Will summer ever come?

On a rainy, dreary, March Seattle day, all I can think about is spring and summer. I live for Seattle summers. I can’t think of a more beautiful place then Seattle in August (ok, honestly there are some pretty amazing places other than Seattle). But to get to summer, we must have spring. Spring is always hit or miss around here. Often it is drizzly and overcast, with a few sun breaks intermittently. On some occasions, we can hit a beautiful and sunny spring day. It is amazing what a little sun and the thought of summer around the corner, will do for Seattleites. When the sun is out, we tend to have bounce in our step, a slight smile on our face and tolerance for other’s. We may even strike up a conversation at the bus stop – well maybe not, that is just wishful thinking. But when it is spring time and the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the sun is out and my husbands sinus’ are swelling up around his face (due to spring allergies) all I can do is think about is sitting outside with a nice glass of crisp white wine, chatting it up with my friends and watching our kiddo’s run through the sprinklers. My imagination runs ramped about how fabulous the summer is going to be.

As I sit here, listening to the rain pelt my house, heater on to 70 degree’s and about 5 layers of clothes on me…. I can’t help but smile at the thought of spring and summer around the corner. Which leads me thinking about some of the best summer wines. First, I want to add something though. It is a total myth that you can only drink white wines in summer and reds in the cooler months. You can enjoy any wine during any time of the year. However, a lot of the summer/BBQ foods pair well with white wines (some red’s too) – which is how that myth developed.

Here is my list of wines to look for (I am just doing varietals not producers). These wines tend to unite very well with salads, cold pasta’s, seafood and BBQ fare.  There will be some red added into this list – for a more diverse selection.

BBQ foods (BBQ meats with smoky and/or sweet sauce)

Beer (not wine, but beers pair very well with BBQ)

Beaujolais

Shiraz – Australian

Rose/Rosado – dry

Rose Champagne

California Zinfandel

German Riesling

Salads

Beaujolais

dry Riesling

Rose

Sauvignon Blanc

Vinho Verde

Chardonnay (pair best with Ceaser Salads)

Pinot Grigio

Champagne

Seafood

Riesling especially dry

Sauvignon Blanc

Champagne

Chardonnay (boiled or grilled)

Viognier (try with shellfish… yum!)

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

Fresh Fruit and Desserts

Champagne – rose’ and or sweet

Moscato d’ Asti

Gewurztraminer – dry

Riesling – off dry or sweet

Sparking wine

Late Harvest (with a fruit dessert)

Port (with berry, fruit or richer dessert)

Vin Santo (with almond, Hazelnut desserts)

Cabernet Sauvignon (with bittersweet chocolate)

This is a quick and easy list for summer food pairings. If you want a more in-depth resource, check out What to Drink with What you Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.

Tonight’s Tasting:

Buty Winery , Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle  – Walla Walla, WA ($25.00 West Seattle Cellars)

Buty Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle 2009Talk about getting ready for summer. If you want something to put you in the mood for hot summer nights, this wine will take you there. With a floral scent – it hits you with a bright, clean, crisp taste. We paired this wine with Mahi Mahi burgers and it matched nicely. This wine can easily be found in most wine shops. Buty is a wine you can either drink now, to prepare you for summer. Or to wow your friends during a big July Seafood bash.

Well, the rain has stopped and I see a sliver of sun. Which is my sliver of hope that spring is around the corner. And with that, so is summer.

Cheers my friends! And remember friends don’t let friends put ice cubes in their wine.

Advertisements

Washington Wine Challenge

This blog was going to be about Merlot, but that will have to wait. If you know me, which many of you do, you know that I change my mind about a thousand times a day. I promise to get back to Merlot, since it is a very important topic. Today I want my fellow readers to take a challenge with me. For the month of March, when opening a bottle of wine or ordering one by glass at a restaurant, I want you to drink Washington wine only.

