Tag Archives: jalapeno wine

Potter Wines 2016 Calendar of Events

When you have so many circus balls up in the air, sometimes dropping one means it doesn’t immediately get thrown back into the mix. It gets picked up, dusted off and then some clown steals it and throws it in your face while shouting “Rookie!”. Such is the case with this poor blog these last couple months.

But know this, readers out there: I will always keep trying to juggle this circus (because I kind of love it).

This time I’m back to reveal some things we’ve been working on during the “slow months” (lies!) at the winery. in 2016, you’ll find us at many of the same places as last year, with some exciting additions.

This is not an exhaustive calendar as we’re always adding new events and tastings as they get organized, so check back periodically for updates. If you’d like to receive our (very sporadic) newsletter with occasional open house announcements and VIP promotions, simply email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com with the subject line “Newsletter Subscription”.

Lastly, be sure to like our Potter Wines Facebook Page to be absolutely certain of where we’re at any given week.

Here’s where to find us through the year!

Potter Wines 2016 Calendar of Events

*Important Note: You will find us every Saturday at BOTH farmers’ markets in downtown Boise through October. Giving this disclaimer right now saves me from typing in every Saturday date for the next six months. The Boise Farmers’ Market and The Capital City Public Market are our favorite homes away from home!

March:

The Nightclub & Bar Show. Photo Credit: chilledmagazine.com
The Nightclub & Bar Show. Photo Credit: chilledmagazine.com

April:

  • Saturday the 2nd: Opening day of The Boise Farmers’ Market. This one is near and dear to our hearts, as it’s where we originally launched in Boise. Find us there every Saturday through October. Open 9am to 1pm, located @ 10th & Grove Streets.
  • Tuesday the 12th: Women & Wellness event at Thrive Chiropractic. Come by and drink some wine and enjoy other fun life necessities! 5:30 to 7:30pm, located @ 04 S. Orchard St., Boise, 83705.
  • Saturday the 16th: Opening day of the Capital City Public Market. Last year we were visiting members and this year we’re happy to say we’re sticking around! Find us there every Saturday through October. Open 9:30am to 1:30pm, located downtown on 8th Street.
  • Saturday the 23rd: Taste 208. This year is the fifth anniversary of this event and our first year of participation. With 55 local and regional vendors serving samples of beer, wine and spirits, you hardly have a reason to miss this! 6-9pm, located at Payette Brewing, 733 South Pioneer Street (River St. between 12th and 14th).
The Boise Farmers' Market
The Boise Farmers’ Market
May:
In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…
  • Friday the 20th: Wine, Women & Shoes. With a fashion show, wine tasting, designer shopping and shoes, this is bound to be a stellar evening! Proceeds go to women’s and children’s charities, so there’s lots to love here. 6:00 to 9:30pm @ The Boise Centre.

June (Idaho Wine Month!):

In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…

  • Thursday the 2nd: First Thursday with Buy Idaho at the Ward Hooper Gallery. Sip on wine while you browse the iconic Idaho artists’ collections. Buy Idaho is also celebrating their 30th anniversary and will be selling their Commemorative 30th Anniversary Buy Idaho Calendar featuring beautiful scenic images by – you guessed it – Ward Hooper himself. 5:00 to 9:00pm, located @ 745 W Idaho St.
  • Friday the 3rd: First Friday at Whole Foods Boise. These fun food and drink events inside the store benefit local non-profits. There’s wine, beer, food, demos and even live music. Buy your ticket for $5 when you get there and come hang out with us! 4:00 to 7:00pm, located @ 401 S. Broadway.
  • Sunday the 12th: Savor Idaho. Don’t even slightly hesitate to get your tickets for this major Idaho wine event, as they always sell out! The Idaho Wine Commission and other sponsors do a terrific job putting on this soiree every year and we always look forward to it. 2:00 to 5:00pm, located @ Idaho Botanical Gardens.
Savor Idaho 2015
Savor Idaho 2015
July:
All Saturdays at both farmers’ markets.
Psst! Stay on alert for an event thrown together with Boise Brewing this month! It’s gonna be SHANDY-TASTIC!
(Update: The above-mentioned event did happen on First Thursday in July and it was indeed shandy-tastic. If you missed hearing about it, it’s because you should be following along at our Facebook page. Go now, I’ll wait…)
  • Friday the 29th @ Canyon County Fair, inside the O’Connor Field House. The fine folks at Buy Idaho are including us in their showcase of Idaho-only booths! Stop by for samples and to purchase your own. 12 to 10pm, located at 2207 Blaine St, Caldwell, 83605.
August:
In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…
  • Thursday the 4th: First Thursday at Salon Apothecary. There’s going to be wine (ours!), appetizers, a mobile botox party (it’s true!), and giveaways. This fun salon is owned by four ladies who are a hit to hang with and get styled by! 5-8pm. Find them in the Sola Salon store front at 1197 W Main St.
  • Watch for an update on our participation in Salsa Fest at North End Organic Nursery (Always on a Sunday in August, always a big spicy blast!).

