Happy Easter! 

Much love to you all on this Easter Sunday!

We are starting the day off with beautiful Bellini cocktails. I wish I could say that made them myself, but I decided to make things a little easier with a pre-made concoction from Canella. It is heavenly with our homemade waffles, dijon devilled eggs, hot cross buns, and fresh fruit salad.

Holidays like this allow for time to take stock of the blessings (no matter how small) at play in life.                                Some blessings today: a stellar day in the Cleve 🌞,  healthy and happy family, and wonderful friends on both sides of the border.

I wish you all day rich in joy and chocolate. And a nice bellini cocktail is a great way to start it off. 😄


House of Cards Binge Watch Weekend!

Deception! Backstabbing! Lies! What better way to spend a cold weekend in the Cleve than bingeing on season four of Netflix series House of Cards.

To appropriately enjoy the delicious unfolding of events, we needed an appropriately delicious wine. We chose a 2011 Kiona Vineyards Red Mountain Syrah. It’s rich, dark and full of flavors that reveal themselves slowly and stealthily. Much like Frank and Claire’s unraveling machinations.

Did I mention that this wine is from Washington? The state, that is.😉


Happy National Drink Wine Day! 

I love that it’s National Drink Wine Day. Then again, for me, most any day could be drink wine day. The reason for the national day is to promote the love and health benefits of wine. And that’s as good a reason as any to open a bottle and enjoy.

To honor it, I chose my latest favorite: 2013 Michael David Petite Petit. With 85% Lodi Petite Syrah and 15% Petit Verdot, the lush and full bouquet and flavors made today special, with or without national day of recognition.


Celebrating Women of the Vine 🍷⚗🔬

To honor International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I revisited Women of the Vine, an inspiring book by Deborah Brenner. In it, she examines a varied cross section of women who are making great strides in what has been, over centuries, a male dominated profession. 

Some of the women profiled came into their calling dynastically (Stephanie Gallo), some discovered their passion along the way ~ punching down the cap of discrimination  (Merry Edwards) to have a satisfying career, and one blended her love of science and unique ability to identify aromas and tastes (Dr. Ann C. Noble). 

To create exceptional wine that stands the test of time, it’s a marriage of science, instinct, wisdom, and perseverance. These women understand that very well. 

From sommelier to winemaker to marketing, to creating the wine aroma wheel, Women of the Vine gives an interesting perspective for all wine lovers, and also for girls studying science who may be looking for an alternative in science-based careers. 


Where Y’at?! Mardi Gras Crawl @Flats East Bank

It was a day of ‘should we, shouldn’t we’ before we finally decided that we should. And though we were tardy, we didn’t get detention. The Mardi Gras Crawl at the Flats East Bank  yesterday was too much fun to resist. But we had to streamline our crawl. We narrowed it down to three: The Big Bang Bar, Alley Cat Oyster Bar and Crop Rocks. Signature drinks of the day were the Elsa shot (in a flashy glass) and Mardi Gras classic the Hurricane.

Did we see a lot of people having fun? Yes! Did we flash anyone for beads? No! It was too chilly. Although, after I came back from the bar with our drinks, I noticed HubbyDoug had more beads than me. Hmmmm…

Wherever your plans take you for Mardi Gras, be safe, have fun, and let the good times roll!


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©TheWineStudent, 2016






Buggin’ Out on a Saturday Night

“I don’t eat bugs”, was the text response from my friend Shelly when I mentioned the bug and wine pairing event at Spaces Gallery. I admit, the thought of an evening of bug eating made me feel like a contestant on Fear Factor. But this is a brand new year, and why not try something new?

Spaces planned this edible cricket tasting event to coincide with their exhibit from The People’s Museum of Revisionist Natural Itstory about seeking narrative justice, by confronting and questioning norms perpetuated through our culture. The exhibit also speaks to the viewer, as a consumer of culture and information, to question those norms and ‘not readily accept them as facts.’ The evening’s cricket experience was designed to address those concepts, as well as illuminate issues of sustainability in a meat and potatoes culture.