Let the screaming at me begin. I know you are stuck in your rut of drinking a California Cab or Italian Chianti, but I want you to explore all the joys Washington wine has to offer. Like I said before, we are giving California a run for their money. We are the state to watch. Plus, we have young, eager wine makers and a supportive state government (in terms of wine, but don’t get me started on the lack of support with educating our youth in WA!).

Right now, many Washington wine makers concentrate on making Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Syrah and Cab Franc. Although, last week I was able to meet a wine maker, Gino Guneo, who has done an excellent job making a Sangiovese called Tre Nova (trenovawines.com). Gino states that he is making Italian style wines on American soil. Many Washington wine makers are taking risks and playing around with grapes and able to develop some killer wines. Which benefit us, the consumer!

Take a trip to the world of Washington wine. See if you are able to stick with WA wines for the month of March. Not to worry, your Chianti, Bordeaux and California Cab will be waiting for when you return in April. Just take in and enjoy what this state has to offer. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Tonights Tasting:

2006 K Vintners Motor City Kitty, Syrah. $31.00West Seattle Cellars

Luscious, dark, rich, smooth and provocative is how I would describe this wine. If I could bottle up love and turn it into wine, it would be K Vintners Motor City Kitty Syrah. It is literally a perfect Syrah. When I talked before about splurging on a bottle, this is well worth the money; if you can find it anymore. This wine had been sitting in my cellar since May 2009. I was pregnant at the time, so it just sat there tempting me. Plus, WS Cellars said I may want to give it a year or two before opening. So last night, after attending a Kindergarten open house for my older daughter, my husband and I decided this would be a perfect evening for a nice bottle of wine.

MCK had been eyeing me for years and since this was a night to celebrate making it to Kindergarten with Ava, I quickly brought it upstairs to try. Wow, it was worth the wait. We drank it slowly (and left half the bottle so we could enjoy it this evening) and we’re almost silent while tasting it. It nearly left me speechless; it was that delicious. Oh how I wish this wine could last forever. With winemaker, Charles Smith, only making 4 barrels of the 2006 MCK (100 cases, give or take), it will be difficult to find again. If you are lucky enough to stumble upon this wine, grab two bottles. I know, $62 is tough to drop on two bottles of wine. But trust me, once you finish the first bottle, you will be craving another.

If you are in Walla Walla, I have heard this is a winery you must stop at. I have not been, but is on my bucket list.

http://www.kvintners.com/wines.php

Drink on my friends…

Washington vs. California wineries part 2

I am absolutely thrilled to be heading to Napa Valley in two weeks. This is a much-needed, mini-vacation with my mom (my wine inspiration). Although a bittersweet trip as well, since I will be saying goodbye to a dear friend from the bay area, who is packing up and moving to London. Talk about going out with a bang though, a final Napa Valley wine trip.

As I said in the last blog, I am a fan of local businesses and proud to support Washington wineries.  But, how can I resist a wine trip to California? The birthplace of US wines.  Visit almost any country and no doubt you can easily obtain a California wine. And they make damn good wines too. You must look past Gallo, Mondovi and Sutter Homes (I’m not putting them down, they have their place) and search for smaller (using the term lightly)wineries. There are so many wineries in California; it will take me years to get through them all, if that is even possible. There are over 107 American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s) in California, which include, Napa, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley and Rutherford.

California wines really made their mark in the world (even though before that, many people in the were travelling to California to fill their empty wine bottles right from the barrels) in 1976 when they beat France in a famous wine competition. A huge blow to the French ego’s. Check out the movie Bottle Shock… it will tell you all about that!

 That was a beyond brief history lesson. Now, here are some of my recommendations for wineries to visit. To be honest, I have only been through Napa (about a half-dozen times). So, my recommendations are limited to that region. And if you hadn’t noticed, I am visiting again in 2 weeks, so I may discover some new favorites to tell you about.

Here we go! Take notes my friends: my top 5 favorite wineries in Napa.

