Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A summer pairing

Wines to Drink with Ice Cream

(And a bonus recipe)

On the list of life's pleasures, wine and ice cream are worthy additions. So why not enjoy these two together? The right pair can be a sweet finish to a meal. If you've ever spooned up an affogato, an espresso and ice cream dessert, you know how good the pairing of bitter and acidic with creamy and sweet can be.
AWS members are often challenged by their friends or associates with “OK. What wine would you pair with . . .?” questions.  Ice cream is one of the foods that seems to be impossible, but who says you can’t drink wine with ice cream? Ask most wine professionals, and they’ll tell you to have a beer or whiskey, instead. But what if wine is your only option, or what if you just love wine and ice cream together? Adaptability is a quality of AWS members.
According to dessert and wine pairing guidelines, the wine should be sweeter than the dessert, otherwise the wine might taste flat. The other thing to consider is acidity. Most wines are inherently acidic. Think about it. You wouldn’t squeeze lemon juice on your ice cream.
The last thing to consider is tannins. Tannic wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Nebbiolo, may pair with rich dishes, but once you add a sugary component, the profile changes. The sweetness of your dessert is overpowered by bitterness.
For wine lovers, however, who want to enjoy a scoop of your favorite ice cream with your glass of vino, here are some pairings. A few of them bend the rules.
If you’re having …

1. Chocolate Ice Cream
Look for Brachetto d’Acqui, a sweet, semi-sparkling dessert wine with floral notes and hints of red berries. Add fresh raspberries or strawberries to this combination. Perfection.
Bersano Brachetto d’Acqui NV          Code: 78387          $6.99
2. Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Salted caramel is a great match for Pedro Ximenez (“PX”) sherry. I’m not talking about cooking sherry. PX is the sweetest of sherries, with notes of espresso, caramel, and raisin. PX is another option to serve with or on top of your coffee ice cream. 
Mayu Pedro Ximenez Elqui 2015       Code: 73147          $6.49
3. Pistachio Ice Cream
Pair this treat with Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain. Cava is a Champagne lover’s choice for a good quality, budget sparkling wine. It’s made in the same style as Champagne, but without the price.
Poema Cava Brut                               Code: 2456           $10.39
4. Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Go with a Chardonnay. The more oak, the better. The ice cream’s rich, nutty flavors match the aromas of a buttery, oaked Chardonnay.
Bogle Phantom Chardonnay 2016      Code: 47958          $19.99
5. Blood Orange Sorbet
Moscato d’Asti is a great match. Almost any sorbet tastes great with this bubbly, semi-sweet dessert wine. Pour Moscato over sorbet for a sorbet float. It’s about 6% alcohol. 
Risata Moscato d’Asti NV                 Code: 1591           $14.99
6. Strawberry Ice Cream
When having strawberry ice cream, always have a glass of off-dry (slightly sweet) Rosé ready.  Its notes of strawberries, raspberries, and ripe watermelon complement strawberry ice cream.
Underwood Rose 2016                       Code: 17604          $7.49
(Also available in cans!)
7. Peach Sherbet
Choose an off-dry Riesling to pair with peach sherbet. Riesling is known for aromas of stone fruits, apricots, and nectarines.
Dr. Loosen Dr. L Dry Riesling           Code: 73399          $12.99
8. Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla ice cream is a classic, but it’s also a blank canvas for whatever toppings you like. If you’re adding red berries, go with a Late-Harvest Zinfandel. If you’re topping with nuts or chocolate, go for a Tawny Port. See the list below for some more options when it comes to toppings.
Easton Obscura 2009 (375ml)                      Code: 77010          $22.99
Sandeman Tawny Porto                               Code: 6507           $15.99
9. Plain Greek Frozen Yogurt
Tangy plain Greek frozen yogurt pairs perfectly with the tart flavor of Italy’s dessert wine, Vin Santo. The extended barrel aging of these white wine grapes provides richness, as well as acidity. For the ultimate pairing experience, serve with baked spiced apples or pears.
Lucignano Vin Santo 2006 (375ml)             Code: 74286          $32.99
10. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Australian Shiraz is the perfect pairing. Its raspberry fruits, chocolate, and eucalyptus notes are complementary to mint and chocolate.
d’Arenberg The Stump Jump 2016               Code: 75753          $10.99
Toppings Expand Your Wine-Pairing Options.

·         Light-colored fruits? Peaches, nectarines, or citrus pair well with Sauternes, Riesling, Ice Wine, or Moscato.

·         Dark-colored fruits? Raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries are great matches with Ruby Port or a rich Zinfandel.

