do some sort of two day party/rave (sounds Biblical, right?). Let’s go with that! 

Here’s the first thing you should know about day drinking, you need to be careful what you choose to imbibe. You want to steer clear of anything with too much alcohol because you’ll be shitfaced by 3:00 and hungover by 7:00. I recommend going with a white, rosé or even a light-bodied red since these will all be lower in alcohol than, say, a big fat Cab (which I do love in the right time and place). Here’s the other thing about day drinking, weather permitting, it should be done outside. Whites, rosés and lighter-bodied reds are going to be better outside anyway, because you know you want something chilled, if like me you’re day drinking on a warm, midwestern late spring day.  

I decided to go with a sparkling wine and light-bodied red. The sparkling wine I chose is the Pét-Nat from Field Recordings. Please don’t ask me to tell you the scientific definition of pétillant naturel (Pét-Nat) because I’m terrible at chemistry and in fact was kicked out of AP chem as a senior because I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. However, I do know that it is a naturally sparkling wine that continues part of its fermentation process in the bottle, thus creating a funkier, and sometimes more volatile, finished product. Field Recordings’ was the first Pét-Nat I ever tried. Actually, I found it at a different wine shop than I usually go to and had to deal with a real mansplainy dude to get it. He tried to convince me that all sparkling wine is pétillant naturel if it’s made in the Méthode Traditionelle and I was like “Uhhhh I don’t think so?” Don’t make me question myself just cause you’re a pretentious Somm.

 I know I’ve mentioned that I am more of a red wine drinker, but I could seriously drink Pét-Nat everyday, especially when it gets warm out. There is something about the funkiness to it that I just find so delicious. It’s also easy to throw back, which is perfect for day drinking. Like I’ve alluded, it’s super interesting with a barnyard quality and a brackishness to it. It smells like apple cider vinegar, in the best way. Like when you’re trying to be super healthy and take a shot of ACV every morning. It almost tastes like a ginger kombucha, which I love and also freeze dried mangoes. It is so effervescent and lovely and so unlike any other sparkling wine out there.

 The red wine I chose is a biodynamic Gamay from Didier Montchovet and imported by Jenny & Francois. Didier Montchovet sounds super dope. He started his vineyard in 1984 in Bouze-les-Beaune, a town in the Burgundy region of France and uses sustainable practices to produce his wines. This Gamay is so fruit forward. It kind of smells like barbecue but tastes like the pith of a grapefruit rolled into the pit of a plum, with black liquorish at the end. It’s even got notes of black cherry warheads, if you remember those. It is so full and lush and tastes amazing lightly chilled. It is perfect for porch-sitting with a friend or even on your own.

 So here I am, lightly buzzed and watching Transparent with Andrew while we sip La Croix. We also just tried a baby pineapple and a passionfruit because I am trying this new experiment where I buy strange fruit and eat it to hopefully expand my palette. Day drinking is super fun, especially when you can do it with a friend on a random holiday. Again, I highly suggest going with a lower alcohol wine like a white, rosé or light-bodied red so you can keep your wits about yourself at least until it's socially acceptable to really let loose. The wines I chose did not disappoint. They were light but energetic in two totally different ways. So go forth and day drink!

Note: Here 's my mom's take on Shavuot: "Shavuot celebrates when God gave the Torah at Sinai and the Jewish people accepted it. It is a pilgrimage festival and everybody used to go to the Temple to drink wine. You had the right idea all along." Thanks, Mom!