The South Beach Wine Club
We Know How To Party!

We aren’t just another wine club - we provide our club members with everyday wines along with a daily blog full of great wine information. Our articles are full of wine news, pairing suggestions, restaurant reviews, and party tips designed to help wine buyers ranging from complete novices to experienced drinkers looking for the next best bottle. Sure, we want you to purchase a membership to The South Beach Wine Club, but we also want you to stop by every day to see what's on our minds. And once you're here, we hope you comment on what you read.

The club is designed for those who like to enjoy wine every day and those who know that wine helps make a party great - no matter what size! But who has time to make that extra trip after work to the wine store, trolling through endless bottles of wine? You should spend your time enjoying the wine, so we pick great bottles at great prices for you. No more guess work!

We keep it simple - 3 different tiers: 2, 4 or 6 bottles per month.

The price is listed in the total price - no hidden shipping costs at check out.

Customize your shipment to be all reds, all whites, or a mix - because you never know.

Perfect gift for those busy friends who always like to have a bottle of wine around.

Regularly updated blog to provide you with helpful party tips, wine suggestions, and pairing ideas.

South Beach Wine Club Blog:

The 2011 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Author: admin  //  Category: Party Wine

 

It’s coming…

We hope you are too!

Sparkling Roses are full of elegance and charm

Author: Randy  //  Category: Party Wine, Wine Stories

 

Think blush is out of style? No way, rose. Not so long ago, rose (pronounced row-ZAY, not like the flower) sparkling wine was thought of as low-quality. The word on the street was that rose was too frivolous, too sweet and too…pink. Honestly, some of it was. At that time only true wine lovers knew that the better roses were complex creations from some of the most prestigious Champagne houses in France and other wine producers around the world.

In the last few years though, a much broader consumer base has caught on to the charms of sparkling rose. Most of these wines are elegant, dry and flavorful, and the festive color certainly doesn’t diminish their appeal. Suddenly Rose Champagne is the fastest-growing segment in the sparkling wine category, and producers are rolling out new labels, and amping up production as fast as they can. Sparkling rose prices run from under $30 for light, everyday bubbly to well over $500 for vintage Rose Champagne. (Note: It’s called “Rose Champagne” if it comes from France’s Champagne area and “sparkling rose” if it comes from anywhere else.)

Good sparkling rose offers all the complexity and many of the same flavors as a red wine without the heaviness. A good rule of thumb is sparkling rose works with any food you might pair with a Pinot Noir:  pork, duck, salmon and tuna. This makes sense, as Pinot Noir is nearly always used in the production of sparkling rose (it should also be noted that Pinot Noir is usually the dominant grape in regular Champagne as well).

How Does It Get Pink? Rose bubbly can get its pink hue in a number of ways. With Rose Champagne, it’s usually achieved by adding a little bit of red wine (typically Pinot Noir) at some point in the production process. Most sparkling roses from the rest of the world are made pink by allowing the red grape skins to stay in contact with the juices for awhile during the fermentation process.

sparkling-rose-wine

If the summer heat has you intrigued enough to go out and try a sparkling rose, here are a few suggestions to try that should cost under $30:
•    Banti Rosa Regale
•    Chandon Rose
•    Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Rose
•    Korbel Brut Rose

If you’re only willing to try Champagne, here are some suggestions for bottles under $100:
•    NV Pommery Brut Rose
•    NV Moet et Chandon Brut Rose
•    Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose Reserve Vintage
•    NV Taittinger Brut Prestige Rose

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For those who only drink the best, or for those believing that any rose really isn’t all that and a bag of chips, check out these bottles which usually run over $200 per bottle:
•    Louis Roederer Cristal Rose
•    1998 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rose
•    1996 Moet et Chandon Dom Perignon Rose
•    2003 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rose
•    2002 Perrier Jouet Fleur de Champagne Rose

Have some wine with your nuts

Author: Randy  //  Category: Party Wine, Wine Review and Pairing, Wine Tips

 

My girlfriend is a fan of kicking off a casual evening with friends by serving a delicious bowl of nuts for everyone to munch on. While she does this, I’m normally making cocktails and pouring glasses of wine. Between the two of us, we’ve put together a few delightful wine-and-nut combos to try the next time you gather friends:

bowl-of-mixed-nuts

Peanuts
One handful of peanuts has a way of becoming two or three, so to refresh yourself between bites, sip something with a little fruitiness to contrast the salt. Many Washington and Oregon Rieslings will do the trick. For something drier, reach for Cava. This refreshing, and often inexpensive sparkling wine from Spain fits right in with the sorts of easygoing gatherings (i.e. tailgates and bowl-game parties) where casual jars of peanuts are right at home.

