Hummus Bruschetta

Hummus Bruschetta

Tomatoes feel like summer like the food of summer, but in Michigan, they mark the end of summer. A countdown to the school year, a marker of days getting longer, and the last sweet days before fall.

My sister, whose birthday is August 18, always said the tomatoes were ripe by her birthday. Tomatoes are beginning to ripen now, but by my big sister’s birthday, they will be abundant. This is a mixed blessing. I love that my parents grow tomatoes and that they are eager to give them to me at summer’s end. I hate that they always feel the need to give me more than I can eat. Calm down, Mom. I’m not the Tomato Monster. (Though I suspect that the Tomato Monster is far more svelte than the Cookie Monster. And less hairy.)

While I might not be quite a Tomato Monster, I am pleased to share this vegan bruschetta recipe with you. I love a good cheesy bruschetta, but this hummus based one is equally compelling.

Enjoy!

Hummus Bruschetta

Wine pairing: rosé

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 baguette
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra to brush the baguette
  • 2 garlic cloves, one minced and one halved
  • ¼ cup vinegar (white balsamic or red wine)
  • ⅓ cup basil
  • 5 oz hummus
  • Black pepper and balsamic glaze for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine tomatoes and salt in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Cut baguette into half inch slices. Brush each side with olive oil.
  4. Bake baguette slices for 5 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Remove baguette slices from the oven and rub the tops with the cut side of the halved garlic clove.
  6. Drain the juice from the tomatoes and then add the olive oil, vinegar, and minced garlic clove. Mix well.
  7. Top each baguette slice with hummus, a spoon of tomato mixture, freshly ground black pepper, basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

This recipe is part of my food and rosé pairing series. For more about pairing food with rosé, please see this post.

Strawberry Watermelon Frosé

Strawberry Watermelon Frosé

In August, you can feel summer being rationed. The warm days and nights are no longer endless, and you can feel that the last vacation, the last dinner enjoyed outside, and the last barefoot days will come far too quickly. Did we experience enough? Did we travel? Did we enjoy the flowers and vegetables the earth gave us during these months? 

Then at some point, you have had too much. Too much heat. Too much sand in the corners of your suitcase. The days have a laziness that no longer suits you. You begin to crave the day you can turn off the air conditioning. Since childhood, we associate autumn with new beginnings, even decades after we no longer need to do back-to-school shopping.

This is the in-between drink. Before you are ready for pumpkin spice lattes and apple picking and sweaters dyed in harvest colors. When you are still holding on to summer and saying, “This is good. I am content.”

Strawberry Watermelon Frosé

Ingredients

  • 4 cups watermelon, cubed and frozen
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 bottle rosé

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and puree.
  2. Pour into glasses and garnish each glass with a strawberry.
Family of Liars by E. Lockhart (YA)

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart (YA)

family of liars, e lockhart, beach read

Carrie is a Sinclair. This means she has grown up a child of privilege, with the best clothes, schools, and experiences. It also means there is pressure on her to be perfect. To always be an example to her younger sisters and to excel academically, socially, and athletically. To get surgery on her jaw when her father, Harris, worries that her jaw makes her look weak. Being a Sinclair means always keeping a stiff upper lip even when the youngest Sinclair, 10-year-old Rosemary, drowns. “Be a credit to the family,” is Harris and Tipper’s instruction to their daughters. 

Carrie has spent every summer vacationing at her family’s summer home on a private island off of Massachusetts. It is a time for beach days with her sisters and cousins, her mother’s elaborate dinners, ice cream, tennis, and croquet. At seventeen, Carrie is worried about returning to the island as it will be the first summer without Rosemary and the first summer where she has to hide the narcotics addiction she developed after surgery. Carrie is distracted from her fears when her cousin, Yardley, arrives on the island with three handsome eighteen-year-old boys. Carrie, unlike her younger sisters, has never had a boyfriend, but Pfeff, who Yardley has warned her about, seems to like her and she is interested in him. It should be the most exciting summer ever on the island, but the combination of privileged boys, competitive siblings, and geographical isolation turn a promising summer into tragedy and carefully constructed lies.

