Friday, August 17, 2018

Weekly Window Shopping

Gal Meets Glam dropped its August collection this week, and it did not disappoint. The collection has major beginning of fall vibes, but there are still a few summer appropriate dresses. I love this vintage inspired polka dot dress. The navy and cream is a great color combination, the polka dots are so fun and flirty, and the waist detail gives the dress great shape.

Lightweight sweaters are the perfect fall transitional piece. They're great to throw on for a cooler end of summer night, and to pair with jeans and booties at the start of fall. I love the pointelle detail of this sweater, it adds great texture. I would pair this with navy shorts and boat shoes in the coming weeks, and skinny jeans and beige booties once fall weather starts to hit.

A cardigan is such a great versatile wardrobe staple. I throw cardigans on over sundresses, work blouses, and casual tank tops. A navy cardigan is the perfect neutral sweater to throw on over anything. I love how Draper James's signature magnolia print peaks out along the buttons. It adds the perfect something special to an otherwise very basic staple.

Gorgeous fall jewel tones are starting to show up everywhere. This dress caught my eye because of the gorgeous rich green color. I love how easy it would be to dress this up or down. For a more casual day I would pair it with nude ballet flats, brown booties, or a cute pair of keds and some simple jewelry. To wear it out at night, or to a fall wedding, I would pair it with metallic booties or pumps, and a pair of statement earrings.

Burgundy is always one of go to fall colors. It looks great with my brunette hair and brown eyes. I recently bought a sweater blazer from J. Crew to take with me while traveling, and I instantly fell in love.  I now want to buy sweater blazers in a dozen different colors and styles. I would wear this to the office with a pair of black ankle pants and black pumps, or while curled up on the couch at home in a simple pair of leggings.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Introduction to Portuguese Wine

I meant to post this last week, while I was in Porto, Portugal, but my wifi was kind of spotty and when I went to hit the publish button, it couldn't load enough to publish or save it, so the whole post got deleted and I was too tired from traveling all day to rewrite it. Currently I'm in La Linea, Spain and this afternoon I'm catching a ferry to Tangier, Morocco for a few days, but then I'm coming back up to Spain, and ending my trip in Lisbon, Portugal. Of the two Portuguese cities, Porto is more of a wine city because the Douro Valley, Portugal's major wine region, is located right outside Porto, and many Port wineries make some of their Port Wine in the city of Porto. One of the days that I was in Porto, I took a day long tour of the Douro Valley. The views were incredible and we had a chance to visit a Port winery located in the vineyards. The next day, while I was exploring the city of Porto, I stopped in a Port winery in the city, and did a tour of the facilities and a tasting. It was a great experience. There are a whole row of Port wineries along the river that goes through Porto, and I could have easily spent a whole afternoon hopping from one to another, tasting a bunch of different Ports. As an introduction to Portuguese wine, there are three main varietals/styles of wine that are commonly associated with Portugal: Port, Touriga Nacional, and Vinho Verde.

Port Wine

Port wine is a style of wine, not a varietal. It's a wine, most commonly a red wine, that's been fortified with alcohol, usually brandy. The extra alcohol is added during the fermentation process, and it affects the alcohol content and sugar content of the resulting wine. Port wine was first created on accident. In the 1600s, the British really enjoyed Portuguese wine, and they wanted to sent it over to England. However, they found that by the time the wine crossed the ocean, it had gone bad and wasn't suitable to drink. In an attempt to figure out a way around this problem, Portuguese wine makers tried adding brandy to the wine after the fermentation process. The wine survived the trip across the ocean, but the fortification changed the nature of the wine. Even though it was a different style of wine, the British loved the fortified Portuguese wine, and Port wine was born. Portuguese winemakers have since changed the process of making Port slightly, to make the wine better, but the idea of fortified wine is still the same.

The base wine that is used for Port doesn't have to be a particular varietal, it's generally a blend of various red wines. For a wine to be considered a Port wine, it must be fortified, and it must come from the Douro Valley. Any fortified wine that doesn't come from the Douro Valley technically can't be labeled as Port. It's like how any sparkling wine that's not from the Champagne region in France technically can't be called Champagne. There are two main types of red Port wines, Ruby and Tawny. Ruby Ports are the color of normal red wine, they generally have stronger berry and chocolate flavors than Tawny. They are aged in a large oak vat, so that the wine has less actual contact with the oak, which leads to the brighter color and flavor. Tawny Ports, however, are aged in much smaller oak vats, so that the wine has more direct contact with the oak. This results in the wine having more of an amber color, and the flavor tends to have more caramel and toffee notes. Port has a higher alcohol content than normal wine, and it's much sweeter and more viscous. It's generally served after dinner, either with dessert or as the dessert on it's own, and is served in a much smaller glass than a typical wine glass. In Portugal, it's generally saved for special occasions, when friends and family are all together.

