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Today’s Wine Review

Saturday afternoon after spreading stinky compost on some of my newest plant gifts from my neighbor and a shower, I decided I deserved a glass or two of wine. Today’s wine is Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling, a Columbia Valley, Washington white wine. It says it’s a medium sweet wine on the back label and I would agree, it’s a fairly sweet wine, almost an aperitif, but one that would go really good with hot spicy dishes too.

The wine, vintage 2014, was a light yellow color in the glass and had peach and honeysuckle aromas when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine had pear and pineapple flavors on the tongue and had a nice light finish. The wine is low in alcohol content, 8.5% making it a nice sitting and sipping wine for the summer heat. It is best served chilled. This is a must buy again.

I said earlier I was going to have a glass or two, well I think three glasses are in order. The compost was super smelly and it is awfully hot today.

Today’s Wine Review

I love wine. I love exploring the wine store for new wines and I love tasting new wines. A lot are not ones I would buy again but there are a lot more that I like. I’m an equal opportunity wine drinker, red, white, rosé, I love trying them all. When I go wine shopping I always try to get a few new bottles in addition to my mainstays.

One of the latest wines I bought was a rosé from France. Dune Sable De Camargue Gris De Gris, vintage 2015 with an alcohol content of 13%. The wine was a pale peachy orange color in the color. The smell of honeysuckle on the nose when I stuck my nose in the glass. The wine was semi dry and had a soft peach taste with a dry mineral finish. Overall the wine didn’t have much flavor and didn’t wow me.

It wasn’t a bad wine, just not one I will buy again. One down and a million more to go.

Today’s Wine Review

Thursday I went to a wine tasting that featured wines from Burgundy and for a special treat; the last glass was a 20 year old tawny Port. I’ve never tasted wines from Burgundy so that was pretty enticing but the real reason I wanted to go was for the 20 year old tawny Port. I’ve had 10 year old tawny Port and that was pretty special so I could only imagine what a glass of 20 year old tawny Port would taste like.

The wine tasting was a small private affair at a local liquor store that holds wine tastings about every month or so. These tastings are usually themed based, such as Bordeaux, Italian, Cabernet Sauvignon or a certain winery being featured. Thursday night it was wines from Burgundy. I learned that there are only three grapes grown in Burgundy one white and two red, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a Gamay Beaujolais.

We started off with a dry sparkling wine called Simonnet-Febre Cremant made from the Chardonnay grape. It was dry but not as dry some of the extra bruts I’ve tasted. It was also reasonably priced at $22.49 a bottle.

Then the tasting began with three whites and three reds. The first white wine was a 2012 Simonnet-Febre Chablis. The cost was $27.49 a bottle. It was dry and very clean tasting, not at all like the flat beer taste I usually get from a Chardonnay. That’s because the French don’t age their white wines in the big oak barrels like the California Chardonnays. It had a mineral taste and a bit salty but still a light wine similar to a Sauvignon Blanc.

The second white was a 2011 Latour Macon Lugny Les Genievres. It was a little less than the first one at $22.49 a bottle. It was also dry and had a mineral taste but it was a lot fuller more like a Chardonnay I’ve tasted before. The third white was a 2010 Latour Puligny-Montrachet AC. It was dry but also light and very smooth, my favorite of the white wines. Of course it was the priciest of the white wines too at $69.99 a bottle.

The next three were the red wines of the region. Two Pinot Noirs and one Beaujolias. The first red was a bottle of Fessy Regnie Reyessier, a Beaujolais. It was semi-dry a pinkish red wine very light and soft and very much a bargain at $20.49. The second red was a Latour Marsannay Rouge, a Pinot Noir. It was a darker red but still a fairly light wine, soft and dry. The cost a bit higher at $28.99.

The last red was a bottle of Latour Nuits St. George, a Pinot Noir. It was much fuller and a more golden red color. There was a dark fruit taste and much more expensive than the other two at $67.49 a bottle.

But they saved the best for last; a Grahams Tawny Port aged 20 years. It was a golden color in the glass with no hint of red. It smelled warm and inviting like warm honey. I almost held my breath as I picked up the glass and raised it to my lips. I took a sip and it was everything I had imagined it would taste like, warm maple syrup, honey and nectar all in one small taste. I didn’t care what the bottle cost, I knew I was going to buy a bottle. Actually it wasn’t that bad, it had a list price of $67.49 but the liquor store was offering a special that night for $49.98 a bottle, so I didn’t completely blow my budget. I think I would have bought it at full price anyway. It was that good. I am looking forward to opening the bottle and having a glass to savor all to myself without twenty other people in the same room.

