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.
The heat is on and it’s only the first of June. It’s the Pacific Northwest for crying out loud, everyone told me it rains all the time, it’s cold and cloudy, everyone is depressed because of the rain. Well right now I’m depressed because of the heat and no rain. We haven’t had any good rainy, cool, cloudy days for a long time. We’ve been hotter and drier here than in the Midwest where I came from. So in order to dampen my “depression”, I drink more wine.
For dinner I grilled a large ribeye steak to split between us and opened a California Cabernet Sauvignon from Benziger Family Winery. The wine came from Sonoma County, vintage 2013. The wine was a dark red purple in the glass and had a blackberry jammie smell when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine had a dark cherry taste full of fruit, smooth and supple. The wine was dry with a smoky wood finish. It had an alcohol content of 13.5% and cost $18 a bottle.
You can find Benziger online at http://www.benziger.com. I’ve had their Zinfandel a long time ago and was very pleased with it, so when I ran across a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon I wanted to try it too, just to see if the Cab was as good as the Zin. I was not disappointed, the Cab was every bit as good as the Zin, just different. This is definitely a wine to rebuy.
I can’t believe it, I move to the Pacific Northwest where it is widely believed that it rains all the time and the temperatures stay in the mid-sixties and last summer we had a drought that lasted for months and temperatures in the eighties with a few nineties thrown in for good measure. Now spring is in full bloom and for four days this last week we had the warmest temperatures around, we even beat out Arizona and Nevada. So much for the prevailing wisdom.
Instead of walking around in a sweatshirt and raincoat, I’m been wearing short sleeve T-shirts and cooking on the grill. We had a very nice strip steak for dinner and opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the steak. The bottle was a birthday gift from my son and his wife. It was a California wine, Candle Magic Vineyards, 2014, bottled in Healdsburg. This is a vineyard owned by women and noted on the label. I checked out the website and found that they also produce a Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. You can find them online at http://www.candlemagicvineyards.com.
The wine was a dark red in the glass and on nose I smelled cherries and blueberries with a hint of cocoa or wood. I swirled the glass and took a taste. I could taste the fruit and a slight smoky taste. The wine was soft and full and when I swallowed the wine, it left a really nice finish. The wine was a very nice partner with the steak and salad. I can honestly say that the bottle was emptied very quickly.
I wandered around the website and found a section labeled “About” telling about the vineyard and their philosophy. Candle Magic has a scholarship program for women and has an Eco-Philosophy. I don’t what the wine costs since it was a gift, but on the website I found that it is sold at Target. I will have to make a Target run and try the Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. I probably should buy another bottle or two of the Cabernet, you know just to compare against the first bottle.
In keeping with my New Year’s resolution (the only one I can keep) I opened another bottle of wine. I am so proud of myself, I finally found the perfect resolution, and one that I can make year after year and succeed. Drink more wine. So simple, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Now I can call myself a huge success story.
Last night I fixed London broil for dinner and opened a bottle of Josh Cellars, Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013. This wine is from the North Coast Region in California. You can find Josh Cellars at http://www.joshcellars.com and almost everywhere you buy wine. I have tasted many bottles of Josh wines and varietals, and I can say that I have never had a bad bottle of wine from Josh Cellars.
This was the first time I had tasted the Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and was very pleased with this wine. The wine was a dark red color in the glass and when I swirled it around, the wine had great legs running down the side of the glass. It smelled like plums and alcohol and had a 14.5% alcohol content. The wine was dry and smooth almost soft and not at all harsh. I could taste blackberries and a hint of vanilla when I swished the wine around before I swallowed the wine. The slipped down my throat without a hint of harshness and had a long full finish. Very nice. The price was also very nice, I paid under $20 for a bottle. That is a bargain for a nice easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon.
This wine complemented the London broil very nicely, forcing me to drink not two but three glasses of wine. Good thing I only had to walk across the room.
This is definitely a bottle I will buy again.
The holidays are a time of friends and family, shopping and presents, food and beverages, adult beverages to be more precise. To be even more precise, wine, and if you are lucky, many bottles of wine. I have been lucky, I have six new bottles of wine to taste, four that came in a wine basket loaded with all kinds of goodies and two that came from my favorite coworkers. They are not my favorites because they gave me wine, but it helps.
