Most everyone today is always on the lookout for a bargain, especially since the price of beef has gone through the roof. We’re all feeling the toll of the drought a couple of years ago, when a lot of ranchers had to sell their herds early. Considering the price of ground beef has gone from $2.99 a pound in 2012 to $6.29 a pound this morning at the grocery store, I watch for sales and since we belong to Sam’s Club as an Advantage Plus Member, we get early access before the regular members can shop, I buy a lot of beef that has been reduced for a quick sale because of the sell by date. We joke about it calling the steaks and roasts we buy “You bet your life meat”, but I figure that the meat I buy is going straight to the freezer, we’re pretty safe and we usually save between $2 and $3 a pound. Anyway so far so good, nobody’s gone to the hospital.
For dinner the other night I pulled out a bottom round roast out of the freezer, one of the larger “You bet your life meat” roasts that I brought home and cut into smaller size roasts and threw it in the crockpot with some chili powder, garlic and other spices to simmer all day. To go along with the roast I opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. It was from Simi Landslide Vineyards, Alexander Valley, California. The vintage was 2011 and had 13.5% alcohol. The wine was a dark red color in the glass and I could smell a subtle berry or cherry note. There was also a smoky tobacco aroma to go with the berry smell. The wine was dry and supple with a bite at the end. This wine was a bit pricier than what I normally spend on wine, less than $30, but it was one that I have wanted to try for a while. You can find them online at http://www.simiwinery.com.
The roast had just the right amount of heat from the chili powder and cayenne peppers to go really good with dry Cabernet. This is a wine that I would buy again, maybe not multiple bottles since the price was a bit high, but it was a tasty wine.
Last year winter just wouldn’t go away and so far this year winter hasn’t been so bad. I know we have another two months to go and the bottom will probably fall out and plunge us into the deep freeze, but so far so good. I’ll take what I can get. One day this past week, the weather was nice enough I even fired up the grill and threw on a couple strip steaks. Even though we have a gas grill and can grill all year long, when the weather is too cold it takes longer the get hot and longer to cook the meat. For pork chops and chicken that’s okay, but I eat my steak rare and cooking too long on the grill makes my steak medium. Yuck.
For the wine choice, I opened a bottle of Pinot Noir from Angeline Vineyards & Winery, Santa Rosa, California. It was a 2013 vintage and had 13.5% alcohol. You can find them at http://www.angelinewinery.com. The wine was not like any other Pinot Noir I ever had. It was a very light pinkish red color in the glass, almost a dark rosé. It had a light strawberry flavor. It had a tart bite at the end with a light finish. It would be a nice summer wine when the weather gets really hot and you want a red wine, but don’t want a big Zin or Cab. I think it would go really good with a grilled chicken salad or lighter fare. It was okay with the steak, but a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or a big jammie Zinfandel would have been much better.
Still I would buy this again in the summer, for something light or just to drink, but not to go with steak.
In keeping with my New Year’s resolution I have been drinking more wine and writing down my experiences. Last week on my semi-monthly wine stock up one of the bottles of wine I bought was a Sicilian white wine from MandraRossa, Fiano, 2009. It had 13.5% alcohol content. The Fiano grape is an Italian grape that produces very little juice and small yields.
To go with the wine I fixed a salad and chicken breasts, sautéed in garlic olive oil and onions. The wine was a bright yellow color, almost the color of straw. It was dry, not as dry as a Sauvignon Blanc, acidic with a hint of a citrus taste, and had a full finish. To me there wasn’t much taste, in fact I thought it was kind of bland, but Mitch liked it more and drank most of the bottle by himself.
It went well with the chicken, not overpowering the dish. But I could probably have had a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio and it would have gone with the chicken just as well and I would have been happier.
Oh well, at least I can say I gave it a chance and I can move on to another bottle.
It feels like the earth has shifted on its’ axis and we are now part of the North Pole. It is so cold that all I want to do is stay under the covers until March. I envy those that hibernate all winter, go to sleep all fat and sassy, then wake up in the Spring refreshed and thirty pounds lighter. Why can’t that work for me? Winter comes and all I want to do is stay inside and eat comfort food. Last night was no exception. I put a rump roast in the crockpot seasoned it with a packet of Lipton’s Beefy Onion Soup Mix and sprinkled crushed red peppers on top of the roast to give it a bit of heat, added a bit of water and let it simmer all day. Nothing warms you up like roast beef in the winter.
To go with the roast I opened a bottle of red wine called Troublemaker, a California red blend from the Austin Hope Winery in Paso Robles. It was a wine I tasted at a fairly new wine bar here called Swirl. They serve wine flights, beer flights and by the glass too. I had tasted it in a wine flight and liked it so I bought a bottle to take home. You can find the winery at http://www.hopefamilywines.com, The wine is a blend of 54% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre and 11% Zinfandel. It had 14.5% alcohol content. The wine was a dark red color in the glass and had a soft smoky aroma, not at all overpowering. The wine was dry but not harsh, very soft and smooth. It had a light fruit taste and a medium finish with a nice bite at the end.
This was definitely a wine I will go back and buy again. Plus it gives me a chance to drink a wine flight or two; Mitch will have to be designated driver, again.
It seems that with the start of the New Year, everyone makes resolutions for the coming days and months and as is the normal outcome most resolutions are broken within the month. I am just as guilty as everyone else. I pledge to lose weight, get in shape or speak kinder of others and I fail miserably at all of my resolutions. Well this year I’m going in a different direction. I’m going to make a resolution that I can easily achieve. I resolve to drink more wine. I am making a promise to myself that when I buy wine I will buy an unknown wine for every bottle I buy that I regularly drink. I also promise that I will write my experiences down and share more.
Granted drinking more wine is easy, buying unknown wine is also easy, the hard part will be writing my drinking down and posting more regularly. I admit that I’m not the most dedicated when it comes to writing it down. I have all of the usual excuses, not enough time, not in the mood, etc. etc. etc. I also admit I don’t know enough about wine and wine tasting to sound educated when I describe my experience. This is something I will work on, to be a better taster, to be a smarter drinker and to enjoy wine every day.
I promise to not let biases stop me from trying something new. New favorites will only be discovered if I try new wines. New varietals, new regions, and new countries will be on my list to try, not just old favorites. I promise to read more and go to more wine tastings of wines that I wouldn’t usually buy. I will work on learning and experiencing all of the nuances of each glass I taste. For me that is the hardest part of tasting wine. I listen to others at wine tastings talk about different layers of the wine, about the finish, the tannins, the smell and most of the time I don’t get what they are talking about. I don’t smell what they smell; I don’t taste the same taste and always feel as if I’m either ignorant or just wine stupid.
Well this year I will at least give it my best shot at becoming a better wine taster. If nothing else, at least I can say I enjoyed wine every day, something I truly love to do. Can everyone else say that about their New Year’s resolution?