During ESSENCE Festival, there was a "sea of blackness," as Yvonne Orji excitedly pointed out. And with that, there was also (obviously) events for and by us. One that stood out for me was the Black Wine Experience, hosted by the Hue Society's founder and sommelier Tahiira Habiba, a wine tasting where "assimilation is not required."
As someone whose taste buds have grown to enjoy the taste of fermented grapes with day old pizza or Chinese (whatever's available), I've been dying to level up on my knowledge when it comes to pairing, swirling, sipping, and all of the other seemingly pretentious things you may have seen a wine lover do. (Don't judge! The mere fact that wine is even a preference is personal growth.) Not only did the Hue Society wine tasting come with the knowledge but they came with an amazing selection of black-owned and/or imported wines.
And because I'm not one for keeping secrets, I'm going to spill all the tea (er, wine?) -- name-dropping each of the vendors featured at this event (because a good friend always puts others on), plus a handful of suggested tips on how to wind down and let go of the social pressures that are sometimes associated with drinking wine.
As someone who overthinks and analyzes as much as my brain will allow ("Am I doing this right?" is my favorite question even when I can't be wrong), I decided to get Tahiira's take on the top five things that are most imperative when getting to know your wine.
"There are no real hard rules except to drink what you like. It's good to know [the] basics but at the end of the day, wine is a personal experience. Everyone starts with sweet wine, the problem is the lack of education and staying stuck there."
Uncork Different Possibilities
"Be open to trying new and different wines. How will you know what you like if you drink the same thing over and over? So when I say, 'Drink what you like,' I mean, 'After you've tried a few things and you circle back to the one you like,' NOT stick to the same thing."
"The only real way to learn about wine is to drink it. Every grape is different, every place is different, every winemaker has a different style and technique; so a Chardonnay from Sonoma by [this] winemaker might not taste like the Chardonnay from Napa by [that] winemaker. It's good to take notes so you can start to see the differences. Drinking trains your palate and opens up your scent memory (olfactory glands) so you start to learn more and more the more you drink."
To that effect, one of the vendors pointed out to me that Rose is a blend of grapes...not a grape itself (like other types of wine). A Rose can consist of Pinot Noir grapes and Chardonnay grapes or any other combination of grapes.
"Don't be afraid to ask questions! Not a single person knows EVERYTHING about wine and a good sommelier or expert is happy to share their knowledge without making you feel dumb. If you run into a snob, just ignore them, and try to get whatever knowledge you can from the presentation, anyway. There is a point to the swirling, etc just ask and don't be afraid because the person next to you has [that] question too!"
FYI, that swirling thing she mentioned? If I recall correctly, that allows you to get a better whiff of the different aromas in the wine. Not only is wine personal, but scientific too, which was never my forte so I won't get to lying to you on how it works. I believe there are also some other benefits of the swirl.
"This is my personal motto, wine is about memories! It should be enjoyed and not this nerve racking, anxious experience. Hue Society has the motto 'Assimilation Not Required,' meaning we don't have to enjoy wine the way someone else does. If you want to drink moscato, have at it, but do it because it's an educated choice that you're making with your dollars, not because it's the only thing being offered to you."
From their lips to yours, each brand describes what they brought to the table in their own words, leaving us thirsty as ever:
McBride Sisters Collection
Their Selection: Brut Rosé
Sip & Share
Their Selection: White Sangria
"White Sangria is a medium sweet, made in California. It's light bodied. Crisp, peach and citrus aromas with flavors of apricot on the palate. It pairs well with seafood, salad, aged cheddar, goat, asiago and gouda cheeses."
Maison Noir Wines
Their Selection: Love Drunk Rosé
Their Selection: Rhythm Rosé
"An easy drinking 2016 Rosé of Grenache from the Central Coast of California. It is light and fruit forward with characteristics of candied strawberries. It's the perfect pairing for light summer salads (especially Mediterranean, Waldorf, and fruit salads), and a classic cheese board."
*This wine is exclusively sold at events until August 1, 2018. However, Seatpocket offers other selections and is in the process of producing more.
Their Selection: Chardonnay
Check out her more extensive selections of wines by clicking here.
Boone Selections Importer
Their Selection: Pink Flow Rosé
"Flow Rosé is a blend of Carignan, Merlot and Syrah with intense fruity aromas of wild strawberry, ripe red apple, peach, rose petal, and lavender. Gorgeous pomegranate, tobacco, and blueberries on the palate. Round and smooth with a crisp refreshing finish. This is a different type of rosé full of personality and extremely easy to drink. Rose all day, all year! Pair with spicy Ethiopian and Thai cuisine, pork, salmon, veggies and Saturday night with the girls!"
Featured image by Getty Images
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If there’s one thing that every anxious baddie out there needs, it’s a hug and something comforting to ease their minds. That could come in the form of a warm embrace from a significant other or something inanimate yet reliable, like a blanket.
With the fall season finally upon us, the signals in our brains are telling us to curl up and get cozy by any means necessary. But on the flip side, shorter days and less sunlight are simultaneously telling us to brace ourselves for the impact of seasonal depression before it hits. With all factors considered, there’s no better time than now to prep your cozy-girl season survival pack with one at-home companion that will never leave your side; it's a weighted blanket.
Consider a weighted cover to be your therapeutic hug in blanket form. Filled with materials such as glass beads, plastic pellets, or metal chains to make them heavier than regular blankets — ranging from 5 lbs to 30 lbs — these blankets are designed to provide gentle and even pressure to the body for a calming and soothing effect.
The concept behind weighted blankets is based on deep touch pressure (DTP) stimulation, which is thought to release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety, providing a sense of security and comfort.
Having a weighted blanket alongside you through the chillier months can give you a comforting touch when you’re feeling the effects of touch deprivation or just need to relax after a stressful, anxiety-inducing day.
Take this as your sign to surrender to the soothing, comforting sensation of a weighted blanket, and add one of the below to your cart while you’re at it.
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