The Wine Collectionary

My grandmother has 147 pigs.

Pig wine bottle holder 29208Not real pigs, of course, but all kinds of tchotchkes in their likeness scattered throughout her house. There are piggy banks, obviously. Pig hand soap dispensers, pig serving dishes, pig door stoppers. You can’t look in any single direction without seeing something pig-related. And the weird part is (wait, that wasn’t already weird?) she doesn’t even like pigs! She got one once as a gift and however many years later her house is full of them.

That’s what I think of when I think of collections, and I think most people have a collection of some sort. I like to collect uniquely-shaped wine bottles; I have cat-shaped bottles in multiple colors, a fish-shaped bottle, there’s even one shaped like a man holding a small barrel. Every time I’m in a wine shop I’m always on the lookout for oddly shaped wine bottles to add to my collection. They are not easy to find, especially once you’re purposefully seeking them out. Sure there are a few bottles with a curved neck or some pretty inlaid metal seals, but I want the really unique stuff!

Wine-Collectionary
Enter: The Wine Collectionary. Have you heard of it? It’s like Pinterest for wine collectors! Not only can you seek out specific items to add to your collection, you can also find out where to buy these items. For example, I found this cat-shaped wine bottle, including some information on recent pricing. For many of the items there are direct links to where you can purchase them online. And also, because I am familiar with this type of bottle (I have it in 7 colors), I was able to update the listing title, so other collectors will be able to find it easier.cat-wine-bottle

The Wine Collectionary is fairly new but there are already thousands of different wine-related items listed. They  have expert collectors called “moderators” that help create new Collectionaries (a combination of the words “collection” and “dictionary”), add cool items, and update listings like I did. In fact, you can be a moderator too. All you have to do is sign up, then you can add items, edit existing items, find where to buy them, and more. Plus you can put together your own collections to keep track of all your favorite items.

So check it out, and we’d love to hear about what wine-related items you’re collecting! And if you put together a “collectionary,” share it with us by commenting below, posting to our facebook, or emailing us at info@hawkhavenvineyard.com

 

Lynsie-blog-signature

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What’s in a wine? 5 little-known facts about Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is one of the top five most widely purchased wine varietals, and what’s not to love? The crisp minerality and bright citrusy flavors make for a refreshing glass of wine to pair with any number of light dishes. We also love cooking with Pinot Grigio; check out this tasty recipe for Chicken Francaise! But there are some things you might not know about this popular varietal, so we put together five interesting facts to help you appreciate Pinot Grigio even more.

1. White Wine; Red Grape

Pinot_Gris_closeEven if you’ve never had Pinot Grigio, you probably already know it is a white wine. But did you know it is actually a red grape? It’s true! The Pinot Grigio grape is named for it’s blue-gray hue, and yet you’ll probably never see a bottle of red Pinot Grigio. How did that happen? To make white wine, the juice is pressed out of the grapes and the skins are discarded. Usually white (or green) grapes are used, but any type of grape will work. With red wine, black (aka red or purple) grapes are fermented with the skins before extracting the juice. The color isn’t coming from the juice, which is mostly clear, it comes from the skins. So why isn’t Pinot Grigio made as a red wine since it is a red grape? It probably has something to do with tradition, as well as the fact that this varietal just tastes better as a white wine.  The grape also has a very thin skin, so even if you did ferment the skins with the juice, you wouldn’t get the kind of rich color you would see in a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon.

2. Early Riser

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio matures rather quickly, and so it is usually one of the first varietals we harvest each year. By picking the grapes as early as late August, we can capture that perfect amount of acidity that really helps to bring out the bright fruity flavors we love in our Pinot. An early harvest also means we can get straight to work making wine! It usually takes around six months to make, so that means it is ready by late winter/early spring. By contrast, our Chardonnay harvested in the same season would only be half-way to three-quarters done, and it would be at least another year before you’d be tasting the Petit Verdot. And once you have your bottle in hand, it is ready to drink! There is no need to bottle-age your Pinot Grigio; it is best enjoyed young.

