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Today’s Food and Wine Review

My apologies, I haven’t written about any wines or dishes I’ve made. It’s not that I haven’t been drinking or eating, I’ve just not been writing it down. Because our work schedules have been polar opposites, Mitch working nights and me working days, I’ve fallen in a sort of rut, making dishes that are quick and easy or a huge crock pot meal that we will eat on for days. (Boring) The good news, a new shift bid came out and our schedules will be closer together, not exactly the same, but at least we will be on the same sleep schedule. I am already planning some new menu ideas.

Last night for dinner, I grilled boneless pork ribs and a mixture of bell peppers and onions. I opened a bottle of the Limited Release Apothic Rosé for a light wine to accompany the dish. A California wine from Modesto, vintage 2016 was a pale peachy color in the glass. I could smell a whiff of alcohol and strawberries. The wine had 12.5% alcohol by volume. The wine tasted of strawberries and watermelon, but not a sweet wine, more of a soft smooth wine with no bite at the end. It had a light soft finish that encouraged you to drink more and refill your glass.

This is a wine that went well with the pork ribs and can be drunk all by itself, sitting on the deck enjoying the afternoon.

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Today’s Food and Wine Review

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.

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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.

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Today’s Food and Wine Review

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
Hasselback Potatoes
Roasted Northwest Style Vegetables
Tossed Salad

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.

Today’s Food and Wine Review

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
Tossed Salad

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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.

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This wine is one of the best Zinfandels I’ve had in a long, long time and well worth the pricey price tag.

Today’s Wine Review

Summer is here and sweltering heat is encompassing most of the country. Not here though, the summer is mild and pleasant with highs in the low seventies. Perfect weather for dinner on the patio. I wish we had a patio table so we could have dinner on the patio, but for now I only get to surmise what dinner on the patio would be like.

There would be a slight breeze just enough to keep the air from being stagnant. There would be no bugs, flies, bees or mosquitoes. Even though the sun is out, the table would be in the shade of the tall cedar trees. There would be the smell of honeysuckle in the air, mixing with the aroma of grilled meat. The steaks on the grill would be cooked to perfection and the wine, a bottle of Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon, vintage 1998 served at cellar temperature of 65° would be served in oversized wine glasses. The steaks would complement the wine, not the other way around.

A nice dream, but in reality, there is no patio table and no bottle of Opus One. (We drank that bottle with best friends and a frozen pizza, very classy). The steaks were cooked to perfection along with grilled vegetables, but dinner was served inside and the wine was a Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, California. The wine, BearBoat vintage 2008 had an alcohol content of 13.8% and cost under $15.

The wine was a strawberry red color in the glass. There was strawberries and alcohol on the nose when I stuck my nose in the glass. The first taste had a slight taste of strawberries and vanilla. The wine was dry with a slight bite at the end. It didn’t have big fruit taste of some other Pinot Noirs I’ve had. It was okay, but not something I would buy again. In all, it was a bit of a letdown to drink with a good steak. I should have gone with something else.

Today’s Wine Review

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.

Today’s Wine Review

I can’t believe my good fortune, this is the first January I have ever spent not wearing leather down mittens, fifteen layers of clothing and not thawing out until May. The temperatures here are in the low forties in the mornings and the highs for the day in the high forties to low fifties. Awesome! I can feel my toes and actually enjoy walking the dogs. It’s almost a miracle. But in the spirit of winter, I’m still cooking like it’s cold out. For dinner I fixed spicy chicken breasts and for the wine I opened an Oregon Pinot Noir.

The wine, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, was a real treat. It was a young wine, vintage 2014 with an alcohol content of 13.7%. The wine was a medium dark red color in the glass, not as dark as a Cab, but still a nice dark reddish purple color. I could smell the alcohol, but it didn’t have that bite or tartness with a high alcohol wine. The wine was smooth and dry with a full finish. It didn’t have a big fruit taste like the California Pinots have, this had a drier taste that I felt on the back of my mouth.

This wine, a Whole Cluster wine, means that the whole grape clusters are fermented uncrushed. This is to make the wine ready to drink upon release without any added aging, or so the back of the bottle claims. There was also an added note at the bottom of the back label:

“PS. Please return this bottle to the winery for a 10 cent refund. Thank you for recycling.”

The first thing that came to mind, “Road Trip!” Awesome. Now I have an excuse to drive to Turner, Oregon, to get my 10 cents back.

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