Today is New Year’s Eve and there are probably a gazillion parties planned for tonight. Not us, we will be long gone before midnight rolls around. Dead asleep I hope. I’m not much of a partier anyway. I am a true lightweight when it comes to alcohol and I really don’t need to plant myself at a buffet table. Plus I’m not that interesting so conversation is usually limited to talking about what the latest things the dogs have destroyed and wine. Most people have more going on in their lives than I do. After fifty plus years, boring is more fun than I can stand.
I made a pot of steak soup for dinner the other night and to go with it we opened a bottle of Joel Gott Pinot Noir 2012, a California wine. You can find them at http://www.gottwines.com. We paid $16 for the bottle, a good value for a Pinot Noir, which can be pretty pricey. The wine was a reddish brown color in the glass when held up to the light. It had a light clean taste that felt soft in my mouth. It was smooth with a taste of berries. It went down very easy and we finished the bottle in one sitting. That doesn’t happen very often. I told you I’m a lightweight. This is one that I will definitely buy again.
For all of you that are out partying up a storm tonight lift a glass for me have fun and stay safe. Happy New Year.
What could be better than a nice tender prime rib dinner? Served rare of course. Well how about the perfect bottle of wine to go along? Too bad that didn’t happen this time. I roasted a small prime rib for the two of us and it turned out very tasty. I cut small slits in the top and stuffed in garlic, then salted and peppered it. That was the best part of the meal. The wine was disappointing.
We opened a bottle of Chateau Griviere from Medoc, France. It was a blend, 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was called Cru Bourgeois Medoc, 2005 vintage with 13% alcohol. The wine was a dark ruby color that was starting to turn to a more amber color. It was dry and harsh tasting. I could smell a hint of cedar. Maybe we should have left it alone longer, I don’t know, but it was not a wine that I will want to taste again anytime soon. So disappointing.
Christmas dinner was a bit different this year. Normally I fix lasagna or chicken parmesan with spaghetti, meatballs and all the fixings for Christmas dinner. It is quite a spread; everyone is in gastric overload by the time we are done. But this year, because I am still not one hundred percent from my surgery at Thanksgiving, my son and daughter-in-law decided to undertake dinner. Not a small feat considering they have two daughters under five and they also host Christmas Eve dinner for her side of the family and Christmas morning brunch for his father’s side of the family. For dinner we had a selection of three different soups, three kinds of crusty bread and a selection of veggies and cheeses.
It was pure genius on my daughter-in-law’s part. It was a relaxed light offering with delicious choices, good conversation and plenty of wine to go around. The soup choices were butternut squash, chicken noodle and beef vegetable and of course I had to sample them all. What kind of guest would I be if I didn’t try them all?
One of the wines we had was a Pinot Noir from Sebastopol, California. It was called Londer from Anderson Valley, 2009 with 14.3% alcohol. Their website is http://www.londervineyards.com. It was a really nice wine with a spicy peppery taste. It was dry and a touch sweet at the same time. The wine was a light wine not a big heavy wine like a Cab. It went really well with the soups and bread. This is one that I am definitely going to look for at the store.
We even did a gin tasting. I had no idea that there was that much difference in gins. We tasted a Bombay Sapphire, Hendricks and Ransom Old Tom Gin. Of the three my favorite was the Ransom Old Time Gin. It was an amber color, which surprised me. I thought all gin was clear, evidently not. There was a slight taste of caramel which softened the juniper taste. Second was the Hendricks, it did not have the strong juniper bite that the Bombay did. I was really surprised that I could drink gin at all. I am not a big liquor drinker. In my younger dumber days it was tequila straight up, but that ages you fast. Now in my old age I stick to wine. It is much safer, for me.
Winter has come to visit with a vengeance. Freezing rain, sleet and snow all in the same day. At least it happened on the weekend, so hopefully by Monday the road crews will have enough time to get the highways and side streets cleared off. It’s a good weekend to stay inside and eat comfort foods, like chili and hearty soups. It’s a good thing we stocked up on wine, because if we get snowed in and have no wine things could turn very ugly quickly. We have a full freezer and pantry to go along with the wine so we’re in good shape for a least a week.
