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.
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.
I had a rare chance to experience a bottle of wine from Chile today. We don’t normally buy wines from Chile or other countries from South America. Maybe it’s a slight bias or lack of knowledge, but I tend to stick to American, Italian, French, Australian and New Zealand wines. Oh yes, and German wines. And I have so many wines to taste from these countries that I tend to keep it simple.
Tonight for dinner, I grilled a strip steak, roasted cauliflower in the oven and made a salad. To go with dinner the wine was a Pinot Noir from Radius, vintage 2015, from the Central Valley in Chile. I originally bought the bottle because I have had the Red Blend by Radius which is a Washington wine and also very tasty. The wine is a bargain at under $10 and had an alcohol content of 13%. The wine was originally produced and bottled by Viña Alto Roble, Sagrada Familia S/N Curicó-Chile and imported by Precept Wine Seattle, Washington.
The wine was a translucent reddish purple color in the glass and had a slight alcohol smell when I stuck my nose in the glass. I tasted strawberries and raspberries on the first taste swirling the wine around in my mouth. The wine while not super dry was also not sweet, just a nice juicy fruit taste. There was spice and a little smoke on the finish. To say the wine went down easy was an understatement.
Normally I will open a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel to go with a steak, but I wanted to try something different and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the steak and Pinot Noir went very nicely together.
I will have to broaden my wine choices to include more wines from South America and definitely look for this wine again.
I am always on the hunt for new and tasty wines. In the last few years I’ve tried more blends and which has resulted in more new interesting wines. My latest find is a very nice red blend from California. I must admit I bought the wine because of the label. In honor of the season, I ran across a bottle of Gnarly Head Authentic Black from Lodi, California. A Red Blend, vintage 2014, had an alcohol content of 14.5%. The blend is based on Petit Sirah and more undisclosed grapes.
The wine was a dark reddish purple color in the glass and translucent. I smelled black cherry and a hint of vanilla. The wine was dry and smooth, with no bite or high alcohol taste that some have. I could taste boysenberry, dark chocolate and a vanilla taste at the end. The wine had a nice full finish, and went down very smoothly and dry without any burn.
I was very pleasantly surprised by how well this wine tasted. I will definitely put this on my “to buy” wine list and pick up another bottle or three. The price was also a nice surprise under $15 a bottle. You can find Gnarly Head online at http://www.gnarlyhead.com.
I’m squeezing out every opportunity to grill outside before it gets too cold. Yes, I know you can grill outside year round, but when it gets too cold and rainy, it takes longer to warm up the grill and longer to cook the food on the grill. And since I am a rare steak girl, longer on the grill means not as rare, at least in my experience. That usually means I move my cooking inside and make more one pot meals.
Last night for dinner I fired up the grill to cook a steak, a nice big two-inch-thick strip steak. I made roasted Brussel sprouts and a salad to go with the steak. For dessert I made baked apples with strawberry white balsamic vinegar.
The wine was a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon from Isenhower Cellars. The wine from Horse Heaven Hills, vintage 2013 had an alcohol content of 14.5%. This was a limited production wine, only 72 cases were produced and one that we had tasted at their tasting room on a recent weekend trip to Woodinville, Washington. The wine was a dark red color in the glass and I smelled cherry and wood when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine had a dark fruit taste with a dry medium finish. There was a tart bite at the end with a bit of a smoky flavor. The steaks went well with the wine both enhancing the taste of each one.
The nice thing was that the wine still tasted as good this time when I was sober as it did after many tastings on our tasting trip. You can find them at http://www.isenhowercellars.com.
Fall has come to the northwest with temperatures in the fifties along with clouds and rain. I had set out a steak to grill hoping for better weather, oh well. For the wine I opened a bottle of Apothic Inferno, a limited release of wine aged 60 days in whiskey barrels.
The wine, a California Red Blend, vintage 2014, had an alcohol content of 15.9%. The wine was a dark red color in the glass and had a light smoky smell with a hint of a sweet maple smell. I could smell the alcohol when I stuck my nose in the glass.
The wine had a dark cherry taste with a sweet maple note, not overpowering at all, just kind of a tease. I could taste the wood, but it was a soft wood and smoky flavor and a touch warming, almost like a cognac or brandy, but not heavy and strong, just hints and subtleties.
The wine was a nice surprise and went well with the steak. It was also a great companion to the chilly weather, like a glass of cognac, warm and inviting. You can find Apothic online at http://www.apothic.com. The wine was reasonably priced at under $15. I’m pretty sure it will go fast, since it is a limited release.
Today is the last day of our vacation. It’s back to getting up early and going to work all day. Last week we started off our vacation with a day of wine and whiskey tasting in Woodinville, Washington. I tried the whiskey varieties at the Woodinville Whiskey Company, and didn’t gag, which totally surprised me. The Woodinville Whiskey Co. makes three different whiskeys, Rye, Bourbon and American Whiskey. In fact, the American Whiskey was almost pleasant tasting. We tasted their vodka and maple syrup too. We bought a bottle of the Rye Whiskey and Vodka, then headed on to the wineries.
Our first stop was Isenhour Cellars tasting five of their wines. We carried out a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon and a bottle of the Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Sauvignon was smooth and dry with a dark fruit taste. Next stop was at Chateau Ste Michelle, which has a large estate and tasting room in Woodinville.
We stopped at Goose Ridge Cellars where I bought two bottles of Rosé made from Pinot Gris. I asked how they got a Rosé from a Pinot Gris, but the ones managing the tasting room either didn’t know or weren’t telling. Then we moved on to Castillo de Feliciana, a winery that made wines in Spanish style. The Malbec was very fruit forward and quite yummy.
On Saturday, we drove out to Mount Rainier and stopped at a winery on the drive home. The winery, Rainier View Winery and Nursery, made their wines in the German style, very fruit forward and high in alcohol content, all their wines were around 18%, requiring many pretzels during the tasting so one of us was capable of driving home. They had some very interesting and different wines. One, called Glacier Breeze was turquoise blue in the bottle, and one was a Jalapeno wine, which lit you on fire as soon as it passed your lips. Not real sure why I would drink Jalapeno wine, the torture effect alone has a dampening effect, but I’m sure there are those that are into pain.
Oh well, it’s back to work and only a glass or two in the evening again, but now I have may more bottles to sample.