Salon Apothecary

September:

In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…

  • Saturday the 24th: Eagle Food & Wine FestivalThis is perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had as a vendor (and most events are pretty fun).  I think it’s a mix of the attendees, the wineries and the food vendors involved. Plus Mary (the organizer) goes to great lengths to make this a super smooth and exciting evening. We never miss! 6:00 to 9:00pm, located @ Banbury Golf Course.
Eagle Food & Wine Festival 2015
Eagle Food & Wine Festival 2015
October:
All Saturdays at both farmers’ markets. And…
  • Thursday the 6th: Downtown Boise First Thursday. Watch for us at Shift BoutiqueLocated @ 807 W Bannock St.
  • Sunday the 9th: Harvest Pa-Brew-Za @ North End Organic Nursery in Garden City. Wine, beer, live music, chili cook-off, fall fun galore! 2-6pm, located @ 3777 W Chinden Blvd.
  • Thursday the 13th: Buy Idaho 30th Anniversary Celebration @ Boise Centre East. This event is free and open to the public – join in on the fun and peruse the tradeshow of Buy Idaho vendors (spoiler: We’re not the only winery). 11am – 6pm.
EF&W3.jpg
November:
  • Thursday the 3rd: Downtown Boise First Thursday @ Marla Junes. Sip while you shop and make your Christmas wish list. And check out our latest(red) wine release: The Ambassador. Eyebrows up! 5-8pm, located @ 811 W Bannock St, Boise.
  • All Saturdays: The Indoor Boise Farmers’ Market. The weather outside may be frightful but this indoor market is sure delightful. Buy Christmas gifts – two for you, one for them. You know the drill. Keep enjoying local breads, produce, cheeses, sauces, baked goods, jams, wine, coffee…all the important things, through December. Located @ the corner of 8th & Fulton St. 9am – 2pm.

December:

  • Saturday the 3rd, 10th & 17th at the Indoor Boise Farmers’ Market (see above for address and times).
Two bottles of Syrah + a pouch = Wine Lovers' Breakdance
Two bottles of Syrah + a pouch = Wine Lovers’ Breakdance
That’s a wrap! Cheers to a year of wine!

Pumpkin Wine and Other October Adventures in Vino

Every now and then I get the urge to lay some pictures on you. I know it’s hard for you to imagine me not running off at the fingers but I feel like October deserves less talk, more do. Less stress, more friends. Less complaining, more celebrating. Less quitting, more focus. Less depressing media, more pretty pictures. So I have those for you – the pictures, at least. It is no secret that my love for writing does not directly correlate to my photography skills. I once read that in order to have a blog everyone wants to read, you need damn good photos. *awkward moment of reflection* Looks like I’ll never be featured on Yahoo!

A little explanation about the pixels your eyes are about to dilate over: My winemaker and I have been up to a few things this month in the world of wine. We kicked off the month elbows-deep in grapes and peppers. We participated in the always-enjoyable Eagle Food & Wine Festival. From there we took a little write-off weekender with friends to Walla Walla wine country (Fact: My taste buds haven’t come home yet). Last but not least, we’ve got our annual Pumpkin Wine release coming up next weekend! What more appropriate way is there to wrap up your child’s trunk-or-treating excursion than with a bottle of festive vino? Wayyyyy better sugar high, folks.

Here’s October according to my camera:

2015 Grape and Pepper Harvest

Feast your eyes: Our local growers supplied us with over 1,000 lbs of peppers this year. Half of which went in the smoker for our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine.
Feast your eyes: Our local growers supplied us with over 1,000 lbs of peppers this year. Half of which got a  spa treatment in apple wood smoke for our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine.

SmokingPeppers2.jpg

Pretty clusters all ready to go
Pretty clusters all ready to go into the crusher. I’m cheating a bit here by adding last year’s photo. Funny thing: All Syrah grapes look the same! And this year Yours Truly didn’t get any photos before they went into fermenters. Yet you still love me. You can read all about what Syrah harvest looks like for us here.

Eagle Food and Wine Festival

This was our second year at this event. You can read my recap of our lovely first experience last year here. This year we were paired alongside Bardenay Eagle Restaurant and Chef Travis, who is definitely a culinary inspiration here in the valley.

EF&W1.jpg

I don't know how Mary, the savvy organizer of this tremendous event, gets the weather right every time.
I don’t know how Mary, the savvy organizer of this tremendous event, gets the weather right every time.

EF&W3.jpg

This event is to-date my favorite because of the wonderful people who attend (foodies and winos are good people!) and because so many of the friendliest people we know in the wine industry also participate. It ends up feeling like a family gathering with the best food and wine in town.

To get your hands on tickets and keep tabs on the restaurant/winery line-up in 2016, visit eaglefoodandwine.com.

Walla Walla Wine Country

I don’t even know how to give this place enough credit. The charm, the scenery, the food, the bed and breakfasts, the red, RED wine. Wine so big and bold we could chew it. To me, that is a very welcome thing. I am already planning our next trip.

*Disclaimer: These photos don’t even begin to capture all of the wineries we went to nor do they sum up all of our favorites. They are photos I took either the first day before my wine-euphoria superseded everything else, or the second day before things got a liiiiittle uncoordinated (but still so, so good).

