I am the adventurous one in our marriage. If I left the wine choices up to Mitch, we would be drinking a Ruffino Chianti Classico Reserva for our red wine choice or a fume blanc for a white wine choice. Not there is anything wrong with his choices, but I love variety and there is a huge vast world of choices out there and I plan on trying as many as I can. So I am buying all kinds of different wines and forcing Mitch to try them with me. Cruel woman I am.
One of the wines that I “forced” Mitch to try and is now one of his favorites is Concannon Pinot Noir, a 2011 California wine. You can find them at http://www.concannonvineyard.com. It’s also very reasonably priced at <$15 a bottle. It has a floral aroma on the nose and bright cherry flavor on the tongue. It is a medium bodied wine not too dry and not too sweet. A nice wine to enjoy with grilled chicken or pork chops.
I’m such a nice person that I don’t rub it in to Mitch that I make him try all of these different wines and I don’t make him say thank you either. Just watching him pour a second glass is thanks enough for me.
I’ll leave my silver bullet on the desk.
We have a standing tradition that for your birthday, you pick the menu and I will cook it for you. Whatever you want; from the entrée to the dessert, I will make it, from scratch. You can be as exotic and creative as you want or go home-style, it is whatever you want. This past weekend it was my birthday and I got to pick the menu and our best friends prepared it. For my birthday dinner I chose Jalapeño burgers and let the rest be a surprise. G makes a mean Jalapeño burger, complete with sautéed onions and jalapeno peppers, hot pepper cheese and for the spread, jalapeno pepper jelly, oh so good.
We had guacamole and chips, sautéed brussel sprouts, hash browns and for dessert, a blueberry cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. The wine of choice was very special, a 2007 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. You can find them at http://www.cask23.com. It was dark red almost a brick color in the glass, with a dry aroma. I could smell the alcohol when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine had a dry full taste very lush with a nice bite and a full finish, leaving me wanting another taste.
It was a rare and special experience to get to taste a truly nice wine. Maybe one of these days I can make tasting these special wines a daily experience. Yeah right, after I win the lottery.
One of our go to wines is Cabernet Sauvignon. Even though I’m always on the lookout for different interesting wines, I always keep a few bottles of the big red wine on hand. Over the years I’ve tasted some really great Cabernets and some not so great ones. The differences between the wines we’ve tasted have been fun to discover.
One of our favorites is Silver Palm, a California Cabernet from the North Coast. It sells for <$20 and the vintage we recently had was 2010. It was very smooth, not harsh at all. It had a full finish almost a soft feeling in the mouth. It was dry with a cherry taste, very easy to drink.
Another Cabernet that I bought on the advice of a friend was Carnivore, 2011, a California wine, also under $20. It was also very soft and smooth. It was very dark almost purple in the glass, similar to the color of Zinfandel. I could taste blackberry fruit with the first swallow.
Neither of these two wines had the big bold heavy Cabernet Sauvignon signature tastes that I’ve had in the past. Both of these were soft in the mouth and very drinkable, easy to finish the whole in one setting. The Silver Pam had an alcohol content of 13.9% and I couldn’t find an alcohol content on the Carnivore, but then I could focus that well after drinking almost a whole bottle either.
These are wines that I will drink again and again. One an old favorite and one a new find.
In an effort to eat healthier, I bought a package of ground chicken at the store. I compared it against the hamburger I usually buy that is 93% lean and found the chicken to be 99% lean, so I thought that I would give it a shot. Of course as I turned around to put it in the cart, Mitch looked at me in horror and asked what I planned to do with “that” as he put it. I said that I thought I would make a pot of chili with it, just like I make it with beef only use chicken. I wanted to see how it would taste. By the look on his face, you would have thought I was buying leaches to bleed him with. So I decided to invite our friends over to try it out with us. I figured if it turned out really nasty, then I would order pizzas. I made the chili just like I make hamburger chili, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, peppers and lots of chili powder. It turned out pretty good, so good that it was all gone by the end of dinner. Mitch isn’t a convert yet, but I’m working on it.
To go along with the chicken chili experiment, our friends brought over a bottle of McManis Family Vineyards Syrah, 2011. The McManis Vineyards are a California vineyard that makes a variety of different wines. You can find them at http://www.mcmanisfamilyvineyards.com. The Syrah had a smoky aroma with dark fruit taste. It was spicy and tart. The wine went great with the chili, a nice accompaniment. I haven’t had too many Syrahs, mainly because when I first started drinking wine, I preferred the lighter reds, like Beaujolais, but now I’m making the effort to widen my tasting range. This was a nice Syrah and I will definitely be on the lookout for more to try.
When is it ever going to stop snowing? Here it is March and we’re getting 3 inches plus more snow. Yesterday we had a play date with our friend’s dogs and our dogs, for a game of tag team wrestling all in an effort to exhaust their sixteen month old Belgian Malinois. We did all this in seventeen degree weather with a stiff wind out of the north. We aren’t the brightest sometimes. Anyway at least I had a pot roast waiting for us when we got back. I made a loaf of Italian beer bread and for dessert apple pie tortillas. Something of a diverse menu, wouldn’t you say?
Our friends brought the wine, two bottles, both French and both very different in taste. The first was Chateau Grand Bert, a 2006 Saint Emilion Grand Cru, a Bordeaux, 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. It was dry, a bit harsh and had a minerally taste. It had cherry notes with a medium to full finish. Not bad, a wine I would drink again, but probably not buy myself.
The second bottle was also French, Reserve de la Saurine, a red blend from 2011. It was fruitier in aroma and taste, definite cherry flavor somewhat tart but not as dry as the first bottle. I liked it better than the first bottle, but would definitely drink either one again.
To go along with the apple pie tortillas and because we are always up for a bit of adventure, we tasted a bottle of Sake that a friend had given me on a trip to Japan. I bet you thought I was going say we had a rum chata, or Kahlua, but no we had American fare for dinner, Italian bread, French wine and Mexican-American dessert so what could possibly be more adventuresome than Japanese Sake? I had never tasted Sake so I had no idea what to expect. It smelled like straight out of the bottle, grain alcohol, and was clear as water, but what really surprised us was that it had a very light taste. There was no burn at all, very smooth. I tried to look it up on the internet but it blew up my computer and kept opening a gazillion pages that took forever for me to get all of them closed out, so I have no better information for you, except that it was a pleasant surprise.