Falling for New Wines

Just like spring, fall is a season of transition. The temperature is cooling, leaves are changing, and humans and animals alike are stocking up for winter. We’re starting to crave heavier foods and wines to keep us warm on the cooler nights, but we’re not quite ready to settle in for hibernation. So what kind of wines work well in the transitionary period?

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Salted Caramel Apple Delight Bars

Y’all, I think I have a new favorite dessert. I have some really great favorites- Blue Bell triple chocolate ice cream, cookie butter, vanilla frosting (yes, by itself), Treebeard’s chocolate cake, apple pie…but now I have to add salted caramel apple delight bars to the list. These babies are chewy, crunchy, sweet, savory, and ooey gooey delicious. Picture this: start with a crunchy vanilla shortbread crust, then add a layer of cinnamon and brown sugar coated apples. Last, top it with a crunchy brown sugar and oatmeal topping. It’s okay if you’re drooling; I am, too. And the beauty is, these aren’t hard to make! It’s the best of all worlds.

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Fall Wine Festivals

Fall is seriously the best season! The weather is cooler, so it’s more fun to spend some time outside, and there are tons of wine festivals! This past weekend was my birthday weekend (and The Sugar Vine’s anniversary!!!), so the boyfriend and I headed north for the Montgomery Wine and Music Fest. It was fun to wander around, sip wine, and shop while listening to music. It was a warm day but the festival had a great atmosphere and we had a really nice time. To get you in on the fall spirit, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best fall wine festivals around Texas!

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Baked Apples- Simple and Delicious

Baked apples are a simple, potentially healthy dessert that is rich and satisfying. They can be made in a variety of ways, from the ultimate healthy option of no added sugar, to a rich and decadent dessert loaded with sugar and butter and topped with ice cream. This is another of those versatile desserts that can be tweaked to suit your taste buds; something you know I love and that I think you will, too. Today I’ll share with you my favorite baked apples recipe, which you can copy or tweak to your heart’s desire. It strikes a nice balance between sweet and savory with notes of brown sugar and cinnamon (and a little butter).

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Apples and Wine- A Pairing that is Fine

Okay, I know the title of this post is a little silly, but apple desserts are probably one of my favorite options to pair with wine. Why? Not only are there a number of wines with apple notes (which is a good jumping off point for pairing), but a lot of the spices in apple desserts go well with wine, too. You can pair apples with chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, cinnamon, nutmeg…the list could easily keep going. This opens up a whole slew of wine pairing options beyond what you could get with just plain apples. To help you narrow down the pairing options, I have three wines that I highly recommend you try with the desserts featured this month and with any other apple dessert you crave.

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Tips and Tricks for Baking with Apples

September is pretty much the best month of the year. It’s the start of fall (even though Houston doesn’t get much fall, it still technically starts this month), it’s my birthday month, and apples are in season. Everyone else gets psyched for pumpkin this month, but I am all about apples. I am a huge fan of fruit desserts, especially apple ones. So this month we are covering apples in depth, including their perfect wine pairings. Check out next week’s post for my recommendations on wines to pair with apple desserts! This week we’ll talk about baking with apples. Apples are incredibly forgiving and can be absolutely delicious in a variety of ways. There are just a few things to keep in mind when you are baking with them.

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Harvest Time

Happy harvest time, everyone! Yes, September is high harvest time in many parts of the world. This is a very important time in the wine production cycle. Vineyard managers must determine the exact time to pick the grapes- too early and they may be too acidic; too late and they may be too sweet. Warmer climates can start harvesting earlier (warmer weather=faster ripening), as early as July in some places, including Cyprus and Texas. Most other areas in the Northern Hemisphere harvest in late August to early October.

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Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pie

I have no idea why, but I have been craving an old-fashioned strawberry pie for months. I’ve never had one but I LOVE strawberries and I LOVE pie, so it just makes sense that I would LOVE strawberry pie. The thing is, old-fashioned strawberry pies really aren’t that common. When you search for a strawberry pie online, it’s a lot easier to find cold strawberry pies than hot ones. Let me just tell you, the world is missing out on this. Old-fashioned strawberry pie is sweet, juicy, and amazing served warm, possibly with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side.

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Must Try Houston Wine Bars

One of the things I love about Houston is that we have a huge variety of everything, including wine bars. Are you into an upscale, Euro-centric experience? There’s a wine bar for that. How about a neighborhood bar with gobs of history and great wine? We have one of those, too. Are you overwhelmed by the choices? That’s okay because I have some favorites that I am so excited to share with you! Although my favorite wine bars each have their own take on wine, they all have one thing in common: They enjoy wine, they enjoy sharing it with you, and they are all about having fun with wine.

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A Berry Delicious Classic- Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This week’s strawberry flavored dessert is a classic: chocolate covered strawberries. These babies are sure to please any sweet tooth with the sweet berry coated in decadent chocolate. The beauty of these berries is they only require a few ingredients and you don’t even have to turn on the stove if you don’t want to. And you can change up the type of chocolate used so they’re always exciting and delicious.

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