It's official, gang: summer has arrived. That means beach, bikinis and, most importantly, BBQ's! Yet aren’t you tired of showing up to those Sunday parties with your friends only to see the same old booze options of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir? Plus, there's always that one guy with the "Cab blend from California" who micromanages how much to pour everyone because it costs $60, yet somehow his glass is always topped off. We all hate that guy. But what if you could change all that and generate a whole new level of wine excitement at the table and a brand new buzz (pun intended). Change is good. So when you add these new wines to the beverage options on Sunday, you just might be the coolest kid in the room. Don't be surprised when you hear, “Hey, who brought this bottle?", "It’s SO damn delicious”, or even, “What the hell is a Gewürztraminer?”. Oh, it's a good feeling. Lucky for you - ILTG always provides the answers to make sure you're just as knowledgable as we are about this kinda stuff. With that being said, here's a few Sunday bangers that will keep you on top of your game: *Tip: You can purchase all of these wines together for under $50..........and you're welcome! Chateau Ste Michelle "Gewurztraminer" - Washington ($10) This wine is spicy, floral, yet really elegant and different. Stunning acidity and awesome with dumplings (if you're into that kind of thing). Gewürztraminer is the grape and sexy-smooth is her flavor. Forget Pinot Gris or Riesling. This is the red-headed stepchild of wines and everybody loves a redhead. Take a sip! Indaba, "Chenin Blanc" - Western Cape, South Africa ($10) Ahh...South Africa. Home to crazy safaris, lions and really yummy wine! Yes, I said it…Chenin Blanc a.k.a. “Steen” is the grape commonly found all over the southern tip of Africa. This basket of apples, pears and kiwi flavors is so damn good you’ll forget you're partaking in an adult beverage. Sippy cup recommended! #sippycuplifestyle take a sip! Domaine des Versauds "Morgon" 2015 - Burgundy, France Morgon (not to be confused with my ex-girlfriend) is one of ten Cru villages in Beaujolais. These are highly rated towns where the wines go for $80-100! From here I bring you Domaine Des Versauds, a stellar Gamay (that's the grape) with firm minerality and really cool violet and cherry notes. A great, hip alternative to Burgundy Pinot Noir. Keep it chilled for those hot summer nights when you know it's going to get spicy! St Cosme "Cotes du Rhone" 2013- Rhone Valley,France ($15) 100% Syrah! This bad boy is a show stopper. Juicy, spicy, and fresh, this wine is begging for food with bold flavors. Light the grill and call over some peeps. BBQ + Syrah = best damn Sunday ever! Great Cabernet Sauvignon replacement. Don’t forget to wear your big kid pants and take a sip! Nicholas Ducos Your #SommNextDoor: Nicholas Ducos. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a Certified Sommelier, Nicholas has worked in many prestigious restaurants in Miami, Florida. As a chef and as a sommelier, he is dedicated to creating a memorable dining experience and making wine relatable to others in a witty yet refined style. Nicholas is currently traveling the world learning the art of winemaking and plans to create his own label in the near future. Follow Nicholas's latest adventures through his website and Instagram.
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I was lucky enough to sit down with the pre-eminent authority on boutique South African wineries, Cezanne Kouta, at his relaxed store “1813” in Fourways, Johannesburg. Cezanne splits his time between the U.S. and his country of birth, South Africa. After completing an MBA in Los Angeles, Cezanne decided he wanted to work with his passion for hunting down the finest Cape wines you’ve never heard of and bringing them to the attention of wine lovers. Cezanne was tired of seeing major brand names exploiting their choke-hold on wine enthusiasts. He knows firsthand that the most incredible South African wines are hidden jewels made on a small scale by winemakers who aren’t concerned with profits and marketing. They live to create wines that require personal attention, love, and passion. “Wine is art,” says Cezanne with unshakeable confidence. “Put 10 people down with a good wine and you will get 10 different reactions. Put 10 people in front of a Picasso and you’ll have the same reaction. It’s personal; what works for one person may be a big ‘no’ for another." Cezanne isn’t impressed with the stuffy and pretentious approach the traditional wine authorities take. “They’re telling us there are ‘hints of loganberry’ in a wine. In South Africa, we’ve never tasted a loganberry! People need to be free to find what they love about a wine, not to be told what to look for!” Cezanne’s shop has a relaxed feel, and he encourages visitors to focus on what they enjoy rather than price and prestige. Cezanne has stories about all the wines he markets. Hands up if anyone has heard of Marianne. This wine, which is the secret lovechild of a prestigious French winemaker, was served by Queen Elizabeth II to the father of the South African nation, Nelson Mandela, during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. He has an infectious energy and a knowledge which can only be acquired through hands-on experience. He is dismayed that a lot of South African wine dumped on the American market is less than amazing while the truly great wines remain out of sight and out of reach. If Cezanne has his way, that sad situation is about to change.
