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Today’s Wine Review

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?

Today’s Wine Review

I love to cook and try new recipes as well as try new wines. Sunday our friends came to dinner and I decided that it would a great opportunity to do both. Our friends are always up for adventures in food and wine and I figured that if the food turned out to be unpalatable then there was always pizza and if the wines were really bad, we had plenty more to choose from. For the entrée I decided to try a new chicken recipe and adapt it to my taste. The recipe “Tomato Basil Chicken” was very good but it called for 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes. That wasn’t enough, next time I will make it with at least 4 cups tomatoes. Plus it needed more garlic. But overall pretty tasty. I also made a zucchini dish with zucchini and squash from my garden. The recipe called for basil and thyme, but I used basil and oregano instead, because I think basil and oregano go better together. I think it has something to do with my Sicilian heritage. For the dessert I made Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. The recipe didn’t call for enough Cinnamon, but I rectified that by adding Cinnamon to the crust and a lot more to the streusel topping.

We also tried some very different wines that we don’t have and drink normally. To start we opened a Romanian bottle of red wine that was a gift from another friend. It was called Terra Romana Cuvee Charlotte, 2006. The winery can be found at http://www.terrafirmausa.com. It was made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Feteasca Neagra. I had never heard of Feteasca Neagra grapes or in English called the Black Maiden, which are an old Romanian grape grown for high end wines. The alcohol content ranges from 12 to 14% and this bottle was 14%, so pretty high alcohol. It was aged in oak barrels and it had that smoky oaky taste. It was dry and acidic and tasted of dark fruit. We all agreed we were pleasantly surprised.

The second bottle we opened was one of the wines that I bought when we were in Texas in May. This one was a Tempranillo, 2006, from Woodrose Winery in Stonewall, Texas. The winery can be found at http://www.woodrosewinery.com. It also had a high alcohol content of 13.6%. This wine was soft and a lighter wine than the first one. Not big and full like some other Tempranillo’s I’ve had.

For dessert we opened up a bottle of Roscato an Italian Sweet Red Wine from Rosso Dolce Provincia di Pavia Indicazione Geografica Tipica. This wine was soft and smooth, with red fruit and cherry notes. It was semisweet but not overly sweet. It complemented the Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars wonderfully. The bottle didn’t last long enough; needless to say I needed more Roscato.

Three wines from three different countries; the Romanian one was a nice surprise. I have had it for a while and to be honest I’ve been a bit leery about trying it. Romania and wine, I wasn’t too optimistic about how good it would be. I thought of it as I do Missouri wines, nothing to write home about. I thought that by sharing it with our friends and if it wasn’t very good, at least between four of us, we would be able to get it down. But I was wrong about it and would not be so skeptical in the future. The Tempranillo from Woodrose Winery was okay, but not nearly as good as the one I had from Pedernales Winery. That’s my biggest problem with wine tasting, after six or seven or more tastes, wines taste much better than later when I’m sober. The Roscato was a very nice finish, not too sweet just soft and smooth.

All in all the dinner and wine experiment was a success, I way overate and was totally miserable. But how do you say no to cheesecake?

Today’s Wine Review

I have a friend that makes the best jalapeño jelly, some heat a little sweet, an awesome combination. The best part about it is that she always gives me a couple jars for Christmas. My friends know me, food and wine, you can’t go wrong. I shared some of the jelly with another friend that likes spicy too. Now he makes me jalapeño hamburgers and they are so delicious. G caramelizes onions and jalapeños, grills the burgers to perfection, adds pepper cheese and smears the jelly on the bun. A juicy burger that has just enough heat for the zing and a just enough sweet to keep your mouth from burning.

Last night we went over for burgers, G and I eat the jalapeño burgers, S and Mitch aren’t into hot and spicy so G makes them bacon cheeseburgers. Add to this sautéed brussel sprouts and potatoes, yum. To start the meal S made fresh guacamole and we opened a bottle of Cline 2012, Cashmere, a red blend from California. You can find the website at http://www.clinecellars.com. The wine was dry and smooth, with a little smoky flavor, and very full bodied. It was a nice start to the evening.

When the burgers came off the grill we opened a bottle of William Hill Estate 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon from California. The website is http://www.williamhillestate.com. The color was a very dark red almost purple in the glass. It was a big bold cab, dry a bit smoky with a nice bite. It had a nice finish that left my mouth a touch dry wanting to drink some more. I don’t know about the bacon cheeseburgers, but it went very nicely with jalapeño burgers.

For dessert we had a cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. To accompany the dessert I brought a bottle of Harry and David White Chocolate martini mix and a bottle of Pinnacle vodka. Since I’m not a big hard liquor drinker anymore, I didn’t know which vodka would be good, so I made I selection the way anyone that knows nothing about something would, price and pretty label. Luckily it worked out. The vodka was very smooth. A coworker had given me the bottle of Harry and David White Chocolate and said that it was very good. He was right. Two parts white chocolate mix to one part vodka, and it went down so smooth. S and I even poured some of the white chocolate mix over our cobbler, very tasty.

All in all the food was outstanding and the wines were definitely keepers and as always the company was the best part.

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