Cashews
Match the cashews’ irresistible buttery richness with a wine that has some luxurious oaky weight. Many Australian and California Chardonnays, especially those that have been barrel fermented, offer just that. Or, go in the opposite direction with a lighter style of Chardonnay, one that’s labeled “un-oaked.” With this match, you’ll be contrasting the nut’s creamy flavor with the wine’s bright, refreshing fruit.

Walnuts
Walnuts mesh well with dried fruit flavors (think figs, apricots and raisins), so it’s no surprise that the nut will go beautifully with little glasses of tawny port – a wine that’s rife with the aromas and tastes of dried fruits and nuts. Though it’s often served as a dessert wine, tawny port also makes an inviting aperitif when lightly chilled.

There are, or course, more nuts out there to pair with wine. If you have a pairing suggestion, let me know.

The Pacific Northwest sure is jam-packed with grapes

Author: Randy  //  Category: Wine Regions, Wine Stories

 

Immortalized by Lewis and Clark as a splendorous land of discovery, the Pacific Northwest is also one of the best places to explore magnificent wines. Offering power-packed Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, world-class Pinot Noirs, and elegant whites, this region is a boundless paradise for modern wine adventurers.

pacific-northwest-white-wine

Second only to California in terms of production volume among U.S. states, Washington is an even closer rival in terms of quality. Odds are, when you pick up a bottle of Washington wine, the grapes will have been grown in Columbia Valley, the state’s biggest vineyard region. Although smaller, the nearby Yakima Valley region shares a similar growing climate and reputation. Tucked away in Washington’s southeastern corner, the tiny Walla Walla Valley region is home to more than its share of the state’s high-end wineries. As for styles of wine, Washington boasts an ever-expanding, wide-ranging assortment. In addition to the state’s established stars – massive Merlots and Cabernets – reds such as Syrah and Cabernet Franc have lately been proving themselves worthy of similar esteem.

If white wines are your fancy, you’re probably already familiar with Washington’s classy Chardonnay and Riesling. And on the rise is Semillon, a sumptuous French variety currently causing a stir in northwest wine circles.

And then, there is Oregon. How can an unheralded wine region make waves on the international scene? By embarrassing prestigious French wines in competition. Oregon Pinot Noirs did this back in the ’80s and ’90s, placing near the top in a field packed with famous pinot noir-based French Burgundies. A specific climate is necessary for making great wines from Pinot Noir grapes, and the cool, damp weather of Oregon’s top wine region, Willamette Valley, is virtually unmatched. Don’t be surprised to see French vintners establishing their own wineries there.

Even though Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is an international star, Oregon is anything but a one-hit wonder. The state also receives raves for Pinot Gris, the same grape variety as ever-popular Pinot Grigio. In Oregon, however, Pinot Gris takes on an entirely different character from its typical cousin, with an opulent texture and exhilarating floral aromas. Also look for Oregon Chardonnay – the number of delicious examples of this favorite is definitely on the upswing.

And let’s not forget about the state known for potatoes – Idaho. Although lagging light years behind the state’s highest profile crop, Idaho wines are beginning to generate a jumbo-sized reputation of their own. The grape industry is still in the pioneering stage, so experimentation with loads of different varieties is currently underway. For now, check out Idaho’s whites, including Riesling, Chardonnay and ice wines. If you want to try an Idaho bottle tonight, look for the producer Sawtoothe – they make a pretty solid Riesling.

What happens when a wine bottle rack falls?

Author: Randy  //  Category: Wine Stories, Wine Tips

 

Answer – a pretty messy tragedy!

I will admit, this image makes me want to get a roll of paper towels and a glass. Yes, I would ring out the towels over the glass. Yes, I would enjoy drinking the “floor wine.” Yes, I believe the alcohol in the wine would kill any germs. No, I don’t think that’s going overboard.

wine-rack-falling

Don’t let this happen to you! Don’t purchase cheap wine racks, or else you could possibly say goodbye to your investment.

