Looking for something fun to do in the city? Check out the Rosé Mansion!

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Even going to the bathroom is a photo op!

There’s only two weeks left to check out the fun pop up event, Rosé Mansion in NYC.

In case you haven’t heard, pop up events are all the rage right now in NYC. This one is adults only (because of the drinking) and is an instagram lover’s dream come true. Since I love to help keep everyone in the loop, here is a list of all the current pop up events going on right now.

Your ticket gets you a tour through the many rooms which are basically staged photo-ops. Workers attempt to teach you about rosé and you will get to sample a very small amount in each room. While we were there, on a Saturday night, no one was interested in the educational component but instead taking fun pictures was the goal.

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We left tipsy with a ton of fun pictures and then headed to Mastro’s dinner.  It was a different way to spend a night in the city and even our husband’s had fun although I will say it was mainly groups of women. If you go, let me know how you liked it!

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If you only do one thing this week…pop a bottle!

Champagne. What symbolizes fabulousity more eloquently that a glass of bubbly?

My love affair with Champagne began when I was too young to admit at a relative’s wedding. My grandmother thought it would be ok if I had a glass to toast and I used that excuse with practically every other relative there.

When I was older, Champagne was equated with nights out on South Beach when someone (definitely not me in those days) splurged on getting a table. It was luxury in a bottle to be sipped and enjoyed while adding to the fun of the evening. Carpe Noctum!

While traveling in France this summer, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Champagne, the only area that truly produces Champagne (anything from any other region is sparkling wine). My biggest question was how Champagne was made differently than wine so here’s the basic 411. (Below are all pictures from the trip)

Champagne is made from either Pinot Noir, Pinot Meuiner, or Chardonnay grapes.

In the beginning, the process is much like making wine. After pressing the grapes, yeast is added. The juice is then put into stainless steel or oak fermenters.

This is where fermentation occurs. Yeast converts the sugar from the grapes into alcohol. Unlike wine, Champagne then goes through a second fermentation process where CO2 is created. The bottles are filled and capped during the second fermentation process. The CO2 can’t escape and produces bubbles. At this point, the bottles are on their side.

Years ago, bottle turners used to turn the bottles slowly over an extended period of time until all the dead yeast (it would be very cloudy looking) settled in the neck of the bottles (machines do this now). This process is called riddling. The top of the bottles, which are now upside down if you’re following along, are placed in a sub-zero saline solution. The solution freezes the yeast plug. The bottles are now turned upright and the yeast plug is popped out. This process is called disgorging.

At this point, the champagne is ready to be aged. Unlike wine, which does some barrel aging in addition to bottle aging, Champagne is aged exclusively in the bottle. For Champagne to be considered a vintage, it has to age at least three years.

We now have Champagne but it’s undrinkable because of the high acidity. The key is to balance the sugar and acid. The grapes from this area are somewhat bitter to begin with- they have high acid levels and low sugar. A mixture of sugar and Champagne is now added to the bottle and, depending upon the amount, a Brut, Extra Dry, Doux, or a Demi Sec had been created. The champagne is corked and ready to go!

Champagne comes in many, many sizes but here are the most common.

187 (single serve)

750 (standard bottle)

1.5 liter (Magnum)

3.0 liter (Jeroboam)

There’s quite a few larger sizes and Jay Z’s Champagne, Armand de Brignac, just introduced a thirty-liter Midas. That’s forty bottles of standard Champagne! It sells in night clubs in London and NY for $150,000.  Who’s turn is it to buy?! 😉

Champagne doesn’t age like wine, so drink up! It’s great to celebrate a special occasion with a bottle of the bubbly but any day that ends in a y is a good occasion too (it also goes great with popcorn for an extra special movie night).

Here are a few my personal favorites at various price points.

Mumm Cordon Rouge $35

Pommery Brut Apanage $40

Perrier Jouet Cuvée Belle Epoque (also known as PJ Flower) $125

Laurent Perrier Brut Rose $90

Nicholas Feuillatte Palmes D’or $150

Angel (owned by Mariah Carey) $300

Armand de Brignac Blanc de Blanc $450

Cheers until next time,

TFab

If you only do one thing this week…become a red wine connoisseur

As most of you may know, my fiancé is in the wine business so, over the last two years, I have had an opportunity to drink some unbelievable wines and tour some of the most breathtaking vineyards here in the U.S, as well as in France and Italy.
At this point, one would think I’d know an awful lot about wine, right? Ummmm, not so much…

I’m ashamed to admit that I know what I like but that’s about the extent of my wine knowledge. I fell in love with Rose so I made it a point to educate myself and now this week I’m going to tackle red wine and next week, champagne. Then I’ll do a blog about which glasses to use (I’m constantly confused) and what you need to have a well-stocked bar (this would be necessary as I realized I didn’t have shot glasses the other night- I still don’t know how that happened).

