Thee New Year’s Eve Cocktail

Heyyyy 2016! 2017 called and it’s coming with a vengeance!!

Yassssss!! Come through 2017!!!

Whew, 2017 can’t get here fast enough! The last couple days of December are always hard as people scramble to make New Year’s Eve plans. This year, my cousin (hey, girl, hey) and I are headed to Dallas, which I’m super excited about! So, Dallas please, please, please (with cherries on top) don’t disappoint us.

Originally, I’d planned to close out the year with a post about different festive DIY champagne cocktails you could make to bring in the new year, but time really wasn’t on my side this year month (oops) week. God knew my energy level was low and placed this amazing looking cocktail on my Instagram timeline to catch my attention. I knew I had to feature it on YGOM. Plus, it was way better than anything I could’ve shown you.

Wine Friends meet The Pink Fluffer, one of Weights + Measures‘ specialty cocktails that will be offered on New Year’s Eve this Saturday.

I’ll wait a couple seconds for you to wipe the drool from your mouth…

Trust me…your vision is not impaired! Before your very eyes lies champagne, cotton candy, old school rock candy on a stick and YES they’re going to be mixed together in all their glory. Cool right? My thoughts exactly!!

But, as pretty as The Pink Fluffer looked, I was a little skeptical of how it would taste. All that sugar just screamed diabetes in a glass when I saw the cocktail on the ‘gram (sorry I work in healthcare, so I’m more keen to these things), but I still was intrigued. Since I will not be here this weekend, Weights + Measures graciously let me try the specialty cocktail earlier this week. And guess what…

I absolutely LOVED it!! Here you have this amazing juxtaposition of flavors. The sugary cotton candy instantly dissolves into the chambord (raspberry liqueur), lemon, and simple syrup mixture (pictured at the bottom of the flute) once the brut champagne is poured in the glass. On top of that, you can use the candy rock stick to stir the ingredients together. I was surprised at how balanced the cocktail was. It wasn’t super sweet at all like I’d envisioned. The chambord and lemon flavors really pop once the cotton candy dissolves. The bubbly fizz from the champagne is also a nice added touch. So you see, these sweet and tart flavors combined equal magic. The type of magic that will make you forget about anything negative you may have endured during 2016 and smile because this drink is every indication that life is still good. The Pink Fluffer sums up everything up I hope 2017 will be in one glass…unapologetically different and bold. I could sip on this cocktail all the time! *Hints to W+M to add The Pink Fluffer to the regular bar menu please, please, please (with cherries on top)*

So, if you’re looking for something to do for NYE head over to Weights + Measures! They’ll have specialty drinks like The Pink Fluffer on deck and plenty of champagne flowing. In addition, they’ll have a prix fixed dinner for $75 and you can add wine pairings for $35. Such a great deal!

Well wine friends, that’s all she typed for 2016! I have lots of great things in store for 2017. Stay tuned and thanks for sipping with me this year! Have a safe and awesome New Year filled with LOTS of wine!

The Real House Wines of Houston

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When you see “house wine” listed on a menu, do you:

  • A.) Immediately scroll down in search of the “real” wines on the list
  • B.) Select the house red or white because you’re really not sure what kind of wine to order (and it’s the cheapest!)

Whatever your choice may be, I think most of us can admit that we really have no clue as to what a “house wine” really is exactly.

House Wine Qualifications

At a restaurant, a “house wine” is considered a basic, everyday, not particularly special wine offering that is normally inexpensive. These are wines that restaurants are typically ready to move, such as, left over event wine, the last few bottles of a case, or something the restaurant has gotten a deal on. It’s often sold by the glass, or sometimes by the carafe or bottle, and usually both a red and white are available. The menu rarely offers much insight on the producer or varietal to accompany the ambiguous titles of “house red” or “house white.” Although, the “house red” is usually a Cabernet Sauvignon while Chardonnay tends to be the “house white” in most cases.

I decided to have a little fun with this post and search for the best “house wines” in the city. Houston is known for many things: the medical center, oil & gas industry, and NASA to name a few, but wait until you experience the real house wines!

Meet the Houston House Wines

Punk’s Simple Southern Food

Meet the Southern Belle of the group. Charmed, I’m sure when you take your first sip. She doesn’t let her flashy surroundings get to her head. No, this house wine is humble and very down to earth. Although, she doesn’t stray too far from the pack, this house wine is confident in what she brings to the table!

  • Location: Rice Village
  • Happy Hour (HH): Tuesday – Friday, 4-7 p.m. and Friday – Saturday, 9-11 p.m. (Bar Only)
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House White and Red ($6)

The house wine selections at Punk’s are a reflection of the laid back, southern environment at the restaurant. Both are very easy going and by that I mean very straight forward in flavors, nothing that is out of the box. They’re what you’d expect from a typical house wine. You can’t go wrong with these options.

  • White: The Dunlavy Cuvée (2015) is 100 percent Chardonnay from Spain. I thought it was pretty solid…smooth, slightly buttery (which I love) with subtle fruit notes and a nice acidic finish.
  • Red: The Dunlavy Cuvée (2014) is 100 percent Aragon Granacha from Spain. Our amazing server let me sample a little taste. This house red was dry with dark berry and cherry flavors. A good choice if red is your thing!