Touriga Nacional

Touriga Nacional is a Portuguese grape varietal. It's often considered Portugal's finest varietal. It's a red grape that's often used in blends that become Port wine, but in the past decade or so, it has gained popularity as a grape to be used for making normal wine as well. It's grown mostly in the Dao region and the Douro Valley. It's a low yield grape, meaning that fewer grapes are produced on each vine, but that can actually lead to an increase in the quality of the grape. When there are fewer grapes on a vine, each grape can get more nutrition and resources from the vine, so the grapes can end up more well fed, which leads to better wine. Touriga Nacional is often compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. I find it to be just as bold and juicy as many California Cabs, but smoother and less rough around the edges on the back end.

Vinho Verde

Vinho Verde is another style rather than varietal. It directly translates to "green wine," with green meaning young, so Vinho Verde is young, or early, wine. It's wine that is released 3-6 months after the grapes are harvested, meaning that it hasn't really aged. Vinho Verde can be white, red, or rose, and it's generally effervescent, or just slightly sparkling. White Vinho Verde tastes like a typical crisp and fresh white wine. If you like Sauvignon Blanc you'll probably like white Vinho Verde. Red Vinho Verde can be a little more interesting. It can also have a crispness and a minerality to it, which generally isn't associated with red wine. I bought a bottle of red Vinho Verde a few months ago in Durham, and I paired it with clam linguine. The saltiness and the clam taste that's a bit heavier than typical shellfish, was a good pairing for the bright and minerally red. Like Port, Vinho Verde can only be called Vinho Verde if it's grown in a specific region of Portugal. This region is in the northern part of the country, where the Minho province and its surrounding areas once were.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wine Glass, Wine Dress

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen that I've been traveling in Spain and Portugal for the past week and a half. I'm with one of my friends from law school, we both don't start working at our respective law firms until late September, so we figured we'd take a long trip while we have so much free time on our hands. Our first stop was Barcelona, but our flight was cancelled so we had to get rebooked for the next day, so we had to cram a lot of stuff in Barcelona into less days than we anticipated. It was a busy, but incredible few days. We saw all the major monuments and museums: La Segrada Familia, Park Guell, the Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas, and the Gothic Quarter to name a few. We didn't feel like we missed anything, and it was a high energy start to our trip. Our next stop was Rioja, Spanish wine country, and it was an incredible second stop. 

We got into LaGuardia, the small town we stayed at in Rioja, in the afternoon and just spent the evening enjoying tapas and a bottle of wine, while taking in the gorgeous views of wine country. We spent the entire next day wine tasting and touring different wineries. We had a private tour guide pick us up and take us to three very different wineries in the area. She was an incredible guide, and told us to much about the history of Spanish wine and the Rioja region while we drove. The first winery we toured was called Cune, or Cvne, and it was a very traditional winery. It had been around for hundreds of years and some of their highest quality wines are poured at Spanish royal dinners and parties. They had a centuries old wine cellar, and some of the wine in the cellar was over a hundred years old. It was a winery that was full of tradition and history. Our second stop was a much more modern and smaller winery, called Tritium. The owner of the winery thought of himself more as a winegrower than a winemaker. His focus was on growing high quality grapes, because you can't make high quality wine from mediocre grapes. They had us try some wines that were new takes on traditional Spanish wines, and they were our favorite wines that we tasted. The third winery that we visited was a large, corporate winery called Marques de Riscal. The winery was a sprawling complex, with a five-star hotel connected to it, and beautiful grounds. However, the wine itself was pretty average, it was good wine but nothing special. There are hundreds of wineries in Rioja, and spending one day visiting just three made me want to go back and spend more time there.

I packed the perfect dress for a day spent wine tasting. This Gal Meets Glam dress from the July collection is incredibly comfortable, and the color is just like a glass of red wine. It appears to be a somewhat simple dress at first, but the details really make it beautiful. The buttons are a pretty pearly color, and the dress zips up the back so you don't have to actually use the buttons and there's less chance of the buttons gaping at the chest. The fabric has a gorgeous thick texture to it, which makes it fall beautifully and comfortably. An added bonus are that it has pockets! I love a dress with pockets, and I love that more designers are offering dresses with pockets. These pockets are slightly to the front, and the perfect size for holding an iphone or a pair of sunglasses. I paired this dress with a simple pair of nude Tory Burch sandals and pearl and gold earrings. For a date night this dress would also look great with a fun pair of black heels or booties in the fall. I think that I could also get away with wearing this dress to work since it has a high neckline and it's not too short. I would pair it with black pumps and a black blazer. 

~ Dress ~ Sunglasses ~ Purse (similar) ~ Earrings ~ Sandals (similar) ~ Bracelet ~