Ah, L'Ecole. Where the host knew our names, our website, our agenda before we even shook his hand. Where the reserve tasting tour of this old school house made us swoon, and where the French very much left their mark many moons ago.
Ah, L’Ecole. Where the host knew us all before we even shook his hand. Where the reserve tasting tour of this old school house made us swoon and where the French very much left their mark many moons ago.
Their barrel room. I know...hideous, right? Pfft...
Their barrel room. I know…hideous, right?

LeCole5.jpg

"Hmm...do I like the 2003 or the 2007 better?" These are choices we should be faced with EVERY day, friends.
“Hmm…do I like the 2003 or the 2007 better?” These are choices we should be faced with EVERY day, friends.
My winemaker. Probably hating that I took this of him but good thing great wine makes caring about that trivial stuff a low priority.
My winemaker. Probably hating that I took this of him but good thing drinking great wine makes caring about that trivial stuff a low priority.
Walla Walla Vintners. Wait until you see this next one...
Walla Walla Vintners. Wait until you see this next one…
...Exactly. 'Nuff said.
…Exactly.
A fun pit stop before lunch.
A fun pit stop before lunch.
Then there's THIS guy. At Sleight of Hand Cellars.
Then there’s THIS guy you may recognize. At Sleight of Hand Cellars.
We wrapped our wine tour up with a glass of this scenery, at Pepperbridge.
We wrapped up our wine tour with a glass of this scenery, at Pepperbridge.

2015 Pumpkin Wine Release

This is a fun one, friends. If you get into the fall season at all you probably embrace the pumpkin theme as a backdrop for life right now. Our Pumpkin Wine runs with that. As with any vintage of wine, every year is completely different and it typically takes two years from start to bottle, plus a lot of extra steps (we roast every pumpkin before throwing them into fermentation). This year the result is a sweeter, spicier wine than last year’s (think clove and pumpkin pie spice, not hot sauce).

This specialty goes for $20/bottle. Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com for pre-order info or come down to either of the farmers' markets in Boise on Saturday, October 31st.
This specialty goes for $24/bottle. Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com to order or come down to either of the farmers’ markets in Boise on Saturday, October 31st to pick up a bottle.

This is a very small-production run which means we sell out before Thanksgiving. We’re debuting it on Halloween day at The Boise Farmer’s Market and the Capital City Public Market.

Pumpkin pie in a bottle!
Pumpkin pie in a bottle!

Happy October wine-ing!

Potter Wines 2015 Calendar of Events

This post was originally written back in March of this year, when August seemed so very far away. Fast forward to today and it’s time to start thinking about 2016 (business-wise, that is). I’ve updated our Calendar of Events a bit and will continue to do so as we book events for the holidays as well as solidify our indoor market dates. Remember: To be absolutely certain where we are during any given week, check out our Potter Wines Facebook page.

***

‘Tis the season! As in, wine event season. My winemaker and I had a brief break in wine events (Jan/Feb/March are typically slower months in the wine industry) which allowed us to focus on a whole host of other projects, many of which you’ll see introduced throughout 2015. In my mind, this “break” meant we would be caught up on business paperwork and home projects…HA! You silly, silly girl with your free thinking!

Nevertheless, we have a LOT in store for you this year. As soon as we launch our next project you can bet I’ll be running off my fingers right here. But in the meantime, if you’re local to Boise, are new in town or are planning a visit, here’s where you can find us for the next seven months. Some dates are tentative and we are always adding events as they come up. So if you want to be completely sure whether we’re at a specific farmer’s market or venue on a specific day, your best bet is to check our Facebook page.

And remember, you can ALWAYS find us and buy online at www.jalapenowine.com!

Potter Wines Calendar of Events (Through October 2015)

March:

  • Sunday the 15th: Fred Meyer Tasting. 12 to 4pm (Located at Glenwood and Chinden in Garden City)

April:

  • Thursday the 2nd: First Thursday at Gallery Five18. I will be pouring our Jalapeno Wines as well as our Riesling and Jalapeno Lemonade by the glass. Come visit me and see some terrific local art! 5 to 9pm, located at 518 S. Americana Blvd.
  • Saturday the 4th: Opening day of The Boise Farmer’s Market! We made our big debut at this market last year, we’re more than thrilled to return as members. Open 9am to 1pm, located @ 10th & Grove Streets
  • Saturday the 11th: The Boise Farmer’s Market (see above for times and location).
  • Saturday the 18th: Opening day of The Capital City Public Market! This is our first appearance at this market, we’re excited to add it to our 2015 line-up. Open 9:30am to 1:30pm. located downtown Boise on 8th street We’ll also be at The Boise Farmer’s Market (see above for times and location).
  • Thursday the 23rd: The Oak Tree. A special Mother’s Day event with giveaways, raffles, massages and wine! 5 to 8pm, located at Americana Terrace, between the river and the entrance to Kathryn Albertson’s Park.
  • Saturday the 25th: Both The Boise Farmer’s Market and The Capital City Public Market (see above for times and locations).
Boise Farmer's Market
The Boise Farmer’s Market; Photo Credit: BoiseFoodieGuild.wordpress.com

May:

 

