Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, CA - $20



Received this bottle of wine as a thank you gift, but found it online for $20/bottle. Past vintages have been rated as high as 98 by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and 95 by Wine Spectator. It is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc/Petite Verdot/Malbec.

Aroma - dark cocoa
Taste - dark cocoa, moderate to strong tannins, very very dry

Wow, this is like drinking 80% dark chocolate. Perfect for a winter night!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2006, Tuscany, Italy - $17



This Italian Chianti Classico from Tuscany is a blend of at least 80% Sangiovese and the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It retails for between $15 and $20/bottle online.

Aroma - grape stems
Taste - dark fruit, moderate tannins, dark cocoa, dry, smooth

A nice wine!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Joseph Phelps Innisfree Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, CA - $29

Our third wine tonight at JB's. A less expensive Cab Sauv from the prestigious Joseph Phelps winery, this red is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and a mix of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah. I found it online for approximately $29/bottle.

Aroma - fruit, a little hot
Taste - fruit, black tea, moderate to strong tannins

Wow, this wine weighs in at a whopping 15.5% alcohol! If I could capitalize "15.5%" I would! That's a lot, and no wonder the wine smelled hot!

This wine is fine. Jade Mountain, our first wine of the evening, is better.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Angels Landing Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, CA - $15

Had this wine with dinner at JB's for our Christmas get-together. It is a blend of 76% Napa Valley/Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon, 5.5% Malbec from Paso Robles, and 6% Petit Verdot from Yountville/Stag’s Leap. It retails for $15/bottle online.

Aroma - dark fruit, a little hot
Taste - blackberries, moderate tannins

It's an okay wine. I liked the Jade Mountain we had tonight better.

Jade Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa/Sonoma/Lake County, CA - $13

This California Cabernet Sauvignon is comprised of grapes from Napa County (55%), Sonoma County (41%), and Lake County (4%) and retails for $13/bottle online. We had it at JB's for our intimate "Christmas" celebration - she purchased it in town at Twin Liquors.

Aroma - fruit, minerals
Taste - fruit, minerals, soft tannins

I really like this wine a lot! I MIGHT even love it!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stellar Organics Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, South Africa



Tasted this 100% Cab Sauv at JB's Glögg Party.

Aroma - dark fruit, matchsticks
Taste - dark fruit, tart, wood

This wine is okay.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Smythe & Renfield Pinot Noir 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand - $40




Had this 100% Pinot Noir at Fonda San Miguel for a VT's birthday. It retails for $40/bottle there, and $16/bottle online.

I smelled and tasted cherries and tobacco.

A good wine - went well with our food!

Austin Wine Merchant - Glenelly South African Wine Tasting




Austin Wine Merchant hosted a Glenelly South African Wine Tasting with Elizabeth Bray of Cape Classics wine importers today. I tasted the two reds she had open.



Glenelly Grand Vin De Glenelly 2007, Stellenbosch, South Africa - $24.99
This is Glenelly's Bordeaux blend - 44% Syrah, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. This wine is the signature red blend of the estate.

Aroma - fruity, smoky
Taste - very smoky, woody, very tannic finish

I think this wine would be great with meat and other foods with body.



Glenelly Cabernet Sauvignon The Glass Collection 2008, Stellenbosch, South Africa - $18.75
This wine is 100% Cab Sauv and is the first vintage of this particular wine. It is high in alcohol at 14.5%.

Aroma - dark dark fruit, a little toast, a little hot
Taste - dark fruit, woody, strong tannins, tobacco, needs food

I'd really like to try this wine with some food - it's not a wine most folks would drink alone.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - two turkeys and deep-fried Twinkies



This Thanksgiving we were invited to AC and CB's house along with 18 other family members! Fun!


The food was amazing! We started with AC's Mixed Greens salad with Tobasco dressing, and my Artisinal Greens salad with Champagne vinaigrette.

We also had two turkeys - one roasted in the oven, and the other deep-fried. In addition to these great birds, we had fantastic gravy and homemade cranberry sauces, RC's Festive Yam Casserole, carrots with white raisins, roasted Brussels sprouts, green beans, sweet potato fries, and cornbread and apple dressing.

The wine I had with dinner was the Lopez Noceti 1919 Bonarda 2009 from Mendoza, Argentina, which AC purchased at Central Market.

Aroma - currants
Taste - currants, acidic, soft tannins, young

I liked this wine, and it went well with all of the food!

Now onto the adventurous part of our evening...deep frying dessert.


Here's the deep frying equipment and supplies - gallons of peanut oil were used this Thanksgiving!


The first dessert in was the whole apple pie. It went in and out of the fryer with surgical precision, thanks to Bro! It was my absolute favorite dessert of the evening - the crust was perfect, and the apples inside were still cool from the freezer!


Next the fun-sized Snickers, which were frozen and coated in pancake batter in preparation for their peanut oil bath. These did not fair so well - we'll have to find a better recipe/preparation for candy bars next time.


Last but definitely not least were the Twinkies and the chocolate chip cookies from Hruska's. Both of these turned out great! The Twinkies were especially delightful with the still-cool centers oozing slightly!