1.) Plumpjack Winery, Oakville

620 Oakville Cross Road, Oakville CA 94562

www.plumpjack.com

Fun and hip. Those are the first word that pop i to my mind when I think of Plumpjack. They cater to parties and are off the beaten path. They make a killer Cab that you will want to hold on too, for probably 10 years or so. Very much worth the trip.

2.) Peju Province, Rutherford

8466 St Helena Highway, Rutherford CA 94573

www.peju.com

Who doesn’t love wine and chocolate? This is place to visit if you want beautiful scenery and grounds (fresh flowers everywhere), fabulous wine and chocolate. I don’t know what I love more, their Cabs or the chocolate sauce they make. To top this visit off, it is family owned, intimate and very friendly to visitors (even those visitors who are wine novices). Peju is a very easy stop; right off Highway 29.

3.) Cakebread Cellars, Rutherford

8300 St. Helena Highway Rutherford, CA 94573

www.cakebread.com

I heard about Cakebread through my Arizona girlfriend who is also a wine fan. She raved about them, so on my last trip to Napa, I made an appointment to taste (they are appointment only). Cakebread wines are expensive, but they make you feel like a million bucks when you visit. They tour you through their facility, which is breathtaking. It has a modern feel, but the building is a barn. I can see why they have such a loyal backing. They are known for their Cabs and Sauvignon Blanc, but to be honest I loved their Syrah. But, I am not complaining about their other wines (well, maybe their Pinot Noir, I am not a fan of that)- very impressive. They are also another family owned winery right off of Highway 29.

4.) Andersons Conn Valley, St Helena

680 Rossi Road St Helena, CA 94574

www.connvalleyvineyards.com

Now this is a winery off the beaten path, by about 15 minutes. The best thing about this winery is the location. You taste the wines in wine caves! With wine barrels surrounding you. It is pretty cool, to say the least. The wine is alright. Not my favorite Napa wine, but for the tour and tasting, the trip is totally worth it. The Anderson’s are down to earth and not pretentious. They are by appointment only as well.

5.) Salvestrin Winery, St Helena

397 Main Street St Helena, CA 94574

http://www.salvestrinwinery.com

Again, I save the best for last. And again, I may be a bit biased. My husband  and I stayed at their Inn the last time we visited Napa. Wow is all I have to say. We met the family, sat on their patio, tasted their wines (some from right out of the barrel), and woke up at 4:30 am to watch them harvest the grapes. And to top that off, their wine is truly outstanding. Sadly though, you will not be able to Salvestrin in stores. It is only available through their winery (they can ship though!). My two favorite is their Sauvignon Blanc and Retaggio (a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, Cab and Cab Franc – it will knock your socks off). They are also appointment only, but if you pop by without one, they will not turn you away. As a side note, if you want to throw a party, they have an amazing facility you can rent. A patio within the vineyards!!! And for a true experience, stay at their Inn for the weekend.

Happy wine trails in California and don’t forget your designated driver and wallet (you will need loads if cash in Napa).

Cheers!

What is your favorite?

One day my five-year old daughter asked me “mom what is your favorite color?” I thought about it and replied “today blue is my favorite color.” She paused for a moment to think about my answer, then asked in a serious yet confused tone ” so you will have a different favorite color tomorrow?”

Yup, my favorite color depends on the day for me. I cannot claim to have a favorite color, since it always changes for me. A lot like the fact I cannot chose a favorite type of wine.

Back when I was about 22 (graduated from my college and Coors Light days) I decided to finally give wine (real wine, not boxed) a try. It might surprise many of you, but despite all my childhood memories of going to wineries, helping my dad pick out wine for dinner parties, and so on.. I never tried wine. It was never an option for me to try it. So, when I was of age and got all my cheap, bad alcohol days past me, I was determined to become a wine lover.