This year we are nineteen hundred miles from my family and friends so Christmas dinner consisted of just Mitch and me, and not even on Christmas day. Mitch had to work on Christmas so today, the day after Christmas was our holiday dinner.
The dinner menu was:
Prime Rib w/ au jus and horseradish cream
Baked Potatoes w/ butter and sour cream
Italian Green Beans
Pumpkin Pie w/ whipped cream
The wine I chose to complement the Prime Rib was a bottle from the gift basket my wonderful friend sent us, Talaria Vineyards, a Dry Creek Valley, California Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013. It had 14.5% alcohol content and was a dark reddish almost purple color in the glass. We decanted the wine, but poured a taste in each glass prior to decanting to compare.
The wine before decanting had a high alcohol smell, smoky and a hint of blackberry. After decanting the wine opened up a lot. There was no alcohol smell when I stuck my nose in the glass. I swirled the wine and took a sip, gone was the woody smoky taste and more blackberries emerged as I chewed. The wine was dry and grabbed the sides of my tongue, leaving a full finish.
The wine went very well with the prime rib, the wine and meat melded together for a very nice holiday dinner. Even though it was just the two of us this year, it was still a special holiday dinner, maybe more so.
Finally I’m in Wine Country living the dream. I’m home! The move to Seattle is almost complete. I’m here with Mitch and the dogs, we just don’t have any furniture yet. I brought the wine with me because I wanted to make sure all of my meager wine collection made the trek halfway across the country safely. So even though we have no furniture or belongings such as wine glasses, we have wine. We’re drinking it out of Solo cups, but we’re drinking it.
Last night our friends that live here had us over to dinner. Imagine getting to sit at a table with real plates and wine glasses and eating delicious food and wine, I’d almost forgotten how to use proper table manners. We started off with a bottle of the bubbly, Chandon, very nice and chilled, great with different cheeses and crackers.
Dinner was sliced marinated steak, very tender and tasty, twice baked potatoes and a salad. You have no idea how long it’s been since we have sat down to a real dinner. The first wine was a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon, called Wilridge, vintage 2013. You can find it online at http://www.wilridgewinery.com. It very smooth and soft with a nice bite. There was berry and cherry notes with a medium finish. The wine was very drinkable and one I will certainly look for. Since it is a Washington wine and I now live in Washington I can go visit the winery and taste many different bottles of wine.
After that bottle was gone we had a bottle of Norton, a Malbec, 2011, from Argentina. It was soft and smooth with a berry taste. It was a very nice Malbec, one I would drink again. It went very well with dessert, ice cream with fresh peaches on top.
All in all a perfect evening, great friends, great food and wine. What more could you ask for?
I love birthdays, especially mine. I would celebrate at least twice a year if I could. Now I’ve decided to turn our birthday celebrations to a birthday weekend fete. My birthday was officially Sunday, but started the party on Friday with a lunch with friends. Saturday Mitch and I went to a very nice restaurant for dinner. Mitch had the 14 oz Wagyu Strip Steak medium rare (which is the American version of the Japanese Kobe beef) and brought over half home, and I had the 12 oz bone in filet rare of course and brought a large portion of it home too. Both steaks were very tender and cooked to perfection.
To go with the steaks I ordered a bottle of Starmont, 2011, a Napa County, California Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the steaks. The restaurant bottle price was $50, which means it probably is sold for around $25 or $30 a bottle. The wine was very nice, worth the extra money. It was a dark red color in the glass and when I stuck my nose in glass I could smell tobacco, leather and a bit of smokiness. I could taste dark fruit in the first taste as I swirled it around in my mouth. The wine was dry and smooth, not at all harsh. The wine had a wonderful full finish that slid down my throat without any bite. It had 13.5% alcohol but I didn’t smell the alcohol first thing like I have with some of the cheaper wines. The wine was so good and drinkable that we didn’t realize how fast we emptied the bottle.
For dessert, we shared a triple chocolate mousse cake. It was a three layer cake with the bottom layer made of semi-sweet chocolate, the next layer was milk chocolate and the top layer was white chocolate. Very yummy. To help the cake go down I had a glass of Taylors Fladgate 20 year old tawny port. The port was nice with a toffee taste. The Taylors was not quite as good as the Grahams 20 year old port I’d tasted a few weeks ago, but still a nice port.
All in all my birthday dinner was special and now I have another bottle of wine to add to my “buy” list.