3. Same Grape, Different Names

Hawk Haven.IMG_0474The name Pinot Grigio is just one of many for this particular varietal. It is traditionally a French grape from the Burgundy region where it is called Pinot Gris, but it is also very commonly grown in Alsace where it used to be called Tokay d’Alsace. The flavor profile there is quite different from the Burgundian version. It is from Italy that the grape gets the Grigio, but rest assured it is the same varietal. In other countries you might hear other names like Grauer Mönch in Germany, Monemvasia in Greece, and Szürkebarát in Hungary. In the U.S. you will see both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris on the label, but again, it’s all the same, though the winemaking styles may differ from region to region. The fun part is trying different Pinots from different regions or vintages and finding out what differences there are as far as colors, aromas, and flavors. Actually the fun part is all in the drinking, but you can really train your palate to pick up all the difference nuances of a particular varietal when you’re sampling from multiple locations or years.

4. Relative of Pinot Noir

Chehalem_pinot_noir_grapesAlthough there are thousands of different grape varietals out there, many of them are relatives or hybrids and Pinot Grigio is no exception. Many studies of PG’s DNA have revealed a close relation to the Pinot Noir grape. In fact, even on the vine they are so alike as far as cluster and leaf shape that the only way to distinguish the two is the color, a difference attributed to a genetic mutation. Pinot Noir tends to be a darker, almost black grape, whereas Pinot Grigio, as we said before, has a more blue-gray color. And while Pinot Grigio is grown very successfully in many places throughout the world, Pinot Noir can be a little more finicky and requires very particular growing conditions. The biggest difference is obviously that Pinot Grigio is a white wine and Pinot Noir is a red wine.

5. Don’t Be a Hipster

winesnobWine drinking is a culture and like fashion, certain wines go in and out of style. A lot of wine snobs will turn their noses up to Pinot Grigio because it is no longer trendy… or maybe it’s because it is too trendy? Whatever it is, they will spout off reasons like, “Pinot Grigio is too simple, uninteresting,” but the truth is, you can’t make blanket statements like that when it comes to wine. Sure, the mass-produced, cheap versions might not taste so great, and certainly there are some crappy expensive bottles out there. But there are so many factors that go into making a wine, from the growing region and conditions, to the winemaking styles, that you’re never going to taste two Pinot Grigios that taste exactly the same unless it is the same vintage from the same winery made with the same process. I recently did a vertical tasting of Hawk Haven Pinot Grigios; one from every year since 2009, and we were amazed at the divergence of flavors and aromas from year to year. So just because it isn’t “cool” anymore to drink Pinot Grigio, don’t let that stop you. Or maybe you’re one of those uber-hipsters who thinks its cool to like things that aren’t cool to regular hipsters because they are too mainstream. I don’t even know if that made sense, but my point is, drink more Pinot Grigio.

And you can start by visiting our tasting room to try our 2012 Pinot Grigio! Bright and mouth-filling with flavors of Bosc pear, honeydew melon, kiwi, and a lingering finish of grapefruit. It would make a great starter wine if you just want to have a glass before dinner, or try it with a nice shellfish entree. Whatever you do, feel free to share your favorite pairings with us, either here, on our facebook page, or email us at info@hawkhavenvineyard.com

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March Madness 2014

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It’s happening again!

Hawk Haven is experiencing March Madness, and the savings are crazy! All month long we are offering 20% off of our 2012 Pinot Grigio, 2012 Riesling, 2011 Northern Harrier Red, and 2011 Proprietor’s Red Blend. Buy six bottles and get an additional 5% off, or twelve bottles for an additional 10% off!

But the savings don’t end there. Relax in our barrel room with your friends or significant other because for every glass of wine you order, we’ll throw in another one for free! This deal pairs perfectly with our Gourmet Cheese Plate, featuring four delectable cheeses, imported Marcona almonds, and Dalmatia orange fig spread.

