Well, I don’t know about you, but this mama never needs an excuse to have a glass of wine! For me, it’s a nice way to relax after a long day and an opportunity to reconnect with my husband, without having the distraction of technology.
I was fortunate to work in the wine industry, doing public relations for a well-known winery in Sonoma County, California. It was truly my dream job and some of the best experiences I’ll always remember – including the opportunity to visit, taste and speak with top winemakers to learn more about wine.
I found it fascinating, but also extremely overwhelming, there was so much to learn, how could you ever know it all?
I started taking some wine education classes through my company and also completed my level one Sommelier certification. My company offered the program by The Court of Masters Sommeliers, which has four levels of Sommelier status: The first level is the “Introductory Sommelier” status.
To earn this status you are required to pass a Wine Theory exam consisting of 70 questions about wine types and the various regions they come from. To prepare for the test, a candidate must attend a two day, fast-paced class. The introductory class is the first step in a long and intense series of tests to work your way up to a Master Sommelier.
Since we relocated to North Carolina, my days of wine tasting and writing about new varietals sampled are a distant memory; however, I still love to taste, explore to find new wines and educate others to help them find wines they like that are a value and taste excellent!
So to inspire you on National Wine Day, or any day when your toddler decides not to go down for their nap, I’m sharing some of my favorite varietals and recommendations of wines:
Chardonnay – American’s number one selling varietal
- This varietal often is known for being buttery and having lots of oak, this is your Chardonnay that ages in oak barrels, but you can also get many different types of Chardonnay including those aged in stainless steel barrels that do not give it the same oak characteristics
- Oyster Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a great value, it’s crisp and light with lemon and citrus flavors. This is my go-to summer wine.
- Miraval Rose – this is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Rose and while I typically don’t tend to buy celebrity wines, this one is an absolute exception. It is well-balanced, a wonderful blend of fruit tones with citrus and a dream to drink on a summer day or really any day! Excellent paired with a salmon dish. I’m a believer in rose all year round!
I love this varietal so much that I couldn’t pick just one recommendation.
- Fruit-forward Pinot: Carmel Road Pinot Noir – one of my go-to wine selections, this is a well-balanced red with a great flavor of berries and a silky feel; everyone I’ve introduced this wine to loves it!
- La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – the Willamette Valley is known for Pinot Noirs that are far more earthy than the fruit forward counterparts found in Northern California. This wine is wonderful and gives flavors of coffee bean, dark spice and orange zest complimented with raspberry and boysenberry.
- I’m not a huge cab drinker, but I do appreciate a good cabernet and a steak. This tends to be a more expensive varietal and I’m a believer of you get what you pay for. Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon is a solid choice and one you can feel confident bringing as a hostess gift or ordering at a steakhouse.