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Today’s Wine Review

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.

Today’s Wine Review

A rare weekend off for Mitch means I cook something nicer and we open a bottle of wine. For me the weekends are special, for one I am off and I try to cram as much in as I can in two days and if Mitch is off, it usually means I get to plan a play day, hiking or sightseeing. Today we did our running around so tomorrow will be our play day. This afternoon Mitch assembled the chairs we bought for the living room during an excursion at Ikea, while I started dinner. Tonight it was strip steaks and for the wine I went with a Washington Red Blend.

The wine, Red Theory Winemakers Red Blend, vintage 2013, was from Columbia Valley, Washington. The wine was a lighter red color in the glass, more like a summer wine and not the big heavy reds, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel. My first smell was alcohol, then I could smell a soft fruit aroma. The surprise came with the first taste. The wine tasted like a blend of Merlot and Pinot Noir, dry but there was the dark plum fruit taste of the Pinot Noir. I could also taste wood and tobacco. There was a jammy blackberry finish. The wine was soft but had a bite at the end. The wine was also budget friendly at under $15 a bottle.

The wine went very nicely with the salad and steak. For the vegetable I roasted Brussel sprouts in the oven for me and steamed some for Mitch. Picky pants prefers plain old steamed Brussel sprouts, go figure.

I have to say that Washington wines are a different animal from the wines I’ve been drinking, mainly California, Italy and France. Washington wines are intriguing and I am making a conscious effort to buy more varieties and brands I haven’t tried before. One thing I’ve found out is that a lot of Washington wineries or vineyards don’t have websites that describe and promote their wines like California wineries and vineyards. Or least I haven’t had much luck in my search.

Maybe I should learn web design then travel throughout Washington wine country and set up websites for the wineries. Talk about wine heaven.

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

In light of my upcoming move to Seattle I have been busy packing and purging belongings that I don’t want to move. I haven’t had much time to drink wine or even eat. That is something I will rectify once I get to Seattle and settled into our new digs. Packing up my meager wine collection has been a high priority, making sure I have the bottles that are in the wine rack are carefully packed in boxes. The wines that are in the wine cooler will be packed in a cooler and iced down to keep them from getting warm.

I plan on loading the boxes and cooler of wine bottles in the truck we’re driving out in order to keep them safe. I didn’t want to trust a semi tracker trailer rumbling along the highway to keep those bottles safe and unbroken. I was relating my plan to Mitch and he had the audacity to ask how many bottles I was talking about. I knew what he alluding to, why drag them out with me, just give the wine away to friends and family then buy more when I get there. Are you kidding me? Absolutely not! I consider every one of those bottles precious cargo. Some bottles are old friends that I have been drinking for years and others are bottles that I am anxiously anticipating tasting for the first time.

I cut him off in midsentence, saying no way these are coming with me. I just have to figure out the logistics of loading the boxes and cooler in the truck, offloading to a cool place for a couple of days before we head west. What was he thinking? I am pretty sure he wouldn’t give away any of his pipes if it was a bit inconvenient to move them. Okay I know pipes take up less room and don’t need to be kept cool, but it was the only thing I could think of offhand.

Oh well, at least I have a lot of wine drinking ahead of me, I’m heading to Wine Country! I will have the ocean on my left and the mountains on my right and just over the hill is Wine Country. I can’t wait.

Today’s Wine Review

I like to think of myself as being pretty adventuresome when it comes to wine. I have my favorites that I always fall back on, but no one can ever accuse me of not being up for tasting something new and completely out of my comfort zone. We took a real vacation last week, something we hadn’t done in a few years. Something was always getting in the way, the never ending home remodel, three surgeries and a small inconvenience called money. We decided that if we didn’t get away for some quality time in a different area code, one or both of us could go postal. The dream vacation was to drive to Washington State and tour their wine country, but as luck would have it, three costly inconveniences forced us to stay a little closer to home. (I think I am cursed.)

Option two was a trip to Texas, drive down to the Riverwalk in San Antonio, then head up to Fredericksburg in the hill country and taste some of their wines. We found out that Texas is fifth in wine production for the United States behind California, New York, Oregon and Washington. Plus because of the size of Texas there are quite a few microclimates and soil conditions, meaning that the same grape planted in the hill country will not produce the same wine that is planted in the northern part of the state or someplace else in the state. I was like a kid in a candy store when we got to Fredericksburg and wanted to stop at every winery we passed. It was a good thing the Mitch was the adult and designated driver and knew when to say when. But we did hit a few of the wineries tasted many wines and brought a few bottles home.

The first bottle I opened when we got home was a Becker Vineyards Riesling 2012. The wine was soft and fruity tasting like pears and peaches, but was not sweet like some of the German Rieslings I tasted. It had a beautiful golden color like straw in the glass. It was soft and smooth and slipped down my throat so easily for a really nice finish. This is a great wine chilled served on the porch, sipped while watching the world go by.

The second bottle was a red blend from Woodrose Winery called Summer Breeze vintage 2010. When we tasted it at the Winery we were surprised at the smell and taste. This was a wine that we couldn’t wait to try out on our friends. It is a blend of Ruby Cabernet and Muscat. Interesting, yes? It was a light red color, not a rosé, but not as dark as some red wines. The first thing I smelled was a citrusy aroma and the first taste was grapefruit, tart and crisp. It had a cherry finish. I paired it with salsa and chips and something we discovered at a restaurant in Texas, jalapeño peppers soaked in honey on top of cream cheese. Very yummy.

The third bottle was a Tempranillo from Pedernales Cellars, vintage 2012. This I paired with Margarita Chicken and it complemented the spicy chicken very nicely. The wine was very smooth and soft with dark fruit flavors. It had a nice long full finish. The wine was a dark red color in the glass with a slight smoky nose, but not off putting at all.

That leaves seven bottles left to open and share. Tasting in the winery is nice and helpful in trying wines you might not normally get to taste, but tasting at home is much more relaxed and the wine is savored more. It’s not the slurp, chew and spit then move on to the next glass in a tasting. At home with friends and family there’s discovery and surprise of something new and shared that makes wine so much fun. I am definitely a wine geek.

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