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Archive for October, 2011

Low Budget…Not Scary

Check out our top rated wines under $20 and save!

With what seems to be everlasting gloom and doom in the US economy, it’s nice to come across a feel-good story that offers a glimmer of hope.  I don’t have a story for you, but I do have a good piece of info to pass along.

Quite tasty is how I would describe the 2010 Concannon Vineyard Glen Ellen Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Grigio from California. (Sample, MSRP: 1.5L = $9.99 and 5 bones for a 750ml).  Not being someone who typically grabs for a bottle of Pinot Grigio, I was pleasantly surprised:  For about a buck a glass, you’ll get a refreshing wine with a slightly sweet burst of citrus and honeydew melon flavors that makes for a nice sipper.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 Concannon Vineyard Glen Ellen Proprietor’s Reserve Pinot Grigio.   Whether you’re a Pinot Grigio fan, or just like a light white wine – this is a low budget flick worth checking out.

Looking for something Low Budget AND Scary to watch after the trick-or-treaters have stopped banging on your door?  Check out SlasherCast and The Flickest for movie reviews that will be your guide to the scary stuff!  Happy Halloween!  :)

Contest Alert: Mondavi Prize Pack Giveaway

The 2011 Philadelphia Food & Wine Festival at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia will be taking place on October 21-23.  A highlight of the festival will be the Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour with special guest Ted Allen.  To share their excitement about the tour, Robert Mondavi Winery is offering a prize pack giveaway for one lucky WineLife365 reader.   The only thing you need to do to win the prize pack is make a guess on the total number of natural (i.e., cork) wine closures that I’ve got stashed in my WineLife365 “Estimation Station” (shown below) and like the Robert Mondavi Winery FaceBook Page.  That’s it!  The first person to guess the number of closures (without going over) wins the prize pack.

To Enter: 

  • The contest starts now and is open to anyone!
  • Place your guess in the Comment area of this post or the WineLife365 Facebook Page.  Please limit to 2 guesses.
  • Like the Robert Mondavi Winery FaceBook Page.
  • This contest will close at 12am ET on Saturday, October 22nd, 2012.

I will announce the correct number and the lucky winner shortly after the contest closes. 

Pack includes a Robert Mondavi chef’s apron, Sigg Steel water bottle, keychain, and a copy of Ted Allen’s The Food You Want to Eat cookbook. 

Press Release:

Now in its sixth year, the Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour is an interactive, educational, and fun event that brings the Napa Valley wine country experience to wine-lovers across the US at various food and wine festivals.  The Philadelphia Food & Wine Festival will feature cooking demonstrations and tips by Food Network Chopped host Ted Allen, a Robert Mondovi Private Selection Food & Wine Ambassador, who continues to engage with consumers and solve – and simplify – the food and wine pairing mystery.  Along with Ted at the Robert Mondavi Winery’s Napa-inspired tasting pavilion will be educational seminars and other interactive events all communicating Robert Mondavi’s message that wine is for everyone, not just connoisseurs and sommeliers.

Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour highlights include:

  • Educational Seminar – a Wine 101 class to help learn the basics on what to look for (and taste) in every bottle
  • Wine & Cooking Stage – get the taste buds going with demonstrations and tastings by local chefs and wine experts
  • Essence Station – put your senses to the test and learn how to appreciate wines subtle aromas
  • Interactive iPad – email recipes and wine pairings, see photos, sign up for Winery news, and view tasting notes all at the touch of a button
  • Mondavi Theater – watch a short documentary film showcasing how Robert Mondavi revolutionized the American wine industry 

Robert Mondavi Official Site
Mondavi on Twitter
Philadelphia Food & Wine Festival

Everyday, Affordable, Good…and Bordeaux?

Ok, what word in this title doesn’t quite fit?  If you said, “Bordeaux” – give yourself a big attaboy (or girl) and slap yourself on the butt!  Most wine drinkers (at least the ones I know) wouldn’t include ALL of these words in a sentence meant to describe wines from one of the most storied wine regions.  In an effort to change this perception and to elevate awareness about reasonably priced (i.e., under $20) Bordeaux wines available in the US, the folks at Planet Bordeaux initiated a campaign to educate, share and showcase examples of what Bordeaux, and in particular Bordeaux Supérieur AOC wines, has to offer consumers in the under $20 category.

Yesterday, we decided to try the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge and the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge with grilled salmon and a thick piece of grilled steak .  

