Don’t get me wrong, we’re serious wine people. We’re also serious beer people, Scotch people, spirits people… uh, let’s just say we’re equal opportunity kind of folks. And when we do drink wine, 95% of the time it is for pure enjoyment of the fermented grape. However, every once in a while, I get a wild idea for some sangria or other so-called “fluffy” wine beverage. While I do enjoy a sweeter, fruit-laden, wine-spiked punch every now and then, I was searching something with a little more panache and sophistication – a little more grown up, shall we say?
The sun was shining, there was not a cloud in the sky, and our magnolia was in its full bloom glory. These days are the definition of Spring. Absolutely beautiful. After cleaning off the dirt and grime left on the patio furniture after 60-plus inches of snow this winter (grrrrr), I was desperate for a lazy lounge with an easy sipping wine, but something with a little twist. Enter bianco. I stumbled across this recipe online, but being the cheap, ahem, frugal person I am, I didn’t want to pay for a membership in order to read the recipe. So I improvised.
The key here is to use an inexpensive wine. I’ve removed the label because I think this is such a beautiful presentation, but spend no more than $7 on the bottle (pssst – it was Barefoot). You are going to manipulate the flavors anyway, so a high-quality/high-price wine isn’t a necessity here. Another key to really making this pop is fresh herbs and citrus. The fresher the herbs, the more essential oils will still be present thus providing the herbal essence we’re after. *insert shampoo joke here* Don’t be frightened by the mint – this isn’t a wine mojito. You aren’t muddling the herbs to really release the oils, so you’ll just have a subtle touch of the herbs in the wine.
Ahh, anyway, I digress. I’m sure you have a patio waiting. Better make sure you have some bianco on hand to help enjoy a lazy afternoon (or morning – no judgement!).
recipe: inspired by Tom Douglas in Fine Cooking
1 bottle Sauvignon blanc
3 sprigs fresh mint
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 3″ strips of lemon zest removed with a vegetable peeler
Pour out approximately 1/4 c. wine into either the sink or your glass. Again, no judgement. Add mint, rosemary and lemon zest strips to the wine bottle. Seal with a vacuum seal* or other method of wine preservation to ensure that no air can reach the wine and oxidize it. Let sit for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Serve well-chilled. You can make a wine spritzer out of this by adding some club soda, but there hasn’t been enough left for me to try this option in the several times I’ve made this.
*Learn from my mistake – if you use a vacuum sealer, do so over the sink. With the pressure of the sealer and the addition of the herbs, I found a few overzealous pumps of the sealer caused a minor eruption of wine through the stopper and up into the vacuum sealer. Oops.
Relax, and enjoy!
All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house