Wines of the World | Austria | Zahel Gemischter Satz

zahel gemischter satzEvery good story starts with wine… and traveling. So the one behind this one is I didn’t want to come home with any euros because I know the exchange rate is terrible. So with 7 euros in my pocket and waiting for my flight back home from my second trip to Vienna, what else would I do? The price was right and I was headed home- back to reality and back to work.

I was actually pretty impressed for being a last call purchase, the Zahel Gemischter Satz was pretty good. It paired well with everything I ate, went down smoothly and had a nice finish- which most Grüner Veltliner types do.

This white wine from Austria is a mix of Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and Chardonnay grapes and is a traditional wine from Vienna where different grape varieties are mixed within one vineyard. It was bright colored, refreshing and perfect for a summer wine.

Wine | Jacuzzi Family Vineyards | Sonoma, California

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma is definitely one of my favorites to visit, I’ll even say top three. This place is amazing for a ridiculous amount of reasons… To start off with its absolutely beautiful. The charming Italian design and vibes were perfect for relaxing and enjoying wine with great company, my favorite way to spend my days! My friend and I both graduated with a bachelor in Event Management and were both just swooning on the thought of a wedding there.

Jacuzzi-1

But more importantly, the vino… the wine was superb! Between the three of us we hit most of the wines on the tasting list and then I saw the wine in chocolate cup shot- there was no question, we had to have it. It was seriously delicious, I loved this take on “dessert wine.”

We definitely didn’t walk out empty handed, we actually could hardly carry all of our purchases out the door. Everything was great, I especially loved the Pina Prosecco, Montepulciano & essentially every wine on their reserve list. If you’re in Sonoma this is definitely a must stop vineyard.

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Check out their website & fun stuff here.

Wines of the World | Italy | Bellini Dessert Wine

Belinni Dessert Wine Italy-TMI’ve been on a spicy food & sweet wine kick lately. So after perusing Total Wine’s dessert wine section  I came out with this Bellini Tuscan dessert wine. I actually had my first sip of dessert wine in Italy, so I was really excited for this one. Overall it stayed true to it’s expected characteristics- it had a beautiful amber color, a honey nose, and notes of apricot & nuts in the taste. And by nuts, I mean really nutty, especially walnuts, which kind of surprised me. After all was said and drank, this was a good wine. I wouldn’t say it was my absolute favorite dessert wine in the world, but I would say it was worth the $25.

Real Love | Religion vs. Relationship

Religion is such a touchy, untouchable subject yet it is so deeply rooted in each of us. I find that many of us, including myself, shy away from even talking about it because we’re so afraid to offend someone else or just want to avoid the drawn out debate.

When it does come up I proudly say I am a Christian. The next question is always, “so are you Catholic or Protestant or….” And my response remains the same, I am Christian. Technically speaking, my grandmother was Catholic, raised her children Lutheran and my mother raised us Baptist. However, none of the technicalities are important, what is important is that I am a child of God who has a relationship with Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 3:6

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant- not of the letter but of the spirit; for the letter kills but the spirit gives life.”

So many people need Jesus and are seeking him, but are turned away by the set of religious rules and things you supposedly have to do before you can be a Christian. Jesus died to change this perception, the real love of Christ is the relationship you have with him and seen by your spirit, attitude & actions- this is what makes you a real Christian.

The problem with today is there are so many people out there who push the wrong words, laws and rules down peoples throats and it really pains me to see. Being a Christian isn’t about being perfect- it’s impossible. We are human, God knows we’re going to make mistakes, it’s in our nature. What it is about is knowing God’s unfailing love and doing your best to do right by him.

 

Wines of the World | Hungrary | Tokaji

tokaji_aszu_Hungary

Hungary is one of my favorite places in the world- they have beautiful people, delicious food, and Tokaji wine- hello love. Hungary’s most famous wine, Tokaji, has been produced continuously since the sixteenth century. Hungarian wines fell off the map a bit between 1949-1989 when it was under Communist rule, but thank God it’s back up and running once again with an emphasis on producing excellent, quality wines. There are twenty-two major wine producing regions in Hungary, of which these seven are most renown: Tokaj, Eger, Sopron, Somolo, Badacsony, Villany Siklos & Szekszard. Tokaj, where the delicious Tokaji is produced, is one of of the oldest wine regions on all the world.

HUngary Wine Regions

The sweet Tokaji Aszu is a blend of four grapes native to Hungary, with the primary grape being Furmint.  Throughout the fall harvest season, the grapes affected by Botrytis Cinerea, or noble rot, are picked from the bunch, lightly crushed, and made into a aszu paste. The unaffected grapes are harvested and fermented into a wine base. These two are then magically blended to produce the desired sweetness.

Sweetness is measured in puttonyos, which is the number of baskets of puttonyos on the label of all Tokaji Aszu. The more botrytis- affected the grapes, the sweeter the wine. There are four levels of Puttonyos wine:

tokaji-wine    

3 Puttonyos: 60 grams of sugar per liter

4 Puttonyos: 90 grams of sugar per liter

5 Puttonyos: 120 grams of sugar per liter

6 Puttonyos: 150 grams of sugar per liter

The sweetest of the Tokai wines are called “estencia” and contains 180 grams of sugar and is one of the most unique wines in the world. Due to the high concentration of sugar, it may take years estencia to finish fermentation and then have an alcohol content between 2-5%, but still absolutely delicious.

