Tips for Hosting a Happy Halloween Wine Tasting ft. Sam’s Club Member’s Mark Wines and Casillero del Diablo

This past weekend, I combined my love of wine and a good time by hosting a “Hallowine” happy hour at my home. I had a Hallowine Party before and it was such a success I decided to do it again! What exactly is “Hallowine”, you ask ? It’s a halloween themed party where wine tasting is the main event. This year I partnered with Sam’s Club Member’s Mark Wines and Casillero del Diablo.

THE INVITE–

I customized an invite via Canva and created a FaceBook invitation. Wine loving guys and gals were invited to come over to enjoy. My Halloween decor was kept fun, frightening and frugal. For example I found plastic spiders that I used for glass charms at the Dollar Tree. This way people can keep track of their wine glass all evening by their colored spider!

I also picked up some fun “Witch Don’t Kill My Vibe” napkins from Walmart. I came across a dozen plastic “Witches Brew” tumblers for $2.99 from Ross that I used to serve my guests a welcome drink. I firmly believe that a welcome drink when entering a party sets up a festive mood! This year we had Sangria from Wegmans for just $6 a bottle. Put it in a pitcher with some fruit and VOILA..Witches Brew is served!

THE WINES —

Member’s Mark Chardonnay {SRP $7.98}
Member’s Mark Pinot Noir {SRP $8.98}

Did you know…Sam’s Club private label Member’s Mark has a full fleet of highly-rated, delicious, award-winning wines at low prices… We’re talking under $10! I was very excited to be able to preview these two Sonoma Valley wines prior to their public availability at Sam’s Club starting in mid-November. I started the tasting of these wines from white to red. Everyone liked the Chardonnay but if you love Pinot Noir, this one is pretty good for just $9! Here is some additional info:

I created a cheese and charcuterie board using a variety of soft and hard cheeses, from goat cheese to brie, to cheddar and gouda, that paired well with both wines!

Member’s Mark Zinfindel {SRP $7.98}

Did you know…Member’s Mark wine is currently available in 37 states, and the wines are sourced all across the globe – everywhere from California to Spain to Germany, to name a few. There are 11 other existing wines in the line, including Champagne, Rosé, Moscato, Prosecco, Bordeaux and more. This Zinfandel wine is an intense, full-flavored Zin made in Lodi from some of the oldest vines in California. A glass gives off blackberry and black cherry aromas and jammy fruit flavors with a hint of peppercorn. Pair with your favorite meat for summer grilling. Pizza and pasta also work well with this wine. With the holidays upon us, bring this one anywhere for the perfect hostess gift!

SobeSavvy Tip: Have your guests download Vivino app before arrival to keep track of their fave wines from the evening! Already use Vivino? Let’s be friends..find our wine reviews under “SobeSavvy” on the Vivino app! Salud!🍷

Casillero del Diablo Carmenere & Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir {SRP $12.00}

I first learned about Casillero del Diablo when the winery invited me to a special event with Head sommelier, Massimo Leonori, was there to discuss the new wines from the 2018 vintage, deemed an Extraordinary Vintage. Unfortunately I was not able to attend but thankfully able to try this brand known as the official wine of Halloween!

About Casillero del Diablo:
Born from a 140-year-old Chilean legend, Casillero del Diablo has emerged as a global powerhouse. The legend began in the late 1880s with Don Melchor de Concha y Toro, one of Chile’s most revered winemakers. Many thieves coveted his precious wines, so Don Melchor spread a rumor the Devil himself guarded his cellar. Although never confirmed nor disproved, the tale protected his prize and spawned a legend spanning generations. The cellar where those bottles rested nearly 140 years ago still stands today in Chile’s Maipo Valley, home of Casillero del Diablo’s illustrious portfolio under the Concha y Toro banner. Casillero del Diablo, twice named the #2 most powerful wine brand in the world, leads the Chilean 750ml segment in dollar sales and volume sales in the United States.1 2 Since 2009, Casillero del Diablo wines have garnered 170 Gold and Silver medals at international competitions and 19 Best Buy/Best Value designations; the wines have earned 50 scores of 90 or above in the past five years. The rugged topography of Chile’s winemaking regions reflects the country’s thirst for exploration; Casillero del Diablo is at the forefront of the world’s attention on this South American gem, sparking a uniquely Chilean sense of adventure in every glass.

The 2017-2018 season in Chile had unbeatable climatic conditions that resulted in an “Extraordinary Vintage” for Casillero del Diablo. The winemaker was able to create incredible flavors using the perfectly ripened fruit from the harvest. The varietals include a Cabernet Sauvignon,Carmenere, and Pinot Noir. Here are some tasting notes regarding the Carmenere and Pinot Noir:

Remember, these wines are not just good for Halloween but for enjoying anytime! For additional information about Casillero del Diablo and the Extraordinary Vintage, follow on @CasillerowineUS on Instagram or go to the website at http://www.casillerodeldiablo.com/en

Do you plan to enjoy some HalloWINE this Halloween? What are you doing to celebrate?

Cheers🍷and Happy Halloween 2019!

Enjoy the Tastes of Summer with #wines from @wineawesomeness + #recipes with @neomega3 #avocadooil 

I love to entertain at home. The formula is simple: Good Food + Good Wine = Good Times. So when I had the chance to review 2 wines from Wineawesomeness.com and pair it with recipes using four speciality Neomega Avocado Oils , I took the opportunity to invite a couple of friends over for a tasting. 

THE INVITE~

Well what was meant to be held outside on my redecorated patio ended up being done indoors due to the rain.  I believe part of being a good hostess is always having a plan B so that not even a storm can rain on your parade!

