Revel in Ravenna

We are loving the weather we’ve been experiencing this week. It’s a welcome relief, both in that we’ve gotten a dip in temperatures, putting us closer to our normal for this time of year, and that the wind is currently blowing in such a way that we are (for now) largely free of smoke from the fires around us. We’re hopeful that our neighbors in the Cascades, Northeast Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, and California get relief soon from the actual blaze soon.

If you are able, we still think it’s a great time to get out and enjoy some of the summer sunshine. Late summer and early fall means it’s time for school, sports, and weekend adventures. Your patio will soon be seeing a different crowd of people. Friends and family will visit for Labor Day, friends from school and their families will join you for dinner or after game gatherings, and your family may find themselves truly looking forward to their evenings in the backyard as time spent together away from work and school.

There’s still time to make a change to your patio to carry you into an autumn of relaxation and lounging. To help celebrate the end of the season and continue our celebration of the introduction of cushions to our Ravenna Collection, we’re having a sale on all Cushions, Umbrellas, Hammocks, and Frameless Furniture. Save 20%* through the end of September on items in those categories using the discount code: OL2018 at checkout on our website. We think that both Montlake and Ravenna offer a great selection of colors. The Henna fabrics of Montlake ensure a pop of color with subtle complexity offset by the solid Antique Beige and Light Charcoal color ways, while the neutrals in Ravenna cushions add an especially warm and inviting ambiance to any yard that you can enliven with Spice, Mallard Green or Empire Blue.

The Montlake FadeSafe Collection has products in each of the sale’s categories, while the Ravenna Collection has a selection of cushion sizes.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out these products, which stemmed from our larger cover collections of the same names, we have pages that take a deep dive into the overarching features and feelings behind the collections, look books to inspire your patio.

We’ve shown you the Montlake FadeSafe Collection page before; the Ravenna Collection page is new and features Ravenna Cushions and Covers (as well as some lovely lifestyle images orchestrated and photographed by our in house Creative Solutions team).

You several options to experience the collections:

  • Dive right into the product pages with “Shop the Collection”
  • Learn more about the Covers, Cushions, etc. by clicking those categories  on the Desktop version or “About …”  on the Mobile version.
  • Explore the lifestyle imagery by clicking “Shop the Look”

Both collections are excellent choices, as two of our top patio cover collections (and fabrics). Montlake is more durable and is geared to a modern crowd, while Ravenna nods to a sophisticated style that is more simplistic, yet feature-rich.

We hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend filled with both with fun and relaxation.

 

*Exclusions may apply; subject to change based on availability.

Revel in Ravenna

Summer Wine Pairings

There is an art to pairing food with wine. Nuanced undertones, blushes of flavor, hints of spices, and lingering tastes commingle with personal preferences and memories to create deep interactions that lead to strong opinions. Trying new combinations of wine and food is an endeavor that can be intimidating, but is rewarding upon success.

There are certain accepted pairings; you have red wine with red meat and white wine with most fish, chocolate goes well with red while other desserts trend with whites, etc. Finding the perfect balance of flavors between a dish and a wine is an accomplishment and feels like a victory of sorts. It improves a meal you likely already love, provides a point of conversation, sets up a full dinner lineup for future special events, and is an entertaining experience unto itself.

We wanted to share some of our favorite wine pairings as places to start an adventure (or at the very least a very good evening) this summer. We had several people take on the task of completing this image with some wine and food combinations:

Imagine the slow summer sunset settling over your home, the light catching the edge of your cushions and umbrella as the shadows from your house begin to eclipse the patio. Sitting in a comfortable seat, perhaps a frameless chair by a hammock, you swirl a glass of wine that perfectly finishes your meal, waiting for the stars to appear and the cool air to settle.

Some lovely pairings came to mind and we’ve got those below. We’ve also included a recommended brand or vintage to try if you’re unsure where to start with each varietal/blend. These are not perfect combinations or even liked universally amongst our pairing team, but each has found its way into each of our particular palates this summer.  Read through, find some that intrigue you, experiment, and share!