Budapest, Hungary-TM

Destination | Berlin, Germany

Out of all my trips- Berlin was the most last minute, budget trip I ever experienced; but nonetheless still one of my favorite places on the map. I feel like Germany is one those places that has a rep for a lot of different things, some good and some not to good, but I have to say the city really surprised me with its history, charisma and artsy vibes.

germany travel

All through school Germany was always mentioned in history class, but being there and seeing the different landmarks like the Brandenburg gate, the Berlin Wall and holocaust monuments were so much more of an experience than you could ever get from the static pages of a textbook. The feelings that submerge from actually seeing, experiencing and learning is so different, it makes it seem so much more real and to be completely honest- crazy.

germany travel

Our last minute trip was an adventure from the very beginning. From the two of us navigating candidly from a map bought immediately after stepping off the bus to being greeted by a boy singing and playing the guitar on the U-bahn, our weekend was filled with laughter and a turn-of-the-card spirit.

budget travel germany

I really loved Berlin. Being there really helped me understand the people and culture in such a short time that I never expected. It changed my preconceived notions I had and made me want to know so much more. I ‘m dieing to go back and do a full tour of the country, which I will do.

germany travel

In addition to the great new Berlin free walking tour we took, we we’re also super lucky to have an old friend who had grown up in Berlin show us around. One of my favorite parts of traveling is seeing how the local people really live, so this was a super plus- thanks Andreas! And of course it was nice to catch up with an old friend again 🙂

germany travel

I love, love, loved the jewelry and shopping! A friend visited the weekend before us and recommended finding Tacheles, which I’m so glad we did because it’s no longer there. Tacheles, which is Yiddish for “straight talking”, essentially was a historic building taken over by artists of all trades in Berlin. From large murals, to jewelery, pop art, paintings, mixed media, sculptures to any other kind of art form imaginable it was definitely a unique experience. I bought some really sweet prints with a edgy feel by artist Tim Roeloffs. He now has his work online that you can check out and buy, it’s definitely worth a browse. I also bought a fun, chunky ring. The Italian artist had me sold when he told me about where each of the metals, stone, and gem had come from. Worth 30 euros? Definitely.

travel germany

The other really, really cool store I found was Tukadu. We passed this place at one point, and I circled the streets for hours to find it again the next day. They had all kinds of crazy jewelery, especially earrings which I love. It was all really different, some a bit bizarre but still so, so cool. They had a ton of already made jewelery or you could pick individual pieces and make your own. The style was everything you could expect from such a fun city, almost like Betsey Johnson meets Andy Warhol- it was so fun. The earrings I bought had blue anchors, gold bows, and pink and green beads. I know you can buy online, but not sure how far they’re willing to ship.. I may ask a friend to send me some soon!

germany travel

… and there are somethings in which words can’t describe. The above picture says more than a 1,000 words- which is why the meaning wasn’t told my the artist, but left to be depicted by the viewer of this holocaust monument inspired by the Jewish graveyard in Prague.

germany travel

After all was said and done, I had 0.80 euro cents left in my pocket on the train ride back to Vienna. It was worth every penny and moment, and I can’t wait to venture back to this fun city.

Wines of the World | Austria

Vienna, Austria

The first vines I ever saw were actually in Vienna, and I believe that’s what sparked my wine obsession. I have a deep love for Austria and wines, and combining them makes for a winning duo. Grape growing in Austria dates back to the fourth century B.C., but in the past 30 years Austria has worked hard to prove it’s quality wine production. Austria produces some terrific white wines and are known for being food friendly, especially the Grüner Veltliner. Austria offers delicious wines for any occasion, whether it be a spritzer at a local restaurant or cafe or a cheese & wine night at your best friends flat.

Austrian Wine

Wine Regions of Austria:

  • Lower Austria (Niederösterreich)
  • Vienna (Wien)
  • Burgenland
  • Styria (Steiermark)

austria wine map

Main White Grape Varieties of Austria:

  • Grüner Veltliner
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blnac
  • Chardonnay

Main Red Varieties of Austria:

  • Blaufränkisch
  • St. Laurent
  • Pinot Noir

When evaluating Austria wine, similar to German wine they have three levels based on the ripeness of the grape and sugar content of the fermenting grape juice or must: Tafelwein, Qualitätswein, and Prädikatswein. The Austrian wine board tastes & performs a chemical analysis on qualitätswein and prädikatswein wines giving the consumer a guarantee of taste, style, and quality. If a wine lists a specific grape it must contain at least 85% of that grape. If a wine label names a vintage it must contain a minimum of 85% of that vintage. If a wine region is listed 100% of the wine must  come from that region.

Common wine style: dry, high-alcohol, more body and resembles wines of Alsace.

Austria has held my heart captive from the very first moment I stepped foot in Vienna. From their gorgeous sites, rich history, and very drinkable wine I love it all. Pick up a bottle and try it for yourself, it pairs wonderfully with spicy foods and fresh cheeses.

Vienna, Austria wine