Capital City Public Market
The Capital City Public Market; Photo Credit: Idahostatesman.com

June (Idaho Wine Month):

  • Thursday the 4th: First Thursday at Boise Art Glass, 5-9pm. Yes, we love pouring here so you’ll find us here often. This place is a blast!
  • Saturday the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th: The Boise Farmer’s Market and Capital City Public Market
  • Sunday the 14th: Savor Idaho. This event is always top-notch, on beautiful grounds (at the Idaho Botanical Gardens) and loads of fun. Get your tickets fast though before they sell out, because they will!
  • Monday the 29th: Bodovino, 5-7pm. Join us for tastings to celebrate Idaho Wine Month. 404 S. 8th St, Boise 83702
Savor Idaho
Savor Idaho; Photo Credit: Savoridaho.org

July:

August:

September:

September events are loosely scheduled due to unforeseeable harvest times/travel. Check out our Facebook page for updates.

Boise Art Glass
Boise Art Glass; Photo Credit: Basilhaydens.com

October:

Eagle Food & Wine Festival at Banbury Golf Club
Eagle Food & Wine Festival at Banbury Golf Club

This takes us to the busy holiday season, where we’re adding events frequently and will be in at least one of the indoor markets on Saturdays. Watch for another update to this post sometime in October (which is also about the time I’ll be telling you all about our nifty Christmas gift boxes…ooooh, aaaah!).

Jalapeno Wine Lemonade Release

I’ve been waiting a couple weeks to write this post because while we unofficially released our Jalapeno Wine Lemonade Party Pouches at the farmers’ markets a couple weeks ago, we couldn’t call it official until our labels came in. You were first introduced to Lyle in this post where I shared the makings of the label with you and asked you to weigh in on his name. Well, here we are friends. Lyle is live!

The banner you'll find at our booths at both markets. How can you not stop and look at this guy?
The banner you’ll find at our booths at both markets. How can you not stop and look at this guy?

Last Saturday was Lyle’s debut and let me tell you a little something about this learning curve thing – it’s a $#@!

We weren’t completely sure what the turn-out would be at the markets because of the long weekend. Do most people leave town? Or do they go downtown? You’d think we’d remember from our experience at The Boise Farmer’s Market last year but in all honesty…we barely remember last harvest (and the only reason we do is because when you practically get water-boarded with grape juice you never forget it).

So my winemaker and our favorite Booth Babe Tony (it’s a term of endearment at this point) prepped the lemonade the day before, as usual. Rest assured this is a weekly thing and the party pouches are indeed fresh when you buy them at the farmers’ markets and will last quite a while in the refrigerator or freezer. Although…WHY? No one puts Lyle in a box.

On Saturday morning we arrived at the markets fully equipped, or so we thought. Turns out the stormy day we were all promised was actually gorgeous and people were all about loving on some farmers’ markets. Lyle was flying off the tables.

lemonadeflyer.jpg

Jalapeno Wine Lemonade

"Is there really WINE in that lemonade?"
“Is there really WINE in that lemonade?”

We sold out of the party pouches by noon at both markets, but we still had samples to give out.

"You put the wine in the lemonade and drink it all up. Doctor!" You're welcome for putting that version of the song in your head all day.
“You put the wine in the lemonade and drink it all up… I said Doctor..!” You’re welcome for putting that version of the song in your head all day.

So although we ran out of the pouches (don’t worry, we’ll make more, it’s what we do) we were still able to give people a taste. Which meant we ended up telling them how to make their own. Which meant our bottles of Jalapeno Wine started to fly, too. Which takes us back to that learning curve thing. Our takeaway: When life gives you Jalapeno Wine Lemonade, you make more Jalapeno Wine Lemonade. It’s the Law of Alcohol and Demand.

And in case you are available and looking, here’s Lyle’s personal ad:

LemonadeLabelBack

For an updated list of market dates and upcoming events, check out our Potter Wines Calendar of Events. To purchase the party pouches you can contact us directly, visit one of the Boise farmers’ markets, or stay tuned for the ability to purchase it on our website, www.jalapenowine.com, very soon!

Jalapeno Wine Infused Potato Soup

*Special Guest Post Edition!*

Today marks a blogging first for me – we have a guest poster! I’ve decided we should all extend the “guest post” idea to our daily lives. I’d like a guest cook, a guest housekeeper and a guest bill-payer, please? Email me if interested…

Until then: Michelle at WineDineDIY is here with a delicious recipe that may not be trainer approved but it IS winemaker approved. It sounds pretty incredible and I can’t wait to try it. So….soup’s on!

Jalapeno Wine Infused Potato Soup

I’m being scandalous today! Yep, I’m posting a sinfully rich recipe on an otherwise healthy blog. Sorry Crystal, it HAD to be done because… butter.

Jalapeno Wine with Soup Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 bottle Potter Wines Premier Jalapeno and Grape Wine
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 cups of fat free half and half
  • 1 cups of skim milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Optional :

  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

First up let’s prep!

Get a large pot, spray with cooking oil (I like PAM) and line it with the strips of bacon. Get ’em crispy on medium high heat. Set aside. Once it’s cool, crumble.