Except for the fact wine was not what I had expected. How did my parents drink this stuff?  Ugh, who drinks something warm or with such a powerful taste? I thought I would never be a sophisticated wino.  After a while, and because I am a tad stubborn,  I discovered  a wine that I could drink – a sweet Riesling or Gewürztraminer (say that three times fast). I started with those and worked my way to a Chardonnay (on occasion). It wasn’t until I was around the age of 24 and living in Barcelona, Spain for the summer when I finally was able to kick my sweet wine habit and indulge in red wine.

I went to a local wine bar, where I spoke no Spanish and the owner spoke no English. He just started pouring and I started tasting. Maybe it was the company I was with or my surroundings or just the beauty of Barcelona. But whatever it was, I fell in love with red wine that night.

Since then, I have taken every opportunity to learn about red wine and play around with flavors that I like (or don’t like). Until recently, I swore I would never go back to drinking white wine again. I had this mentality it was for “new wine drinkers.”Afterall, I wasn’t a new wine drinker anymore.

 After a trip to Napa and talking to many wine experts (as well as taking a fantastic food-wine paring class at West Seattle Cellars), I have thrown away that white wine mentality. I have opened a few bottles of Sauvignon Blanc or Vinho Verde (amazing with tamales) and have been floored by the beauty of their taste.

I have come to the realization that I cannot have a favorite wine. I may have preferences, but that can change daily. Maybe Merlot’s are not my favorite red wine, but then pop open a bottle on Wine Glass Cellars (Yakima, WA) Merlot and have my socks blown off. Never say never people. That is what I learned. Always try and if you don’t like it a first time, try it again down the road.

Now for your challenge. Try something new. If you “prefer” white wines, try a red. If you are a Syrah only gal, pick up a Cab tonight. If you are a beer drinker, pick up a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  Try something new – be daring. Don’t have a favorite wine, have many favorite wines.  Let me know how it goes.

 Oh, and it case you were wondering, today my favorite color is red!

Another Saturday night in

It’s Saturday night and you are staying home because you are broke, cannot find a babysitter, don’t feel like going out or  none of the above. For whatever reason you are in for the night, but have the urge to pop open a bottle of wine. Yet, you are broke and need to find a bottle of decent wine for $10 or under. That, my friends, is where I come in to help you.

It is Saturday night and I am home, due to most of the above. In my need to blog more with interesting wine bits for my readers,  I have decided to help my Saturday night, feeling poor, friends by tasting 4 different wines under $10 (for those needing to stay within their budgets).

The 10 dollar challenge goes as this:

Pick 4 different wines from 4 different locations, all under $10, to see if they are worthy enough to drink. I decided to focus one region – Spain was the choice tonight. I opened all bottles, knowing most of them will be thrown down the sink. I wanted to taste the differences, not to drink tonight. This is all for you my readers!

The Wines:

The good news is most of these wines I found in at least two stores!

#1: 2009 La Aldea : 100% Monastrell- Jumilla region  Trader Joes $7.49

I was able to find a  TJ’s wine expert to help me decide what wine I should choose for my challenge. Many of their Spanish wines were under $10, so I wanted to hear his expert advice on wine. He a promised full bodied, full tannin wine, with a very nice finish. The description of the wine states a ripe wine with blackberries, dark cherries, earth and wild flowers.

The verdict: bland, tart, not bold at all. There was very little flavor. I did not taste a hint of any fruit. This would be a wine to buy when you just want to get drunk. Not a sipping, enjoyable wine at all.

Sorry Trader Joe wine expert, I question your knowledge.

#2: 2009 Coto de Hayas- Garnacha/Syrah  Fred Meyer $8.49

Ok, I am feeling hopeful with this challenge. First of all, I give a lot of credit to Fred Meyer (Kroger) – their wine section impressed me!! I was blown away by the selection of wines, not just Spanish, but all regions. I stood there, in shock and awe, trying to decide on a wine. The negative is that I received no help. So, I blindly chose.