The first wine we tasted was the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge (Sample, MSRP: $13 US).

Right off the bat – before ever seeing the vintage date on the label – I thought to myself, “this wine has seen a few moons.”   Reason being that the color of the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge was a tad cloudy and had a dull ruby color to it.  That being said, though, we don’t judge any wine by how pretty it looks in the glass – it’s all about how it tastes.  As my wife and I tasted the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge, I commented several times that it tasted a bit tired; it was not at all vibrant and tasted one-dimensional to me.  Made of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, it lacked any interesting herbal and spice flavors.  I kept it open for a few hours, in hopes of tasting some violet and black currants; unfortunately, over the course of the evening, I just couldn’t find them.  2 Stars out of 4 for the 2006 Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge.

Our second rouge of the evening was the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge (Sample, MSRP: $15 US).

Like the Château Cablanc Bordeaux Rouge, the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge is comprised of 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Unlike the first red, though, the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge exhibited a beautiful vibrant ruby color.  How did it taste?  This claret coats your entire palate – front, middle and end – with raspberry, strawberry, cloves, violets and black current.  AND…I absolutely loved the chewy tannins gripping my teeth and gums with every sip!  Now this is what I was hoping to discover in an everyday-sipper, red Bordeaux!  3 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 Château Majoureau Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge.

For more information on these and other Bordeaux wines check out

Poor Man’s Chef: Pod People

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Ambulance Driver: We had to dig him out from under the most peculiar things I ever saw.
Dr. Hill: What things?
Ambulance Driver: Well, I don’t know what they are, I never saw them before. They looked like great big seed pods.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1956

It’s official – I have a serious problem:  it’s called edamame obsession. 

My first experiences with these beautiful green pods were by way of visits to local Japanese Fusion restaurants.  Now, I make regular trips to Trader Joe’s to keep an endless supply in my freezer!  Since my indoctrination into the pod people cult, I’ve been popping these cheap, salty little buggers in my mouth every chance I get.  However, there are two problems with this:

  1. ADDICTION (duh!)
  2. They produce hallucinogenic images in my mind of what is supposed to come next…an amazing assortment of sushi!! 

Well, I’m screwed there – take note:  Poor Man’s Chef, not Sushi Chef.  Miso soup?  Umm, nope.  Bento box filled with beef and chicken teriyaki?  No dice there, either.  On most days I usually have some beef or chicken lying around just waiting to be lacquered with coats of teriyaki, but not tonight – our little minka had zilch.

So what did we have?

Much like every other weeknight, I rummaged through the fridge and freezer, searched through cabinets and spice racks to find something good enough to satisfy the craving.   I was in dire need of finding something that would fulfill the fantastical images that were floating around in my head of what should come next after sipping on a well-deserved gin and tonic and devouring a 20-inch high pile of steaming hot edamame covered in garlic salt and black pepper.  

In my search, I discovered:

  • 1pkg. of frozen grilling chorizo sausage
  • 1 yellow onion
  • ¼ bag of mixed frozen peppers
  • 2 handfuls of fresh snow peas
  • 1 handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 ready cooked Jimmy Dean turkey sausage links
  • 3 slices of deli-sliced sweet honey ham
  • Dry cilantro, fresh black and white pepper, and salt from the spice rack

Wine?  Hell yeah!!  I always have some of that sitting around.

Ok, so not exactly sushi delight, but you‘ll definitely find this three-step dinner to be pretty tasty:

  1. Grill chorizo sausage.
  2. Char all the other ingredients on the list in a hot pan coated with olive oil.
  3. Lay a couple of pieces of grilled chorizo sausage down on a plate and top with the charred ingredients from step 2.

Hoping that it would hit the mark, like the 2007 Calcu Red Blend, I paired my Spanish-inspired dish with the 2008 Calcu Carmenere Reserva (Sample, MSRP: $15 US).   Made from 100% Carmenere grapes grown in Chile’s central Colchagua Valley, this tight red needed a shot of coldness to loosen up its smoky grip.  So I decided to take it with me on the deck while I was grilling the sausage, and fed it a cool autumn breeze for about 20 minutes.

After giving it a little jolt, the 2008 Calcu Carmenere Reserva expressed penetrating flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and black currants, along with gripping tannins.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 Calcu Carmenere Reserva.

Cheers!  I’m off for my next edamame score! :)

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