Third Coast

Paging the next real house wine! Meet the wine medical miracle that will cure all your problems. After a recent makeover, this house wine is back to  filling glasses left and right. Posed with sophistication, you can tell that much thought went into her selections.You can’t stop her when she’s in the house!

  • Location: Medical Center
  • HH Hours: Monday – Friday, 3-7 p.m.
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House Red and White Wine ($6)

If you’re ever in the med center, you have to stop by Third Coast (formerly Treviso’s) and try their house wines. The ambiance is so chill, perfect for a happy hour visit after a long day at work! You can tell that much thought has gone into their wine menu. Plus, their house wines would normally go for around $35 a bottle on the regular menu, so you know you’re getting a good quality wine at a great price.

  • White: Black Ridge Chardonnay (2015) – This Chard is crisp with citrus flavors. I found it to have a tart finish, which was very enjoyable.
  • Red: Black Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (2013) – This Cab is smooth and medium bodied with currant and black cherry flavors.

Oporto Fooding House and Wine

Oh to be young and carefree! Meet the house wine that’s  breaking all the rules one sip at a time. She been around the scene for a couple of over a year now. Bringing her European flavor to the table, this house wine refuses to conform to traditional house wine standards and offers a unique flare that is infectious and will have you falling in love!

  • Location: Midtown
  • HH Hours: Monday – Friday, 3:30-6 p.m.

Disclaimer: Oporto is my favorite restaurant in Houston. I also think they have one of the best happy hours in the city. This new location actually opened last summer and I can’t get enough of it. Their house wine selections are the bomb and you can upgrade from a glass to larger carafe sizes for super reasonable prices. (Sorry, I don’t have the prices on me right now)

  • Cava: Luis Pato Vinho Espumante Bruto (2014) is from Maria Gomes (90%) and Sercialinho (10%) grapes. I’m not a big fan of sparkling wines, but this Cava was soooo good! First can we talk about the amazing pour? (see picture above) My cup runneth over…literally. This Cava was light, not super dry with green apple and other fruit flavors. I could sip on this beautiful drink all day! Oh and did you peep the pear shaped glass?
  • Rosé: Ginérosat (2014) – This spanish Rosé is sold on tap at Oporto. I found it to be very bitter and tart. I got hints of cranberry flavors. I wasn’t a fan of this particular Rosé. I’ve had better at the restaurant.
  • White/Red: The red and white house wines rotate during happy hour. Last year, I couldn’t get enough of their house red!

Provisions

Meet the HHWIC! The Head House Wine in Charge!! Oh yes, she’s fancy! No need to explain because you already know! Top of the line wine and nothing less. She’s too good to be like the rest!

  • Location: Midtown
  • HH Hours: Monday – Friday, 3:30-6 p.m.
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House Red and White Wine ($5)

Provisions is one of the fancier restaurants in the city. On a regular day, I probably wouldn’t be able to eat here, but thank God for the happy hour menu. Despite being on the pricer end, the vibe in the bar area was very chill. Like Oporto, I loved how Provision steps outside of the norm with their house wine offerings. My server said that much consideration goes into the daily selection and they’re always looking for something different than the typical Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.

  • White/Red: The white selection is the Essay Chenin Blanc (2015). It’s blended with a touch of Viognier (one of my favorite white wines). Prohibition definitely got cool points for stepping our of the Chardonnay box and offering a Chenin Blanc as one of their house wines. I found it to be very diverse in its flavors. I got a mix of floral, butter scotch, and green apple. All around it was smooth with a nice acidic finish. The red is the Le Héré+Iques Red Table Wine, which I did not try during my visit.
  • Cava: The Poema Cava (non-vintage) is a sparkling wine from Spain. From its aromas to its actual taste, this Cava reminded me so much of some type of beer or really strong apple cider. Not really sure if I would order it again.
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House Cava ($5)

Revelry on Richmond

Meet the outsider of the group. You won’t find this house wine hanging out with the uber trendy.  She’s an “around-the-way” wine, which the others may frown upon, but I wouldn’t count her out. A little rough around the edges, but will always have your back when you’re in need of a good drink!

  • Location: Outside the Museum District
  • HH Hours: Monday – Thursday, 3-6 p.m.; Extended Fridays, 3-9 p.m.
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House Red and White Wine ($5)

Revelry is known as a sports bar, not your typical place to enjoy wine. But don’t let the big screen TVs and craft beer fool you. This place has some legit house wines. I will definitely be back to sip on some wines and watch a football game this season.

  • White: La Terre Chardonnay – This was my favorite house white out of the places I visited. My glass was filled with sweet fruits aromas. Even though it was unoaked and not buttery, I thought it was very tasty and in fact, actually reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Red: The house red is the Bass Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, which unfortunately I did not try on my house wine crusade. I stuck mostly to whites and sparklings.

I highly recommend visiting these places if you live in or ever visit the city! I’m planning to continue this series in 2017 and will be traveling to other cities to try their house wines. So, stay tuned! Where is your favorite place to drink house wines? Whose house wines should I try next? Let me know below.