There’s just no stopping the madness! Every week we will have a prize drawing for some really great events that we’re hosting this year, and you earn one entry for every 6 bottles purchased. Take a look below at what you can win!

March 1st-March 8th
Vineyard & Winery Tour tickets for four (Value: $100)
Taste through our wines as your guide leads you through every step of the wine making process from the vineyard to the vast steel tanks and French oak barrels. Discover what makes each wine unique and how our wine maker achieves every flavor and aroma. Learn the history of Hawk Haven while you sip. The tour concludes with a selection of gourmet cheeses to enjoy on the vineyard view crushpad or inside our cozy barrel room.

March 9th-March 15th
Private Wine Tasting for six (Value: $150)
Enjoy an exclusive wine tasting at our winery on the date of your choosing. Reservations required, some blackout dates may apply.

March 16th-March 22nd
Cape May Lobster Bake tickets for two (Value: $100)
September 13, 2014: A perfect pairing for a fall afternoon at the shore … tour the vineyard and sample some of the fine wines at Hawk Haven Vineyard and then purchase your favorite wine to complement a traditional clambake of steamed clams, lobster tail, corn on the cob, and more. Live Music from local singer/songwriters!

March 23rd-March 31st
AJ Meerwald Wine Cruise tickets for two (Value: $218)
August 16, 2014: Hawk Haven has teamed up with the Bayshore Discovery Project to create a relaxing evening aboard the historic AJ Meerwald, a Delaware Bay oyster schooner first launched in 1928. Enjoy a 2 1/2 hour cruise aboard the AJ Meerwald, accompanied by our award-winning wines paired with passed hors d’oeuvres. This is a popular event that sells out every year!

Earn a chance to win one of these great prizes by making your qualifying purchase within the seven-day window as listed above. For example, for a chance to win the Private Wine Tasting, your qualifying purchase must be made within March 9th through March 15th. Earn one entry for every 6 bottles purchased.

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Try this Turkey Lasagna with our Northern Harrier Red

Winter is the time for comfort food and a hearty lasagna really hits the spot. This recipe for Turkey Lasagna is perfect paired with our 2011 Northern Harrier Red, and feel free to pour yourself an extra glass. This dish is not only delicious, but with all that spinach and lean turkey meat, its actually kind of healthy, too!

Turkey Lasagna

original recipe found here

5085_021510_lasagna_salad_hdIngredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh ground turkey
1 (28 oz) can plum tomatoes, crushed
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 (9-oz) package no-boil lasagna noodles
15 ounces low-fat ricotta or low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed, but not dried
1 pound shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add ground turkey and cook for about 10 minutes. Add plum tomatoes, tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper; let simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in basil and parsley; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and egg; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place damp spinach in a large skillet over medium heat; cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Ladle 1/4 of the turkey mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; spread to cover. Add a pasta sheet, 1/3 of the mozzarella, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the spinach mixture, and another 1/4 of the turkey mixture. Repeat process two more times; top with remaining sheet of pasta. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top. Line a piece of aluminum foil with parchment paper; spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Cover lasagna with prepared aluminum foil, parchment-side down, and transfer to oven. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting; serve.

If you make this tasty recipe, share your pictures and wine pairings with us! Post to our facebook or email us at info@Hawkhavenvineyard.com.

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Be Our Valentine?

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Valentine’s Day is this Friday, February 14th, which is perfect because it means we have all weekend to celebrate. If you’re looking for something special to do with your significant other, Hawk Haven is the perfect place to spend a romantic afternoon and we have some very exciting festivities planned for this weekend.

If you’re single and Valentine’s Day is depressing for you, let us point out that studies have shown that CHOCOLATE makes everything better. It’s science! You can’t argue with science and you definitely can’t argue with chocolate. Not when there is wine involved, and I’m sure there are other studies showing that wine gives you eternal life or something, so you really can’t lose.