The verdict: Smooth wine, with a berry finish on your tongue. Not a favorite wine by a long shot, but a decent wine for the price. A wine to take to a party. It is different enough to impress your usually non-drinking wine friends!

#3: Don Ramon Red- 75% Grenache, 25% Tempranillo Greenlake Wines $9.00 (also at Fred Meyers)

The help at Greenlake Wines was appreciated. The selection was small, so I had little hope in finding a wine under $10. However, the sales clerk showed me a couple Spanish wines within my budget. He thought this wine would impress me, so I took his advice.

The verdict: Very, very nice medium bodied wine and a great buy. I had a very hard time deciding what this wine tasted like though. The wine left a spicy dance on my tongue with some berry tones – but hard to determine which berries.

 I was only tasting these 4 wines (otherwise I would not be able to write), but this bottle of  wine I could sip and enjoy. It is hard to describe, but a joy to drink.

#4: 2007  Campo Viejo Rioja – Crianza  Safeway $9.99

As I went stopped at my final store, Safeway, I was nervous I wouldn’t find a $10 Spanish wine. I was very happy to find a Rioja within my price range. I love Rioja’s. They have to be one of my favorite wines. So, I was excited to try my find.

The verdict: Undrinkable. I couldn’t even finish my taste. Even foods wouldn’t help this wine (in my opinion). I may try it again tomorrow, just to give it a second chance. Sadly, I was very disappointed. A wine I will steer clear from. Sorry Safeway – you scored the lowest tonight.

 

The final verdict is that I was not 100% sold on 3 of the 4 wines. Number 2 was decent enough to take to a non-wine drinking friends party, but Number 3 was by far the most enjoyable. For the price, it has the most fun potential. You will find it at Trader Joes, Fred Meyers and possibly small wine shops (I purchased it at Greenlake wines), which makes obtaining this wine a breeze.

Your next Saturday night in and you want to try something different, pick up a Don Ramon, you will be happy with your investment.

Enjoy your wine night in!

Too much wine?

 Can there be too much wine? Maybe.  I guess there can be too much of anything. Over eating, over shopping, too much TV, too much talking, etc. So yes, there can be such a thing as too much wine, I guess…..

When a 5-year-old tells his mom, as they are coming over to my house at 1:00 in the afternoon, that he needs to bring me a bottle of wine (his 3-year-old brother argues no, she needs a coffee) it lead me to ask the question:  “Am I drinking too much wine?” I mean, if a 5-year-old thinks he needs to bring me a bottle of wine when he comes to my house (prior to that comment, he saved an old Trader Joe’s paper wine bag to give me as a present for my wine) and my own 5-year-old argues she must drink her milk/water/apple juice out of a wine glass at dinner – maybe I am talking about/drinking too much wine.

Some of you may agree, but some may think not. We all have our own opinions, especially the topic of alcohol.  What I do know about my interest in wine, is that I enjoy learning about it, just as much as tasting and drinking it. I have a fond respect for wine, without over indulging in it. So does that mean it is too much?

I feel the history, making, and the process of wine needs more respect than the abuse of it. Yes, I have a glass of wine with most of my dinners, when we go  to a dinner party I make sure to bring a bottle the host will enjoy, random evenings with my husband we will have wine tastings (when kids are finally in bed), I take wine classes and  have a growing number of wine books around my home. Maybe by some standards, yes I do focus too much on wine.  But in no way would I do the wine industry injustice by abusing it. 

My answer on this topic is: I will keep on enjoying wine..I work hard, love my family and friends and have other non-wine interests. However, after a long day there is nothing better than getting the kids in bed and relaxing on the couch with an amazing glass of Cab (or Merlot, Syrah or blend)!  So, if a 5-year-old wants to bring me a bottle of wine, bring it! I just ask that it not be a Carlo Rossi!!