·         Nuts? If your toppings include almonds, peanuts, or hazelnuts, go for a Sherry, Madeira, Chardonnay, Tawny Port, or Vin Santo.

We hope these suggestions get your creative juices flowing. What’s your favorite ice cream and wine combination? Any flavor failures?  Post a comment and share those thoughts with your fellow members.

Make Your Own Red Wine Ice Cream
Part berry sorbet and part red wine ice cream, this frozen dessert is a great way to use up leftover wine.
Prep: 20 mins
Stand: 1 hr.
Servings: 12
Yield: 6 cups

• 1-pound fresh strawberries chopped
• 1-pound fresh blackberries
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 ¼ cups dry red wine
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 one-inch piece fresh ginger sliced
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• ½ teaspoon salt
• Whipped cream
• Black pepper (optional)
• Ground cinnamon (optional)
• Step 1
In a large saucepan combine the first eight ingredients (through the salt). Cook and stir over medium-high heat until fruit softens, and sugar is dissolved.
• Step 2
Remove from heat; let mixture cool to room temperature. Remove ginger slices; discard.
• Step 3
Working in batches, transfer wine mixture to a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Transfer blended mixture to a 13x9-inch dish or pan. Cover and freeze overnight.
• Step 4
When ready to serve, scoop sorbet into wine glasses. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with black pepper or cinnamon, if desired.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

AWS "Field Trip" to Ripepi Winery

Friday, July 12, 2019

Some of our chapter members are planning a trip to Ripepi Winery.  If you would like to join them, please email Kevin Dering ( ) before July 8, 2019 so that we can let the winery know how many members are going to attend.

Rich Ripepi has participated in our annual conference and is making some very good wines! The tasting starts at 5pm and ends at 8pm, and there is NO cover charge. The website has a lot of information and directions.  Here is the link:

We hope that you’ll join your chapter on this tasty outing!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Boxes and Cartons and Cans! Oh my!

Fried jumbo sandwich? Check. Ham barbecue? Ready to go. Brownies? A must. You’ve got all the food and fixings for a great picnic dahn at da Point. Now all you need is the wine. But somehow a glass bottle just doesn’t fit in. Put that bottle down and grab a box, can or carton of wine for your cooler.
Canned wines offer smaller sips, without any leftovers to worry about. A 375 ml can is roughly half a bottle and you’ll get two to three glasses out of the slightly larger 500 ml can. Boxed wine, which holds three liters of wine, or about four bottles worth, uses a vacuum-sealed bag to keep oxygen out, which means the wine stays fresh for up to a month after opening.
But cans of wine do have a disadvantage: They’re much harder, or impossible, to close. Once you’ve opened a can of wine, you’ll probably end up drinking the whole thing. And if it’s temperature-sensitive, like a white or a sparkling, you may drink it faster than you would a similar wine from a glass, even though cans typically hold 375 ml, or 12 ounces, equal to three standard 4-ounce pours.
That doesn’t apply to tallboy wine cans, which are almost the equivalent to a 750 ml bottle.  The best practice may be to open the can and immediately share with some friends, to avoid chugging an amount equal to several glasses of wine in under an hour.
And then there’s the Tetra Pak or carton, which we’ve seen on juice aisles for a while now, so it makes sense to use them for wine, as well. The 1-liter cartons hold about 1 1/3 bottles of wine.
Alternative packages have an advantage over bottles of wine. They’re lightweight, unbreakable, portable, and easy to open. As a result, sales of wine in boxes has risen and sales of wine in cans jumped over 40%. Best of all, winemakers have begun putting some pretty good wine in these alternative containers, if you know where to look.
Boxed wine
Bota Box Night Hawk Black, California ($23 – PLCB 1179): This is our “house red.”  With lush flavors of deep berry, fig jam, dark chocolate, toasted marshmallow and baking spice, this smooth, full-bodied wine culminates in a juicy, lingering finish. 
 Chateau Montaud Rosé, Cotes de Provence ($30 - PLCB # 77777): This rosé is dry, not sweet, with a pale pink color and strawberry aromas and flavors. Are you looking for an all-around great food wine? This is our “house rosé."
The Naked Grape Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($18 - PLCB # 7125): This dark, opaque, full-bodied wine is a pleasant surprise. Try this cab with smoky foods, such as barbecue or smoked cheese.

Black Box Chardonnay, California ($22 - PLCB # 5905): This wine offers baked apple aromas and lemon and citrus fruit, along with a caramel finish.

Canned wine
Union Wine Co. Underwood Pinot Gris, Oregon ($28/375 ml four-pack - PLCB # 42885): The soft peach and apricot notes are a great match with spicy food.