Meanwhile: Dice the potatoes, onion, carrot and celery.

Okay, let’s cook!

Step One: After having prepared the bacon, reserve a small amount of bacon grease in the pot, reduce heat to medium, and add the diced potatoes and veggies (onion, celery, garlic and carrot) and stir the veggies in the grease. I know, I know.

Add the entire bottle of Jalapeno Wine! Oh, yes I did!

Jalapeno Wine Recipe

Add Jalapeno Wine

Bring to a gentle boil and stir occasionally as the wine won’t be enough to cover the potato and veggie medley. The wine will boil down in about 15 minutes.

Step Two: Add chicken broth just enough to barely cover taters and veggies. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes (contents should be tender). Turn heat to low.

Step Three: In a separate medium pan melt the butter over medium heat, whisk in flour, whisk in milk and half and half and keep whisking until thick and creamy. Add to large pot with potatoes and veggies and stir.

NOTE: This is a super thick soup. If you prefer to thin it a bit, just add an additional cup of milk and another cup of FF half and half when you are whisking in the milk to the butter and flour.

Step Four: Add salt, pepper and red wine vinegar and bacon. Stir.

Optional: Fully load your soup by stirring in sour cream and cheese.

Finally: Add chives to garnish before serving.

I think we can all agree that this is worth being a little bit naughty for! Moderation, right?

Soup Paired with Potter Wines Riesling

Pair with Potter Wines Idaho Riesling!

WineDineDIY

Michelle Leonardson lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband Nick and giant dog, Lindsay.  She blogs about her favorite interests: wine, food, and do-it-yourself projects.  Connect with Michelle:

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Interview with My Winemaker

I rarely read winemaker interviews unless I absolutely love the wine being made or the winemaker lives in Idaho (we like to support our fellow masochists winery owners). It’s not that I don’t want to learn about a winemaker’s style or the method to their madness for turning water into magic. It’s because I know from experience it’s not as glamorous as the interviewer makes it sound. Wine is complex and mysterious and evasive and always developing. It is also simple and straightforward and truthful and methodical. It is hard @$$ work. It’s sweat and blood and tears (both the triumphant and frustrating kind). So for me, interviews that only highlight the interviewer’s glamorous perception of the wine and winemaking process tend to dissuade me. But that’s just me. I’m just a humble winemaker’s wife learning the business side of wine.

A few weeks ago in the middle of the night, an idea popped into my head for a blog post: Why not interview my own winemaker and ask him a few questions I like to know about winemakers? Leave out the details about the process and the sources and the technical (yet very important) aspects. Just ask him about what he enjoys drinking, where he gets his inspiration and what he thinks about this tough and grueling and rewarding and eye-opening business. Luckily, my husband rose to the occasion even though last night I gave him a deadline somewhere along the lines of “Get these answers to me ten minutes ago.”

Here you are, my interview with my winemaker…

What is your winemaking philosophy?

“I hear people say ‘Why?’ Always ‘Why?’ They see things and they say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and I say ‘Why not?'”

[Deep, isn’t it? I asked for philosophy and I got it. You should be holding a glass of wine when you re-read that, by the way.]

What are your favorite types of wine to drink?

“Peppery reds, Syrah, Zinfandel, Mourvedre. And always a glass of Chipotle Jalapeno.”

If you could drink wine anywhere, in any region or country, where would it be and why?

“Australia and Argentina in the winter. Idaho and Spain in the summer. I believe that Idaho will soon be recognized as a premier site for world-renowned wines. It’s incredibly exciting to not only be near so many great wines, but also to be involved with them.”

What is the up-side to being a self-taught winemaker?

“Not being tied down to a particular style. If I were traditionally trained I may not have known that jalapeno wine isn’t mainstream and for the masses.”

What has been the most challenging part of the wine business? The most rewarding?

“Without a doubt, the hours of hard work. It never stops. From harvest to bottling to cleaning to marketing to keeping up with paperwork, there are countless hours of work to be done.

“The most rewarding? For me it’s the hard work and knowing you are making something people enjoy. Oh, and watching the puzzlement on people’s faces when they want to dislike a wine but are amazed they like it.”

[Agreed, that last part is way fun.]

Where do you get your inspiration?

“Bad dreams? My mind never stops, I have hundreds more ideas that I may torture my wife with.”

For the record, he usually chooses to torture me with them before 7 AM. But I’m finding my place amid the idea tornado and am learning to ask the right questions when he comes up with something and I have no idea how he thinks we’ll pull it off. Typically those questions are:

“What do you need? and “When do we make it happen?”

*For more info about our wines and winery, visit jalapenowine.com or read this post.*

 

Writing Wine Tasting Notes: A Satire

Since I am relatively new to the winery business and not-so-new at being a wino, there are definitely a few things I’ve learned about the wine industry in the last three years that baffle me. One of those things is tasting notes. No, I’m not baffled that they exist and I do understand what they’re for and I do appreciate them. But they can be so vague and subjective that I often wonder…”who in the world writes this stuff?”