So here we are, offering you happiness and eternal life* and you’re still wondering what to do this weekend. Let us help you with that!

Our friendly tasting room staff are ready to serve up our award-winning wines!

Our friendly tasting room staff is ready to serve up our award-winning wines!

The tasting room is open daily, 12pm-5pm, for educational wine tastings, wine sales, cheese plates, and general hanging out. On Friday, February 14th, we will be offering our Wine & Chocolate Pairing for $12 which includes a wine tasting of eight wines, four of which are expertly paired with gourmet chocolates (we ate a lotttt of this chocolate so we’re pretty sure that makes us experts now), and a souvenir wine glass.

Then comes the Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend, February 15th & 16th. We are so excited for this weekend that we wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to enjoy it, so we extended our hours a bit to be 11am-6pm. Fall in love with our wines during the Wine & Chocolate Pairing, then stroll on over to our barrel room for a very special barrel tasting with our very special winemaker. During this barrel tasting, you will get to sample some of our newest wines and although they aren’t quite ready for bottling, they are already tasting great which is why we wanted to share them with you now. We will even be selling futures, so you can secure yourself some bottles before they are ever released to the public.

This is the best grilled cheese you ever had in your life, especially if you've never had grilled cheese.

This is the best grilled cheese you ever had in your life, especially if you’ve never had grilled cheese.

At this point you’ll be ready to sit back and relax under our heated crushpad tent with a glass of your favorite wine. Can’t decide which one you liked best? Order a red or white wine flight for a 2.5 ounce serving of four wines. By now you’re probably starting to get hungry, and as delicious as those chocolate tastings were, you need something more! We’ve got that covered too, with gourmet cheese plates and some appetizer-sized offerings from Chef Ryan Kennedy of Executive Catering. We had the opportunity to try some of these dishes last weekend, and they are not to be missed. You might have to order one of everything.

This article is getting pretty long but I am not finished! I didn’t tell you about the LIVE MUSIC yet! That’s right, we will have some great local musicians here from 2pm to 5pm all weekend. Come hear the poetic lyrics of guitarist Gordon Vincent on Saturday, then come back Sunday with your dancing shoes because we’ve got Tamara deMent on the violin accompanied by Jim Maher on the guitar.

And that’s that! If you totally scrolled straight to the bottom without reading any of the above, here is the jist of it: Wine, Chocolate, Food, and Live Music at Hawk Haven Winery this weekend, February 15th & 16th. Now you have to come because you skipped over all my hard work. See you there!

*Our lawyers have advised us that we must inform you we cannot guarantee eternal life from our wines. But we still think we can at least do the happiness part.

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Behind the Bar: Lynsie

This is going to be very odd because today I’ll be writing about myself. Hello, I’m Lynsie, I manage the blog, facebook, and twitter for Hawk Haven. You might also see me in the tasting room, usually at the register. I started working here in the summer of 2010 because Hawk Haven was and is my favorite winery here in Cape May County. I love the atmosphere, not to mention the wine maker hasn’t yet made a wine I didn’t like. Everyone here is so friendly, from the staff to the customers, that it never feels like a job.

lynsiebiophotoI live in Cape May with my husband but I was born and raised in Delaware. No kids yet, but we do have a dog and two cats. I started pursuing an English degree at University of Delaware, but ended up majoring in Religion at Liberty University in Virginia. So, naturally, I have a completely unrelated job here at Hawk Haven, pouring wine and tweeting pictures of the vineyard.

I love reading, cooking, and jogging. I also have an unnatural obsession with Disney World which everyone here loves to tease me about. Seriously though, get me started talking about it and I won’t shut up. I am amazed at the number of guests that visit the winery who are fellow Disney lovers and I love exchanging tips and stories about visiting “the World.”