Family of Liars is the prequel to We Were Liars, which is set in the modern day with Carrie’s and her sisters’ children as the main characters. If you haven’t read We Were Liars, I don’t recommend starting with Family of Liars in spite of it being chronically first as there is a large spoiler for We Were Liars at the beginning. Family of Liars is narrated by an adult Carrie looking back on her 17-year-old self. As she narrates, Carrie mostly taps into her teenage self, but there are times you can sense the adult Carrie. Adult Carrie acknowledges the privilege of generational wealth, while teen Carrie growing up in the wealth-obsessed eighties surrounded by wealthy family members and classmates, would have understood that she was unusually wealthy but not much about how it affected how she related to the world.

Carrie explains her world through fairy tales, the same stories she used to tell her youngest sister, Rosemary. Carrie and those in her life are imprinted onto the fairy tale characters. Sometimes Carrie views herself as the hero and sometimes as the villain. Sometimes she acknowledges that she is both at the same time. She tells these stories to herself, to the reader, and to Rosemary, who visits her on the island as a ghost.

Family of Liars is a perfect beach read. E Lockhart has a gorgeous writing style, and there is a dreamlike nature to the story. The story’s appeal is a combination of well developed characters, a fascination with how the 1% live, the depiction of the best and worst of family life, the slow revelation of secrets, and just a hint of Greek tragedy. Highly recommended for those who enjoy beach reads, family stories, and YA. Readers who are repulsed by overly privileged characters may want to pass on this one. It may not be suitable for younger YA readers due to language, substance abuse, and sexual situations.

Tortellini Caprese Salad with Zoodles (wine pairing: rosé)

Tortellini Caprese Salad with Zoodles (wine pairing: rosé)

What foods can you not get enough of in the summer? For me this year, it’s tomatoes. Caprese, bruschetta, gazpacho, tomato soup, I love it all. While I love all things tomato, caprese has a special place in my heart. Or stomach, if we are being literal. Turkey burger looks boring? Add a caprese topping. Need to liven up plain pasta? Caprese!

Zucchini is another favorite summer food. I particularly love zoodles. If you don’t own a spiralizer, high end grocery stores will sell packaged spiralized zucchini. In my area (Metro Detroit), you can find zoodles in the produce section of Fresh Thyme stores. If no pre-spiralized zucchini is to be found and you don’t want to buy a new spiralizer, you can try thrift shops. Undoubtedly, someone had bad memories of a 2010s keto diet mid-pandemic and Mari Kondo’d a spiralizer out of her life. (While I love zoodles, they cannot pass as a replacement for wheat pasta. They are their own thing to be appreciated on their own merits.)

Also, if you have all the ingredients in your kitchen but the tortellini, you can make this with regular pasta. The cheese tortellini just kicks it up a notch. Also, if you don’t have or can’t find white balsamic vinegar, feel free to use regular balsamic. It won’t be as pretty, but the taste will be equally good.

This is the first recipe in my food and rosé pairing series. If you want to learn more about pairing rosé with food, please see this post.

Tortellini Caprese Salad with Zoodles

  • Servings: 4 entree or 8 side salad portions
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
Wine pairing: rosé.

Ingredients

  • One 10 oz package cheese tortellini
  • Two medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 12 oz tomatoes chopped
  • ¼ cup basil, chopped finely
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped (or use mozzarella pearls)
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic glaze to top (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain tortellini and rinse with cold water.
  2. While tortellini are cooking, prep the next four ingredients and combine in a large bowl.
  3. Add cooled tortellini, white balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to the bowl. Mix thoroughly and salt to taste.
  4. Serve with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Food and Wine Pairing: Provençal Rosé

Food and Wine Pairing: Provençal Rosé

Rose wine and food pairing

The Provence wine region of France is known for their fields of lavender, their location on the Mediterranean, and their crisp, fruity, dry rosés. Provence rosés are as beautiful as the region where they are cultivated. The wines are the palest of pinks and dangerously drinkable. Flavors you can expect from this style of rosé include strawberry, melon (especially honeydew and watermelon), rose petals, and celery. The alcohol levels range from low to medium, with most rosés within an ABV of 11.5–13.5% ABV. They have enough acidity to be an excellent summer wine, but are less acidic than many dry whites.1-2

Rosé wine has skyrocketed in popularity in the US over the last few years, so we should know how to pair it with food. Luckily, rosé is pretty versatile as far as food wines go. In spite of that, I am focusing specifically on rosés specifically from Provence, so that I could test all of my recipes with the same style of wine. Not all rosés are the same, just like not all red wines or all white wines are the same, and I wanted to offer consistency here and not a generalization about rosés.

