Mistela Tasting at Colgado Restaurant, Cuenca, Ecuador

What is a Mistela? It depends where you look online* for the definition. We had heard that it was a cocktail made with wine. I’ve found a few websites that agree it’s a blend of unfermented grape juice and distilled alcohol but others do not mention wine being used. There are different wine grapes that are used including syrah, moscatel, grenache, and mollar. We tried it while we were in Ecuador but people have found it in Spain as well. Although we weren’t positive of the alcohol used in our cocktails we do know the fruits that were added.
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Vino de Coyol and Para Derretir Cheese

The wine this week is a complete wild card. We were driving down the road, near Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and saw a roadside stand with a sign for wine. Well we had to stop here but really didn’t know what we’d find. There was a little kid that ran over to the car and said we could get 1000 for 3000. We eventually figured out that the 3000 was the price, converts to about $6 US. We gladly paid and were handed a previously used soda bottle with a white cloudy liquid. When I asked which fruit is used for this wine, the boy pointed over at a palm tree in the distance.

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Top Wines of 2014

In order to wrap up 2014, we both took a look through the blog entries to find our favorites. I chose my wines by those that I either tried to buy again or continued to talk about long after tasting it. Neil found wines that he either really enjoyed on its own or due to the transformation of the wine with the cheese. Click on the wines below to see the original pairing and the wine tasting notes.

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Making Goat Cheese

Over the weekend we tried our hands at being cheese makers. Armed with our kit from Belle Chèvre, http://www.bellechevre.com, we closely read the directions and took on the challenge. Something funny was that it advised cleaning your kitchen so you have all utensils and plenty of space, they must know the size of our kitchen. We knew it might take a whole day even though the directions said it was only 2 steps. Keeping all of this in mind we got started at 1pm.

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Washington Wines

Over the weekend we traveled out to Seattle, WA to get acquainted with the Pacific Northwest. Not only did we find beautiful weather and scenery but there was also wine there! On our first day we took the ferry out to Bainbridge Island and were delighted to happen upon a couple wine shops.

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Zinfandel and Aged Gruyere

We purchased this Lodi Zinfandel during the BevMo 5cent sale. (http://www.bevmo.com) I have heard that Lodi is the Zin capital of CA so I had to check it out! According to the Lodi website, http://www.lodiwine.com/vineyards/old-vine-zinfandel, the wines are known for their “intense red and black fruit flavors of cherries, raspberries, and blackberries.” The BevMo description of this wine recommends pairing a strong cheese so I figured the Gruyere would fit the bill. We’ve used this cheese once before at the very beginning of WineAndCheeseFriday and I remember it being a little too intense for me. (http://mferraro73.tumblr.com/post/46997403195/pinot-noir-and-gruyere-sunday-march-24-things) Let’s see if my palate has changed?

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Our 5 Favorite Wine and Cheese Pairings so Far This Year

For this week’s entry, we’ll comment on some of our favorite entries this year. I’ve been enjoying the “new flavors” and noticeable reactions that have happened in a couple of our past entries; these are the ones I chose for my selections. Neil has had a couple where he exclaimed about the pairings, so I chose these entries for his favorites. They are listed in order of Maria’s Favorites, entries 1-3 and Neil’s Favorites, 3-5, with the overlap being Entry 3.

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Wine and Bocce, Truckee River Winery

Since we are the Wine and cheese couple, we are always on the look out for new wine experiences. Over the weekend we visited Lake Tahoe for some much needed R & R. While we were there, we found a winery with bocce ball, definitely a place worth checking out.

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