Wine365, a better way to shop for wine.

White wine for summer is not a groundbreaking concept. You know what is? Whites from around the world in one delicious shipment. Wine365 is a newly launched website that offers various types of wine bundles. The thing that sets Wine365 apart from the rest of the online wine shop world is this: engaging, educational content in every media form. That’s right! In addition to accessing over 80+ of the world’s best producers, you can learn from the industry’s top professionals through blog posts, videos, and podcasts. It’s one of the best resources around if you’re ready to take your passion for wine to new levels and turn it into an official hobby.

We recently enjoyed the “Crisp White” three pack and made some amazing appetizers at home to liven up our outdoor summer happy hour. Roasted grape and honey crostini as well as caprese orzo kept the vibe refreshing and we immediately felt transported to Italy and Argentina by glass. Recipes for both at the end of this blog! But first, let’s dive into each bottle starting with an incredibly refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Mendoza, Argentina.

Bodega Norton Select Sauvignon Blanc harvested in 2021

Argentina is the fifth largest wine producing country and has so much to offer. If you think Mendoza is only for Malbec, think again. While 75% of vineyards are planted to Malbec, there are lots of wines to discover… about 1,300 so to speak. There are 104 official wine appellations in Argentina which are called Geographic Indications (GI for short). Most vineyards here are planted at about 4,500 ft above sea level. Higher elevation leads to more direct sunlight during the growing season and results in fantastic natural acidity, optimal ripeness, and structure. Located along the foothills of the Andes Mountains, Bodega Norton is one of the first wineries in this area and some of the vines on the estate have been around for 80 years! With that said, this estate gets really interesting soil types influencing the wines as well as that refreshing acidity from higher elevation. Bodega Norton is crafting a one-of-a-kind, crowd-pleasing Sauvignon Blanc with a Mendoza flare. Honestly, I love this wine for you… especially this time of year!

Villa Matilde “Rocca dei Leoni” Falanghina IGT

Next, we’re traveling by glass to my beloved Italia to learn more about the next bottle in this shipment: Villa Matilde “Rocca dei Leoni” Falanghina IGT. Located in Campania, Italy is Beneventano IGT which is a key appellation in Campania and often referred to as “the earthy” side of the region. Let’s pause here for a second to decode IGT because it’s an important part of Italian Wine Labeling. IGT stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica and it was introduced in 1992. Prior to 1992 many wines failed to qualify for DOC or DOCG status, but not because of poor quality… it was a result of the grapes being used. If the blend didn’t mean the minimum of 85% sanctioned grapes in their blend, they could not receive the classification. IGT allows producers to craft wine with a little more freedom – great quality meets really cool and underrated grapes for any given region. Ok, shifting back to the wine now – Falanghina is the grape and Villa Matilda has made this single varietal. It’s the signature white of Campania and definitely worth getting to know. Falanghina is an ancient Italian grape with Greek origins, so it’s as Mediterranean as it gets and we love that! The vines thrive in the porous volcanic soils around Mount Vesuvius with the warm Mediterranean climate. When I think about crisp Italian white wines, this is it. It’s giving lovely flavors of lemon zest, citrus blossom, stone fruits, ashy minerality with a touch of honey and almond. It’s dry, medium-bodied, and balanced with elevated acidity. This wine is a conversation starter so be sure to share with friends!

The Seeker Pinot Grigio 2021

Let’s head to the northeast corner of Italy where Pinot Grigio rules the land in Veneto! Our final bottle in the shipment is The Seeker Pinot Grigio. Veneto is an anomaly to me because it’s smaller than Italy’s other popular regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Sicily, and Puglia but it’s producing more wine than any of them! I guess you could say it’s small but mighty. If you’re reading this and wondering if Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same, the answer is yes. Same grape from different countries and both share genetics with Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. Pinot Grigio from Veneto is benchmark for this variety. Veneto is cooler in climate due to alpine influence which leads to lean, crisp wines. I love Pinot Grigio for it’s spritzy essence, fresh citrus, and lean persona. The Seeker has done a terrific job in seeking out top-quality wines from the regions that grow them best and bringing them to market on a global scale. This wine is made with grapes planted atop hillside vineyards that sit 750 feet above sea level on well-drained, mineral-rich soil. The final result is fresh, vibrant, and crisp with flavors of white nectarine, green apple, Meyer lemon, and citrus zest. It’s an everyday kinda wine and one that should always be in stock in your wine fridge.

As for the pairings….

I love finding a couple easy recipes that pair with a few different wines in the lineup and this has got to be one of my best! As I mentioned earlier, we made caprese orzo and roasted red grape crostini with honey. These two small plates played incredibly well with all three whites. *chefs kiss*

The original recipes can be found on this blog as well as here. One thing to note, we doubled upped the herbs in the roasted grape recipe because well… we love herbs! We also used homemade lavender olive oil instead of regular olivo and holy smokes that made this a showstopper. Either way, these pairings and of course the wines are perfect for your summer soirees. You can save 10% with my code SMASHLEY and once again, here’s the link.

Thanks for sipping with us!

@smashleythegrape | The Social Grapes

You Stay Brunchy, San Diego!

brunch (n): a socially acceptable excuse for drinking champagne in the morning.

Example: Brunch without champagne is just a sad breakfast.