Provençal rosé pairs well with fish, seafood poultry, salads, barbeque, egg dishes and charcuterie. Not surprisingly, it pairs with many classic French dishes like Nicoise salad, bouillabaisse, and ratatouille.2-4 It’s a great choice for picnics, bridal showers, summer brunch, and happy hour with a charcuterie board, being both festive and affordable.

Recipes to Serve With Provence Rosé:

Tortellini caprese salad with zoodles (Recipe)

Hummus bruschetta (Recipe)

Pan Bagnat (Recipe)

Watermelon mint salad (recipe to post in summer 2023)

Recipe with Rosé:

Strawberry watermelon frosé (Recipe)

How to Taste Wine: 

Step 1: Examine the color. First hold the wine up to the light, and then examine it against a white background (tablecloth, napkin, etc.). Wine Folly has a great color chart on their website that can help you narrow down the shade of your vino. Other questions to ask yourself: Is the wine clear or opaque? Can other shades be seen along the edges of the glass? If the wine is browner near the rim, it may indicate the wine has been aged. If it’s pale near the rim, it may be a less flavorful wine. 5-7

Step 2: Swirl the wine glass. Yes, it looks snobby, but swirling your wine has two purposes: releasing aroma compounds and indicating alcohol levels. After you swirl, you will find there are tears running along the sides of the glass. These are called the legs. Is your wine a thick thighed gal? That indicates she has a higher alcohol level and you do not want to underestimate her.5-6

Step 3: Sniff. Note the distinctive aromas, which can be fruity, floral, herbal, or mineral. Take another sniff and see if you can identify new scents. Distinguishing aromas can be challenging. You might note that you smell berry, but you can’t identify which berry is triggering your scent memory. One way to simplify (or possibly complicate) the matter is to refer to the Davis Wine Aroma Wheel, which was created by Dr. Ann Noble, a chemist who retired from UC Davis.5-6, 8

Step 4: Taste. Your first sip should be swirled around your mouth so all the flavors are released. My first impression is always whether the taste matches the scent. White wines I usually find to be pretty consistent, but every now and then, I come across a red wine that smells like sweet ripened berries and tastes like gravel. Other things to note when tasting include acidity, sweetness, alcohol content, and tannins (wines with high tannins will “dry out” your tongue). The last thing is the wine’s finish. Do the flavors linger after your sip? If yes, your wine has a long finish. Is it a pleasant finish? Some wines may mellow out in the finish, while others taste delicious initially only to have an unpleasant finish.5-6

Step 5: Cheat. (This is the step that I invented.) Wine tasting is subjective. You may taste pears while your dining companion tastes apples and vanilla. After I note my perceptions of both smell and taste, I like to read the notes on the wine bottle. If the wine doesn’t provide any notes on the back of the label, I Google wine reviews and learn what Wine Enthusiast had to say about it. I then take another sip and see if I now taste new flavors based on the tasting notes of others. This isn’t to see if I am right or wrong; there isn’t a right or wrong in wine tasting. For me, it’s about training my palate. Please don’t ever read tasting notes before you taste yourself, as you will only taste what the notes tell you.

Sources:

1 Wine Folly: Essential Guide to the Provence Wine Region. Accessed July 6, 2022.

2 Wine Folly: Provence (Rosé). Accessed July 6, 2022.

3 Vine Pair: 10 Perfect Provence Rose and Fall Food Pairings. Accessed July 6, 2022.

4Dornenburg A and Page K. (2006.) What to Eat with What You Drink. (pp 253-4) Voracious/Little, Brown and Company.

5Wine Enthusiast: How to Taste Wine. Accessed May 26, 2022.

6The Spruce Eats: How to Taste Wine Like a Professional. Accessed May 26, 2022.

7Wine Folly: The Wine Color Chart. Accessed May 18, 2022.

