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Spring has sprung and not a day too soon. The winter here has been sucky to say the least. We had the coldest driest January on record, then the wettest February and March on record. I am so ready for warmer and drier weather. In honor of spring, I fired up the grill and grilled some chicken breasts. Nothing exotic, Lemon Pepper Chicken with roasted green beans and potatoes. For the wine, I opened a bottle of Benziger, Sauvignon Blanc, vintage 2014.

The wine, a California North Coast Sauvignon Blanc was very light, almost clear in the glass and had a dry mineral aroma in the glass. The wine was very dry that tasted like lemons and grapefruit, with a crisp mineral finish. I served it chilled and the light crisp wine went along well with the lemon pepper chicken breasts.

This is definitely a wine that I will buy again.

After returning from a recent business trip, we’ve had a busy weekend. First it was a day of wine and chocolate tasting on Saturday on Bainbridge Island. We tasted our way through the island, seven wineries offering up some of their wines along with chocolatiers letting us sample some gourmet chocolates. We drove to the island on one side of the island, then winding our way across the island then took the ferry back across Puget Sound to Seattle.

Tonight, for dinner, I fixed an early Valentine’s Day dinner. I made a shrimp dish, Garlic Seared Shrimp with Smoke Paprika and oven roasted vegetables. For the wine, I opened a red blend, Radius, 2014 from Walla Walla, Washington.

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The wine is a wonderful red blend that is soft and smooth, fruit forward, with cherry notes and a hint of oak. The wine just fills the mouth and tastes of dark fruit and ripe cherry, with a lingering finish. The wine went along very well with the shrimp and vegetables.

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Can you believe it’s the end of January already? The day light hours are getting longer here, we’re up to over nine hours between sunrise and sunset. I know that doesn’t sound like a super feat, but when you consider in the dead of winter we only get seven hours and thirty-four minutes of daylight, it is something to celebrate.

For a mini-celebration I fixed a chicken dish, Chicken with Peppers, Tomatoes and Onions, that was really yummy. I can’t sew a straight line, but I can cook. I sautéed the chicken breasts in olive oil and white wine, added sliced onions and a can of drained diced tomatoes to cook the onions until tender. I added garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. After the chicken and onions were almost done I added sliced bell peppers, red, yellow and orange, and a half cup of sun-dried tomatoes and continued to cook until the peppers were tender. It looked amazing and tasted that good too.

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For the wine, I opened a bottle of an Italian red wine that was a gift for Christmas. The wine, Sant Andrea Riflessi was a dark red color in the glass almost opaque and I could smell cherries and blackberries when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine was dry and soft in the mouth. There was no harsh bite, just a lush smooth liquid. I could taste a bit of wood, dried fruit and tobacco. The wine was a 2015 vintage and had an alcohol content of 12.5%.

The wine complemented the dinner perfectly, or maybe it was the dinner that complemented the wine. Now I want to make a wine trek to Italy in search of more deliciousness.

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For Christmas dinner, I decided on a small standing rib roast, since it was just the two of us. I bought a four pound New York style standing rib roast with nice marbling.

The menu for dinner was:

Rib Roast with Garlic
Hasselback Potatoes
Roasted Northwest Style Vegetables
Tossed Salad

Wine – Pinot Noir

I cut about fifteen half inch slits in the fat at the of the roast and shoved in a garlic clove in each of the slits. Then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the top. I put the roast uncovered in a 350° oven until the internal temperature was almost 135° (rare) in the middle, almost 2 hours. For the potatoes, I cut slices into each potato that were about a quarter inch wide and almost all the way through potato, leaving each slice hinged at the bottom. Then I drizzled some olive oil across the top and placed each potato in a small baking dish and put it in the oven along with the roast. I then spread the vegetables on a cookie sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and minced garlic and baked them in the same oven for about 45 minutes.

For the wine, I opened a bottle of Wine by Joe, a 2014 Oregon Pinot Noir. The wine was a red color in the glass, translucent, I could see through the wine. The wine was dry with a hint of a smoky wood smell. I could smell the alcohol, too, which was 13.5%. The wine was a light Pinot Noir with a medium finish. This was a nice light Pinot Noir, good to just sit and sip or with cheese and crackers or fruit. Maybe not the best wine to go with a standing rib roast, but it was super tasty and went along with the meat just fine.

Since most of my wine tasting reviews center around food pairings too, I’ve decided to expand my reviews to include more food reviews.

Tonight, I made a special meal, our anniversary dinner. For some, this means dinner out at a nice restaurant, for me making something special and a really nice bottle of wine is more fun and more special than eating out. I know, I’m a glutton for punishment, but I love to cook and create something amazing on a plate. The challenge comes in making something really yummy and amazing with only a few ingredients.

Tonight the menu was:

Mexican Pinwheel Flank Steak
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Tossed Salad

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The wine I chose was a 2009 Rosenblum Zinfandel from Monte Rosso Vineyard in Sonoma County, California. This was a bottle I picked up at our local Total Wine for $35. Pricey yes, but well worth the money. The wine was a dark reddish purple color in the glass and very opaque. I could smell plums when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine tasted like plums and vanilla, with a hint of spice, smooth and full tasting like velvet. The wine went perfectly with the flank steak.

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This wine is one of the best Zinfandels I’ve had in a long, long time and well worth the pricey price tag.

Today’s Wine Review

Christmas is almost here and the weather across the country is frightful. I think most of the country is in the deep freeze, even here where the temperatures don’t usually dip down in the teens. Surprise, I woke up to sixteen degrees and couldn’t get enough clothes on to keep out the chill.

So, in order to heat things up a bit, I decided to spice up my cooking. For dinner, I took a couple of slabs of boneless pork ribs and rubbed them down with some hot Jamaican Jerk rub and marinade. Then I roasted them in the oven at 375° for 45 minutes until the ribs were cooked through and quite tender. Since the oven was already on, I roasted a cookie sheet of broccoli florets that I drizzled olive oil on and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

For the wine, I opened a bottle of Meiomi Nouveau, Pinot Noir, vintage 2015 which I was told was an American Beaujolai. But nowhere on the bottle did it reference a Beaujolai, but it listed the grapes as sourced from 3 different areas, 42% Sonoma County, 36% Santa Barbara County and 22% Monterey County. The wine had an alcohol content of 13.7%. The wine was a red color in the glass and fairly transparent, not as opaque as other Pinot Noirs I’ve had. I could smell cherries and alcohol. The wine had a tart bite and was a bit harsh. It had a dark fruit taste and helped kill the burn of the hot spicy ribs.

I prefer the regular Meiomi Pinot Noir, which is much fuller and softer but still full of fruit.

Today’s Wine Review

Last night we had a rare evening together so you know that means, yep I cook a real meal and there was wine with dinner. I sautéed pork chops and roasted broccoli for dinner and for the wine I opened a bottle of wine that was a gift from our friends.

The wine, a Pinot Gris, was a Washington State white wine, Summit Estates, from Columbia Valley. The wine was a 2014 with 13% alcohol content. It was a very pale yellow color almost colorless in the glass. I could smell honeysuckle and a light lemony citrus scent. I tasted apricot and lemon when I swirled the wine around on my first taste. The wine was dry with a medium finish and a hint, just a hint of mineral on the finish.

The wine surprised me some, because so far all the Washington Pinot Gris’ have tasted very dry with a lot of mineral, like a California Sauvignon Blanc instead of the fruit forward California and Italian Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, respectively. The wine from Summit Estates was quite pleasant and one glass turned into two glasses. Okay, three glasses.

This is definitely a wine I will look for again.

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