Who else agrees that Saturday mornings were made for mimosas and brunch? San Diego is known for outdoor dining and day drinking by the beach. Greg and I wanted to class it up for brunch this past week, so we paid a visit to JRDN at Tower 23 in Pacific Beach. The weather could not have been more perfect. It was sunny and 78 with the coolest of ocean breezes to moderate our temps. JRDN is known for delicious food, good wine, delicious AM cocktails, and beautiful beach views. You can build your own mimosa or simply rely on your waiter/waitress to recommend a good wine…. PS Order the Languedoc Rosé. You can thank me later. The ambiance is modern meets beach chic. Mimosas and wine flowed all around us as friends gathered for a little hair of the dog!

Surround yourself with good food, not negativity

Regardless of your hungover state, the brunch menu here will give you new life! If you’re like me, champagne is a must for brunch! Not only did we get a good deal on champagne splits, but it was freakin’ Moët & Chandon – one of my favorite champagne producers. Moët & Chandon NV Brut is recognized for its bright fruitiness, crisp palate, and elegant finish. All three champagne varieties are included in this bubbly: 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay. This champagne is golden in appearance and pronounced on the nose! It opens with green apple and lemon citrus followed by white florals, limestone minerals, and my favorite flavor in good champagne… brioche! We paired shrimp cocktail with this sumptuousness wine and it was a match made in seafood heaven!

Now let’s chat about our entrees. My mouth is watering at the thought of these dishes! Greg ordered a customer favorite – the Lobster BLT. People come from all over San Diego County to indulge in this masterpiece of a sandwich! Between the bread you can expect delicious tarragon aioli, savory bacon, crisp butter lettuce, and juicy tomato… did I mention the bread was brioche? So. Much. Yum. This entree paired very well with 2 wines …. yes, we paired this with 2 different wines because that’s what you do when you’re a foodie & certified wine pro! We had to pair this with our champagne because the lemon citrus + brioche notes in the wine popped alongside the dish!

Another MUST and classic food + wine pairing is Chardonnay and lobster. The Chard BTG (somm talk for “by the glass”) is from Hartford Court Winery located in Russian River Valley, Sonoma. This style of Chardonnay held up nicely against this savory yet light Lobster BLT. There were pronounced flavors of butter and cream, indicating that this wine undergoes secondary fermentation. These notes were complimented by stone fruits, hibiscus, and slate minerality. It was medium body and high in acid – a perfect match for the acid squeezed from the lemon onto the sammy. Side note regarding the side dish, Greg ordered TRUFFLE fries that were made for this Chardonnay. Not going to lie, I think this is what I’m ordering next time we’re here! Greg, you won the dish off yet again…

Don’t get me wrong, my entree was fabulous and totally extra in the best way! Yours truly ordered the Eggs Benedict. This wasn’t just any eggs benny, nope. It was eggs benny with Kobe beef! Yes, you read that right! If you’re a meat lover like me, this hot ticket brunch item has your name written all over it! Bonus: this hollandaise sauce has a touch of ponzu. Ponzu is great because just about every end of the flavor spectrum is covered – salt, bitterness, sweetness, and acid. This balanced out the creamy hollandaise sauce for a harmonious flavor composition!

About the wine… It was a little too warm and early for a red wine, plus I was craving something crisp. So, when you’re in between white and red the best course of action is rosé! Lucky for me and all JRDN goers, they offer a Languedoc rosé BTG! It was fantastic and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Like Provence, Languedoc is a well-established French rosé region. Languedoc is located on the SW side of the Rhone Valley, so by knowing that you might have an idea of which grapes were used in the making of this wine. I’ll give you a hint: Syrah and Grenache. I’m all about a Syrah or Grenache rosé these days… the two blended is even better! This rosé is medium bodied with medium + acidity. When you have food with high acid, you want equal levels of acid in your wine. As for the flavor I was hit with pronounced wild berries, macerated raspberry, some stone fruit, lemon zest, and sandy minerals. This wine also had great structure for being a rosé! I may have sipped it too fast and needed a second glass to enjoy with my breakfast potatoes!

Saving the best for last!

Dessert is my love language. The dessert menu at JRDN is full of sweets, treats, and post-meal libations that will make your heart sing! We shared a plate because #waistbandprobs are real. After perusing the options and some spirited debate between them, we compromised on something light, crisp, and delicious:  a lemon-lavender panna cotta. Er. Mah. Gerd. So good. The delicate flavors were perfectly intertwined, and the swirl of sugar cookie was the perfect sweet crunch. Oh, and did I mention the blueberry glaze on top? Yeah, there was a blueberry glaze. Now, I know what you’re wondering… whatever did we have to drink with this tasty treat? The dessert wine list did not disappoint and offered the perfect companion:  a late-harvest Cuvee Auslese from Kracher Wines.  This balanced, golden goodness from Austria is a blend of Chard and Riesling and brought the perfect addition of honey, cream, and stone fruit to round out the course.

To top off all the amazing food and wine, the incredible views, and stellar atmosphere was some impeccable service. Our waitress was friendly, efficient, and helpful with any questions about the menu. For those visiting from out of town or locals looking for an opportunity to #treatyoself, we highly recommend JRDN at Tower 23. This is a fantastic restaurant for bigger groups, FYI. We can’t wait to visit again!

Thanks for sipping with us,

The Social Grapes | @smashleythegrape