Tonight’s Tastings

In light of my topic, tonight’s tasting will not be on wine – but on Sparkling Wines. Champagne/Sparkling Wines are not my forte, yet. However, I do know a delicious Sparkling wine, Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, when I taste it. I will give you a very brief low-down on the four I mentioned:

Champagne: Carbonated wine from the region of Champagne in France. Legally, it can only be called Champagne if created in that region. Usually, Champagne is medium bodied and will pair well with many different types of foods. Just remember for “real” Champagne, most decent bottles will cost you a decent penny. (fyi – you can find some value Champagnes around the $40 price point).

Cava: Spanish medium-bodied sparkling wine from the Catalonia region of Spain. When I lived in Spain, this stuff poured out of barrels like crazy. It was actually on “tap” at many local restaurants, and it was almost a requirement to have a glass or two during lunch (which is probably why they still have Siestas). Cava has to be one of my personal favorite Sparkling wines (see below for a recommendation).

Prosecco: Italian light-bodied Sparkling Wine from the region of Veneto. You can also find a great Prosecco at a steal of a price in many speciality wine/grocery stores.

Sparkling Wine (U.S.): Many great Sparkling Wines are coming out of California and Washington these days. Some tops wines recommended by Wine Spectator are: Domaine Chandon, Napa $18, Domaine Caneros, Napa $25 and Domaine Ste. Michelle, Lux Columbia Valley $23. These are great deals! Sparkling Wine, Cava and  Prosescco are great way’s to add a touch of class to any dinner party (and obviously you don’t have to spend a lot). If you are going to a dinner party and in doubt about what kind of wine to bring the host – always grab a bottle of bubbly.

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva (non-vintage) –$8.99 Whole Foods

This is a Cava I had the other night – it was clean, fresh and fragrant – with a scent of honied apples. The price is outstanding as well, $8.99,  a can’t beat price for a delicious glass of bubbly.

Segura Viudas - Spanish Cava

I hold up my wine glass and cheers my daughter’s wine glass of milk! And cheers to all of you as well!

I have seen a Ghost

The Ghost of 413 a Red Blend from Columbia Valley. At first taste, all the moisture was pulled from my tongue. As I look at the bottle, it doesn’t say what the blend is. My guess is some sort of Cab blend – with the dryness and big bang flavor. I wasn’t sure of this wine, it took almost a half of glass for me to decide if I liked it or not. The smell and taste of this wine doesn’t match. The smell is full of berry and spice, but the taste has a woody, cherry, coffee flavor. It is a nice wine however, especially if you like a full bodied Cab. This isn’t my favorite wine, but if you are a fan of big, dry wines, or you like to try new things, you will enjoy this one.

Tonight Tasting:

The Ghost of 413 – 2007 Red Blend, Columbia Valley ($14.99  – QFC, Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market): 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 12% Syrah

Limited cases of this wine – very big flavor. Not a 100% Cab, but has the big bang of one. I do not eat meat, but I can imagine this would taste very nice with a grilled steak or juicy prime rib. It you prefer a lighter red wine, or not a fan of red’s at all, steer clear of this. But, if you would like to shake up your taste buds a bit – give this wine a try. And remember not to judge at first taste. This one takes a while on your taste buds.

Happy Tasting!

http://giantwine.com/index.html

I apologize for the delay… but I have new wines

Portuguese wines… have you ever thought about Portuguese wines? I have. Lately I have had my heart set on visiting Portugal’s wine region. And if you know me.. when I have my heart set on something, I usually go for it. Portugal has some amazing wines. When you think of Portugal however, you usually think of Port. But, Portugal has some dynamic, and affordable, wine regions. My dream is to take a week and explore Portugal’s wine region the summer of 2011 (if someone will take my kids for a week). I don’t know why I am obsessed with exploring it, but I am. When I became with obsessed with Spain, I moved there, ( I hope I have that same drive about Portugal except, I probably won’t move there at this moment) . I just wished while I was in Spain I visited Portugal, but I didn’t. I went the other direction to France. So now, I am on a mission to explore Portugal. 