But I digress. I’m supposed to talk about my favorite Hawk Haven wine now, but the truth is I love the different wines for different reasons. Mostly it depends on what I’m eating.cinderella I love the Pinot Grigio with salmon baked with lemon slices and capers because the citrusy notes of the wine cut through the creamy texture of the fish. I don’t eat Mexican food without the Red-Tailed Rose because the fruity sweetness is a perfect match for the spicier tones in the food. The Northern Harrier Red is a great everyday drinking wine and when I’m in the mood for something with a little more substance like pasta or burgers, this blend is an easy pick. I could go on and on but I guess if you were going to get me a bottle for Christmas, I would want the 2010 Reserve Merlot. It isn’t on our regular tasting list (it’s Signature Series), but I promise you this wine is divine. It’s so smooth and rich with notes of raspberry and cocoa. It was love at first sip!

My advice for wine drinkers is to not be afraid to try new wines. Your palate is always changing, and besides, even within a particular varietal there are going to be different flavors depending on where it was grown, how it was aged, etc. Wine tasting should be relaxing and fun; remember, you’re here to find something you love! And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

P.S. This month Lynsie is raising awareness and funds for the International Justice Mission‘s goal to end human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression by participating in Dressember. She will be wearing a dress every day for the entire month of December, and you can follow her on instagram and twitter. Please consider making a donation on her campaign page (click here).

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New Vines & Wines 2013

Now that harvest is complete, our work in the vineyard can slow down a bit until early winter when we prune the vines. ‘Tis the season now to share the fruits of our labor with the release of the rest of the wines we bottled earlier this year.

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If you have been to the tasting room since July, you may have already tried our first round of new releases, including the 2012 Riesling and 2012 Chardonnay. This Saturday, November 23rd we will release four new wines: 2012 Pinot Grigio, 2011 Merlot, 2010 Signature Series Reserve Merlot, and 2010 Tempranillo. I have to say, we are probably MOST excited about the Merlot since it has always been one of the best wines produced here and always one of our favorites, but the Tempranillo is NOT to be missed. All four wines will be available for tasting this weekend only (November 23rd & 24th, 2013), and only the 2012 Pinot Grigio and 2011 Merlot will remain on our normal tasting list.

2012 Pinot Grigio
100% Pinot Grigio aged 7 months in stainless steel
Bosc pear and honeydew melon on the nose with flavors of pear, kiwi, and grapefruit. Bright and mouthfilling, with a lingering finish.

2011 Merlot
100% Merlot aged 23 months in French oak
Aromas of plum, cherry, and dried herbs. Medium-to-full bodied wine with great balance and a richness from refined tannins. Long finish of cherry candy. This wine will age well for seven to twelve years.

2010 Signature Series Reserve Merlot
100% Merlot aged 28 months in French oak
Deep, rich nose of pie spice, blackberry, and raspberry. Mouthfilling, building in intensity with rich flavors of raspberries, sweet fruit, and cocoa. This wine will age well for ten to twenty years.

2010 Signature Series Tempranillo
100% Tempranillo aged 22 months in French oak
Smokey aromas of strawberry and camphor. Robust tannins give way quickly, a classic Spanish Tempranillo that will age well for ten or more years. Try with grilled lamb.

This past spring we also planted several new vines, some of which are varietals we already have growing elsewhere in the vineyard, and some that we’ve never had before. You already know about the Lagrein and the Teroldego, but here are some of the others:

Albarino- a white grape varietal typically grown in Spain and Portugal. Known for its peachy aromas and high acidity, but when planted in sandy soils like our 2011 & 2012 Albarino, that acidity softens out and produces a wine with sweet aromas and flavors of apricot, kiwi, and tropical fruits.

Sauvignon Blanc- a white grape varietal from the Bordeaux region of France. As a crisp, dry, refreshing white wine, Sauvignon Blanc is known to be one of the few wines that pairs well with sushi. It buds late, ripens early, and grows best during a mild summer. Our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc is oak fermented, with flavors of melon, kiwi, and Asian pear.

