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Brix = the amount of sweetness in a given solution measured in degrees expressing the porportion of sugar to each 100 gr. of total fluid; Used in winemaking by growers to measure the amount of sugar in the grapes.

Chicks = We're girls of a certain age with a sense of adventure, a passion for wine, a vibrant curiousity to learn more and a drive to exchange ideas, share tips and find out what you have to say about how wine flavors your experience.

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16 July, 2014

Want to go to Spain? A miniVacation awaits at Gloria Ferrer

What could be better than the passion of flamenco, the sparkle of wine, the sizzle of paella and time with  your friends?

I just got back from vacation but am so ready to embark on my mini-break to Spain. How? By attending the Catalan Festival at Gloria Ferrer this weekend.

Best of all the proceeds to go an amazing cause Sonoma Valley Education

The schedule of events includes flamenco, cocktail demos a live band and of course a chance to taste the lovely sparkling wines of Gloria Ferrer

The Bubble Lounge pass is already sold out, but many options to add some Catalonian spice to your weekend are still available:

Click here for tickets

See you by the BrixChickMobile!
Photo Credit: Nannette Eaton @wineHarlots

Riesling Summer School: Dry vs. Sweet German Riesling

Mosel Riesling grapes
The Summer of Riesling continues as we celebrate July's 31 Days of German Riesling.

Having just returned from Santa Barbara County where Rieslings are as beautiful as denizens of Manhattan Beach (and as rare as those specimens among the rest of us), it's fun to turn to two examples of German Riesling waiting on my sample shelf.  One trocken, German for dry, and the other Spaetlese, which is the second level of ochsle or sweetness level of grapes when they are picked. Literally don't fear the reaper on this as acid in German Riesling balances any cloying you would expect and makes the wine very easy to pair with food.

Starting with G.H. von Mumm 2009 Ruedishiemer Berg Rottland, Rheingau ($29): It shows aromas of  honeyed apple slices, though the wine is bone dry.  The mouth feel is silky and the taste is golden. G.H. von Mumm is the producer.  Started in 1811 by a Frankfurt banker named Gottlieb von Mumm, who gambled on Riesling and won with a bumper crop of good wine.  He combined his Midas touch for wine with his financial acumen and built a successful Weingut or winery that today produces delicious Riesling in the Rheingau region of Germany.  He is the same GH Mumm who founded the champagne house in France but after WWI was kept by France--a different kind of history in a bottle

Next I had the 2010 Max Ferd Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spaetlese, Mosel ($20) Aromas of petrol and butter jumped out of the glass.  Spaetlese means that the grapes are left on the vines a week after they are ripe to concentrate the sugars and yield a sweeter must.  Magic happens in Mosel where the Wehlener Sonnenurh, or Wehlen's Sundial, watches over the vines.  The texture of the wine is silky and the sweetness of it will allow for interesting food pairings since you can use any of the pillars of wine pairing.  My favorite is the surprise of spicy hot wings or jerk chicken with sweet Riesling.  Weingut Max Ferd Richter boasts "Riesling since 1680" and the family has continuously owned the winery with the 9th generation at the helm and the 10th waiting in the wings to keep their delicious tradition alive

It was fun to compare and contrast the wines. I know sometimes here at Chez Brixchick, Riesling is a hard sell to those who don't drink sweet wine.  This makes it easy breezy:
1) Try dry Riesling.  It has a wonderful intensity and texture
2) Pair sweet Riesling with food. It stands up to spicy food, makes a natural pair with creamy sauces, and the texture can lead you interesting places as well

So I hope you will try some Riesling during the month of July.  For more info about places near you where Riesling will be highlighted, click here

If you are in San Francisco, you can develop a passion for Riesling at Dee Vine Wines where it's an Endless Summer of Riesling

Many thanks to the Wines of Germany who provided the samples

Dry or sweet

09 July, 2014

Lake Chelan - Must See Destination this summer

The best way to start out a wine destination adventure has got to be by air.  When I embarked upon the preconference for 2013 WBC I left from Seattle, got on an un-air conditioned bus and made the trek to Lake Chelan.  It was so worth it to explore this interesting and tasty AVA.  Only since 2009 has this wine play ground been designated  an AVA, but what an awesome spot it is.  With conditions perfect for wine, many wineries are now popping up.  It is a wonderful destination for your vacation as well.

First, we got to boldly go in a pontoon boat, where I had never been before.  The aerial perspective was amazing to see the neatly cultivated fields. When we landed, tasting them was even better.  Our first spot, as we touched down like geese on a bender, was Rio Vista.  Lucky for them, they sell most of what they produce to their wine club members, who get to enjoy visits to this peaceful spot and enjoy the many wines they produce.  From there, we were whisked off to a quick change, which was lamentably not enough time to enjoy Campbell's Resort., Midway between "Dirty Dancing" and "Butterfield 8" , every amenity was available and the place looked action packed  I expected to see Elizabeth Taylor rounding the corner in search of lost weekend ice.  A kitchen, intriguing furnishings and such a calming view await you there.

Dinner and an amazing view awaited us at Tsillan Cellars restaurant, Sorrento's.  You can see why people come for destination weddings.  Spelled as the First Nation's people would spell it, The restaurant focuses on Italian food.  It was as yummy as the view was gorgeous.  The staff told us on certain nights in the winter you can see the Northern Lights.  We were treated to an amazing sunset and a wonderful dinner.  As gorgeous as the view and as comfortable as the venue looked, it wasn't the place that jumped out as Best Spot for  Wedding.  That had to go to Karma Cellars.

Not only was the spot very conducive and the staff very informative, but Karma produces some very tasty sparkling wines inspired by true methode champenoise as well as guided by experience, Julie Pittsinger leads the team that learned and invested in the perfect growing region,  The big plus for brides to be was not only the venue, the wines and the help from the team, but an great opportunity to buy a case of your wedding wine and open it slowly year by year.  Sounded awesome and the wine was delicious.  More Here but take my word, you have to visit an try to truly appreciate.

Of course my favorite was Hard Row to Hoe.  The story is as entertaining as the owners.  They
did a wonderful wine pairing, which I stole for a BrixChicks dinner.  The Hard row to Hoe Burning Desire Cabernet Franc is such a food friendly wine and paired with beef and horseradish.  a crowd pleaser.  Current realeases have transitioned into Petit Verdot.  Need to try that! The team make your visit fun and many of the double entendres and innuendo only add  spice to  your visit.  Be prepared for fun.

They also make a very tasty Ice Cider or apple wine that is sweet but complex and a great cheese wine---you can never have enough of those!

All in all a wonderful place to visit.  There are many activities for non wine drinkers centered around the lovely lake.  If you are planning a destination wedding, its a pretty easy trek in clement weather, so brides and bridezillas alike take note.

So much more to see, taste and explore.  Lake Chelan makes it easy to plan with information here

With only none weekends to go till Summer ends, cash in those Frequent Flyer miles, pack up the car and relax, explore and discover all the fun that awaits by the Lake.