Hats off to all of the cooks in the kitchen (and backyard) that night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2008, France - $10


This wine by M. Chapoutier was rated 90 points by Wine Spectator and was #75 on their Top 100 of 2009. I purchased it for $10/bottle at Costco. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan.

Aroma - red fruit, a little hot, a little musty
Taste - red fruit, a little musty, tobacco finish, moderate tannins

This wine is a good buy for the price, and I would purchase it again. Need to be sure to share it with those who like Old World wines (a little stinky/musty).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Puydeval 2008, Languedoc, France - $10


This red wine from the Languedoc region of France is a Vin de Pays d'Oc and was given 90 points by The Wine Advocate. It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 28% Syrah, and 12% Merlot, and I purchased it for $10/bottle at Costco. It is 14% alcohol, which I can smell just a tiny bit. The winemaker's name is Jeff Carrel.

Aroma - black fruit and minerals, a tiny bit hot
Taste - black fruit, minerals, light black tea, soft tannins

Wow, I really love this wine! It tastes mature although it's quite young. It went great tonight with our deconstructed Mexican dinner - caramelized onions and mushrooms, guacamole, fresh salsa, and tortilla chips. Excellent!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Traditional British Sunday Dinner on a Saturday - 11 people, 5 courses, and 9 bottles of wine and spirits

Tonight we got together with a great group of friends for a fantastic British-inspired meal. I know what most of you are thinking, but the food was really wonderful, and I wasn't surprised at all!


First Course - Appetizers
  • Angels and Devils on Horseback - apricots (angels - one toothpick) and prunes (devils - two toothpicks) stuffed with Asiago cheese and wrapped in bacon
Cocktail Pairing
  • Traditional Pimm's No. 1 Cup - 1 part Pimm's to 3 parts sparkling lemonade, ice, and sliced cucumbers
Angels on Horseback can also be made with oysters, but as we were trying to keep the appetizers lighter because of the main course, we went with the apricot version of the angels. That being said, the combination of dried fruit, cheese, and crisp bacon was so good that it was hard to let the apps cool down before devouring them! And the Pimm's - don't get me started - AMAZING cocktail! I LOVED it with the cucumbers!


Second Course - Soup
  • Pumpkin Thai Spice Shrimp Soup (topped with pumpkin seeds, shrimp, and organic cilantro)
Wine Pairing
  • Domaine Weinbach Clos des Capucins Gewurztraminer 2008, Vin d'Alsace, France
The soup was really fantastic, and contains a surprise - ground up shrimp shells - you'd never know it from the texture, though! The soup was so flavorful and quite spicy!

The Gewurtz was a great pairing with the soup, as it was sweet and cut through the spice.

Aroma - lychees
Taste - lychees, slightly bitter finish

Great soup, good wine pairing!


Third Course - Main Course
  • Roast Beef
  • Yorkshire Puddings
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Roasted Parsnips
  • Carrots
  • Brussels Sprouts
Wine Pairing
  • Domaine La Roquète Châteauneuf du Pape 2006, France
  • El Coto Rioja 2005, Spain
This main course was just UNBELIEVABLE! The beef and all of the sides were served with the most amazingly delicious gravy. This was my first experience with Yorkshire pudding - now wonder the Brits love it! But the beef was melt-in-your-mouth fantastic and cooked perfectly to a medium-well without losing any of its tenderness. Wow, MT and TT - you really outdid yourselves!

The primary wine paired with this course was a really nice Châteauneuf du Pape, which was a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.

Aroma - currants
Taste - dark fruit, nice minerality, soft to moderate tannins

An excellent pairing for sure!

The secondary wine paired with this course was a Tempranillo.

Aroma - red fruit, old world musty
Taste - red fruit, musty, medium tannins

It held up well to the beef! I've tasted this wine before - see this wine's main page for the previous tasting notes.


Fourth Course - Cheese Course
  • Ardrahan - a washed rind cheese
  • Clothbound Quickes - a type of Cheddar
  • Purple Haze Chevre - lavender goat cheese
  • Stichelton - blue cheese
  • various accoutrement - apples, honey, cherries, mango chutney, many types of crackers including Digestives
  • English toffee
  • white chocolate covered pecans
Wine Pairing
  • Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand (with cheese and accoutrement)
  • Martinez Late Vintage Bottled Porto 2003, Portugal (with toffee and pecans)
I wasn't sure I could eat anymore at this point, but I swallowed my second tablet of Lactaid and dug in! First, the Sauvignon Blanc, which was crisp and yummy! It was the perfect pairing for the four cheeses. Regarding the cheeses, the Ardrahan reminded R of dirty feet, and I thought it was smoky, stinky, and a little barnyard. The Stickelton went great with the cherries!

I also tried the Port, which was lovely and rich and very raisiny - I really enjoyed it.


Fifth Course - Dessert
  • Ginger Rhubarb Bread Pudding
Wine Pairing
  • Pacific Rim Raspberry Framboise
  • Husch La Ribera Vineyards Postre Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Mendocino, CA
This combination was UNBELIEVABLE! First the Framboise, then the very thick late harvest SB, which smelled and tasted of honey and white raisins. The bread pudding was fantastic and filling!

Another really fantastic dinner together!