Today’s Wine Review

There is nothing better than sitting around the table laughing, good food and wine with great friends. This weekend we had the pleasure of doing just that. We have these awesome friends that will eat anything I put in from of them and always bring the wine, most of the time something none of us has tried. They are as adventuresome about wine as we are so we get to try wines that might not get purchased otherwise. We’ve found a lot of great wines and some that were abysmal failures, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For dinner I had marinated a chuck roast that because of the frigid temperatures, I roasted in the oven for about twenty minutes and made some garlic roasted potatoes to go along with the roast. We had cheese and crackers, a salad and hot rolls as sides. Our friends brought over two bottles of wine from Milestone, from Geyserville, California, one of them was a red blend and the other was a cabernet sauvignon, both 2012 vintage and on sale for under $10. You can find them online at

We had the cabernet first to go with the cheese and crackers, and the salad. It had a ruby red color and a berry fruit aroma. The wine had a peppery spicy taste with a dry finish very full and lush. This is definitely a wine I would like to have again.

The second wine was a red blend that consisted of 37% Syrah, 36% Zinfandel, 14% Merlot, and 10% Petite Sirah. The first thing I smelled was alcohol, the bottle had an alcohol content of 13%, which isn’t too high, but it was the alcohol smell I noticed first. It was dry and full, but didn’t have the berry fruit taste of the cabernet. Not a wine that I want to taste again.

One out of two isn’t bad, and the company was outstanding.


Today’s Wine Review

It is a frosty morning to be sure, all of one degree Fahrenheit today with a high near seventeen. A good day to stay inside and clean, okay scratch that, I had a weak moment. How about cleaning out your closet, I only suggest that so that you have ample room for Christmas gifts and more shopping. Shopping is almost as fun chocolate and wine. Shopping works up an appetite then you need sustenance and what could be better than chocolate and wine or cheese and crackers and wine or fruit, cheese and wine? Do you see where I’m going with this? Wine is the perfect accessory, it goes with everything.

We had a Sicilian wine for dinner last night, a different wine from the normal everyday wines, such Merlot, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon. We had chicken parmesan and lasagna rollups. Great for a cold night, warm and filling. The wine was called Mandarossa 2011, cost under $15, so budget friendly. The grape was Nero D’Avola, a red wine, dry and smooth, a bit salty, but not super heavy or too full. It actually tasted kind of light, definitely did not overpower the food at all. The alcohol content was 13.5%, not too high.

It was a bright ruby red in color had a little bite, smooth with a berry fruit taste. My father was first generation Sicilian so my cooking lends toward the simple robust meals of my grandparents. My sauce is a bit sweeter than some and this wine complemented the sauce perfectly. My glass needed to be refilled a couple of times. A good thing I was home because after three glasses of wine, walking was a bit of a challenge.

Today’s Wine Review

Winter has come knocking on our door with a passion. We woke up to only a light dusting of snow, but the temperatures are in the teens and there is a stiff wind out of the north. Temperatures like this make me want to stay in inside and cook. Besides cooking is much safer than driving the streets of Kansas City when it snows. In Kansas City you have the grammas, one group of drivers that go 2 miles an hour regardless of the road conditions, this group will get there a day late, but they will get there hunched over the steering wheel holding on with a white knuckle death grip. Then there are the moderates, the smallest group of drivers, the ones that have common sense and drive according to the road conditions at that moment, not what it was in July. The last group is probably the largest group of drivers around here, a group of speed racers that will try to prove at all costs the roads aren’t that bad and almost always end up in the ditch or blocking traffic, they are the ones I drive by give a big smile, thinking serves you right, bonehead.

Enough of my diatribe, as I was saying, on a frigid windy day my favorite thing to do is cook. Big hearty stews and roasts, with mouthwatering aromas wafting through the house. And what better to go along with a savory beef stew is a big luscious red wine?

Have you ever tried Joel Gott wines? If not, then this is definitely a winery to try. They are a California based winery and produce a variety of wines, 5 reds and 4 whites, and so far I have not been disappointed by any the different bottles I have imbibed. You can find Joel Gott Wines at

The first wine I ever tasted from Joel Gott is a red blend called Alakai 2010, made up of 77% Grenache, 17% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre and 2% petit sirah. The wine was a deep red that smelled rich and full without too much alcohol that definitely clears out my sinuses and disintegrates my nose hairs. The wine had a peppery spicy taste with a fruit tasting a little like cherries. I had never tasted a blend like this before, so this was a lot of fun tasting a wine that was peppery and spicy without setting my throat on fire.

I have not tried all of the different wines produced by Joel Gott, but I’m working on it. Normally homework sucks, but in this case I will suffer through and give it my best effort.

Today’s Wine Review

The bulk of the wines I taste are priced between $10 and $20 dollars, not because I don’t want to taste pricier wines, but because the mortgage company, gas and electric company all have a strong opinion on what they want me to spend on wine. Selfish utilities.

