Have a great Tuesday!
I’m back! I took a few days longer than anticipated to bask in some much-needed R and R. Upon my return to the land of reality, I was inundated with wonderful visits from friends and family.
In addition to many holiday treats, one of my visitors brought over a Bodegas Muga Reserva 2011 from Rioja, Spain that he thought worth tasting. Made mostly with Tempranillo grape, it also has a little Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo grape mixed in. Everything is fermented in oak vats and then aged for one year in new French oak barrels and yet another year in used ones. Needless to say, this ruby colored wine had heady oak aromas along with spices and dark fruit. The palate was medium bodied with dark cherry, plum, pepper, cloves and a hint of vanilla. Tannins were soft and the finish was long. The roaring fire, company and tapas rounded out the tasting experience!
I have much to catch up on and will do so over the next few posts.
Have a great Tuesday!
Wishing everyone a joyful Christmas and I hope that Santa brought good cheer to you!
On Saturday morning I woke up to snowflakes and cold temperatures. Did winter finally arrive? No, just a tease. It seems that we will be having mild “spring like” conditions for the next week or so. It is definitely not going to be a white Xmas around here.
I spent most of the weekend catching up with friends for brunch, lunch or dinner. At one of the dinners, I tasted a 2014 Chateau Saint-Maur L’Excellence Rosé Cotes de Provence. The blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Rolle grapes made for a very expressive Rosé. Pale salmon in color, the fruity and floral aromas were enticing. The palate offered soft red berry fruit, peach and spice with a surprising bite of pepper and lemon zest on the finish. I would love to add this wine to my Rosé collection!
An interesting note: Roger Zannier is also owner of Quinta do Pessegueiro in the Douro. Check out their website for some interesting info.
The Winter Solstice will occur on December 21st, marking the shortest day of the year. And I will be counting the days for when the sun begins setting after 8 pm instead of 4:30 pm!
I am heading out for a few days and won’t have my computer with me. However, I will be back by Christmas to check in and share some wine and food stories with you. Until then, eat, drink and be very merry!
Last evening I prepared baked salmon fillets in an herb and lemon sauce. It was served with roasted asparagus, sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.
My dinner guest brought a 2013 Concannon Reserve Semillon from Livermore Valley, Central Coast, CA that paired well with the meal. The wine had delightful aromas of tropical fruit, stone fruit and oak. The palate was an explosion of pear, nectarine, green apple, oak and a hint of floral. It was full-bodied and it all came together nicely into the long finish. Alcohol is 14.3%. An interesting note: Concannon Vineyard is the oldest ongoing winery in America that is still under the same family label and stewardship since it’s inception in 1883. http://www.concannonvineyard.com
The weekend is upon us. What will you be drinking and cooking?
With the end of the year drawing near, I’ve been racing around trying to tie up loose ends. Between family birthday celebrations, work and catching up with good friends, it has been a whirlwind to say the least.
Even though today’s rain has slowed me down a bit, I’m making progress. I think a cup of lemon ginger tea might be very soothing just about now! And then it’s back to work.
I’m looking forward to cooking dinner for a friend this evening, opening a nice bottle of wine and having a fun and relaxed night.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a review!
Have a peaceful Thursday!
I got up very early on Monday morning and drove to Costco before their doors opened in the hopes of arriving before the crowd did. It seems that everyone else had the same idea. What was I thinking? Eleven days before Xmas! It was an adventure to say the least.
Fortunately, the rest of my day ran smoothly. And by the time evening rolled around, I was ready for a fun dinner with my friend. I decided to be adventurous, shake things up a little so to speak and have a Cosmopolitan which I have never tried! I’m not a fan of mixed or sweet drinks, especially when it involves vodka. But this cocktail was quite interesting. It was just the right balance of not being overly sweet or tart. It is made with vodka, cranberry juice, Triple Sec and lime juice. Of course, after having one of these, I declined on having any wine. So I sipped on water with my dinner!
It is a beautiful but blustery day and I have much to do!
Saturday evening was very low key. I was invited over to a friend’s home for pizza, wine and NHL hockey. We watched the NY Rangers lose for the second time in a row. I must admit that I dozed through half the game because it started so late in the evening!
The pizza was good and the wine was excellent! My friend brought out a 2010 Beekeeper Cellars Zinfandel from the Madrone Spring Vineyard in Sonoma. He told me that only 109 cases were made and he had been saving it for quite awhile. The wine is made with 89% Zinfandel and 11% Petite Sirah. Heady aromas of dark fruit and spice transitioned into complex layers of blackberry, raspberry, pepper and hints of vanilla. It was full bodied with medium tannins and it was good to the last drop! Ian Blackburn is the Proprietor and Winemaker.
It’s time to head outdoors and enjoy another beautiful day.
Last evening I had a few friends over for “cocktail” hour to celebrate the onset of the weekend and holidays. Even though it was unseasonably warm out, the decorations helped to put us in a more “winter” frame of mind.
In addition to serving other spirits, I opened a 2013 Saddlebred Cellars Pinot Noir from Sicily. This inexpensive 100% Pinot was bright crimson with aromas of cherry and raspberry. On the palate, hints of floral along with dark cherry, pomegranate and strawberry were present. The finish was long with a touch of white pepper. It was a very smooth and silky Pinot Noir. I couldn’t find any info on the vineyard itself, but I will continue to research it.
For appetizers, I served baked Cranberry Brie, Spinach Quiche and assorted cheeses and fruit.
I’m off to embrace this beautiful spring day on December 12th!
Wednesday was filled with laughter and good cheer as friends and co-workers gathered together to celebrate the holiday at a beautifully decorated restaurant.
We kicked off the festivities with an array of cocktail orders. I chose the Rum Toddy made with Infused Rum and Spiced Apple Cider. It was warm and delicious!
The basic concept of infusing is to start with a base liquor such as vodka, rum or gin, then add a single or combination of flavors to it like herbs, spices or fruit flavors. It is quite simple to prepare. Start with a clean mason jar. Add the flavors to the jar and then fill with the spirit of your choice. Cover tightly and shake. Store in a dark place for minimum of 3 days, shaking the mixture a few times a day. Do a taste test after 3 days to determine if it is has reached the flavor you want. When ready, discard the flavoring ingredients, place infusion in a clean jar and store at room temperature. Enjoy!
In addition to a Baby Arugula salad and appetizers for the table, I enjoyed Chocolate Mezzaluna as a main course. The pasta was stuffed with butternut squash ricotta cheese, roasted chestnuts, parsnip puree in a brown butter garlic sage lemon sauce. It was quite unusual and very tasty, although a touch too much lemon in the sauce.
The meal ended with Petits Beignet, served with strawberry preserves, caramel and chocolate sauce.
We were all pleasantly sated by the end of the meal and possibly a few ounces heavier!
Have a great Thursday!
Busy, busy, busy. It’s that time of year when there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. It was a productive Tuesday, but still so much to do!
I finally exhaled when the sun went down and spent a wonderful evening with a good friend, sharing stories over Grey Goose martinis.
No time for reviews or chit chat today. I’m racing off to a holiday luncheon.