down-to-earth, and neighborly
How much of a carbon footprint does a grapevine leave? Not much, if you drink within a stone's throw of the vineyard.
However, in the wake of Earth Day, modern worriers point out that putting wine in glass bottles to ship across country or around the world takes energy.
Not surprisingly, wineries that push bag-in-a-box wines, sealed in plastic inside cardboard, now add earth friendliness to their pitch (which already includes a better grade of juice in the bags).
But a bag of wine is still heavy, so here's a way to further cut the gas bill: Drink Florida wines and eliminate transportation from California. Or France or Chile.
Lakeridge, our largest local winery, is less than 100 miles east, in Clermont; Keel & Curley's blueberry wines come from Plant City, while Florida Orange Groves in South Pasadena makes a rainbow of fruit wines.
Or you could fill up the SUV and meet the earth up close by visiting one of a dozen wineries and vineyards. See the Florida Grape Growers Association list at fgga.org.
Wine of the Week
Cirque du Vin, Peachy Canyon Winery, 2005
Cirque du Vin is the silly name of this fun blend, but Peachy Canyon is a real place, actually a road on the west side of Paso Robles.
And the winery of the same name, run by the Beckett family for 20 years, is a serious effort with a strong history in zinfandels, syrahs and petite sirah, peppery but smooth.
In this circus of flavors, CDV is a highwire act that connects Bordeaux and the Rhone with grace and daring. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot and such meet the syrah/sirah crowd in a deep, dark, but friendly, drink: big, earthy aroma of fruits and chocolate and a jammy-plummy mix in an easy texture.
More winemakers should clown around like this and blend what grows in their neck of the woods. It'll put a smile on your steak, grilled chicken or a slice of chocolate cake.
Availability: $15 in wine and liquor stores.
The homemade limoncello of Italy is wickedly delicious. It's lemon pie you can drink. But beware: Limoncello packs as much of an alcoholic punch as the sugar in that pie. As Avril Lavigne has told us on various occasions, limoncello can be a yellow demon. Absinthe in a lemon drop.
It takes strong alcohol to squeeze the lemon flavor out of the zest (if you try to make it at home, grain alcohol works better than vodka). Look for at lest 100 proof.
Americans who have taken a shine to limoncello like it cold from the ice box, the Italian way, or with some moderation, over ice or in a mixed drink. Limoncello and vodka make a potent mix, lighter choices like mineral water work fine.
Our favorite is with equal parts of a dry sparkling wine. Add lemon zest and bring on summer.