South Africa is a country given to controversy, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the wine wild child born of a union of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut provoked skepticism at first. Rather than being welcomed, it was treated with suspicion and mistrust in the conservative wine world. Traditionalists could not believe that an unknown varietal from the far south of the African continent could be so impertinent as to invite itself to dinner at the best tables in Europe and the Americas. First ignored in polite society, in 1979 Pinotage was all but banished from the Northern hemisphere after a group of British Masters of Wine visited the Cape and judged it to have no future. South African wine makers refused to back down. 15 years later, Pinotage swaggered in like a precocious child when Beyers Truter of Kanonkop took the International Winemaker of the Year Award at the 1991 International Wine and Spirit Competition. The upstart had arrived. Pinotage is one of those wines everyone has an opinion about. It’s a bit like another South African son of an unusual union who has been setting the USA on fire with his comedic talents. Trevor Noah and Pinotage are both children of mixed backgrounds born on South African soil who have had the audacity to triumph first at home and then abroad. Much like Trevor Noah’s Twitter history, Pinotage still raises eyebrows, but consistently excellent offerings have won over the doubters and created fans all over the world. The Trevor Noah of the wine world is an adaptable grape that creates wines which can be taken seriously or lightly. Younger pinotage has fruity and berry flavors and aromas, while older pinotage is richer and more opulent. Diemersfontein is the original oak-matured ‘coffee chocolate’ wine which makes gourmets and wine lovers everywhere swoon. Only a brave new world would create a red wine that evokes coffee and chocolate, combinations previously forbidden by old school wine masters. South Africans broke the rules and ushered in an era where women no longer had to choose between a glass or two of wine or a box of chocolates. When it comes to food, pinotage is a sturdy wine capable of standing up to robust pairings that would make more delicate choices wilt. It can go head to head with a curry and is the perfect partner in crime to a traditional BBQ or a hearty stew with rich, aromatic flavors. The more refined versions evoke another South African superstar, Candice Swanepoel. Between pinotage, Trevor Noah, and Victoria’s Secret’s golden girl, the Rainbow Nation is finally coming into it’s own in every sphere. Let’s raise a glass to the newcomers. Marie-Ora de Villiers. Born in the far north of Namibia, I live in South Africa. I grew up in a multilingual home and spent a lot of time in Europe as a child, so I've always been fascinated with language and pronunciation. I love studying how food, wine, culture, and language combine organically over time to create new ideas. Huge animal lover with shoe and chocolate fetishes.
Music and Wine Should be Paired. Both can transport you to another time, place or memory. Sometimes, those memories can help create whole new experiences and new memories. While he has been noted as the most logical choice to next portray the iconic James Bond, British actor Idris Elba's creative streak extends far beyond the characters he plays. The actor, who played the Nelson Mandela in the 2013 biopic Long Walk To Freedom, released a "character album" last fall entitled Idris Elba presents Mi Mandela (7wallace/Parlophone Records). While many forget that the actor has been a well known DJ (Big Driis), his production and writing skills were front and center on the Mi Mandela album. LISTEN: So Many People (with Shaun Escoffrey) DRINK: Something unique like this a Rosé blend from South Africa, Twee Jonge Gezellen 2002 Krone Rose Cuvee Brut LISTEN: You Give Me Love ft. Maverick DRINK: Something sweet to match the flavor of this track Krone Night Nectar
Music and Wine should be paired. Both can transport you to another time or place. Listening to the psychedelic sounds of Rodriguez from his famed Cold Fact album from the 70's, it's pretty easy to get lost between daydreams and reality. I enjoyed this with a glass (OK, I had the bottle, oops! But I listened to the whole album!) of 2011 Reyneke Syrah. The dark berry fruit flavor and hint of peppery complexity matches perfectly with the mysterious genius that is Rodriguez. Give a listen and sip away and see where your mind goes! Listen: RODRIGUEZ, COLD FACTExplore: 2011 REYNEKE SYRAH STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA #VINOMUSIC Contributing Author: Jeni Gridley- Tasting Experience [caption id="attachment_219" align="alignleft" width="150"] 2011 Reyneke Syrah[/caption]