Think “Pink” – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer, that “ugly” word that we fear, a word we never wish to hear, a disease that touches so many of us everyday. I am one of the fortunate ones…my mother, father, and husband are “surviviors”. This isn’t true for others and my heart goes out to them and their families.  In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Boisset Collection will donate $2.00 per bottle of Rosé wines to the Breast Cancer Research Center. We have several amazing “pink” wines to choose from. Did you know that Rosé wine is very food friendly?  It is a perfect Thanksgiving wine, and yes, it can be enjoyed year round!  If you would like to help, please contact me or visit my site:

Thank you for your support. Feel free to contact me with questions. Cheers!

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Wine Trivia #2- Locate these Wine Regions

As promised, here is your next set of wine trivia questions.  These questions will focus on where these wine regions are located throughout the world. There are three levels… ready, set, start locating! Within which country would you find them? Consider it a bonus if you can be more specific than just the country!! Think state, island, etc… Grab some paper and jot down your answers…check back to see how you did.

Beginner Level-

  1. Bordeaux
  2. Napa
  3. Burgundy
  4. Willamette Valley
  5. Paso Robles
  6. Finger Lakes
  7. Mosel
  8. Walla Walla
  9. Columbia Valley
  10. Loire Valley

Intermediate Level:

  1. Red Mountain
  2. Marlborough
  3. Victoria
  4. Mendoza
  5. Rheingau
  6. Central Otago
  7. Paarl
  8. Santorini
  9. Emilia-Romagna
  10. Rioja

Advanced Level:

  1. Priorato
  2. Macedonia
  3. Maipo Valley
  4. Klein Karoo
  5. Monticello
  6. Tokaj-Hegyalja
  7. Dao
  8. Apulia
  9. Wachau
  10. Salta

What a geography lesson, no?! Even if you haven’t heard of some of these regions, put a couple on your bucket list of places to visit.  Not only will you find great wines, but the history, culture, cuisine, architecture, and people will leave a lasting impression on you.



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Wine Trivia Time

As we enter into the fall season when the days get shorter and the sun sets a bit sooner every day, I think of things to do indoors.  I am a trivia “geek”- love to learn new facts whether they are pertinent to my life at the moment or not. I am constantly trying to gain new knowledge, especially as it pertains to wine.  So, to help me, I will offer my followers some wine trivia.  We will start out easy…promise!  Play along and test yourself! No cheating! 🙂


Match these grape varietals to their wine style.

Easy level:

  1. Chardonnay-                                    red?        white?
  2. Pinot Noir       –                                red?        white?
  3. Grenache-                                         red?        white?
  4. Riesling-                                            red?        white?
  5. Sauvignon Blanc-                            red?         white?
  6. Cabernet Franc-                              red?         white?
  7. Merlot-                                              red?         white?
  8. Pinot Blanc-                                     red?         white?
  9. Cabernet Sauvignon-                     red?          white?
  10. Zinfandel-                                        red?          white?        Too easy? Let’s ramp it up a bit.

Moderate level:

  1. Pinot Meunier-                              red?          white?
  2. Roussanne-                                    red?          white?
  3. Shiraz-                                            red?          white?
  4. Chenin Blanc-                               red?          white?
  5. Mourvèdre-                                   red?          white?
  6. Sangiovese-                                   red?          white?
  7. Viognier-                                        red?          white?
  8. Cortese-                                          red?         white?
  9. Carignan-                                       red?          white?
  10. Petit Verdot-                                 red?          white?           Not hard enough?

Difficult level:

  1. Picpoul-                                         red?          white?
  2. Malagouzia-                                 red?           white?
  3. Zweigelt-                                       red?           white?
  4. Dornfelder-                                  red?           white?
  5. Mazuelo-                                       red?           white?
  6. Cannonau-                                    red?           white?
  7. Loureiro-                                      red?            white?
  8. Parallada-                                     red?            white?
  9. Corvina-                                        red?            white?
  10. Pais-                                               red?            white?

How did you do?  Take your learning to a new level by researching where these grapes are grown and what their flavor profile is like…who knows, you may find a new favorite!



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Restructuring or Rebranding?

Sometimes a business is in need of a “facelift”. I know this to be true as I have been struggling for 6 months trying to decide the “what” and “how” of it all. I appreciate the patience of my followers. Here’s to some new content and helpful, interesting new wine information. Cheers!