At the moment, I am in Scottsdale AZ. Ian ran into a great little wine store/bar called Bacchus in North Scottsdale (for my AZ peeps, in Kierland Commons).  Ian knows what wines I prefer and grabbed this Portuguese wine that he read about – thinking I would really enjoy it. Ian scored BIG time. This is a delicious wine!! Take notes my fellow novices. This is a wine worth the price. I just hope I can find this in Seattle. 

Tonight’s Tasting: 

Animus – Douro, Portugal  2005  (Bacchus, Scottsdale AZ $14.99) 

Wow!! What a wine for a vacation…. just wish it was a vacation in Portugal. This is from the northern region of Portugal. Animus was a pleasant surprise. It is a very simple wine, yet a party on your palate. Animus has a nice blend of dark cherry and raspberry flavor. Very clean, soft and fresh tasting. It has an inviting aroma – wonderful conversation with your friends you are sharing this wine with. Great for a night sitting out on your patio. Please ask your local wine store for this wine. I promise it won’t disappoint. 

Animus, Portugal

 

Since I am on vacation, why not open another bottle!  I popped open another wine I think my fellow Novices would enjoy (and their wallets too). While I was visiting my girlfriend Caroline last week (she has a new baby,Preston – adorable), I noticed a bottle of wine on her counter called Cupcake (FYI- best gift to give a new mom.. a bottle of wine. I know from experience). She hadn’t tried it yet and I was very curious about it’s flavor. When I see wine’s on counters, I become curious… So, while I was in Scottsdale, shopping at the local Fry’s (a Kroger store).. I noticed that same wine. I grabbed a bottle since it was a nice price of $9.99. 

Cupcake Vineyards – Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007  Central Coast CA (Fry’s – aka QFC, Fred Meyers  in Seattle $9.99) 

Another decent wine at a great price. I had a glass of this wine, after Animus. I was prepared to be disappointed since I loved Animus and guess what? I wasn’t. This is a heavy wine, but with great flavor. A blend of Plum, Cherry and Mocha is what stands out in my mouth. No bite at all. Smooth, rich and sweet. Bring this bottle to your next book club meeting for sure. Then that way you can focus on the wine and not on the fact you never finished the book! 

Keep on enjoying wine my friends….

New Holiday on February 14

I am not a fan of Valentines day. I actually find it the most pointless day. It is a throw-it-in-your face day if you are single or an I am disapointed in you day if you are married/dating. We all know this is just a Hallmark holiday, yet we still fall for this need to be romantic, buy a gift, pass out candy (that we don’t need) day. I would like to change this day. My challenge to you, fellow novices, is not to fall for this silly holiday by purchasing a gift for your loved one, but treat them to a FABULOUS bottle of wine. Or for all the single ladies or men, no need to stress over this pointless day – treat yourself to a wonderful bottle of wine. I am turning February 14th into Wine Day – anyone else in on this with me??

I would like to recommend some of my most favorite wines that will leave you feeling happy. I will have a wine in almost every price range. Take notes, grab a bottle (or two) and enjoy!

DeLille Cellars D2 (Columbia Valley) – around $32.00 – you can find this at local grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Ballard Market, Greenwood Market and most local wine shops.  This wine is worth the price, hands down. If you feel the need to splurge on this day, splurge on this wine!!

Wineglass Cellars Zinfandel 2007 (Yakima Valley) around $22.00 – if you are out of WA state, this will be a challenge for you to find For those in WA,  check your local wine shops, however I have seen it in Whole Foods, Ballard Market and QFC. Check Winecellars website, it tells you the places where their wines are sold. www.wineglasscellars.com This Zin is dark, rich, chocolately and heavenly. If you can find it, grab as many bottles as you can find. It is amazing!