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The Weekend Wine Dinner Party

Author: Randy  //  Category: Party Wine, Wine Review and Pairing, Wine Tips

 

A gorgeous Washington Syrah or red Burgundy may be, in theory, the perfect match for the luscious leg of lamb you’re serving.  But, sometimes, it pays to choose wines based on who’s joining you for dinner rather than what’s being served. When you’re hosting friends whose enthusiasm for the fruits of the vine don’t quite match your own, the gracious thing to do is offer them what they prefer, not what you’d prefer them to have. True, many wine lovers at your table will delight in your thoughtful pairings, reveling in, for example, how that juicy lamb heightens the spice and fruit in the bold Syrah you serve. Yet for the guy who drinks only white, the pairing may fall flat, no matter what you offer.

wine-dinner-table-setting

If your friends are curious about wine, then it’s equally gracious to introduce them to wines that provide easy-sipping introductions to the wine world. That means you likely won’t want to pull out a bottle of your darkest, moodiest Malbec or your biggest, boldest Cabernet Sauvignon. Go ahead and buy the wine you think will match the food you’re serving. But also make sure you have everyone covered by adding an extra bottle or two to the lineup.

Some like it sweet. Dry just doesn’t fly with many wine drinkers, so always offer a few sweeter-style picks. White Zinfandel and some Rieslings should fit the bill. Riesling is just so easy to enjoy. The best Rieslings possess a sweetness that is balanced by acidity, so many newbies find it palatable. German Rieslings are, in my opinion, the best but they may be too complex for the beginning wine drinker.  US style Rieslings are light and not too expensive, making them perfect for such a dinner party. Some bottles I’d recommend: 2007 BV Coastal Estate California Riesling, 2007 Hogue Cellars Columbia Valley Riesling (Washington State), and 2007 Bogle Vineyards California Riesling.

Others are serious, but no need to feel intimidated when an educated wine-lover comes to dinner. Simply look for wines from currently sought-after regions, such as Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara, Rhone-style blends from Paso Robles and Syrahs from Washington State. Just know that the prices of wines made from preferred grapes from preferred regions can vary. The 2006 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a great value at $18 per bottle, but could be considered too light when compared against a 2006 Chalone Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir (a $30 bottle). Whether or not such guests love the wine, they’ll relish the opportunity to sip something from a region currently scoring high on the wine world’s buzz-o-meter. You could also throw a Rioja (sometimes labeled by the grape, Tempranillo) into the mix. This Spanish red is also plenty soft and easy to sip, with strawberry, cherry, and berry flavors. Reach for those labeled “crianza” – they’ll be lighter and fruitier (and, conveniently, less expensive). The 2004 Lerin Navarra Tempranillo, a South Beach Wine Club wine, would be perfect for such a dinner party.

wine-dinner-toast

If you still aren’t sure about what to serve, remember that something for everyone is the way to go. Guests may find higher-alcohol wines hard to take. Try to have a lower-alcohol pick on hand (look on the label for bottles under 12.5 percent alcohol). When in doubt consider that Chardonnay and Merlot still rank among the top-sellers, so if you have a bottle of these waiting in the wings, you have an excellent chance of pleasing every palate.

No, Prosecco, Asti, and Moscato d’Asti aren’t the same wine

Author: Randy  //  Category: Uncategorized

 

This past weekend I celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday AND the Fourth of July at Disney World. I was asked to bring “White wine that was low in alcohol, and perhaps something to toast with as well.”  In order to kill two birds with one stone, I immediately decided to pick up Italian sparkling wine.  And wanting to be able to please family members who enjoy different degrees of sweetness, I purchased bottles of Prosecco, Asti, and Moscato d’Asti. Everyone enjoyed the bottles, but I continued to hear the same question over and over: “Aren’t Asti and Moscato d’Asti the same thing?” My only response was to suggest taking another sip of each in order to decide the answer. But for you, my audience, I’m happy to go into detail about the wonderful world of light Italian sparklers.