Lets start with the basics~

Red wine is usually named for the primary grape that is used to make it in most new world wine regions, such as the U.S., South America, and Australia (Cabernet is a type of grape!). However in old world wine regions, such as Italy, France, and Spain, wines are typically named for the region in which they are grown (Bordeaux comes from the Bordeaux region in France).

The grape’s skin is what gives red wine it’s beautiful, rich red color. Red wine’s colors vary due to the particular type of grape used, as well as how long the skins are in contact with the grape’s juice during the fermentation process.

The most common red wine varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandal, Shiraz, Petite Sirah, and Malbec. Familiarize yourself with these and you’ll do just fine ordering from almost any wine list.

So what’s the difference between all these wines? Lets see if you’ve followed along so far…

It’s all about the grapes!

Take Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s originally from Bordeaux but now is all over the California coast.  Cabernet grapes need to mature a bit longer than other grapes so their flavors mellow beautifully and blend nicely with other grapes, usually Merlot. Cabs range from medium-bodied to full-bodied and are characterized by their high tannin content. They’ve got structure and rich fruit characteristics. Flavors you may pick up on include plum, cherry, blackberry, blueberry, warm spice, vanilla, tobacco and sometimes even leather aromas.

Merlot is another grape that originated in France. Merlot is more of a “fruity” wine, not as strong-bodied as a Cab.

Now on to my favorite, Pinot Noir. Similar to a Merlot, Pinot Noir is a lighter-bodied wine with lots of fruit flavors. You may find Pinot Noir to be a bit more expensive than other red wines and this is because the grapes are not has hardy and abundant as some of the other varietals.

Next up, Zinfandel. Admittedly, I thought this was a white wine and it can be, but the grape itself is red. Who knew? For White Zinfandel the skin is quickly removed so you’re left with a rose/blush colored wine. The grape, which is known for its rich, dark color scheme, makes a wine with medium to high tannin levels and a higher alcohol content. Zinfandel’s flavors include raspberry, blackberry, cherry, plums, raisins, spice and black pepper.

Here are a few bottles at various price points to get you started~

Cabernet Sauvignon

Jordan (Sonoma, California $50)

Franciscan (Napa Valley, California $22)

Merlot 

Duckhorn (Napa Valley, California $40)

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Merlot (Australia $10)

Pinot Noir

Flowers (California (personal favorite!) $45)

Veramonte (Chile $12)

Zinfandel  

Gnarly Head (California $10)

Ravenswood (Sonoma, California $25)

Finally, although you don’t need a reason to enjoy a glass of fabulous red wine, Dr. Oz recently did a segment on how a glass of red wine a day can help you lose belly fat. Red wine also contains antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. I’ll drink to that!

xo,

TFab

Two Jam-Packed Weeks~ The Darby and Magnolia Bakery, Samsung Hope for Children Gala, and The Borgata

The first two weeks of June have been busy, busy, busy!

First up, we had B’s birthday on the 2nd. What better way to celebrate a fabulous person than to attend a fabulous affair, and the Perrier-Jouet 200th Anniversary Cocktail Party, held at Mondrian SoHo, fit the bill perfectly. There we met the absolutely stunning Susan Sarandon and sipped on one of my favorites, PJ Fleur, throughout the evening. I mean really, who looks this good at 64?! Time to stock up on the La Mer, ladies!

On Saturday evening the party continued at The Darby. This swanky restaurant is über trendy and so much fun with it’s lux decor and live music. A carrot cake from Magnolia Bakery and one more birthday wish ended the birthday festivities for another year.

