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Archive for January, 2011

Big Bing Bling

The word lien means “silver metal” in the Mapuche language.  The 2006 Viña Maquis Lien Red Blend from Chile dazzles with a glitzy display of big black cherry and raspberry flavors (a rush of raspberry, actually); touched with a slight hint of sweet tobacco and red licorice on the mid-palate that continues all the way through to its chunky medium-weight finish.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2006 Viña Maquis Lien (MSRP: $19, sample)At less than 20 bucks a pop, you won’t have to hock your unwanted silver jewelry at the American Jewelry and Loan to enjoy this flashy blend of 42% Syrah, 30% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 7% Malbec. 

Editorial Note: Exercise a little self-control with this wine:  don’t be too eager to just pop and pour!  Give it some time to cool off before measuring its true value.

Keep Your Eye on the Blonde Headed Step Child!

I said it once and I’ll say it again:  Concannon Vineyard, in the heart of California’s Livermore Valley, is turning out some very solid (and affordable) Chardonnay! 

Known by many for their Petite Sirah, this winery’s expanding line-up has hit the sweet spot with its 2009 Glen Ellen Proprietor’s Reserve Chardonnay, especially when looking at it from a quality/price standpoint.  For $9.99/1.5L (Sample), Chardonnay lovers are greeted to a harmonious combination of apple, pear and butterscotch flavors – with just the right amount of oak that doesn’t leave you with the lingering aftertaste of tree bark in your mouth.  :)

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2009 Glen Ellen Proprietor’s Reserve Chardonnay.  There’s more to like at Concannon Vineyards these days than just the Petite Sirah…

A Job for ‘Big Joe’ or ‘Big Carl’ in NYC

If you watch the ABC sitcom Cougar Town, then you know exactly “who” I’m talking about…HILARIOUS!!

Do you love wine?  Do you love it by the gallons?  If you answered yes to either one of these questions, then you might want to consider packing up ‘Big Joe’ or ‘Big Carl’ along with a few of your favorite wine drinking buds and head to the Big Apple for the 4th Annual New York Wine Expo.  It’s a 2-day wine event that’s open to the public on February 25th and the 26th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Drinkers Tasters will be treated to more than 600 wines from over 150 winemakers from around the globe.  Who knows, maybe you’ll have a chance to taste some cool Brazilian wines, possibly the mysterious Greek white known as Moschofilero, or some other less familiar gems like we did at this very event last year.

If you’d like to find out more about this great wine event, check out the website; and be sure to use promo code WINELIFE at the checkout line.  It’s good for $10 off your admission price on Friday or Saturday, but it expires on 2/18.

My wife and I will be going again this year, so if you see us – be sure to say hello!

By the way, my wife has a word of advice for the ladies:  keep your high heels or whatever other form of footwear that you deem as being “cute” at home because they don’t look particularly fabulous when they’re filled up with wet, sloppy, gray slush (if it snows again)…not to mention, you will be on your feet all day!


Back to Normalcy: Fancy Dinner Friday and…Death??

For nearly six weeks now, it seems that my family and I have been living under a thick down blanket of endless holiday bliss together.  Now that Kris Kringle and Dick Clark have both said their goodbyes to 2010, we are ready to get back to our familiar Friday night business, otherwise known as Fancy Dinner Friday.

The first Fancy Dinner Friday of 2011 was extra special because of the excitement that was exuding from our youngest son:  his birthday was the next day!  Even if you don’t have kids, imagine yourself as a soon-to-be 7-year-old coming off the high of receiving tons of presents from Santa and your family; and now, only 3 weeks later, it’s going to happen all over again…sans Santa.  Our boy was quite excited about the thought of receiving another pile of gifts, or possibly a few greenbacks to fund his romps to Game Stop or for a future toy shopping excursion.  In addition to this, he was giddy with thoughts of the party planned for the next evening:  a special Hollywood themed party with a first-time V.I.P. showing of E.T., pizza, and a specially requested chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and fudge icing!  What can I say, the kid is just bonkers for REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups; and this cake is like one gigantic Peanut Butter Cup explosion.  Combine that with a cute little space alien (who happens to like Reece’s Pieces) and you’ve got a party! :)

So on the eve of this most special day, my wife decided that it was time to discuss with our soon-to-be 7-year-old and his older brother something very serious.  Was the topic of tonight’s dinner-table conversation going to be about being thankful for and not taking for granted all of the wonderful blessings that we shared over the holidays?  No.  Maybe, it was to remind our little guy to show appreciation towards everyone that will be at his party, and to say “Thank You” for the presents that he receives.  Nope, not that one either. 

On this special evening, my wife decided it was time to talk about about…DEATH.  Yikes Mom…really?!  In all fairness to my wife, it’s something that we’ve been meaning to discuss with the kids ever since one of our much loved (but aging) cats  needed to make an emergency visit to the Vet recently.  Needless to say, it did not go over as expected.  While our older boy inquired about burying the cat in the backyard and headstones, the ecstatic soon-to-be 7year-old was nearly brought to tears.  New topic Mom…please!  Back to the birthday conversation…

With tombstones in our heads, I thought it was time to grab for another stone that would bring us back to happier images:  like our special birthday boy and that cool old cat I was telling you about – both enjoying their spaghetti and meatballs dinner. 

The 2007 Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Merlot (Sample, MSRP $20 US) is a very pleasing California Merlot that showcases rich, silky-smooth flavors of cocoa, dark red fruits, and spice.  In the winemaking process, the 2007 Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Merlot starts out in stainless steel and is then transferred to a combination of new and seasoned French, American, and Hungarian oak barrels to age an additional 20 months.  This interesting fermentation process gives it added structure and a medium-length finish on the backend. 

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2007 Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Merlot.  It offered a cheerful lift to the weighty conversation, mellowed out nicely with our spaghetti and meatballs dinner, and was even better with the baked macaroni and cheese balls sprinkled with nutmeg that we had later!

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