Fall Into Rosé with Wines of Provence

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wines of Provence. All opinions are 100% mine.

#FallIntoRose Wines of Provence

#FallIntoRose Wines of Provence

#FallIntoRose Wines of Provence

There’s no feeling like coming home from a long day, changing into comfy sweats, pouring yourself a glass of wine, and eating dinner. To me, it feels like a solid transition between work and relaxing. That feeling of letting the work day go is blissful.

These days, I’ve been sipping on rosé. Just because it isn’t summer anymore doesn’t mean I can’t have myself a glass of the pretty pink wine. Plus, it makes me feel a bit like I’m on a vacation–as though I’m wandering aimlessly through the picturesque streets of Paris. 

Yes, you’ll see photos of friends posting #basic along with their glasses of rosé but rosé itself is actually pretty #extra. 

Rosé has a place beyond girls’ nights and brunches. It can be enjoyed at any time really, no matter the season or the occasion.

Why? It’s because its flavors are so balanced and light. Rosé can be paired with your favorite cheeses and meats for a happy hour but also goes well with your favorite fall and winter foods. Hearty soups, light salads, dishes with seasonal squash, pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving turkey…rosé can be paired with any one of these meals. 

It’s underrated and perfect balance of flavor makes it easy to pair with just about anything. And because it’s light and not bursting with flavor like many other wines, it’s easy to sip on its own–even for friends who “don’t really like wine”. 

That’s what makes rosé the perfect happy hour drink, hostess gift, or dinner pairing. I’m actually going to be bringing rosé to my next family dinner because no matter what’s being served, rosé will pair well. Plus, it’s effortlessly elegant. 
#FallIntoRose Wines of Provence

It’s easier said than done to find good rosé. I’ve had some of the cheap stuff, and there’s a HUGE difference between the cheap stuff and the good stuff.  Picking a low quality rosé doesn’t really cut it. I’m going to teach you a little bit more about rosé so that the next bottle you buy is the good stuff. 

Rosé can be made very differently depending on where it’s from. Americans usually drink rosé made from Pinot Noir, which is different from the rosé from Provence. Rosé from the United States looks dark, much closer to a red wine than rosé from Provence, which is a much lighter pink.

France is actually the #1 producer of rosé wine, and Wines of Provence knows what they’re doing when it comes to rosé. #Mastersofrosé

#FallIntoRose Wines of Provence

Wines of Provence includes many wineries across different areas of Provence. Each area is has its own lovely characteristics which lend to different variations of rosé wine. I had the opportunity to try three of amazing rosé wines from Wines of Provence, and they were all spectacular.

Here’s a little guide to the regions:

  1. Côtes de Provence – It’s the largest producer of rosé wine in Provence and produces mostly rosé. 90% of the wine they produce is rosé. The rest is red and white wine. Even within this region, mainly known for having a warm and sunny mediterranean climate, there are different sub-regions with micro-climates. All the micro-climates affect what type of characteristics the wine since different types of grapes are grown throughout the sub-regions. The bottle with the pink on it, La Caprice de Clementine, is from here. 
  2. Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence – The vineyards here date back as far as 600 BC. Yeah, BC. Some of the producers here use more cabernet sauvignon in their rosé than the other producers, distinguishing it from the others. It’s the second largest region. The bottle with the script writing, Domain Vallon du Glauges, is from this region. 
  3. Coteaux Varois en Provence – Known as the “Heart of Provence” for it’s central location, it’s the region with the highest altitude. That means the grapes go through very hot summers, very cold winers, and very mild spring and autumn seasons. The higher altitude means the grapes can benefit from a longer, drawn-out ripening. That gives these wines complex flavors. The Chateau Margui rosé pictured is from here. 

It’s amazing to think that there are so many factors that play into how our wine tastes, isn’t it? I know I’m going to be buying more bottles of the Chateau Margui rosé, because that was a favorite of mine among all three. 

#FallIntoRose Wines of Provence

If you’re in New York or San Francisco, you should check out the Wines of Provence Restaurant week. From October 2 – 22, chefs in restaurants throughout both cities will highlight these lovely rosés by pairing them with fall and winter recipes. Get more info at isitaroseday.com.

Since rosé is so versatile, it can even be used in making some cocktails or alcoholic drinks. 

So, I have to ask you–have you ever thought about swapping out the red wine in your sangria for rosé? You’ll have to try out this recipe for Rosé Sangria and bring it to your next party. 

Rosé Sangria

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of fruit of your choice (think mixed berries, peaches, apples)
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 5 oz of raspberry liqueur (you can also sub in your favorite hard alcohol if that's your style)
  • 1 bottle of rosé
  • 1 1/3 cup white cranberry juice

Instructions

  1. In a large punch bowl or pitcher, add the fruit of your choice, sugar, and raspberry liqueur. Mix it all together and let sit for an hour.
  2. Then, stir in the juice and the rosé.
  3. Serve chilled.
http://www.thesassylife.com/fall-into-rose-with-wines-of-provence/

Hope you enjoy the recipe! It’s time to stock up on rosé and have #RoséAllYear!

The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Santa Cruz, CA: Parks, Beaches, and Sightseeing

Santa Cruz Beaches / The Not As Touristy Guide to Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has a little mix of everything when it comes to the outdoors. There’s no shortage of fun activities to do outside like hiking, surfing, sailing, and ziplining. I’m not toooo adventurous, so I can’t personally speak to the surfing, sailing, and ziplining in the area but I can definitely speak to the beaches, hikes, and sightseeing!