For an infographic about wine, including red wine vs white wine, click here.

To learn about wine tasting, click here.

Amanda’s Assortment

Sparkling Brut with Mac & Cheese

2007 Extended Tirage Brut

Cheese and wine go together ALL the time … every time. The next time you have a bottle of Brut, make a homemade béchamel sauce for your noodles and if you’re feeling fancy, lump some lobster or crab in there. The balance of salt with the fish and cream of the cheese compliment a more mineral-based Brut. If you’re looking for a nice bottle that won’t break the bank, try Schramsberg’s 2014 Blanc De Noirs ($23) which is a complex brut made of red Pinot Noir grapes. Its name White from Black is just as it suggests. If you have a bit more cash to spend, one of my personal favorites is a brut from Oregon’s Argyle winery – 2007 Extended Tirage Brut ($75). Their 11 yr old Fall barrel brut packs a punch that is nothing but soft and will leave wine lovers with goose bumps.

 Chardonnay and Bacon

Marimar Estate 2009 Acero Unoaked Chardonnay

Most people want to always go red with meats, but go big with a full bodied Chardonnay so it can hold up against bacon that packs a big punch of flavor. The best region to buy a buttery, oaky chardonnay is California. Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($32) is well balanced with citrus and oak with a long finish. Unoaked is growing MORE popular every day after the oak bomb of the 90’s and another option from the Russian River Valley is Marimar Estate 2009 Acero Unoaked Chardonnay ($29). There’s no oak on this beautiful Chardonnay, but it’s so rich, you won’t even notice and will enjoy the pure personality of chardonnay.

Fruity Riesling and Spicy Tacos

2016 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling

Switch out the beer for an easy drinking Riesling with tacos this summer, it’s less filling! The fruit balances out against the heat and a hint of citrus found in most Rieslings will pair well with any guacamole. The best most surprising Riesling I’ve had lately came from 2016 Chateau Ste Michelle Dry Riesling ($12) from the Columbia Valley. It’s a dry Riesling that isn’t the sugary/entry wine people start out with. This one is hints towards sweet but brings you back quickly with a crisp finish and goes amazing with any kind of protein.

Red Blends with Burgers

Molly Dooker’s 2016 Two Left Feet

At your next BBQ, break out the blend! You never really know what people will load their burgers with, so a red blend is the best bet so that you aren’t tipping too far into one varietal. Mark Ryan’s 2016 The Dissident ($38) over delivers on tasting notes that is mouth-filling in the various grapes used that balances each blend with each other.If you’re in the mood for a lighter side – give Molly Dooker’s 2016 Two Left Feet ($27) a try and make sure you do the proper Molly Dooker Shake before you pour out.

Tawny Port and S’mores

Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Port

If Summer had a dessert – it would be S’mores and wine’s would be Ports. If you’re looking to pair just the description alone can probably sell you “Ripe berry fruits with a delicate nuttiness and subtle mellow notes of chocolate, butterscotch and fine oak wood. Smooth and silky on the palate and full of ripe figgy, jammy flavors which persist on the long finish.” Enjoy the long and warm structure of the Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Port ($33). Hints of nut with orange peel and cocoa on the nose are a perfect after dinner sipper that packs a punch.

 

Brad’s Best

Barbera and Spinach Chicken A La Fresca

2015 Tempo Vero Barbera, Monferrato DOC

Served at room temperature – From the Monferrato region of Piedmont, Italy. “Tempo Vero” translates from Italian to English as “Real Time,” a name that celebrates winemakers who seek to preserve Italy’s history in liquid form. This 2015 Barbera is from the Monferrato DOC in Piedmont – one of the classic wine locales in Italy. Vibrant with notes of strawberry, cherry, wood, and bright acidity on the palate, it pairs wonderfully with foods like cheese, salami and pasta with cream sauce. Other pairings include – pizza, pork, lamb and veggies.