Two days later, we attended the Samsung Hope For Children Gala at Cipriani Wall Street. This amazing event is geared towards raising funds to support educational and health programs for children throughout the world. A-list celebrities were everywhere! The keynote speaker was Bill Clinton but we also heard from Demi Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Myraz, John Legend, Harry Connick Jr., and Tim Baxter, President of Samsung Consumer Electronics. The clips were touching and it felt great to be in a room with so many people who are making sure they are paying their good fortune forward. Below you’ll see my pictures with NASCAR driver Jimmy Johnson (taken for my dad who is a big fan) and Chris Noth, who will always be Mr. Big to me 🙂

Lastly, we spent this past weekend in Atlantic City. It was my first time visiting the city and, not counting the ridiculously long drive (FIVE HOURS!!!), we had a great time. We stayed at The Borgata and enjoyed a delicious dinner on Friday night at Old Homestead. Seriously, it may have been the best chicken I’ve ever eaten and we all know I’m a chicken connoisseur 😉 On Saturday we checked out the boardwalk and did a bit of shopping. We got home relatively early on Sunday so I could spend some time with my sis who came to watch the girls for the weekend and spend a few days visiting.

xo,

Tanya

Jimmy Johnson

Susan Sarandon

Chris Noth

Memorial Day- NOLA Style

New Orleans has been on my travel list since I first saw Interview With a Vampire way back when I was in High School. Oh, how time passes! Anyway, when B and I were discussing what to do over our Memorial Day adult weekend, NOLA was suggested and quickly decided upon.
After I gathered input from a few close friends, I planned a great weekend getaway. Listed below is how we spent two days getting acquainted with the Big Easy.

We stayed at the Windsor Court in the French Quarter to be close to all the action. It was absolutely perfect. Now mind you, this is an old hotel so don’t expect perfection. If you’re looking for that, I’d suggest the W, one of my all-time favs in any city. We were looking for something more authentic and the Windsor Court was just what we were looking for.

Due to our late arrival (our cancelled flight led to six hours of touring Miami International Airport), the only thing we did on Friday was enjoy a few classic New Orleans drinks (recipes below!) at the Column Hotel in the Garden District, followed by dinner at Lilette. I heard about Lilette at the James Beard Awards a few weeks ago and was lucky enough to score a reservation on a Friday. The food was delish but the waiting 30 minutes for a cab we could have done without…

Day 2 found us wandering aimlessly down Royal Street, stopping and browsing in the many antique shops and art galleries. B picked up some cuff links and I my very first set of pearls. I guess I really am grown up! At Jackson Square, I had my palm read~ “I can see you losing twenty dollars in the very near future”~ and then it was off to Bourbon Street to Pat O’Briens to have a famous headache-inducing Hurricane. Can you say sugar overload?! We ended our night  at Tipitinas, a very hip live music venue.

Sunday morning we enjoyed a late brunch at Commander’s Palace, which I have to say is a bit overrated. We strolled down Royal Street again and managed to squeeze in a mani/pedis at the mall before our flight home. Short and sweet, it was a great introduction to a city I am looking forward to visiting again soon.

 

Rosé All Day

With Memorial Day, the unofficial start to Summer, behind us, it’s time to lighten up- our wardrobes, our fragrances, our attitudes, and, with any luck, our schedules. As I was kicking off Memorial Day at DB Bistro in Miami, I rediscovered one of my favorite summer beverages, Rosé wine.

A rosé (from the French word rosé- ‘pinkish’) is a great wine choice for the season because of how refreshing it is. Dry or sweet (or dry and sweet!), it’s the perfect compliment to an outdoor soiree, a good ole’ fashioned BBQ, or a day spent on the boat.

Since there’s nothing more fabulous than knowledge, here’s the low-down on rosé…

Rosé does not necessarily come from France, as many mistakenly believe, but is produced in a variety of regions. There are three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, bleeding the vats, and blending.

  • Skin Contact: When the goal is to make rosé wine, this is the most common process. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically one to three days. The must (the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit) is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). Because the skins contain much of the astringent tannin, the wine that is created has a much lighter taste than red wine.
  • Bleeding the Vats: Bleeding the vats (or Saignée) refers to the process of creating Rosé wine as a by-product of red wine fermentation. When a winemaker desires more tannin and color in a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must needs to be removed at an early stage in the wine making process. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding and the pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.
  • Blending: Blending is exactly what you’d guess- the mixing of red and white wine. This is the least common way to produce rosé.

If you’re not familiar with rosé, fear not. I’ve listed a few recommendations at various price points below (along with the regions where they are from ) to quench your thirst and get you started on the road to rosé. Wine is subjective and there’s no better way to find your own favorite than to taste, taste, and taste some more. If you have a favorite, please leave a comment and spread the love to others.
Salute!

Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 10- $18 Cote de Provence
Jean-Paul Balland Sancerre Rosé 10- $20 Loire Valley
Chateay Barbeiranne Rosé- $20 Cote De Provence
Antinori Guado Al Tasso Scalabrone 10- $15 Italy
Marques De Caceres Rosé- $12 Rioja, Spain
Menage A Trois Rosé- $10 California blend