A few days before the cold front moved in, it was in the fifties and we were able to grill steaks on the grill. To go along with the steaks we had a salad and sautéed brussel sprouts. For the wine we tried a new bottle that came highly recommended. It was an Italian red blend from Puglia called Neprica bottled by Tormaresca 2011. It was a blend of 40% Negroamaro, 30% Primitivo and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The alcohol content was 13.5%. The cost was great, under $10.
The wine was a dark red almost purple color in the glass with a subtle aroma not overpowering at all. It was a full bodied wine dry with berry taste and had a nice finish. It went very well with the steak. It was nice and smooth with no burning taste. I will definitely be buying this one again.
Last night we went to a sparkling wine tasting hosted by one of our local liquor stores. I had never been to a sparkling wine tasting and thought it would be fun. Champagne and sparkling wine is really hard for me to buy because for one we don’t drink much sparkling wine which makes it difficult to pick out a good bottle and two the price of sparkling wine is all over the place, anywhere from under $10 to that of my monthly mortgage payment.
It wasn’t a large group for the tasting, there were a couple of empty tables with glasses poured of our six selections leaving them victims of the table of three women to our immediate right. The three slurped their glasses and then went about snagging unattended glasses even asking the couple in front of us to pass over a favorite glass on their table. One word, rude. They talked throughout the presenter’s dissertation making it difficult to catch all of the information I would have liked to learn.
The first glass was a Cava, an inexpensive Spanish sparkling wine called Freixenet Blanc di Blanc, for <$9, served as a reception glass. It was dry and I could taste the telltale chardonnay grape. The six wines in the tasting ranged in price from $15 to $88 and surprisingly my favorite came in at $23. I was not a fan of the Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut, the $88 bottle we tasted. To me it was too dry and bitter. My favorite was the Renardat Fache Cerdon du Bugey, a rosé the was slightly sweet and only had 7% alcohol, which means I could probably drink a lot before I realized that I couldn’t walk.
I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to taste any Proseccos, an Italian sparkling wine. Those are my personal favorite sparkling wines, not too sweet and not as dry as brut Champagne. All in all we had a good time and came away with a couple of bottles to add to our meager collection.
I take it all back. The other day I said how much I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but that was before we went to Toys R Us. That store is only for the strong at heart, not amateurs like Mitch and me. The store was packed and the game of the day was avoiding being run down by mad shoppers pushing carts insanely about in search of the perfect toy. We were there to shop for our four granddaughters all four years old and under. I stood there looking very glassy eyed at all the options, while Mitch totally overloaded wandered off with a blank look on his face. No help at all.
After an afternoon at Toys R Us strong drink was in order. Dinner consisted of Lemon pepper chicken and the wine was Italian. The wine was a white blend from Marchesi Antinori 2011. It was called Villa Antinori Toscana and you can find it at http://www.antinori.it. We bought it at a wine tasting for under $15. The alcohol content was 12%, not very high at all.
The wine was the color of pale straw almost clear and the nose was very subtle with a slight herbal scent. It tasted like pears, soft and smooth with a dry mineral finish. It went very well the chicken or maybe I should say the chicken went well with the wine. Since I was in desperate need of some quiet time and pleasant company, a soft white wine definitely hit the spot. This is a great wine and one that would be perfect all by itself.
I love the holidays. The hustle and bustle, Christmas shopping and the holiday parties, all keep me hopping. I love baking all the different kinds of cookies, pies and cakes. I always tell myself I will just have one taste, but that turns into two and three and so on. I don’t love the weight I gain, during the holidays and it seems that each year it takes longer to lose what I ate during the holidays, but I can’t help myself it all tastes so good. I know I’m just weak.
One of my favorite wines to drink is especially good this time of year. A big bold jammy Zinfandel is so good when its cold outside and when paired with a pot roast, is even better. This time we drank a Zinfandel from Clos Du Bois 2011, a North Coast, California wine. You can find them at http://www.closdubois.com. We scored it for less than $10 at our favorite wine retailer. The alcohol content was 13.5%, not too high.
The wine was a dark ruby red almost purple color in the glass and had a delicate dark berry aroma when I buried my nose in the glass. My first sip had a blackberry jammy taste, smooth with a nice finish that left me ready for another taste. I have bought this wine many times in the past and will buy again in the future.
We have drunk a wide variety of Clos Du Bois wines, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Rouge, a red blend in addition to the Zinfandel and have never been disappointed with any of their wines. There are more that we haven’t tried, but we will, sooner or later.