Scarpetta Frico Lambrusco ($14 /187 ml four-pack - PLCB # 76563): The classic sparkling aperitivo of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and a great start to every occasion.

Union Wine Co. Underwood Rosé, Oregon ($32/375 ml four-pack – PALCB # 74034): Another from Oregon’s canned wine specialist, this bright rosé has a light strawberry, ruby red grapefruit and blood orange fruit mix.

Tetra Pak wine

Bandit Pinot Grigio, California ($8/1 liter – PALCB # 4654): Developed by the Three Thieves, which features colorful containers in bright yellow, neon green, purple and blue shades. Extremely drinkable, light Pinot Grigio, with pear and citrus flavors.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Viva Sangria!

Few cultures are as advanced in the art of relaxed socializing as the Spanish. It would be silly not to accept guidance on how to better enjoy life from a society where a mid-day nap is encouraged on a national level. As a result, friends meet up at cafes and socialize late into the cool summer evenings while sharing tapas and a pitcher of sangria, one of Spain’s most beloved beverages. Sangria has been bringing people together for centuries. And, despite tradition, there are plenty of variations in the recipe depending on who makes it.

The Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Wine Society is not above coopting the culture of other countries when it comes to enjoying our favorite beverage!  So, we did!  Our Sangria Sip ‘n Share was quite the success.  We sampled white, rose, and red Sangria, and even a Sangria slushie.  To accompany this wide variety, our members outdid themselves with snacks and treats to share with the crowd.

Julie Underwood and Kevin Dering won the prizes for best Sangria of the day, and Susan Cook won our door prize (a 3-liter bottle of Yago Sangria).  Although there was no prize for food, the chatter around Mary Ann Hirt’s albondigas with Romesco sauce was very positive.

We’d like to send our special thanks to Bob Dering, your Treasurer, for arranging the venue for our tasting.  The Grotto Room at the Pittsburgh Masonic Center is lovely, and very accommodating.

Check the blog often for tips, news, and tasting notices!

Monday, June 10, 2019




Saturday, June 15, 2019
5:30 to 8:30

Grotto Hall at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center
3579 Masonic Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

 The cost for members or guests


Please reply before Tuesday, June 11, 2019 to:

Or you may reply to:

 412-979-6565 or 

Mail your check, payable to AWS to:

Robert Dering
38 Perry Lane

Pittsburgh PA  15229

Monday, June 3, 2019

Don't Forget to RSVP!

What can you do with leftover sangria?
Don't forget the fruit at the bottom the pitcher.

Trying to figure out how much sangria you need for a party can be difficult. Online party calculators can give you some idea, but your guests may not drink as much as you thought they would. And even if all the sangria is gone, there's still all that fruit left in the bottom of your pitcher.
Do you have to toss all that out? Of course not. There are creative ways to use up leftover sangria or even just the remaining fruit.
Sangria smoothies

Put your ice cube trays to use by freezing cubes of leftover sangria that's been separated from the fruit. The fruit can be frozen separately after the rinds and skins have been removed. Use that frozen leftover sangria and fruit and turn them into sangria smoothies in your blender with the addition of some lemon-lime soda.

Sangria popsicles

You can make sangria popsicles with leftover sangria two different ways. You can chop up the fruit into bite-sized pieces, making sure all rinds and skins are removed, putting some into popsicle molds and then pouring the leftover wine on top and freezing in the coldest part of your freezer. The alcohol in them will make them melt quickly, but they'll be great grown-up treats.
You can also make popsicles out of the leftover fruit only. Every Day Originals explains how to puree the leftover fruit and turn it into fruit pops with a kick.

Fruit sauce

The fruit in your sangria has been in the wine for some time, and it's soaked up a lot of flavor, even as it has imparted some flavors into the wine. Getting to the wine-infused fruit at the bottom of the glass is the adult version of finding the toy at the bottom of the cereal box!  Don’t let all that flavor go to waste! Think of this dessert option as your duty to the planet.
Let any leftover infused fruit and the last drops of wine continue to soak overnight. Then drain, and blend or puree the leftover fruit and herbs into a sauce. It makes a great topping on French toast, ice cream, and of course, on cake!

Sangria jam

Kitchen Table Scraps explains how to turn the fruit into jam that will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.

Saturday, June 15, 2019
5:30 to 8:30
Grotto Hall at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center
3579 Masonic Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

 The cost for members or guests


Please reply before Tuesday, June 11, 2019 to:

Or you may reply to:

 412-979-6565 or 412-979-9594

Mail your check, payable to AWS to:

Robert Dering
38 Perry Lane
Pittsburgh PA  15229