Touriga Nacional with Beef Tacos

2016 Field Theory Touriga Nacional

Served at room temperature or slightly chilled – From Paso Robles, California. Field Theory highlights curious varietals from unfamiliar places, like this Touriga Nacional from Pomar Junction Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA. The result is a light, early-drinking red with a fresh, fruit-forward flavor. Pro tip: On a warm day, drink slightly chilled. Pairs well with beef, cheeses and veggies.

Pinot Noir with Chicken Cordon Bleu

2014 Porter & Plot Pinot Noir

Served at room temperature – From Sta. Rita Hills, California. Porter & Plot showcases the unique, nuanced individuality of California’s most exceptional vineyards and appellations. In this case, we’re talking about Sta. Rita Hills – an AVA in California’s Central Coast that is highly regarded for luscious, round and premium wines made from Pinot Noir. Enjoy blue fruits, along with a silky texture, and nuances of earthy spice. Pairs well with poultry, pork, cheeses and veggies.

Tempranillo and Palomino Chicken

2016 Copycat Tempranillo

Served at room temperature – From Clarksburg, California. Tempranillo is a grape native to Spain, but this funky-fresh example is a modern one from Clarksburg, California. Thanks to whole berry fermentation (as opposed to the grapes being destemmed), this Tempranillo is more easy drinking than most. You’ll enjoy juicy blue and black fruits, and a little spice that is almost always present in Tempranillo. This red doesn’t require food, and is prime for drinking young. With that said, it pairs well with pasta in red sauces, pork, cured meats and veggies.

Gamay and Grilled Salmon 

2016 Les Bobos Gamay

Served at room temperature or slightly chilled – From Beaujolais (province) in France. Many people associate Burgundy with Pinot Noir, and rightfully so. But in the Southern part of Burgundy in the region of Beaujolais, Gamay is the star and it is not to be ignored. Gamay and Pinot Noir have many things in common, like being light-bodied, easy-drinking, food-friendly and often a great mix of both fruit flavors and complex herbs and spice. This particular example of French Gamay is just that. Gamay wines are often un-oaked and meant to be enjoyed while young and fresh. Pairs very well with poultry, fish, cheeses and cured meats.

 

Heather’s Hoard

Ice Wine with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2016 Goose Ridge Riesling Ice Wine

Ice wines are some of the sweetest wines you come across and are often viewed as desserts onto themselves, which is why they are largely considered dessert wines. They pair well with fruits (that match the natural undertones of the wine) and can take the edge off of an extremely spicy meal. I think that an ice wine with a small serving of ice cream can add a level of depth and maturity to an all time favorite. With ice cream or on ice cream…is there truly a difference?

Gewurztraminer and Szechuan Chicken

B Lovely Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer has a surprisingly nuanced flavor (given the difficulty of reading or pronouncing the name). The main undercurrents in Gewurztraminer tend to be tropical fruits and spices. In the variety listed above, lychee, pear, and honeysuckle are strong. It is a sweet wine with a bright spirit. It pairs well with dishes that include fragrant spices–ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, coriander, curry, etc. As far as a full meal is concerned, I think it works well with a Szechuan Chicken or Chicken Asado; however, I do like this as a dessert all on its own.

Riesling with Chips & Guacamole

2016 Eroica Riesling

Riesling wines are well received as one of the most popular white wines, and are favored as being palatable by both wine lovers and beginners. Riesling is one of my go-to’s for an evening drink because of how well it pairs with other foods. I’m especially fond of pairing Riesling with latin and asian dishes, and it goes surprisingly well with salty or fried foods, like onion rings. Chips and guacamole, while not a meal, have the salt, spice, and variety that can be lost if you use an aggressive wine.

Syrah with Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

2015 Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah

Syrah varietals are powerful red wines that can range from medium to full bodied, with low to high tannin levels depending on the region in which the grapes were grown. Syrah will often have notes of blackberry, blueberry, and violet, with rich, earthy undertones of leather and punchy spices like pepper, mint, and anise. Due to the acidity of a Syrah, they don’t always pair well with cheeses and tend to do well with beef, pork, and probably chocolate. Bacon-wrapped filet mignon checks two of those boxes so it’s my choice for a summer grilled dish to pair with Syrah.