Well, wine writers write this stuff. People who know wine much better than myself write this stuff. And get paid for it. So clearly I’m the weakest link here, I’m going to be very humble about that up-front. But terms such as “stone-fruit” just feel tiresome and vague to me. And what if one person tastes the suggested “cherry” note and the next person tastes rotten strawberries? Okay that’s extreme (maybe), but you get the idea.

I only bring this up because my winemaker and I write our own tasting notes for our wines and recently we had to write some for our popular-and-short-lived 2012 Syrah. Now I have always loved writing, but I have always despised technical writing. As soon as it starts getting form-like, I’m over it. I understand there’s beauty in that and the world needs technicality. It’s just not my bag. I’m much better at doing whatever the hell I want writing freely and conveying my point on paper the way it sounds in my head, before my lips get a hold of it and de-stem the tact out of it. So as you can imagine, writing tasting notes can become a necessary ordeal over here. I love it until I think people want conventional. Our Jalapeno Wine tasting notes are a blast to write because they’re fun, silly and they hopefully paint the picture we want to paint of the product as a whole. I mean when I pick up a bottle and read this on the back, I’m gonna buy it:

“The crazy cousin. Has been spotted skinny dipping, running off to weekends in Vegas and sneaking away with baked chicken and a daiquiri.” – Our soon-to-be-released Pineapple Jalapeno Wine

The thing is, we do make conventional wines as well which call for conventional tasting notes. So here’s what we eventually came up with for the Syrah:

“This full-bodied Syrah fills your glass with aromas of dark cocoa and pepper. It hits your pallet with dark fruit and notes of licorice and tobacco, leaving you with a spicy, peppery impression. Aged in American oak for 1.5 years.”

For the record, we actually tasted each and every one of those things in it while we wrote this. Will you? Who knows. Here’s what I wanted to write:

“This full-bodied Syrah fills your glass with relief. The kind of relief only a darn good wine can give. It hits your pallet with well-cared for grapes fermented in small, pretty barrels that smell like heaven, if heaven smells like American oak and wine yeast. It was made with purple hands and a love of bold choices. And it will never be created exactly the same again.”

But then people would wonder: Is it smoky? Is it sweet? Is it fruity or dry? So I suppose the answer to the perfect tasting note is somewhere in the middle. Maybe we can be brutally honest and classy?

Let’s try that, shall we? Take a bottle of Cabernet my mom and I opened on Christmas vacation, for example. Here’s what we read on the bottle:

“Deep ruby red color shows pure cherry, currant and star anise aromas. Deep and voluptuous texture is complemented with rich currant, raspberry, anise and cedar. Full bodied, this wine finishes with well-balanced tannins.”

In reality, my mom and I dumped it out and couldn’t drink a glass of it. Yes, wine is subjective. So here are the tasting notes I would (subjectively) write for this wine instead:

“Sugary corn flavors and fishy oatmeal elements are fused together in this burnt chili-like production. The wine finishes best with a chaser of gin and tonic.”

Or, take the Merlot we opened the next night, which did not have tasting notes on the bottle. If it had, I’m sure they would have read something like this:

“A mildewed leather finish with cool ranch undertones and a triumphant ketchup bouquet.”

Hey, to each their own right? Maybe you like that sort of thing. Just for fun, let’s pull a Captain Obvious out of the bag to wrap this up and pick on a cheap wine. You know the kind, it’s the stuff on the grocery store end cap that goes for $2.99. Here are the notes for the (brand-omitted) Washington State 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon I’m picking on (and have tasted) today:

“Aromas of red berry, ripe cherry and cola fill the nose, followed by luscious berry sweetness on the palate that culminates into a long velvety finish. This Cabernet Sauvignon is elegant yet approachable and complex.”

Ohhkay. Let’s have a shot at this, from my humble palate’s perspective:

“If you enjoy pickles, kit-kats and soluble fiber fruits, you will certainly enjoy them as one in this. Do not travel far from the loo. This Cabernet Sauvignon is rugged yet transparent and argumentative.”

I probably shouldn’t quit my day job, huh? At any rate, what are your thoughts on tasting notes? Love ’em, leave ’em, or don’t even read ’em?

Mulled Jalapeno Wine Recipe and Event Recap

I think it’s safe to say we’re all in detox mode this week. I rarely admit this, but I’m toning down my lush factor after my liver approached me to ask “who the hell do you think we are?” on Sunday evening after 4 nights of wine-a-palooza. So I’m back to my one glass/night max. But that’s not to say the Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t a total blast. We had our Red Friday Open House (get it? red wine? okay, I tried) the day after Thanksgiving where the Mulled Jalapeno Wine was a big hit. (I’ve been asked by a few of you to post the recipe, so see that below!) Then the next morning was Small Business Saturday at The Boise Farmer’s Market. Our schedule was jam-packed with equal parts business and fun evenings spent with family and friends. Sponsored by Lots’o Wine.

First, the event recap:

Check out my super-classy and chic signage.

This is why you should stay in school, kids. You learn things of great importance like this.
This is why you should stay in school, kids. You learn things of great importance like this.

At least one day you can all say that you remember us before we hit it rich, making our own student council signs and stuff. I saddled up with a nice bottle of Cabernet while drawing up this gem. Apparently a tannic, dry Cab goes really well with the biggest permanent black Sharpie a person can find.