An added benefit of these wines is that they offer a great way to bring a Champagne-esque feel to any occasion without draining your wallet. One reason these wines are less expensive than French Champagne or high-end sparkling wines from other regions in the world is because they’re made by the charmat process, a less time-consuming and labor-intensive process than the more elaborate methode champenoise used to make higher-end sparklers (I’ll save the specific differences between these two methods for another article).

It’s important to not to think of these wines as princely pretenders to the Champagne throne, but rather, more playful and less well-bred knaves with their own brand of charm. While Champagne can be rich and elegant, these wines are frivolous and refreshing. Champagne can be a little dry and little tight-fisted with the fruit, but these Italian sparklers playfully offer it to you in spades. Not to mention the fact that while Champagne is usually around 12.5 percent alcohol, Prosecco, Asti, and Moscato d’Asti are usually no more than 7.5 percent alcohol.

When chilled up nicely, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti and Asti taste especially great poolside, dock-side or anywhere outdoors as the temperature climbs – such as Disney World in July. And, with their happy bubbles, they’re also shoo-ins for celebrations any time of year, as they offer an expensive yet highly respectable way to bring sparkle to grand occasions, such as holidays, weddings, New Year’s Eve – or your grandmother’s 80th birthday.

The three range in sweetness-Prosecco is generally a little drier than Asti, while Moscato d’Asti is usually the sweetest of the three. They also range in the intensity of bubbles. Asti is fully sparkling (spumante), while Moscato d’Asti is gently sparkling (frizzante). Prosecco can come in either spumante or frizzante styles.

prosecco

Prosecco is made from the Prosecco grape and most often produced in Italy’s Veneto region. Light, crisp and refreshing, this easy-to-love sparkling wine goes well with many foods. Chicken salad, Eggs Benedict and other light brunch and lunch dishes make for winning combinations. However, like many sparkling wines, Prosecco shines when paired with just about anything, not to mention that it is great for making Bellinis.

moscato-dasti1

Made in the Piedmont region of Italy near the town of Asti, Moscato d’Asti possesses just a hint of sparkle along with peachy flavors that appeal to those who enjoy a little sweetness in their sip. Light and refreshing, it’s usually low in alcohol, making it tailor-made for sipping on a warm day. It pairs especially well with fruit desserts.

asti

You have probably enjoyed Asti under another name; years ago it used to be called “Asti Spumante.” Now it’s simply “Asti.” Like Moscato d’Asti, this sparkling wine also is made near the town of Asti from the Moscato grape; the difference is that it’s a little less sweet and it sparkles more fully. It pairs well with dessert, though anyone who likes sweeter wines like White Zinfandel will enjoy it with their entree, too.

South African Wine is Patio Perfect

Author: Randy  //  Category: Uncategorized

 

While South African wines are enjoying some long-overdue recognition in the wine world, most of them remain virtually unknown to the casual wine drinker. But whenever a wine flies under the radar screen, value hunters should take a closer look. In the case of South African wines, you can find distinguished sips at bargain prices. Winemakers are doing great things with Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz – all perfect patio sips as barbecue season hits full swing. And as the hot days of July lead into the hotter days of August, you’ll really appreciate the whites on sticky evenings when it’s too hot to think about firing up the grill. That’s when a salad and one of these bright, refreshing wines will be just the ticket.

patio-wine

What’s even better is that South Africa is considered part of the New World, and so bottles are labeled by varietal. Despite labeling practices, South African wines lean more towards Europe and the Old World when it comes to style which translates into wines elegant in fruit and oak and not heavily fruit-forward or overly oaky. Also, reading the label’s fine print can pay off; regions to look for include Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Constantia.

If you’ve ever tasted a flat and seemingly boring Chenin Blanc and said “not for me,” you should give this grape another go in its South African style. While these bottles offer plentiful melon and tropical fruit flavors, their underlying mineral notes add sophistication. Lively and refreshing, they’ll go well with fish on the grill, especially if it’s sparked with a little lemon and herbs. This wine will also make a lovely aperitif to sip before dinner with a few nibbles – may I suggest pairing a glass with slices of melon wrapped in thin slices of prosciutto.