THE MENU~

  • Roasted Shrimp and Grits appetizer with Chili Pepper Infused Avocado Oil
  • Watermelon, Arugula, and Red Onion Summer Salad with Ginger -Tumeric -Orange Infused Avocado Oil Vinagrette

Paired with 2017 LEKKER, ROSÉ Wine

  • Steak Skewers marinated with Rosemary Infused Avocado Oil
  • Roasted Garlic Potatoes made with Roasted Garlic Infused Avocado Oil

Paired with 2013 LA PINOT, PINOT NOIR

THE WINE~

If you want to experience what summer tastes like in a glass, try Lekker ROSÉ handcrafted by South African winemaker, Nico Grobler. It is the first 2017 rose on the market, making it the freshest, most easiest drinking wine possible. We all enjoyed the tanginess of this wine and how it was balanced with hints of fruit like strawberries, guava, orange, lemon,grapefruit and watermelon. No, it is not sweet but indeed refreshing and memorable! 

We also tried a Pinot Noir out of California named La Pinot, which is WA’s first ever wine collaboration! I was so excited to try it with friends and talk about our own wine notes. Some of us smelled rasberries, wood, mushrooms, caramel. We all had different thoughts and did not think it would be any of our favorites but agreed that: The best wines are the ones we drink with friends! 

Did you know the WA (wineawesomeness) journey kicked off just 4 years with the mission to make it easier than ever to explore wines from around the world? You can drink, discover and learn about wine by becoming a wine club member to receive a curated set of bottles and a customized magazine, called theblacklabel, which is filled with tasting notes, recipes and more! Be sure to follow @wineawesomeness #wineallthetime for member reviews and wine news.

THE RECIPES & Review of Neomega Avocado Oils

I was excited to learn of Neomega Avocado Oils created by Judit Beres and made right here in North Carolina! So yeah eat and support local y’all! She offers regular avocado oil as well as infused oils perfect for trying in your favorite recipes as a healthier alternative. Whether you are vegan, following the Whole 30 or Paleo diet, in search of gluten free options or just enjoy clean eating, these versatile culinary oils are something every cook and foodie needs to have in their home as a pantry essential!

Roasted Shrimp and Grits appetizer with Chili Pepper Infused Avocado Oil

Inspired by Bobby Flay’s Oven Roasted Shrimp with Toasted Garlic and Red Chile Oil  , I decided to make an appetizer version of shrimp and grits. I used japanese spoons to serve it in, making it the perfect one bite! It was simple, quick and delicious! I followed the recipe but made it my own by eliminating some ingredients like the toasted garlic chips (opted to use minced garlic instead). I replaced the olive oil and substituted it with the Avocado Oil infused with Chili Pepper. It had just the right amount of heat. Not too over powering but just enough for you to enjoy the flavors. 

Watermelon, Arugula, and Red Onion Summer Salad with Ginger -Tumeric -Orange Infused Avocado Oil Vinagrette

 Inside wineawesomness.com ‘s magazine called ‘thebacklabel’, which is included with the monthly wine club membership, are tasting notes and recipe pairing suggestions. Lekker Rose wine went well with the suggested recipe from Food52.com : Watermelon, Arugula and Pickled Onion Summer Salad. However, I decided to make a DIY salad dressing, a Ginger -Tumeric -Orange Infused Avocado Oil Vinagrette. We all thought it had a nice, light, citrusy, flavor that was perfect for the watermelon salad.

  1. Combine 1/8 cup of champagne vinegar ( can use red wine or apple cider vinegar, balsamic..your choice) 
  2. 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  3. 1 tsp of salt
  4. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of  Ginger Tumeric Orange Infused avocado oil  (or any of Neomega Nutritionals Avocado Oils..I bet this would be good with the Basil Infused Avocado Oil too!) 
  5. Taste, Toss and Serve with your favorite summer salad 

Steak Skewers marinated with Rosemary Infused Avocado Oil + Roasted Garlic Potatoes made with Roasted Garlic Infused Avocado Oil

You can’t have a summer gathering without kabobs right! So easy to make and enjoy without the use of utensils. I would normally marinade my meat and veggies for skewers using olive oil, but this time I used Neomega’s Rosemary Infused Avocado Oil and roasted some potatoes using the Roasted Garlic Infused Avocado Oil. So how does avocado compare to olive oil?  Per neomega ‘s website

Here are 3 main differences 1. TASTE : our avocado oil has a light neutral taste. Because of that it has a wide use of application: baking, frying, grilling, every day cooking. 2. SMOKE POINT: Extra Virgin Olive oil is 425 F . Our avocado oil is 550 F, safe for high or continuous heat. Once an oil begins to smoke and burn it creates free radicals which are harmful to your health. 3.VITAMIN E: Due to its high vitamin E content, avocado oil is a winner in this category compared to olive oil and is widely used in skin care as well.

After experiencing these flavors, we all commented on how the mild flavors would be delicious to use in so many dishes while providing us with optimal nutrition. In other words, not only did these speciality oils taste good but it is good for you too! If you’d like to get your hand on a bottle or two or four, follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and shop at neomega3.com. SobeSavvy Tip: Save 10% on orders $23.99 & up with code: 10OFF

THE GIVEAWAY

Whenever possible, I like to give my guests something to go home with as a ‘thank you’ for coming. This time in addition to goodie bags with wine scented candles and a wine guide, one lucky guest got to go home with a bottle of Avocado Oil infused with Chili Pepper, courtesy of Neomega! Congrats to Interior Designer/Blogger Niki McNeill for winning my #SobeSavvygiveaway ! I can not wait to see what she makes with it. 

Tell me what are your favorite wines/recipes this Summer? Have you ever tried or cooked with avocado oils? Share you experience below⤵ 

Thanks for reading ! CHEERS 🍷