An Accidental Love Affair: Down Under

Have you ever fallen in love at first sip? Well, the Half Past Wine O’clock crew definitely did last week!

Once upon a time… a wine blogger crew discovered a wine promotion:

Whole Foods Supermarkets was (and maybe still is) having a wine promotion where if you purchased 6 bottles you got 10% off! So, of course, we had to check out the selection. Everyone has a process to their work, a little quirk or habit that keeps them going. But few would recommend the wine and work could go together.

Our mission: select white wines that seemed to peak our interest.

We are red wine lovers at heart so we want to branch out and find the white wines we have been waiting for. The selection of white wines to choose from could have kept us there all day. Luckily the hand of fate stepped in and a simple bottle from New Zealand caught our eye.

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Kato – the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014

“Kato” –  meaning ‘to harvest’ in Māori – is a smooth, tropical fruit scented, light-medium bodied wine with a refreshing lemon finish that was not overpowering or sour (as some wines can be). With an alcohol percentage at 12.5%, the wine was crisp but did not burn after drinking. The well-rounded flavor made the wine great to drink on its own and, we discovered, able to pair well with many different foods.

Foods we grabbed from the Whole Foods Lunch bar/ cooked at home:

  1. Baked chicken with mashed potatoes and assorted vegetables
  2. Tofu with green beans, Mexican rice, mac and cheese, and plantains
  3. Chipotle honey salmon with rice and steamed artichokes

This Sauvignon Blanc paired great with each dish and helped to cleanse our palates between bites. The back of the bottle even insists that consumers pair the wine with seafood, pasta, white meats (like chicken) and salads.

We highly recommend it for anyone who is excited to try a New Zealand wine with their lunch or dinner or even to just to drink on its own. Let us know how you feel about this wine! New Zealand calls itself the Sauvignon Blanc capital of the world. Do you agree?

*Fun Fact* 90% of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs come from the Marlborough region.

We rate this wine:

Kristen: 5

Briana: 5

Paula: 4.5

Average rating of: 4.8

Wine facts from Windows on the World Complete wine course by Kevin Zraly, 30th edition

p.s. We at Half Past Wine O’Clock hope you are enjoying your last days of summer! Shout out to us for any fall wine ideas or locations that you would like us to visit! Cheers!

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Cute Summer Sips: “I Love You” All Year Round

We know we generally advise against picking a wine on bottle design, but the limited-edition design of The French Wine Merchant’s Prosecco was irresistible. It helped that we’re obsessed with bubbles and knew we’d love it from not just looking at the bottle, but reading it as well.

Whole Foods calls it “I Love You” All Year Round, though it is also (wordily) referred to as Villa Jolanda Vino Spumante Extra Sec (you’re more likely to find it online using the latter). The bottle, originally designed as a Valentine’s Day special edition, features a couple in hot air balloons together and hanging by the string of balloons as they fly solo.

11791746_10207349508001845_1880817746_nThe wine was a bit lighter than champagne, but still had the sweet, bubbly taste we craved. It was a dry white, light and perfect for our humid summer weather. We didn’t pair it with anything but end-of-the-day relaxation, but we’d recommend lighter meals like fish, or with snacks/appetizers.

The wine’s main set-backs have to be its cork and its rarity. Although its cork had a cute design on it, it was nearly impossible to remove – even for our wine expert, Kristen! And while rarity is usually a good sign, it’s sad to think we may never find this sweet, adorable wine again.

A bottle of I Love You All Year Round can range from $11.99-$16.99 and is around 13% alcohol.

Kristen: 4

Briana: 4

Paula: 5

Average: 4.3

Chicken Wine and Caprese Salad

11778014_10207289298336641_1985298622_nNo, not chicken, wine, and caprese salad. Chicken Wine as in Gorgorito, a white wine from Northern Spain…with caprese salad.

This Spanish wine brings an unexpected kick to it. Citric and acidic, this Verdejo wine is the unexpected marriage of melon, citric flavors and…apple. It tastes like the days between the end of summer and start of fall, like the conflict between pouring a glass of lemonade or apple cider.

But that’s what we loved about it. The wine was unexpected but deliciously fun on the pallet, especially when we paired it with a caprese salad with pepperoni to bring the wine’s flavors to life.


Part of our Pamplemousse wine club selection, this white was oddly described as having “pool water aromas.” We didn’t pick up on any chlorine or sunscreen, but don’t think the writers intended this as an insult (somehow). However, this rhetorical disparity reflects our overall feeling to the wine as a group: we couldn’t necessarily agree on its value, although none of us disliked it entirely. Paula’s rating may have been even lower had it not been for our spiced caprese salad!

Check out our ratings below!11774577_10207289294856554_1286385870_n

Kristen: 4

Briana: 4

Paula: 3

Overall: 3.7

In the Beginning, there was New Age

For the three of us, true love started with New Age. Like most of the best love stories, this began with a fated encounter. SAM_2264Pamplemousse, a local wine shop, had a bottle on sale and an anxious cashier was eager to get it off the shelf and out of sight. Why, we can’t imagine: it turned out to be our all-time favorite and began a long-term love affair between the three of us and wine…and bubbles!

Ever since Kristen and I fell in love at first sip, we’ve been on a constant scavenger hunt for another bottle of New Age. Even though Pamplemousse was ready to kick New Age to the curb, other local liquor stores did quite the opposite: employees hoarded the bottles as they came in, purchasing entire cases before customers even knew the shipment had come in.

But we wouldn’t give up on this new love of ours. Thankfully, we discovered that Wegman’s carries the wine and, sometimes, even supplies the rose version!

SAM_2265New Age, known for its iconic female figure glancing through the back of the front label (as shown to the right) is a white bubbly wine from Argentina. It’s fruity, but not too sweet, and perfect with any light meal or even by itself on a nice evening. New Age’s power is proven in its ability to bring Paula into the wine club; without it, we wouldn’t have her on this blog with us.

New Age usually prices around $8.99-12.99. If you go any higher, you’re probably not getting the best deal.