I do splurge occasionally on pricier wines, when we are at a tasting and get to try it before you buy it, always makes it easier to stomach the higher price. Or if a label and the write up on the back of the bottle sounds especially intriguing I might buy the bottle. I’m a big sucker for the label, but then aren’t a lot of people out there? That’s why graphic designers make the big bucks.

There is a winery that we routinely buy and love, Apothic, very budget friendly and oh so drinkable. The wines normally sell for around $9.99 but we will catch them on sell for as low as $7.99 a bottle, stock up time for sure. You can find them at or on Facebook. The winery is based out of Modesto, California and everything I’ve tasted from them has been a blend. The wines that I’ve tasted are Apothic Red, Apothic White, Apothic Rosé and their latest release, Apothic Dark.

The first wine we came across was Apothic Red 2010, Winemakers Blend. A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon is not too high in alcohol, 13.1%, goes down very smooth. This is only bottle I don’t currently have in my cellar, modest though it is I do have one, sadly we drank all of the bottles of Apothic Red. (I see a shopping trip in my future). I can taste the burn of the alcohol but it doesn’t overwhelm everything else. It’s not as jammy as a big Zin, but you can tell that Zinfandel is part of the blend. The Syrah comes out in the smoky smell and the Cabernet Sauvignon gives the big red bite to balance it out. It goes really good with grilled meats like steak or a marinated grilled chuck roast. All of which I might are always rare. Is there any other way to eat steak?

The second Apothic wine we discovered was Apothic White 2011, Winemakers Blend. A blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato with an alcohol content of 12.0% has a slight sweet taste. The Chardonnay takes a back seat to the fruit forward taste of the Riesling. The Moscato keeps the blend light and a little sweet finish, making this a superb wine that complements spicy food like chicken fajitas or hot peppery shrimp. It is still a full bodied wine, the Chardonnay brings that to the table that makes this a very drinkable white wine.

Apothic Rosé 2012, Limited Release, First Cut, came out early this summer just in time for cooking outside or just hanging out with friends. The Rosé is a blend of undisclosed grapes, top secret stuff, so I can’t tell you what it’s made of, but it is one of the nicest Rosé’s I have ever tasted. It’s not too sweet very fruit forward and crisp. The wine has an alcohol content of 13% so it’s not grape juice, but it’s one of my favorite wines to drink with the lighter dishes I fix in the summer, salads and grilled chicken. Especially when I add crushed red pepper to the chicken. Or if you prefer, you can just sit around with friends or by yourself and sip away.

The latest release, Apothic Dark 2012, Limited Release, came out just in time for Halloween. It is one of my new favorites. Apothic Dark has an alcohol content of 14.1% higher than the others, still a blend and oh baby what a blend. It is another blend that the grapes used are undisclosed on the bottle, but when you open it and pour it in a decanter the first thing you see is how dark purple the wine is. Pour it in a glass and stuff your nose deep in to catch the bouquet and you smell the full body smoky aroma of a Syrah. Swirl it around and take a sip, that’s when the big jammy Zinfandel flavors fill your mouth. Hold the glass to the light and you see just how dark it really is. True to its’ name, so dark and rich. This wine goes really good with beef, roasts and steak again or a really good pot roast and crusty bread. Imagine sitting in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace snuggling up with your honey and holding a big glass of this wine. Bad things are gonna happen, good bad things.

A New Day and A New Blog

My name is Susan Kelly and I am no wine expert. Far from it, but I love everything about wine, from learning about where the grapes are grown, to the process of making wine and finally to the drinking of wine. Wine to me is a lifelong experience, kind of like love, it’s not the destination, but the journey that defines us and makes us what we are. I will never know all there is to know about wine, no one can ever achieve that goal, but I plan on learning and loving wine as much as I can since I took my first sip of wine decades ago to when I can’t raise a glass again.

I will write about the wines I taste and the wines I want to taste someday after I hit the lottery. I am not afraid to taste any wine, I love tasting every wine. I will not like every wine I taste and I will be honest and say so and why I don’t like it, but I am always excited to get to taste wine, whether a new varietal, blend or vintage. I will probably not use all the correct vernacular or terminology, but I will say what I think in my vocabulary and always, always with a sense of humor. I don’t take anything and especially myself too seriously. I tend to poke a little or maybe a lot of fun at Mitch, my poor long suffering husband, and especially me, so bear with me.

If you want to talk wine, then I’m your girl, I can talk wine all day and never get bored. There is so much to learn and I want to absorb as much as I can. So please comment on my posts. For one, that’s how I know someone took the time to read me and two, I truly want your feedback and opinion. How many times can you say that someone sincerely asked for your opinion and you got to actually say what you really thought? I promise it won’t hurt my feelings.

In the coming days I will start posting the results of my wine tastings, what I liked and why, and what I didn’t like and why. I may work with themes, such as countries, regions and varietals. So hang with me and maybe we’ll both be entertained and learn something at the same time.

You could say I am a bit of a wine geek.