Merlot with Pizza

2014 Reserve Merlot Pheasant Run Vineyard

Merlot wines are smooth Bordeaux reds that favor fruity undertones (plum, cherry, and currants especially) with notes of chocolate, herbs and occasionally hints of cedar or other woods. Merlots can be difficult to pair with foods because they’re not as acidic or have the tannins of bolder reds, and can be overwhelmed or overwhelm other foods. Merlot pairs well with red meats, red sauce dishes, fish, shellfish and as well as mushroom dishes. As Amanda, mentioned, cheese does pair well with most wines; in this case, it lends to a fulfilling experience of a red wine and pizza.

Have a favorite pairing of your own? Let us know.

Summer Wine Pairings

Fresh Ideas to Kick Patio Season Off Right

We’re officially in patio season, why not mix it up this year? Below are some fresh ideas from some of our favorite bloggers.

1. Sarah Le from I am Food Blog has a delightful take on a summer picnic salad. This Vietnamese and foodie inspired the salad uses fresh ingredients like: mint, cilantro and lime, and features quinoa, veggies and a little sriracha for spice. Check it out!

2. Kristin Jackson of the Hunted Interior, created a beautiful backyard oasis as part of a HomeDepot.com style challenge. We noticed her work last year when she stenciled her stained deck with a large graphic pattern making it a unique and bold space: here. Take some inspiration from her latest outdoor creation with a simple palette that pops, a creative wall of plates, and a fun bocce court.

Kristin-Jackson-Patio-Style-Challenge-83. Apartment Therapy has a great post to help you get started creating your outdoor dream space. Sounds pretty practical and fun! Once you go through the steps, you’ll have a clearer idea of what needs fixing, what you would like to incorporate, what supplies you have on hand, and what supplies you might need. Browse Apartment Therapy’s site if you’re looking for DIY inspiration, they have a ton of great ideas.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Fresh Ideas to Kick Patio Season Off Right

Spring Yard Clean up!

It’s here and it came in like a lion!

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade”  – Charles Dickens
Spring Clean Up
There are a TON of tips out there on how to start thinking about sprucing up your outdoor space. Maybe it’s the longer nights, the BBQ specials at the store, or the mere fact we’ve been inside for such a harsh winter. So we thought we’d share our three favorite tips with you:
#1 Cover up your patio furniture.  Winter maybe done, but Mother Nature isn’t!
#2 Budget out the cost of your projects – most will prove to be more expensive than you may think. Especially with renting equipment.
#3 Check out Lowe’s Spring Tips here: http://lowes.tumblr.com/?crlt.pid=camp.9FE75G9VgAH3

 

Spring Yard Clean up!

Weekly Round Up – DIY a Fire Pit

Weekly Roundup: DIY Fire Pit

1. DIY Burning Bowl – EvansvilleLiving.com
Skill level: Beginner
This is a great addition for a smaller yard, patio or balcony. You’ll use a plastic bowl as the a mold, so you can pick the size and depth of your new fire pit. The shopping list is short, and you probably have a few items on hand already – like Pam cooking spray (so the concrete doesn’t stick), and a plastic tub for mixing concrete. Depending on the size you go with, this firepit is easy to move around and enjoy wherever you like in your outdoor space.

2. Build Your Own Ring of Fire  – ThisOldHouse.com
Skill level: Advanced
This is a detailed tutorial for a pretty cool built-in pit. More complicated than some DIYs – but they do a great job with visuals and detailed explanations. All of the steps are accompanied with photos and clear explanations. We think it’s worth it.

3. Fire Pit from a Washing Machine Drum – curbly.com
Skill level: Advanced + Thrifty
This fire pit looks modern and sleek – yet the main part is a drum gutted from an old washing machine. If you don’t happen to have an old automatic front-loading machine lying around you’ll need to scout out a junk yard, garage sale or thrift store to score the drum.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve made a fire pit before or plan to try one this year.

Weekly Round Up – DIY a Fire Pit