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Archive for December, 2010

The Morning After

New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate new beginnings.  So after all the drinking, Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest, and Black Eyed Peas that one can possibly handle in one night, here’s an idea for the morning after that will start your 2011 off on the right foot:  Poached Eggs & Sparkling Wine!

You’ve never poached an egg before?  Don’t sweat it – it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it!  Check out this video and you’ll see just how easy it really is:

For me, the fun part is actually seasoning the poached eggs.  This is one of my favorite ways to serve poached eggs:


For the Sparkler, why not try an Italian Prosecco?  Consider Oriel 365: “Named for the essence of Prosecco – An invitation to celebrate every day!”  Another terrific choice is an affordable Spanish Cava.  For around $10, you can enjoy a Reserva Brut like the Paul Cheneau Blanc de Blanc which is made in the French méthode traditionnelle.  If you like your sparkler with a touch of sweetness, the Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rose also hits the spot with poached eggs.  Enjoy!

Happy New Year…Wishing all of you the best in 2011!

Week #17: Who Are You Callin’ Sugar?

It’s crunch time in this 2010 NFL season:  playoff scenarios and mathematical probabilities are being hashed out; fantasy football leagues & pools are buzzing with excitement; and football analysts and armchair quarterbacks are all starting to voice their opinions on which teams will win and which teams will bite the dust and pack up their lockers until next season. 

For this last remaining week in the regular season, I’ve decided to make a very gusty off-the-field move that could unleash a throng of challenge flags or incite someone to douse me with a cooler full of Gatorade for suggesting such a ‘Flowery’ final regular-season food & wine pairing. 

Preparation for week #17 from the WineLife365 Playbook: 

You’ll need a smoker, some prime cuts of meat, and wait for it…Rosé wine.  Yes – ‘Pink’ wine! 

Most guys wouldn’t have a problem with this Pink lying on the dining room table directly in front of them, or watching the cool Cirque du Soleil thing while casually sipping on a “manly wine” like say – Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America

However, having this Pink directly in front of them seems to spark a whole different set of intense, if not adverse, reactions. 

What a complete and utter shame to judge a wine on its color! 

Why?  Because the classic, real pink stuff, like this French 2009 Reserve Grand Veneur, Côtes du Rhône Rosé (MSRP: $14, Sample) is absolutely marvelous with a variety (and I mean variety!) of “manly” kinds of food like: 

  • BBQ Chicken
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches topped with Cole Slaw
  • Chinese takeout
  • Pizza
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Doritos and Potato Chips
  • And lots of other somewhat salty and spicy foods!

Putting it all out on the line this Sunday…   

If you’re ready to give it all you’ve got this last Sunday in the regular season, here’s your NFL ticket to-do list: 

1.) Go out and get yourself a massive smoker.  Heck, take up a collection from all of your buddies if you need to, because it’s so worth it! 

2.) Assemble and season your smoker prior to Sunday morning.   

3.) Season your ribs, chicken, fish, ham, pork, turkey… or anything else you want to smoke! 

4.) Wake up early Sunday morning, put on your game jersey (and some pants!), throw some hickory or mesquite wood into your smoker, put whatever meat(s) you’ve chosen to smoke and fire-up the smoker…then go sit on your couch! 

Once the meat is done, pair your smoked fare with a deliciously floral, herbaceous, strawberry and watermelon packed pink beauty, such as the 2009 Reserve Grand Veneur, Côtes du Rhône Rosé – it’s a game winning touchdown!


The Royal Treatment

Recently, I was treated to a marvelous 100% Chenin Blanc, also known as Steen, from South Africa’s Riebeek Cellars.  Established in 1941, Riebeek Cellars is situated in Riebeek Kasteel, at the foot of Bothma’s Kloof Pass, on the western coast of the Cape Province of South Africa.  The winery sources its grapes from the Riebeek Valley where the climate is very similar to the Mediterranean.  The Riebeek Valley has become a popular tourist destination for travelers that are passionate about wine, exceptional fine-dining and exquisite artwork.

The Royal, 2009 Old Vines Steen (Chenin Blanc), sourced from 48 year-old vines in the Swartland wine growing region is by far the most beautiful, elegant, and food–friendly South African white wine that I’ve tasted all year.

This unoaked 100% Chenin Blanc, channels some of the best acidity and fruit characteristics found in many French and New Zealand white wines.  For 10 bucks, drinkers are greeted to a terrific balance of tropical and fresh fruit flavors, with acidity that is reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and a flinty and honeysuckle finish that tastes downright French.

3 Stars out of 4 for The Royal, 2009 Old Vines Steen (Chenin Blanc).  It’s food-friendly and perfect for toasting any occasion – and it’s only 10 bucks!

I Love Stories, Thursday Nights, Pizza and…Wine!

Thursday night is a special night of the week in our house.  It usually involves catching up on all that’s going on in the worlds of a 1st and 2nd grader, 9 to 5 work stuff, DVR’ed Survivor, and a couple large pizzas with some wine to wash it all down.

Last week, my 1st grader was the proud recipient of a golden ticket to receive 1 free Pizza Hut personal pizza.  How did he receive such a marvelous prize, you ask?  It was a reward for dutifully reading 15 or more books over a 30-day span.  As you might imagine, he was quite pleased with his achievement and wanted to quickly cash in on his grand prize.  Now we don’t usually make our Thursday night pizza trek to “America’s Favorite Pizza” joint – but with his big brown eyes turning up the heat on me, I felt compelled to pick up the phone to call 1-800 – ‘The hut’.

When I got home from ‘The Hut’ with the pizzas, my son’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree as he opened up his prize.  While he was enjoying his reward, my wife and I mulled over what to drink with the large mushroom, pepperoni, and sausage pizza that was sitting in front of us.  Knowing that it was going to be a long night of eating and TV watching, I grabbed a 1.5l (i.e., 2 X 750ml) bottle of the 2008 Glen Ellen Proprietor’s Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel ($9.99, Sample).   It just seemed like an ideal fit for this particular laid-back evening.

The 2008 Glen Ellen Proprietor’s Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel isn’t an especially complex red Zin. However, it does offer just the right mouthful of slight sweet red berry and spice flavors to make it extremely compatible and gulpable with pizza.  Not bad for what works out to be 5 bucks per 750ml bottle.  Alone, this soft red Zin is a solid two stars on the WL365 rating scale; but feed it some cheese, dough and red sauce and it gets a whole lot closer to a 3 star rating.

2 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 Glen Ellen Proprietor’s Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel.  It’s a fine, inexpensive red for any pizza or spaghetti night with friends and family!

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