8The Wine Aroma Wheel Official Website. Accessed May 18, 2022.

Book Review: Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

Book Review: Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

yerba buena, book review, lgbtq fiction

Sara Foster grew up too fast. After her first love is found dead in the Russian River, sixteen-year-old Sara becomes a runaway, leaving her life of parental neglect to head to LA, doing things she would have once thought unthinkable to just to make it there. Once in Los Angeles, she takes an entry level job in a restaurant and, over the years, works her way up until she is the most sought after bartender in the city, known for her intuitive and artistic cocktails.

Emilie Dubois doesn’t know how to grow up. A seventh year college senior, she has had five different majors and has spent five years working at her best friend’s family business as a receptionist. When she’s surprised with a five-year work anniversary cake, she is startled to find she’s spent so much time standing still. Impulsively, she quits her job and becomes a florist. There she begins making floral arrangements for the hottest restaurants in town, including her family’s favorite restaurant, Yerba Buena.

Sara is working as a consultant, helping Yerba Buena develop a line of signature cocktails, when she first meets Emilie. There is an instant attraction between the two women, but Emilie is having an affair with the married owner of Yerba Buena, and it is not meant to be. Over the years, Emilie and Sara have a few chance encounters until they reach a place where they can begin a relationship. However, when a family emergency draws Sara back to her hometown, her new relationship with Emilie seems threatened.

This wasn’t the book I thought it would be. I expected Yerba Buena, the first adult novel of a YA author, to be a lesbian romance, not without depth but fairly uncomplicated. I was wrong. In the best possible way. Yerba Buena is a coming of age story. It’s about overcoming family trauma to become yourself again. It’s about socioeconomic class, opportunity, adverse childhood experiences, and hope. And if, like me, you are a romantic, there is still a love story in the background.

Yerba buena is an herb, a member of the mint family, most closely related to spearmint. The herb features in the stories of both women, and is alleged to have healing properties. And, at its heart, this is a novel about healing. Ultimately, both women need to make peace with their pasts and make decisions about their futures before they are able to plan a life together.

I would recommend Yerba Buena to readers who love literary fiction, LGBT stories, coming of age stories, and family stories. Most of all, I would recommend this to people who haven’t read many novels from a lesbian point of view but are interested in doing so.

Suggestions for beverages while reading:

For a tea option, you can make a tea with fresh leaves of yerba buena (or any mint). The characters drink tea from fresh yerba buena in a few spots of the novel. To make your own, steep 2 springs of mint in 1.5 cups of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Add honey if desired.

For either a cocktail or mocktail to pair with the novel, see these recipes developed by the author’s wife, both of which are featured in the novel.

Saffron Shrimp Sheet Pan Dinner

Saffron Shrimp Sheet Pan Dinner

This is a simple dinner that goes well with a glass of white wine on a summer night. Enjoy!

Saffron Shrimp Sheet Pan Dinner

Wine Pairing: Albariño.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb potatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with a small amount of oil. Add salt, pepper, and paprika and mix well.
  3. Spread the potato mixture in a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper and roast for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the kernels off of 4 ears of corn. In a bowl, toss corn kernels and green beans with a small amount of olive oil.
  5. After the potatoes have roasted for 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Add the corn and green beans. Return to oven for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Mix the shrimp into the vegetable mixture and add sprinkle with a pinch of saffron. Salt lightly.
  7. Turn on the broiler. Place the sheet pan back in the oven and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until the shrimp is opaque.
  8. Serve with lemon wedges.
Vegan Ceviche Stuffed Avocados

Vegan Ceviche Stuffed Avocados

Once I decided I would select Albariño as my first wine for recipe pairings, I knew I had to create a ceviche. There was just one problem.

I’m just too Midwestern. Coastal home cooks can just pop off to their local fish market and select the freshest seafood for their ceviche. Here in Metro Detroit, seafood comes from the supermarket and all of it is previously frozen. I never know how fresh my seafood is, so to create a recipe centered around raw seafood is questionable at best.

And then I read that hearts of palm make a great vegan seafood substitute, similar to how jackfruit can be a vegan pulled pork alternative. I was intrigued and knew I had my solution to the ceviche dilemma.