We spent the morning of the event prepping and making sure we didn’t get in one another’s way. I seem to stink at that game. Nevertheless, we had a really great showing and met some new faces. We’re always thrilled when newbies stop by and aren’t turned off by our rugged headquarters. Most wine lovers in the area are really cool about the whole start-up scenario and can remember when many of the local wineries started small and were based out of commercial garages. We’re grateful for that attitude and love getting to meet other winos like-minded individuals who love wine and supporting small businesses! We’re lucky to live in the community we live in and have the support system we do (including really resourceful family members who know how to do things like hook up a sound system in an old garage and decorate flower pots with weird things I buy because in my head it should look pretty).

Our humble space. Who needs furnishings when there's wine?
Our humble space. Who needs furnishings when there’s wine?

Von made Chipotle Jalapeno Wine pulled pork (amazing!) and my sister-in-law Amy made Chipotle Jalapeno Cookies for folks to snack on . As we started to wrap up the night we poured ourselves a glass of our 2012 Syrah that we were sampling that evening, which hasn’t officially been released yet because it’s been aging in the bottle. I love how every time we taste it, it gets even better. Why can’t leftovers be that way?

Later that night after we gave the kiddos a bath and they had gone to bed, we sat at our kitchen table with my parents and my mom and I shared a bottle of Rodney Strong Cabernet. Or at least that’s what I’m told. The next day Von asked me if I enjoyed the bottle of wine my mom and I had polished off and I looked at him like he was crazy. I mean, of course I remember drinking wine! And also, I don’t remember drinking all that wine…

But as all great Potter Wines events go: We came, we drank, we went to bed.

Now about this Mulled Jalapeno Wine biz:

Some of you have emailed me for the recipe and rightly so, as it is one fun way to ring in winter! If you use apple cider like I do, it won’t be overly sweet and I prefer it that way.  You can make it sweeter if you want by adding honey until you’re satisfied, or use apple juice instead of cider. If you’re still in tailgating mode as many people around here were last weekend, this will be a big crowd pleaser! Or serve this at your holiday party to spice things up a notch.

Visit jalapenowine.com for ordering info and more recipes.
Visit jalapenowine.com for ordering info and more recipes.

Cheers to happy holidays, lots of vino and really, really good workouts to keep us honest!

The Tuesday Tank

I’m trying to steer clear of depressing news these days and simply focus on the entertaining, informative, educational, inspiring and humorous bits that are out there. I mean, there are so many out there. And as busy as our lives get, sometimes it’s nice to just take 5 minutes and get perspective. That’s why today’s post is a “Tuesday Tank” post!

Here are a few things I’ve recently enjoyed around the web, from the too-silly to the must-have to the “hmm.”

Today’s Tank:

~What the bleep’s so bad about gluten?

So I eat gluten most of the time and some of the time I don’t. So why should we all care if we don’t have celiac disease? How much do you think you know about the stuff? I guarantee you’ll know more after reading this article.

“We put a plug of gluten in Coke and it foamed for a while, then became a glob that sat there for weeks,’’ Jones said. “It didn’t disintegrate into slime and mush. It just stayed there.’’ He took the plug out of my hands and slapped it on the lab counter. Nothing happened. “The stuff is simply indestructible,’’ he said. – Stephen Jones, a molecular cytogeneticist and the lab’s director. Barber, in his recent book “The Third Plate,”

Yikes! If Coke can’t touch it, what’s our stomach doing with it? Too crazy.

P.S. Don’t go overboard and jump on the gluten-free train all at once – gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy!

~ Oh man, I think I just peed a little!

I know, I know, this is so dumb. But I couldn’t quit reading and giggling. Quite annoying, I’m sure, to my husband who was trying to relax for a second on the couch. But come on, laugh a little with The 85 Funniest Tweets of All Time. Seriously, your happy meter needs fed.

~ Fabletics

I’m a Birchbox lover and Stitchfix newbie. So what’s with the Fabletics fever? One: Kate Hudson. Whatever she does works, sooooo, maybe I should follow suit? Two: $25 for your first workout outfit, sports bra included. My birthday’s coming up…

Fabletics

~ Stop Freaking Out About Your Kids!

I can’t decide if this woman is on to something or just drunk. I think a little bit of both? But her point is a good one. Listen to this quick bit (scroll to minute 14:20 in the podcast) where Daisy Waugh, author of “The Kids Will Be Fine” explains how existing opinions about child-rearing are “setting parents up to feel like failures.”  So is this a good time to convince parents that our kids won’t starve? Seriously, it’s ok to be hangry sometimes. Their bodies will not eat themselves.

~ Hey, calorie counters! This one’s for you and it’s actually kinda cool.

I loathe counting calories but I know some of my clients just can’t stop. Whichever camp you roast your marshmallows in, this smoothie calorie chart is actually pretty dang slick! So the spinach-pear-banana-greek-yogurt smoothie I made this morning had about 369 calories in it. Neato!

~ Mulled jalapeno wine. Yeah it’s kind of a thing around here.