Pinot Noir- a red grape varietal from the Burgundy region of France. Pinot Noir is a very finicky grape to grow and isn’t as tolerant of harsher conditions as the other red varietals that we grow, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It tends to produce a light- to medium-bodied wine with aromas of cherry and other berries.

Petit Verdot- a red grape varietal from the Bordeaux region of France. Our 2010 Petit Verdot is the pride of our winemaker, with aromas of rosewood and coffee and flavors of mocha and berries with rustic tannins.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta

You know autumn is here when you visit the grocery store or farmer’s  market and everywhere you look are different varieties of squash. Acorn squash, spaghetti squash, even pumpkins, and of course my personal favorite: butternut squash. Even the name sounds delicious, and it is so easy to incorporate in all your fall recipes.

butternut-squash

Butternut squash is a pale orange veggie with a long pear shape and a sweet, nutty flavor. The easiest way to cook it is to cut it in half long ways, scoop out the seeds, coat the inside with a bit of olive oil, then roast it coated-side down in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until tender. You can jazz it up with a little cinnamon and brown sugar, chipotle powder, or even just salt and pepper. Once its cooked, you peel away the skin and it’s ready for any number of tasty dishes.

Recently a friend shared a very delicious butternut squash recipe with me and I couldn’t wait to try it. Even better, one of our wines here at Hawk Haven has reached its peak in flavors and aromas and turned out to be a perfect complement to this dish: the 2012 Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc.

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Due to limited production, the Signature Series Collection wines are not typically included in our normal wine tasting. The oak-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, however, has evolved so much since we bottled it back in April, and the once subtle essence of kiwi and melon have unfolded into bolder, more rich flavors of caramel and green apple. This wine is really in its prime!

So stop by Hawk Haven (we’re open every day 12-5pm), grab a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and try it with this recipe tonight for dinner!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta
Ingredients
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 package fisarmoniche pasta (or your favorite variety)
3/4 cup ricotta
2 tbsp ponzu sauce

Instructions
Set oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half length-wise and scoop out seeds. Brush inside of each half with olive oil, then place face down on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until tender, then remove from oven and peel off skin. Roughly chop the squash into small pieces.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain off water and return pasta to pot. Stir in squash, ricotta, and ponzu sauce.

At this point you may be tempted to grab a fork and eat right out of the pot, but let’s be civilized, you’re drinking a Signature Series wine after all! Scoop some out onto a plate, pour yourself a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and go sit at the table. Try not to inhale it, remember to chew, and most of all, enjoy!

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Got any favorite butternut squash recipes? What are your favorite foods to pair with Sauvignon Blanc? Tell us in the comments below!

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Behind the Bar: Karl

Ah, Karl. I think I can safely say that this guy is a staff favorite, and the customers seem to like him too. We really enjoy his dry sense of humor, and during a wine tasting you can tell he truly cares about helping you find a wine you love.

Karl has an aura of love and joy around him at all times.

Karl has an aura of love and joy around him at all times.

Karl is married to a lovely lady named Patricia who you may have seen hostessing at one of our weekend events (ask her for stories!). Together they have two “sometimes” adult children and five beautiful granddaughters. Although he enjoys gardening (read: mowing the lawn. Patty does the real gardening), reading, and sports, his favorite pastime is spending quality time with the grandkids.

A little-known fact about Karl is that he was born in Germany and speaks fluent German. He is one of the few people here than can properly pronounce Gewurztraminer. He is also a former drill instructor for the Army, as well as a “recovering attorney,” he says, “halfway through the 24 Step Program.” But I think the most surprising thing is that he has NEVER tasted honeysuckle. Do they not have honeysuckle over there in Germany? Or do they spend their childhood prancing around in their lederhosen eating bratwurst? If you’re ever planning a visit to the winery during honeysuckle season, please bring him some!