Would I mistake the hearts of palm for scallops or fish in this recipe? Honestly, I don’t think so (although I was expecting the hearts of palm flavor, so it was hardly a blind test), but I will say this vegan ceviche is delicious and that’s what matters. Serving it on an avocado half elevates it to an elegant appetizer.

If you have never had hearts of palm, you’ll look for it in the canned vegetable aisle. It is tender with a mild flavor and tastes a little like artichoke hearts.

Hope you enjoy!

Vegan Ceviche Stuffed Avocados

  • Servings: 4 entrees or 8 appetizers
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
Wine Pairing: Albariño.

Ingredients

  • 1 can hearts of palm (14 oz), drained and chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cucumber, chopped
  • ⅓ red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt
  • 2 Hass avocados (or 4 small avocados, if serving as an appetizer)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Tortilla chips for serving

Directions

  1. Combine the first nine ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Halve the avocados and scoop out of the peel. Tutorial here.
  3. Place avocado halves on plates and top with the ceviche mix and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.
Cheesy Crab Tostadas

Cheesy Crab Tostadas

crab tostada, seafood appetizer, appetizer, wine pairing, albarino

I was in college the first time I tried crab. There are two reasons for this. The first was I didn’t come from a seafood eating family. My sister and I both believed that Red Lobster commercials were the grossest thing on TV, and we had no desire to eat crustaceans. (We have since both repented of this.) The second was I was the pickiest eater alive as a child. Today, I am excited by new foods but once upon a time, new foods gave me anxiety. I also rejected things based on smell, and seafood is nothing if not smelly. When I married into a family of picky eaters, I couldn’t help but feel that this was punishment for what I put my mother through when I was a child.

Therefore, I was 21 and a senior in college the first time I tried crab. Reader, it was instant love. Nevermind, that it was merely crab cakes I tried as an experiment while on spring break in Florida (I tried actual crab legs soon after), I immediately understood that I had denied myself something delicious for two full decades of my life.

These tostadas are a casual weeknight-friendly way to eat crab. If your grocery bills aren’t giving you as much pain as mine are, feel free to increase the amount of crab in the recipe and decrease the veggies. As written, this recipe is fairly mild. For a spicier version, add more jalapeno and use a hotter pico de gallo. Like all of the recipes to be posted in June, these tostadas will pair perfectly with Albariño.

Cheesy Crab Tostadas

  • Servings: 4 dinner portions or 8 appetizer portions
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
Wine Pairing: Albariño.

Ingredients

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 12 oz crab meat (2 6-oz cans)
  • ½ cup jicama, diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ⅓ cup celery, diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (or ⅓ cup mayo)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheese (Mexican 3-cheese blend)
  • Toppings: pico de gallo, diced avocado, cilantro

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Spray the tortillas with nonstick spray on both sides. Place in a single layer on one or two sheet pans. Bake for 5 minutes on one side. Flip tortillas and then bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. While your tortillas are baking, combine crabmeat, chopped vegetables, yogurt, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Top your tortillas with crab salad mixture and shredded cheese. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Serve tostadas with pico de gallo, avocado slices, cilantro, and lime wedges.
Food and Wine Pairing: Albariño

Food and Wine Pairing: Albariño

Albariño, food and wine pairing, summer menu

In the northwest region of Spain, in Galicia, grows a white grape that is used to make the perfect summer wine. Albariño is a crisp white wine with flavors of citrus, honeydew, nectarine, honeysuckle and just a hint of salt. It is light in color and body, dry, and acidic. The white wine that Albariño is most similar to is Sauvignon Blanc, but Sauvignon Blanc is a bit more herbal in flavor than Albariño.1-3

While Albariño is predominantly grown in Spain, it is also grown in Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho. These days, you can also find Albariño from the US (California), Uruguay, Australia, Chile and Brazil. While Albariño may not be as common as some white wines, you can find it at any store with a decent wine selection, usually in the Spanish wine section. Prices tend to range from $12 to about $23 where I live (Metro Detroit). It is most commonly served young.1-3