YGOM Summer Sip

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Let’s kick-off the summer season with a rooftop wine tasting! Come sip and mingle as we learn about and taste new and exciting wines perfect for the summertime. Hope to see you there!

RSVP

Max’s Wine Dive Street Tasting Recap

Wine tastings got me like…

Excuse me while I hit my hallelujah (whoo)!!

Yesterday, I went to Max’s Wine Dive’s first ever “Street Tasting” event at their Washington Ave. location. I first heard about the event on Instagram. For $25, Max’s was offering a tasting of 25 wines, small bites to (hopefully) keep you sober, and the opportunity to see some local Houston artists. Twenty-five wines for $25??? #yesplease

Plus, I was really eager to see what the wine selection at Max’s was really talking’ bout! See although, Max’s Wine Dive is considered a “wine bar,” it’s highly known here in Houston for its brunch . Me….Bertha (my inner fat kid) is not a fan of their food. The serving sizes are too small for my her liking, but I’m all about second chances, especially when it comes to wine ;)

Ty’s Takeaways…

First, let me start with some background about the event. I was talking with the general manager of the Washington location and he told me that he got the idea from the graffiti on the buildings behind the wine bar. He thought it was a good opportunity to bring together local artists and showcase the restaurant’s wine. Love, love the concept…

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Each attendee was given a glass and a list of the wines to guide you through the tasting.

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The tasting started with sweet/bubbly wines, then went to whites, and ended with reds. I tried to follow along with the tasting sheet, but due to time I had to skip around a bit.

Sidenote: This event should’ve longer than three hours considering that attendees were tasting 25 wines, it would give attendees more time to enjoy/pace ourselves. I kind of felt rushed since I got there half way through the event.

I left my tasting notes at the event (#fail), but from what I remember, I spent way too much time on the white wines. I’m an equal opportunist when it comes to wine, so I really, really wanted to give each wine a fair chance, but most of the dessert and white wines had me like…

None of the whites that I tried stood out to me and it’s sad because they had a little bit of everything (New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay…even some new varietals like the Gavi grape from Italy), which I thought was cool, but none agreed with my palate.

It wasn’t until I switched to the reds that Max’s started to redeem itself. My favorite reds came from California’s Orin Swift. Honestly, the labels are what initially caught my attention.

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How dope are these?!? It’s a little risqué, but I love that there are Black women on these wine labels. The 2013 Machete was a blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Grenanche. I found it very bold and rich in berry/cherry flavors…definitely fruit-forward with subtle hints of tannins. I’m really intrigued by this winemaker, so this won’t be the last time you read about Orin Swift on this blog!

Although, I wasn’t super impressed with the overall wine selection, Max’s get’s a B- for its first “Street Tasting” event. The red wines definitely helped salvage the event. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they were very generous with their pours (almost three ounces). I just wish more artists’ work had been displayed. Thank God this event was only $25, so there wasn’t any love lost. #wecoolmwd

 

Have you tried the wine at Max’s Wine Dive? What are your thoughts?

Until my next sip…

Triennes Sainte Fleur Viognier

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2012 Triennes Sainte Fleur Viognier
Price:$18
Region: Nans-les-Pins, France
Retailer:H-E-B

Who says you can’t drink white after Labor Day? Not I, wine luhvers! This amazing weather we’ve been having in Houston has me feening for some white wine!! In the famous words of my coworker….yasss honey!!

I know it’s been a while since I reviewed a white wine, so I decided it was time to return to my first love. Earlier this year, I introduced you guys to Viognier, one of my favorite whites. Viognier is a good transitional white if you’re looking to move away from the sweet whites, but don’t really want something that’s super dry. There are so many white grapes out there, I don’t think that Viognier gets the love that it deserves. Today, I chose a Viognier from France. I’m not going to lie…I’m not a big fan of French wines, but let’s see with this Viognier is talkin’ bout!

Ty’s Takeaways…

Sainte Fleur Viognier has a very distinct bouquet. It smells like a beautiful garden of flowers. As you swirl your glass and allow the aromas to open up, you should get an intense fragrance of sweet honey. But as you’ll discover with wine, what you smell isn’t always with you taste. This Viognier is actually very acidic, which holds true for many French whites. It definitely leaves a pucker that lingers in your mouth. This wine strikes a nice balance between aromatic richness, crisp acidity and mineral structure. I’m used to the more fruit-forward Viogniers from California, but if you don’t mind a little tartness, then definitely try this one.

Overall Rating: 2 Corks

Buzzworthy: Sainte Fleur Viognier contains 13.5 percent ALC/VOL. Most whites fall between 5-14 percent, so this Viognier is on the higher end. It didn’t get my usual wine buzz, but I think it’s because the aftertaste was so tart that I was sipping uber slow. Sadly, I had a hard time finishing my glass. #blasphemy

This isn’t a wine that you can chug (yeah, I said chug…we keep it gangsta around this vines), but to each his own. If Sainte Fleur Viognier sounds like something up your alley, take a sip and let me know what you think!