Karl is a long-time customer of Hawk Haven and always stopped in when friends were in town. He started working here in April of 2012 and we can’t imagine this place without him! He loves working behind the bar meeting new and interesting people who enjoy wine and love learning about our quality wine making practices.

His favorite wine is our 2010 Petite Verdot – part of our Signature Series Collection. “The texture and structure are elegant yet it has a clear, precise character that endures from beginning to end.” We asked what advice he would give to new wine drinkers and he gave us this:

2 Rules- 1) Drink what you like; 2) Drink it the way you enjoy it the most.
1 Principle- Always trust your palate; otherwise, you will be doomed drinking other people’s wine, not yours.

So stop by and visit our dear Karl, he’s here almost every day.

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Wine Tip: Rose Wine vs. Blush Wine

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Labor Day might signal the end of summer vacations, but there are still several more weeks of  summer weather and what complements a warm sunny day better than a glass of rosé? Or wait.. is it blush? They both look the same, right?

the many shades of rosé

the many shades of rosé

What exactly is in my glass right now?

Turns out, rosé wine and blush wine are the same. If that’s all you needed to know, you can stop reading now, but if you want to impress your friends with your superior wine knowledge, continue on!

The secret to understanding rosé and blush wine is to have a general understanding of how red wine is made. When the red wine grapes are harvested, they are put into a machine that removes all the stems, then the grapes go into a tank where they will ferment. This is when the juice soaks up the color from the skins, and the longer they stay together, the darker the the wine will be. So if you’re making a rosé wine that has a nice pink hue, you simply want to press the juice out a little sooner, limiting contact with the skins.

Did you know: Rosé wine is thought to be one of the earliest forms of wine produced, an ancestor of the red wines we love and drink today. Over time with the development of new wine pressing techniques and equipment, plus a change in tastes for wine, wine makers started fermenting the juice with the skins longer to create heavier, darker, bolder red wines.

So now where does blush wine come in? They are the same thing after all, so why the different name? There are two reasons for this: the rise in popularity of White Zinfandel (a rosé-style wine), and the decline in popularity of rosé wine. Surely every one of you was a “White Zin” drinker at some point in your life, don’t try to hide it, we’ve all been there. White Zinfandel became so popular that wine makers were unable to keep up with demand. And even though White Zinfandel is a rosé wine, for some reason, people didn’t like the name “rosé” anymore, similar to how today we laugh about the olden days of Mateus.

Did you know: Sweetness is not necessarily a characteristic of rosé and blush wines. Many rosés are completely dry, meaning they contain no residual sugar, whereas others are sweet enough for dessert. The main distinction here is the color of the wine.

Try a blush wine with sushi!

Try a blush wine with sushi!

And thus the blush wine was born from the must, solving two problems. First, it was still that pink, sometimes sweet wine we all secretly enjoyed, it just wasn’t called rosé anymore. Second, it could be made from varietals besides Zinfandel which was running low on supply. Now you can find rosés and blushes made from nearly any red varietal such as Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, or Merlot. A blush made of Cabernet Sauvignon, anyone? Try our Red-Tailed Rosé!

Hawk Haven Red-Tailed Rosé

Hawk Haven Red-Tailed Rosé

The bottom line here is that blush wine and rosé wine are essentially the same thing, and I want to make another point as well: please don’t stop drinking them! Whether you prefer red, white, or sweet wines, you don’t want to miss out on the many great rosés and blushes out there today. There are some that are very sweet and oh so tasty with a piece of chocolate or some sorbet, and there are some that are very dry yet still bold and fruit-forward, perfect for a barbecued dinner outside on the porch. When you’re doing a wine tasting, try to avoid the temptation to skip the pink wine in favor of something you already know you’ll like. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Please feel free to share your thoughts below. What is your favorite blush or rosé wine? Do you pair it with a particular meal or do you drink it by itself? Let us know!

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