I think I missed my calling as a bartender. Too bad places around here aren’t crying out for a 30-something mom of two who lives in exercise clothes. If they tried this mulled jalapeno wine recipe I just created with, yep you guess it – our Mild Jalapeno Wine – they might re-think their star mixologist. See this post for the recipe!

Mulled Wine
Photo credit: erecipe.com

~ Homemade gift ideas – I need ’em!

Every year I make my clients something. I mean, something that hopefully isn’t crap. Last year it was homemade vanilla extract. The year before that it was sugared cranberries (so good!), this year I’ve got nuthin’. HELP! I don’t think they’ll appreciate a baggie full of Ibuprofen and a flat of bottled water. I’m a real-world personal trainer but I’m not a jerk.

Thanks for scrolling!

Fall Soup Recipe Roundup

It’s no secret I love this time of year for a lot of reasons. But perhaps one of the biggest reasons is the food. I like the baking, the roasting, the perfect-fall-day grilling, the simmering soups. (If food were fashion – which, I think, it is – soup would be IN right now.) “But you’re a personal trainer,” you say, “how is it you love food so much?” Food is WHY I’m a personal trainer! My inner chubster had to figure out a way to eat healthy and be fit and still enjoy baking and cooking stuff. Lots of decadent-but-light, hearty-but-healthy, filling-but-nourishing, downright delicious stuff. So now that I’ve set the tone for this post, it’s appropriate that I introduce you to my favorite fall soup recipes…

Now, you’ll notice all but one of these is from the same chef/baker blog and that’s because she’s legit. Everything I’ve ever made from Joy the Baker has turned out glorious, even with me messing with it to make it a little healthier if need be. I pretty much have a cooking crush on this woman. Sprinkles and all (I hate sprinkles but she makes them seem cool).

My other cooking affair is with Eating Well magazine. The hubby and I have probably made about 3,508 recipes out of the publication and maybe didn’t like one of them. Actually, I have made 3,508 recipes because the hubs is one of those home chefs who knows what he’s doing and therefore doesn’t need to follow a recipe to make things taste lovely. They say you marry your opposite and I sure as $#*! did.

So those are the two sources for these soups – which I’m linking to so you can see the original recipes – but note my slight changes to each, below. These changes were a result of one of 3 things:

  1. I didn’t have what the recipe called for, so I substituted or just omitted.
  2. I wanted to make the recipe healthier/lighter.
  3. I love putting jalapeno wine in soups and I happen to have a TON on-hand. I may know the owners or something.

With that, in no particular order because I find each of these equally amazing, I bring you my Fall Soup Recipe Roundup!

Tomato Soup

Photo Credit: Eating Eden Blog
Photo Credit: Eating Eden Blog

This is our absolute most-favorite tomato soup. We make it about eight times a year and it’s delicious every time. You can find the original recipe here.

Our variations:

  • We  often use fresh tomatoes, instead of canned, if we have them. In the winter we obviously used canned and doing either works terrific.
  • We omit the half-and-half.
  • We add jalapeno wine with the tomatoes, in step 2.

Creamy Chipotle Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Photo Credit: YummyLaura.com
Photo Credit: YummyLaura.com

Seriously fall-appropriate. One tip: Do not expect your kids to eat this. I went into it thinking they would both love it as they do the tomato soup, however this is a bit spicy. On the bright side: More for you!

Original recipe here.

Our variations:

  • I made this “Chipotle” by adding Chipotle Jalapeno Wine with the chicken stock (about 1/4 cup).
  • We didn’t have garam masala nor could I find it at the local grocery store and I was too lazy to go elsewhere, so I subbed it out for 1/2 tbsp. of cayenne pepper and a dash of cinnamon (wingin’ it!).
  • We omitted the heavy cream.
  • I ate mine with crumbled goat cheese on top because I’ll use any excuse to eat goat cheese.

Carrot Jalapeno Soup

 

I actually remembered to photograph this soup one night. Pretty!
I actually remembered to photograph this soup one night. Pretty!

This one really surprised us. It’s fantastic! Joy the Baker titles it “Vegan Carrot Jalapeno Soup” but with my variation I couldn’t justifiably call it vegan. Plus I don’t care. If you do, follow her recipe to the letter here.

Our variation:

  • Instead of jalapenos, we added about 1/2 cup of Chipotle Jalapeno Wine at the end when pureeing. You could also do this at Step 3 along with the chicken stock to make sure the alcohol is cooked out.
  • Again, I ate mine with goat cheese. Any excuse, like I said.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Photo Credit: Girlcooksworld.com
Photo Credit: Girlcooksworld.com

I mentioned how the carrot soup surprised us? This one blew my expectations away. I can’t wait to make it again. There were a lot of things we didn’t have, see what I subbed out below, and it was still delicious. Joy the Baker’s original recipe (here) called for cumin so I’m looking forward to using that next time.

Our variations:

  • We omitted cumin seeds and curry powder and used celery seed instead (1/2 to 1 tsp).
  • I decided to use black pepper instead of crushed red pepper flakes so our kids could eat it.
  • We only had 1/2 onion instead of a whole one.
  • We combined 3 1/2 cups chicken stock and 1/2 cup Mild Jalapeno Wine.

Devour and enjoy!