Although Chenin Blanc is historically the white-wine grape of South Africa, it’s the country’s Sauvignon Blancs that are especially making a splash among the world’s wine lovers. Winemakers are producing bottles that brim with lively herb and citrus notes and are more easygoing than all-out zippy New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. More lively than French versions from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a great balance of acidity and fruit. For a sublime summer pairing, grill up a colorful array of summer vegetables to serve alongside a fresh Caesar or tomato salad, a selection of cheeses (goat cheese and Gruyere will go especially well with Sauvignon Blanc), and plenty of crusty French bread.

As for reds, South African Shiraz is on the march with vineyards producing wine with beautiful dark-fruit qualities, plus hints of chocolate, spice, and a warm, earthy appeal. Yes, you get a lot of bang for your buck with these bottles.  And just as South African Sauvignon Blanc can offer a refreshing break from New Zealand versions, South African Shiraz is a fine addition to your usual selection of Australian Shiraz.  It won’t have the spice you’re used to, but these wines are great with burgers, chops, sausages, and steaks hot off the grill. The wine meshes especially well with anything flavored with garlic, onions, and just about any herb seasoning.

New Zealand – What wine can’t they make?

Author: Randy  //  Category: Party Wine, Wine Regions, Wine Stories

 

Sauvignon Blanc stands tall as New Zealand’s bright, shining white. But there is much more to kiwi-land – eight wine regions in all: Auckland, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Nelson, Canterbury, and Central Otago. Gather friends to check out these other varietals that continue to receive high scores (by plenty of people other than Robert Parker).

new-zealand-wine-logo

Unoaked Chardonnay: These energetic sips consistently capture the wine world’s attention. They bring the fullness Chard-lovers seek, but with loads of tropical fruit shining through. These Chardonnay’s have good acidity as well – and aren’t as much of an “oak bomb” as their Californian counterparts.

Riesling: While many New World Rieslings register as sweet and fruity, New Zealand winemakers more often craft bottles into brisk, dry styles. I wouldn’t say these Rieslings are as dry as those from Alsace, but if that’s the style you enjoy, a New Zealand bottle is one for you.

Pinot Gris: New Zealand’s best approach to this grape (often known elsewhere as Pinot Grigio) brims with a great balance of citrus and fruit, but in a rich, voluptuous package.

Pinot Noir: New Zealand’s take on this magical grape enchants wine-lovers who love rich, deeply fruity wines, but seek Pinot’s hallmark shimmery silkiness too. Overflowing with elegance and finesse, New Zealand’s Pinots come at a fraction of the price of their Burgundian cousins.

Sauvignon Blanc: Of course, no tasting of New Zealand would be complete without a bottle or two of this zingy white, which put New Zealand winemakers on the map.

Not only is a New Zealand wine tasting a great idea for a party, but all of these wines are food friendly, and absolutely worth trying with dinner.

What’s oak got to do with it?

Author: Randy  //  Category: Wine Stories

 

New oak barrels impart more intense flavor to a wine than old oak barrels; older barrels impart more spice whereas new barrels add buttery tones.  This is why winemakers have to think very carefully how both are used for maturing their wine. Here are a few considerations that go into their decision.

Sometimes, winemakers elect to use 100 percent new barrels for each year’s wine. In such cases, they’ve made not only a very important financial calculation – each barrel can cost up to $1,000 – but also a determination that the wine will truly benefit from the massive flavor impact of using all new oak. Not all wines do. In fact, lots of very good wines might be overpowered by the influence of all that oak, losing fruitiness and charm.

making-and-toasting-wine-barrels

Fortunately, new barrels don’t become old barrels overnight. Their ability to impart flavor declines steadily with each year of use, usually taking 4 to 6 years before no longer contributing much, if any, flavor. As a result, winemakers have the option of using a mix of both powerful new, and muted older barrels in order to control the degree of oak influence on the finished wine.

A popular way of doing this is to replace a set percentage of older barrels with brand new ones each year. With this system, a winery might put, say, 1/3 of a wine into new barrels while putting another 1/3 into 1-year-old barrels and a final 1/3 into 2-year-old barrels. When all this wine is put back together after aging, it winds up with a reduced degree of oak flavor – much less than 100 percent new oak would provide – and tailored to what the winemaker intended.

The difference between French and American oak, and the aromas and flavors they pass onto the wine is a whole other article!