Like one would expect from a dry and acidic white wine grown in a coastal region, Albariño pairs well with seafood. Think ceviche, fish tacos, and grilled seafood. It is not uncommon for dry white wines to pair well with fish and seafood; Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio pair similarly well with these foods and are easier to find in a grocery store. However, there are some instances where it is better to search out an Albariño rather than pick one of these more accessible wines. A unique thing about Albariño is it can handle a bit of spice, while most wines cannot. I wouldn’t pair it with anything extremely spicy (you’d want to pick a Riesling in that case), but it can hold its own with Cajun or Thai food or a seafood dish with a slight kick. Also, Albariño pairs well with herbs, so if your recipe uses pesto or chimichurri, you may want to seek out an Albariño.1-4

Seafood isn’t your only option with Albariño. It will also pair with light meats, soft cheese, semi-hard cheeses, herbs, and grilled vegetables. Consider it a to-go wine for a summertime tapas party.1-4

Recipes to Serve With Albariño:

Cheesy crab tostadas (Recipe here)

Vegan “ceviche” stuffed avocado (Recipe here)

Saffron shrimp sheet pan dinner (Recipe here.)

How to Taste Wine: 

Step 1: Examine the color. First hold the wine up to the light, and then examine it against a white background (tablecloth, napkin, etc.). White wines range in color from pale straw to deep gold. Wine Folly has a great color chart on their website that can help you narrow down the shade of your vino. Other questions to ask yourself: Is the wine clear or opaque? Can other shades be seen along the edges of the glass? If the wine is browner near the rim, it may indicate the wine has been aged. If it’s pale near the rim, it may be a less flavorful wine. 5-7

Step 2: Swirl the wine glass. Yes, it looks snobby, but swirling your wine has two purposes: releasing aroma compounds and indicating alcohol levels. After you swirl, you will find there are tears running along the sides of the glass. These are called the legs. Is your wine a thick thighed gal? That indicates she has a higher alcohol level and you do not want to underestimate her.5-6

Step 3: Sniff. Note the distinctive aromas, which can be fruity, floral, herbal, or mineral. Take another sniff and see if you can identify new scents. Distinguishing aromas can be challenging. You might note that you smell berry, but you can’t identify which berry is triggering your scent memory. One way to simplify (or possibly complicate) the matter is to refer to the Davis Wine Aroma Wheel, which was created by Dr. Ann Noble, a chemist who retired from UC Davis.5-6, 8

Step 4: Taste. Your first sip should be swirled around your mouth so all the flavors are released. My first impression is always whether the taste matches the scent. White wines I usually find to be pretty consistent, but every now and then, I come across a red wine that smells like sweet ripened berries and tastes like gravel. Other things to note when tasting include acidity, sweetness, alcohol content, and tannins (wines with high tannins will “dry out” your tongue). The last thing is the wine’s finish. Do the flavors linger after your sip? If yes, your wine has a long finish. Is it a pleasant finish? Some wines may mellow out in the finish, while others taste delicious initially only to have an unpleasant finish.5-6

Step 5: Cheat. Okay, I made this step up. Wine tasting is subjective. You may taste pears while your dining companion tastes apples and vanilla. After I note my perceptions of both smell and taste, I like to read the notes on the wine bottle. If the wine doesn’t provide any notes on the back of the label, I Google wine reviews and learn what Wine Enthusiast had to say about it. I then take another sip and see if I now taste new flavors based on the tasting notes of others. This isn’t to see if I am right or wrong; there isn’t a right or wrong in wine tasting. For me, it’s about training my palate. Please don’t ever read tasting notes before you taste yourself, as you will only taste the flavors you anticipate that you will find.

Sources:

1Wine Folly: Albariño (Alvarinho). Accessed April 20, 2022.

2The Spruce Eats: What is Albariño Wine? Accessed May 26, 2022.

3The Grape Grind: All you need to know about Albariño. Accessed May 26, 2022.

4Dornenburg A and Page K. (2006.) What to Eat with What You Drink. (pp 203.) Voracious/Little, Brown and Company.

5Wine Enthusiast: How to Taste Wine. Accessed May 26, 2022.

6The Spruce Eats: How to Taste Wine Like a Professional. Accessed May 26, 2022.

7Wine Folly: The Wine Color Chart. Accessed May 18, 2022.

8The Wine Aroma Wheel Official Website. Accessed May 18, 2022.