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Vive la Frenchie! Support ASPCA

  To all wine and animal lovers…during the entire month of April, the Boisset Collection will donate $2.00 for every bottle of Frenchie wine sold to the ASPCA!  This is an amazing way to support a fantastic organization, enjoy delicious, exclusive wines, and celebrate your four-legged friends! Frenchie wines are beautiful blends…smooth, lush reds and refreshing, balanced whites…easy to pair with food or simply sip and enjoy!

Please visit – – if you are interested in placing an order and contributing to the cause.

The Frenchie Winery is an extension of Raymond Vineyards.  “Instead of feeling guilty about leaving your 4-legged family member in the car, bring them to Frenchie Winery! Here they will enjoy the lavish Napa Valley lifestyle in the comfort of their own outdoor, shady dog suite, complete with their very own wine barrel bed.” Wine lovers can be assured their pets will be well cared for while they visit the tasting room at Raymond!

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IBM’s Chef Watson- Wine and Chocolate Truffle Pairing

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Last night I had the pleasure of working at an IBM sponsored event at Bin 36 in Chicago. “The product helps professionals across industries solve complex problems and reveal insights from large amounts of data.” (IBM) The component being highlighted (that I participated in) is called IBM Chef Watson- “a program that, using natural language processing, analyzes thousands of recipes to understand what flavor pairings work well together, creating “quintillions” of recipes at your fingertips.” They organizers worked with a chocolate maker in New York. They handcrafted 3 chocolate truffles using Chef Watson. Wines were paired with each truffle…a pleasure sensation in the mouth!! Here are the combinations of truffles and wine that I described for the guests at the reception. (All of the truffles were enrobed in dark chocolate)


Strawberry/Cranberry Truffle – Louis de Grenelle Crémant de Loire, Saumur, Loire Valley, France- sparkling brut Rosé made from 100% Cabernet Franc – juicy, bright red fruits, strawberry and a touch of floral notes
Lemon /Caramel/ Earl Grey Truffle- Malagouzia from Alpha Estate,, Turtles Vineyard, Florina, Greece -a beautiful white wine from the northwestern mountain region of Macedonia- beautiful floral aromas that lead to citrus, crisp acidity and a well balanced finish
Brown Ale/ Greek Yogurt/ Espresso/ Lime Truffle- Domaine de Pellehaut , Côtes de Gascogne, France- Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng, Colombard blend made in a traditional terroir-based style…simply divine with the unique combination in the last truffle.
It was fun to see the reactions on the guests faces when they tasted the two together!
A unique experience!! Try it yourself…


 Once you find recipes you want to explore, go to my website: and find your perfect wine pairing!

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Cognac- Bin 36 Class with Alexandre LeClerq from Maison Maxine Trijol



Cognac, named after the town of Cognac, France, is a variety of brandy. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, in the French Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime.

For a brandy to bear the name Cognac, an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, its production methods must meet certain legal requirements. In particular, it must be made from specified grapes of which Ugni Blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is the one most widely used. The brandy must be twice distilled in copper pot stills

(Charentais still- see image below)

and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais. Cognac matures in the same way as whiskies and wine when aged in barrels, and most cognacs are aged considerably longer than the minimum legal requirement.  (#WIKIPEDIA)

In spite of having spent time in the Charente-Maritime, located in the Petite Champagne region for Cognac, I must admit cognac was difficult for me to appreciate.  I prefer the friendlier Pineau des Charentes which is delightful, both the “blanc” and the “rosé / rouge”. I was excited NOT to be teaching this class, but to be the student.  I learned quite a bit from Alexandre from Maison Maxime Trijol.  By the end of the class I was totally enamored with this kingly brandy!  Maxime Trijol is an independent family owned cognac house which dates back to 1859.  By some standards they are quite large- owning/using 22 Charentais stills each holding 660 gallons!  That is a considerable amount of liquid gold!! Here is a cognac aroma wheel- beautiful notes evolve in each glass… a sensory explosion!


Some pictures from our evening at Bin 36

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 Probably the most important bit of information given was to “forget everything you know about wine tasting”…it is different with cognac.  Words of wisdom that held true.  Once I “chewed” the cognac in my mouth a couple of times- preparing my mouth, taste buds, etc…I was able to sip and ENJOY the rich, silky smoothness of the cognac.  I am so thrilled!  Next time I am “home” in the Charente-Maritime I will surprise my families…I will partake in a small glass of cognac with pleasure!  I could go into the technical, traditional, two -stage method (1936 Decree) for production, but will give you a site to read the details for yourself. Take the time to learn about cognac…learn to savor and enjoy.  Cheers! or

Posted in #Charente, #Charente-Maritime, #Cognac, #France, #Pineau des Charentes, #Wine Education, #Wine Events | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment