After returning from a recent business trip, we’ve had a busy weekend. First it was a day of wine and chocolate tasting on Saturday on Bainbridge Island. We tasted our way through the island, seven wineries offering up some of their wines along with chocolatiers letting us sample some gourmet chocolates. We drove to the island on one side of the island, then winding our way across the island then took the ferry back across Puget Sound to Seattle.
Tonight, for dinner, I fixed an early Valentine’s Day dinner. I made a shrimp dish, Garlic Seared Shrimp with Smoke Paprika and oven roasted vegetables. For the wine, I opened a red blend, Radius, 2014 from Walla Walla, Washington.
The wine is a wonderful red blend that is soft and smooth, fruit forward, with cherry notes and a hint of oak. The wine just fills the mouth and tastes of dark fruit and ripe cherry, with a lingering finish. The wine went along very well with the shrimp and vegetables.
Can you believe it’s the end of January already? The day light hours are getting longer here, we’re up to over nine hours between sunrise and sunset. I know that doesn’t sound like a super feat, but when you consider in the dead of winter we only get seven hours and thirty-four minutes of daylight, it is something to celebrate.
For a mini-celebration I fixed a chicken dish, Chicken with Peppers, Tomatoes and Onions, that was really yummy. I can’t sew a straight line, but I can cook. I sautéed the chicken breasts in olive oil and white wine, added sliced onions and a can of drained diced tomatoes to cook the onions until tender. I added garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. After the chicken and onions were almost done I added sliced bell peppers, red, yellow and orange, and a half cup of sun-dried tomatoes and continued to cook until the peppers were tender. It looked amazing and tasted that good too.
For the wine, I opened a bottle of an Italian red wine that was a gift for Christmas. The wine, Sant Andrea Riflessi was a dark red color in the glass almost opaque and I could smell cherries and blackberries when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine was dry and soft in the mouth. There was no harsh bite, just a lush smooth liquid. I could taste a bit of wood, dried fruit and tobacco. The wine was a 2015 vintage and had an alcohol content of 12.5%.
The wine complemented the dinner perfectly, or maybe it was the dinner that complemented the wine. Now I want to make a wine trek to Italy in search of more deliciousness.
For Christmas dinner, I decided on a small standing rib roast, since it was just the two of us. I bought a four pound New York style standing rib roast with nice marbling.
The menu for dinner was:
Rib Roast with Garlic
Roasted Northwest Style Vegetables
Wine – Pinot Noir
I cut about fifteen half inch slits in the fat at the of the roast and shoved in a garlic clove in each of the slits. Then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the top. I put the roast uncovered in a 350° oven until the internal temperature was almost 135° (rare) in the middle, almost 2 hours. For the potatoes, I cut slices into each potato that were about a quarter inch wide and almost all the way through potato, leaving each slice hinged at the bottom. Then I drizzled some olive oil across the top and placed each potato in a small baking dish and put it in the oven along with the roast. I then spread the vegetables on a cookie sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and minced garlic and baked them in the same oven for about 45 minutes.
For the wine, I opened a bottle of Wine by Joe, a 2014 Oregon Pinot Noir. The wine was a red color in the glass, translucent, I could see through the wine. The wine was dry with a hint of a smoky wood smell. I could smell the alcohol, too, which was 13.5%. The wine was a light Pinot Noir with a medium finish. This was a nice light Pinot Noir, good to just sit and sip or with cheese and crackers or fruit. Maybe not the best wine to go with a standing rib roast, but it was super tasty and went along with the meat just fine.
Since most of my wine tasting reviews center around food pairings too, I’ve decided to expand my reviews to include more food reviews.
Tonight, I made a special meal, our anniversary dinner. For some, this means dinner out at a nice restaurant, for me making something special and a really nice bottle of wine is more fun and more special than eating out. I know, I’m a glutton for punishment, but I love to cook and create something amazing on a plate. The challenge comes in making something really yummy and amazing with only a few ingredients.
Tonight the menu was:
Mexican Pinwheel Flank Steak
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The wine I chose was a 2009 Rosenblum Zinfandel from Monte Rosso Vineyard in Sonoma County, California. This was a bottle I picked up at our local Total Wine for $35. Pricey yes, but well worth the money. The wine was a dark reddish purple color in the glass and very opaque. I could smell plums when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine tasted like plums and vanilla, with a hint of spice, smooth and full tasting like velvet. The wine went perfectly with the flank steak.
This wine is one of the best Zinfandels I’ve had in a long, long time and well worth the pricey price tag.
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.