FYI to my out-of-state novices, if you are looking to join a wine club for WA wines, Wineglass Cellars will not let you down. I belong to their wine club and I have NEVER been disappointed with any of their wines.

Stump Jump Vintage 2008 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre (South Australian)  around $11.00- I have mentioned this wine on many occasions, but I have talked about their pure Shiraz. This blend is also a very nice wine – and a little fruitier. For the price, you cannot beat this wine!! It tastes delicious. This wine is pretty easy to find – Costco, Whole Foods, many large grocery store chains and local wine stores.

Rigoloccio Rosato (Italian – Tuscan region)- $9.75. This Rose is refreshing and romantic. A Rose doesn’t have to be saved for summer time. This wine is perfect for any occasion. I have only seen it at West Seattle cellars, but take the name into your favorite wine store and I am sure they can find it for you.

Guenoc – 2007 Petite Sirah (California). Is around $8.00- good wine for a “can’t beat” price. I have seen it at Trader Joes, West Seattle Cellars and a few chain grocery stores.

 

My recommendation list could go on for days, I have so many favorites… however these 5 wines I think are perfect for this Wine Day holiday. They will compliment almost any meal you cook and will taste divine with chocolate. Please don’t look at February 14th as another annoying, stupid, marketing holiday. Look at it as a day to explore and try new wines. Remember this is now Wine Day!

Happy Wine Day!!

South America

My friend Lisa stood at a crossroads trying to decide between a Chilean or a Spanish wine one fine day in Scottsdale, AZ . She didn’t know which one would settle her craving – they both are Spanish-speaking countries and both known for making good, inexpensive wines; she decided to take a gamble, trust her instincts and went with the Chilean wine (and she had not read my Spanish wine blog yet). I haven’t heard her opinion on the choice, but it motivated me to buy a bottle of Chilean wine.

Chilean wines are foreign to me. Usually, when I decide to fill my South American wine craving, I tend to lean towards Argentina. Wines from the Mendoza , Argentina region are medium-bodied and smooth (oh so lovely). I am sure at some point in my life I have tasted a Chilean wine, but it obviously did not leave a lasting impression. But, at times I am biased and probably skipped that region in the wine shop to head towards my favorites. So thank you Lisa for inspiring me to explore my horizons.

* Here is a little known fact about Chilean wines – there are more than 20 different types of grapes but it is their Cabernet Sauvignon which is famous. The wine I chose was not a Cab, but to me, an unknown varietal.

Some of you have asked me to review/taste wines that are under $10.00, since most of my fellow novices prefer wines around that price range (and we are in a recession right?). So, I will make sure to write about affordable wines as well as some splurges (we should all splurge sometime, right?).

Tonight’s Tasting:

Terra Andina – 2008 Carmenere – Central Valley of Chili (Whole Foods $8.99)

I do have a cold, so I am not the best judge of  wine tonight. From what I have tasted, I am not a fan, cold or not. It has an overbearing berry taste which is harsh on the taste buds and stomach. Ian said it tasted like the end of a bottle of wine; the flavor of sediment. We let the wine sit, and there was still no improvement. This is a wine I would not recommend ( I think having a cold made it taste better).  Even if you needed a take a cheap bottle of wine to a party, I would say stick with a Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes. Now, I am not blaming the Chileans, every country makes bad wines. So, my mission fellow novices, is to try a wine from Chili that will take you to a happy place!

Have a wine filled night my friends!

ps – Ian just opened a bottle, since he was not a fan of the Chili wine either. This is a staple in our cellar and would recommend this to anyone – we usually keep a couple bottles on hand.

Guenoc – 2007 Petite Sirah from California. Is around $8.00 – I have seen it at Trader Joes and West Seattle Cellars (don’t purchase through their winery, they charge $20.00 a bottle, ouch!). Smooth, nice and easy to drink!

2007 Guenoc Lake County Petite Sirah