Big Cricket Farms, founded in 2014 by Kevin Bachhuber, is aiming to corner the gourmet protein market, as “America’s first urban cricket farm.” According to their site, crickets are a sustainable alternative to traditional protein sources, such as beef. Crickets are a tasty (?), cost effective way to have your protein and crunch it, too. These crickets are quite different than the ones I occasionally see my cat take down. Slightly smaller in size, the Tropical Banded Cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus) are an edible variety having the identical nutritional components to their larger counterparts. Since you are what you eat, Big Cricket edible crickets are fed a diet of organic grains and fruit and vegetables. A happy meal, indeed.

Stacked up against other sources of protein (grams/100 g), including beef and seafood, insects provided a huge nutritional punch; with Chapulines (Mexican grasshopper) coming in the heaviest hitter with 35-48%. Beef paled in comparison at only 10-15%. Chapulines are harvested only a few times a year and after being cleansed, are toasted with lime juice, salt, agave worm extract and, occasionally, chili.

Insects are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins( with the exception of B12~ beef won in this category); minerals such as copper, sodium, iron, zinc and potassium, and rich in amino acids.

In the video presentation of Kevin Bachhuber’s TEDx talk, he explained the importance of biodiversity, especially in food sourcing. He explained and how consuming insects (namely crickets) makes for a more humane way of acquiring sustenance while maintaining a healthy ecological footprint. Insects emit far fewer greenhouse gasses than livestock, and consume much less water.

So now… time to eat. I knew I had to just dig in, and take a bite. Over-thinking just made me more squeamish. In the salsa, with crunchy chips, they weren’t too bad: The crunch of the chips masked the crunch of …well you get it. I began to feel brave at this point. Then came the mac and cheese… with cricket sprinkled throughout. This made some of us at the table wince a little. But we knew what we’d signed up for, there was no going back. One of our table mates described the flavor as ‘wheat berry‘, and thought the crunch could be likened to the crunchy topping you’d find on any gourmet mac and cheese dish. Jay, a new friend, suggested the taste was like grain but fairly bland. I wondered then, if perhaps crickets functioned a little like tofu: Lots of bland goodness on its own, but taking on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with. Shelly was not impressed. By the time dessert of caramel cricket apples and ice cream came around, most of the crickets remained uneaten on her plate. I give her full marks, she did try a few bites.

To be honest, at this event, the wine chosen for the pairings came in a distant second. It was all about the bug. And that was ok. Shelly and I enjoyed our 2012 Mercedes Eguren Cab Sauv. The rich blackberry essence provided a lovely light-acid balance to the creamy(and crunchy) mac and cheese.
As I pushed back from the table, I couldn’t help but admire this adventurous group as dinner came to a close. And given what we’d just eaten, the question, ‘is anything stuck in my teeth?’ had a whole different vibe.

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©TheWineStudent, 2016









The Jackpot Question in Advance: What Are You Drinking New Year’s Eve? 

“Maybe it’s much too early in the game, but I thought I’d ask you just the same…”

This New Year’s, HubbyDoug and I are keeping it simple at home with chicken and tempura vegetable fondue and prosecco. While I’d love to bring on 2016 with a big bottle of Dom Pérignon, I’ll be the only one drinking it;  HubbyDoug’s not a fan of champagne. And drinking the entire bottle myself probably won’t lead to a very happy New Year’s Day.

I chose prosecco for dinner over traditional champagne because of the lighter, more floral | fruit vibe it brings to the party. Since dinner will take a couple of hours to meander through, I figure I can pace myself nicely until midnight.

But when the Times Square ball drops, I’ll treat myself to a split of Vueve Clicquot. It’s my little gift to me to bid the old year adieu, and welcome in the promise of a brand new year.

Now… What are you drinking New Year’s Eve??


©TheWineStudent, 2015