[WINEMAKER SPOTLIGHT] Viña Mayu

Photo: Leslee Miller

You could say that Viña Mayu's destiny was written in the stars. 

Mauro Olivier grew up working in vineyards during summer breaks from school. So when the time came to start his own winery, he decided to make the most of the clear, arid conditions in Chile's Elqui Valley. In this desert valley, the days are hot and dry and the nights are fresh and cool. It is known for its crystal clear atmosphere, perfect for viewing the stars and the majesty of the solar system at night. The valley actually holds the worlds' majority of observatories.  In fact, the Elqui Valley is considered an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. So, in 2005, Olivier staked a winery in this magical region, calling it Mayu, the Incan word for "river of stars" (the Milky Way!).

Olivier tapped his cousin, Italian-born Giorgio Flessati (pictured above), to be Mayu's winemaker, and the two set out to make unique and delicious wines that take advantage of the Elqui Valley's extreme nature.  With over 320 days of sunshine...

5 Homemade Mother's Day Meals

Photo: Dylan Nolte via Unsplash

Mother's Day is this weekend and we're thinking it might just be the perfect time to revive the old breakfast-in-bed idea. It's thoughtful, easy to execute at home, and sooo totally vintage [wink]. Whether you want to crank out something warm and sweet for breakfast or treat your mother figure to a classy dinner, below you'll find some excellent ideas, including a recipe from our friend Chef Mike Shannon. Get inspired! What sort of treat would make your mom swoon this Sunday?

CHOCOLATE SWIRL BUNS | Smitten Kitchen
Oooooh baby, these morsels look decadent! This recipe for Chocolate Swirl Buns is Deb Perelman's simplified take on traditional, chocolatey Babka. All the gooey pockets of chocolate you could want, but much easier to execute. Nice!
PAIR WITH: Domaine des Terres Dorées "FRV 100" - This frothy, raspberry-laced Gamay will pick up on all those chocolatey notes.


photo by Sheri Silver via Unsplash

DUTCH BABY | New York Times Cooking
THIS is one of my personal favorite show-stopping...

[RECAP] What We Learned At A Virtual Wine + Cheese Party

Photo: Leslee Miller

One joy in the time of Corona Virus? Virtual wine classes!

Sip Better's sommelier, Leslee Miller, has been putting her wine education chops to work from the comfort of her own home. Through her consulting business, Amusée, Leslee has begun hosting live themed wine classes via Zoom, and the latest one turned into one big wine and cheese pairing party! Wine lovers from around the country tuned in on Saturday April 18th to discuss how to create a killer cheese and meat spread (see that beauty up above?), which wines to pair with which snacks, and more. I was there too! And here are three of my takeaways:

VARIETY IS KEY
Make sure your cheese(and meat) board reflects the spice of life: variety! Choose at least one cow's milk cheese (like Gruyère), one goat's milk (such as fresh chèvre), and one sheep's milk cheese (like Manchego). Not only do these different milks offer many pairing combinations and flavor profiles to explore, they also ensure that most of your dining mates will find...

For The Love Of Canned Wine

Photo: Nick Scheerbart via Unsplash

Hello from my house!

Isn't that where we all are during this COVID-19 pandemic? Inside of our houses?

One of the only true pleasures of these long days of self-isolation is that nature walks and moments outside are PLENTIFUL. Some of us can even see our friends and family by carefully meeting up with them in socially distant-safe spaces. Like the woods! Or a sprawling state park. A couple of lawn chairs in a big green space is the only way to party these days. 

And guess what! There's a canned wine for that situation. The intrepid and ever-inspiring Broc Cellars has made their Love Wines walkable.

Broc Cellars Love Wine boxes
[above photos by Vinnie Biskupic]

Winemaker Chris Brockway champions minimal intervention winemaking techniques and ethical farming practices, and his Love Wines are crafted to express this mission while also being super affordable. Gotta love a wine that makes your heart AND your wallet feel good, right? And now that Brockway's Love Red and Love White blends are available in cans, the...

The Pleasures of Low Alcohol Wine

Photo: Kelsey Curtis via Unsplash

When it comes to healthy living, wine--and alcohol in general--often doesn't fit into the picture. Whether you're counting calories or just trying to keep your alcohol consumption light, an abstract wine label can leave you wondering what the heck you're actually consuming and what it might mean for your health. Luckily, you really only need to know one thing: Alcohol content matters! When you see that little percentage on a wine label, pay attention. 

Alcohol content signals a few things. First of all, it's the primary way to decide whether or not a wine is high in calories. Because alcohol is produced with sugars (in wine's case, natural grape sugars), we know that wines with a larger alcohol content (15% +) may contain left over sugar (called residual sugar) because the yeast used in the fermentation process has been exhausted. Remember, yeast eats sugar--kind of like Ms. Pac-man--during the fermentation process, and the bioproduct is alcohol. Wines that contain this left over...

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