Today’s Wine Review

Most everyone today is always on the lookout for a bargain, especially since the price of beef has gone through the roof. We’re all feeling the toll of the drought a couple of years ago, when a lot of ranchers had to sell their herds early. Considering the price of ground beef has gone from $2.99 a pound in 2012 to $6.29 a pound this morning at the grocery store, I watch for sales and since we belong to Sam’s Club as an Advantage Plus Member, we get early access before the regular members can shop, I buy a lot of beef that has been reduced for a quick sale because of the sell by date. We joke about it calling the steaks and roasts we buy “You bet your life meat”, but I figure that the meat I buy is going straight to the freezer, we’re pretty safe and we usually save between $2 and $3 a pound. Anyway so far so good, nobody’s gone to the hospital.

For dinner the other night I pulled out a bottom round roast out of the freezer, one of the larger “You bet your life meat” roasts that I brought home and cut into smaller size roasts and threw it in the crockpot with some chili powder, garlic and other spices to simmer all day. To go along with the roast I opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. It was from Simi Landslide Vineyards, Alexander Valley, California. The vintage was 2011 and had 13.5% alcohol. The wine was a dark red color in the glass and I could smell a subtle berry or cherry note. There was also a smoky tobacco aroma to go with the berry smell. The wine was dry and supple with a bite at the end. This wine was a bit pricier than what I normally spend on wine, less than $30, but it was one that I have wanted to try for a while. You can find them online at http://www.simiwinery.com.

The roast had just the right amount of heat from the chili powder and cayenne peppers to go really good with dry Cabernet. This is a wine that I would buy again, maybe not multiple bottles since the price was a bit high, but it was a tasty wine.

Happy New Year

It seems that with the start of the New Year, everyone makes resolutions for the coming days and months and as is the normal outcome most resolutions are broken within the month. I am just as guilty as everyone else. I pledge to lose weight, get in shape or speak kinder of others and I fail miserably at all of my resolutions. Well this year I’m going in a different direction. I’m going to make a resolution that I can easily achieve. I resolve to drink more wine. I am making a promise to myself that when I buy wine I will buy an unknown wine for every bottle I buy that I regularly drink. I also promise that I will write my experiences down and share more.

Granted drinking more wine is easy, buying unknown wine is also easy, the hard part will be writing my drinking down and posting more regularly. I admit that I’m not the most dedicated when it comes to writing it down. I have all of the usual excuses, not enough time, not in the mood, etc. etc. etc. I also admit I don’t know enough about wine and wine tasting to sound educated when I describe my experience. This is something I will work on, to be a better taster, to be a smarter drinker and to enjoy wine every day.

I promise to not let biases stop me from trying something new. New favorites will only be discovered if I try new wines. New varietals, new regions, and new countries will be on my list to try, not just old favorites. I promise to read more and go to more wine tastings of wines that I wouldn’t usually buy. I will work on learning and experiencing all of the nuances of each glass I taste. For me that is the hardest part of tasting wine. I listen to others at wine tastings talk about different layers of the wine, about the finish, the tannins, the smell and most of the time I don’t get what they are talking about. I don’t smell what they smell; I don’t taste the same taste and always feel as if I’m either ignorant or just wine stupid.

Well this year I will at least give it my best shot at becoming a better wine taster. If nothing else, at least I can say I enjoyed wine every day, something I truly love to do. Can everyone else say that about their New Year’s resolution?

Today’s Wine Review

As promised this is a sampling of some of my dessert and sparkling wine suggestions for the coming celebrations and festivities. Some of these are a bit pricey and there are certainly a wide range of Champagnes and Sparkling wines out there that will fit into all budgets. As for the dessert wines and Ports some of them can be very expensive especially the aged Ports but I’ve also found a few less expensive bottles of Port that taste very good. The most expensive Champagne below is the Tattinger “La Francaise” Brut that sells for $65 a bottle, but it is a very good bottle, something to save for a special celebration.

Dessert Wines

Le Tertre Du Lys Sauterne – A French dessert wine that is a bit sweet but definitely not too sweet. This a wonderful after dinner wine. One that I think I could drink the whole bottle all by myself.

Sandeman 10 year old Tawny Port – A wonderful port with warm caramel and honey flavors and smooth and very drinkable.

Provincia di Pavia – Roscato – This is a red sweet wine, that goes very well with desserts, it’s soft and smooth a bit sweet but not overly sweet.

Sandeman Tawny Port – This is a more affordable port than the 10 year old aged port but it is still a very nice tawny port with the warm honey and caramel flavors.

Sparkling Wines

Tattinger “La Francaise” Brut – This was very nice, dry with a bite.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs – This is one of my favorites, not too dry with a slight bit of sweetness that tasted like strawberries.

Renardat Fache Cerdon du Bugey – This one is a bit sweeter than the other Champagnes, but very drinkable.

Domaine Carneros by Tattinger Brut – This one is dry with a mineral taste and very clean tasting.

Cavicchioli – Spumante – This is light and bubbly a touch sweet perfect with cherry pie.

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?

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