Beaches

Seabright State Beach 

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a very common destination for beach-going families. With amusement park rides, ice cream, arcade, and beach all in one place, it becomes really realllly crowded. You’ll be packed like sardines on the beach. If you’re just looking to lay out in the sand, head to close-by Seabright Beach instead. The beach is actually quite large, so it never feels too crowded. There’s also a lot of waterfront area, not just sand, so feel free to walk along the water for a nice stroll. One of my favorite things about this beach is that you can have bonfires here–so bring some s’mores materials!

Wilder Ranch State Park

Up north from Santa Cruz on Highway 1, the beach is a bit hidden in this state park and actually tough to get down to. If you’re able to make it down though, you’ll see some beautiful blue water, tan sandy beaches, and plenty of wildflowers. This beach has become more popular over the years and Highway 1 can be a bit out of cell phone range, so plan your navigation before you venture to the beach. Also, be prepared to park in the dirt off Highway 1. 

Coastal Dairies State Park

Farther north than Wilder Ranch State Park is Coastal Dairies State Park. Beautiful and very similar to Wilder Ranch State Park. 

Natural Bridges State Beach

A small and cute beach often full of college students, this beach has some beautiful “natural bridges” to look at while you sit on the beach. If you walk along the beach a little further, you can see some tidepools! It can be crowded on the weekends at peak times but weekdays are usually just fine. 

Capitola Beach

Capitola’s beach is a bit small for all the crowds, but the area around it is amazing! The colorful buildings and carefree beach vibes make the area very fun. Have fun walking around the area and grab some saltwater taffy. If you’re hungry, it’s fun to get some pizza from the original Pizza My Heart location! This is definitely an area to check out if you want to go on a nice walk or grab some lunch or dinner. 

Hiking

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

A bit north of Santa Cruz in Felton, CA is where you’ll find Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. You can hike, bike, and camp in this state park, but one of the best parts of this state park is the Garden of Eden. 

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Another state park filled with redwoods, this one has waterfalls. Yep, waterfalls. There’s also more wildlife here, so this park is pretty strict about not leaving any food out in the open. Check out their policies before you head out. 

Old Landing Cove Trail

Part of Wilder Ranch State Park, this loop trail gives you beautiful views of the water and takes you to the beach. Rated as a moderate trail on AllTrails, come prepared if you want to hike this one. 

University of California, Santa Cruz Upper Campus (UCSC Upper Campus)

The University of California, Santa Cruz campus is nestled in between tall redwood trees. In the upper campus, there are beautiful trails that lead hikers through the meadows. You can start at the College Ten Trailhead and hike through the beautiful forest. It’s best hike anywhere on the UCSC campus on the weekends, when parking is free/reduced. 

Sightseeing

Stroll Along West Cliff Drive for views of the water

Close to The Boardwalk and downtown Santa Cruz, scenic West Cliff Drive borders the ocean and beaches. You’ll see a lighthouse and dog beach along the sidewalk/trail here. Head to this area for a really nice and easy walk along the water. The views are so worth it. 

Santa Cruz Wharf

Not that many people venture out to the wharf, which is a little surprising because there is some excellent clam chowder waiting for you there. With a few restaurants, boutiques, and activities, it’s surprising more people don’t come out this way! It’s also a great spot to see whales, sea lions, and dolphins. 

Mystery Spot

I don’t know if I should list the Mystery Spot here but it’s one of the most common tourist destinations in Santa Cruz. It’s common to see bright yellow Mystery Spot Santa Cruz, California bumper stickers adorning sedans all across the Bay Area. TripAdvisor describes the Mystery Spot as a “gravitational anomaly” where the laws physics and gravity just don’t make sense. Many visitors either end up leaving the Mystery Spot as a skeptic, but it’s all in good fun. Admission is $8/person and $5/car for parking. 

That’s my list for now! What would you add to the list?

The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Santa Cruz, CA

The Not-As-Touristy Guide To Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz, California is an unofficial hippie capital and an absolutely beautiful place to spend some time away with family, friends, or significant others. Its close proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area makes it the ideal place to get away from the fast-paced city or soccer mom suburban lifestyle. While Santa Cruz is also somewhat suburban, its vibrant personality is refreshing to those from out of town. 

Santa Cruz is one of those places where you need to peel back its layers to see its true beauty and value. So many people, including Bay Area locals, only see what’s on the surface–the boardwalk, the beach, and hippies. But there is so much more to do and explore in the area.

In fact, I cringe a little when I overhear  people say, “What even is there to do in Santa Cruz?!” because my inner voice is screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!”

Having lived in Santa Cruz for a few years, I came to appreciate how this little place is able to have restaurants, parks, beaches, stores, and more for everyone. Depending on your own travel interests, Santa Cruz will definitely have something you want to see. 

For this particular guide, I will be pointing out both touristy and non-touristy places to check out. I feel by doing that, you, as a potential visitor, have the information you need to decide whether you want to go to the most popular locations or if you want to head to the spots as the locals. That’s why it’s titled the “Not-As-Touristy” Guide to Santa Cruz. 

Also, for this guide, I’m going to be breaking it out into different posts:

The reason for this is because there is a lot I’m including, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with one single post that has all the information. Organizing it this way will make it easier for you to reference, I hope. 

At the end of the series, I will also be posting a downloadable version of the guide (PDF!) that you can save to your smartphone or tablet. That way, you can search the guide with the information you need without using internet. Depending on where you are in Santa Cruz, say in the middle of a forest, you may not have cell phone service but may need to reference the guide. That’s where I’ve got your back, friend. 

I really hope you enjoy this series and if you have any places or suggestions to add, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

-S