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Archive for the ‘Reviews-Wine’ Category

Fuggedaboutit

“Labor Day could be a washout across parts of the East, but that may only be the beginning…” AccuWeather.com.

In New York City, showers have dampened the holiday festivities Monday morning, followed by overcast skies and more rain in the afternoon and into the night hours.”  TheWeatherChannel.com.

“The remnants of Isaac will slowly crawl towards the East Coast spoiling outdoor plans along its journey this weekend. Just the opposite will hold true in the West; a showery start will turn out sunny and pleasant by the end to the Labor Day holiday.”   WeatherBug Meteorologist, John Bateman.

Yep, all those dismal weather forecasts were spot on.  It was nothing but grim darkness and showers, nearly the entire Labor Day weekend, for us East Coasters. 

But you know what?  I kind of loved it, in a strange way…

Nothing to do all weekend but lay around, listening to the rain smacking against the house,  flooding the gutters and washing  down the driveway into the grass and flowerbeds.  Nothing to do except hang out with the family, play some games, and curl up on the sofa to watch some “quality” TV with Mrs. WineLife365 and the kids.

Not a thing in the world to do, but soak up some quiet time and turn a Labor Day cookout into an impromptu cook-in.  You gotta keep up your energy when you’re doin’ nothing, right?!  :)

What to eat…what to eat?  How about a  little homemade (homemade by the local deli department) roasted vegetable and grain salad, lemon orzo w/pine nuts, and sesame noodle salad partnered with my indoor creation of grilled lemon-lime-nutmeg-Montreal-and-bbq seasoning rubbed chicken!  

While checking out the wine stash in my cellar (aka, closet with a rack in it):  I came across the perfect bottle to celebrate our impromptu east coast cook-in.

Producing 8,000 cases annually, Heritage Vineyards of Richwood, in the Dirty Jerz, is cranking out some terrific grade-A juice.  The 2009 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX (Sample, MSRP: $70 US) truly earns its “reserve” status:  only 119 cases of this Jerseylicious juice were made.  The ‘09 BDX  cuvée consists of 70% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and is aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months.  Notables on this red include:  black cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper, toasted oak…and it was the shit with the stovetop grilled chicken and  lemon orzo w/pine nuts.  What an extra special treat to end a long, rainy weekend on an exceptionally high note!!

With only 119 cases produced, it’s probably all gone by now.  But guess what?!  The 2010 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX ($70 US) is available now in the winery’s tasting room; and it ranked 3rd in the Judgment of Princeton*, just behind the 2004 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild ($650 US) and 2004 Chateau Haut-Brion ($650 US)!

*The Judgment of Princeton, was a structured blind tasting of top New Jersey wines pitted against top French wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy.  The event was based on the famous 1976 wine book, Judgment of Paris, and it took place at Princeton University on Friday, June 8, 2012.

The Kids Are Alright…Are We?

Once a year, our kids take a vacation to get away from us.

Well, that’s not entirely true…

You see, every year during the first week in July, since our sons were toddlers, my parents take them to the beach…without us!  Time on the beach, boat rides, water slides, bumper cars and junk food…the whole nine yards for one entire week. 

With all of the day-to-day commotion that takes place in our house – the kids, the dog, the laptops, television, video games and constant tomfoolery – it’s hard enough to hear what we’re saying to each other, let alone hearing yourself think.

It’s funny, though:  my wife and I start out excited to have some alone time, but by mid-week we miss them like crazy!  Nevertheless, Kristi and I do, in fact, get to spend some quality time together, which includes having more time to try new wines!  :)

One of the most intriguing wines that we sampled, when the kids were away, was the 2008 M Trignon White (MSRP: $23.99 US).  This wine is from Chateau Du Trignon, which is nestled at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail in Gigondas, France.  The 2008 M Trignon White is made up of 100% Muscat, and it packs one heck of a concentrated sweet/dessert wine punch!  Right off the bat, you might think you’re drinking a French Sauterne. Fermented in stainless steel and cold stabilized to preserve freshness, this wine just oozes in sweet honey, honeysuckle, apricots, lemon and peach flavors.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 M Trignon White.  It’s crazy-syrupy-sweet, cheaper than most Sauternes, and it comes in a rather interesting, perfumey-looking bottle.  It’s perfect for those who would rather drink dessert than eat it.

Another wine, which was a bit off the beaten path for us, was the 2010 Domaine Houchart Rosé (Sample, MSRP: $12 US) from Domaine Houchart which is owned by the Quiot family from France’s famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  The thing that drew me to this wine was its interesting blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault.  This summer sipper possesses a lot of nice acidity that makes it a pair well with many different food combinations.

I paired it with a thinly sliced spicy grilled chicken breast topped with fresh bruschetta and shaved parmesan cheese.  The soft strawberry, lavender and minerally finish paired nicely with this dish, however it wasn’t quite enough to give it 2 big thumbs up.

2 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 Domaine Houchart Rosé.  This Rosé definitely shows its best characteristics around foods with a little gusto and spice:  it’s a no-brainer with barbecue.

 

 

Poor Man’s Chef: The Machinist

Ivan:  Oh, no. You look like you seen a ghost.
Trevor Reznik:  Funny you should say that.  The guys at work don’t think you exist.
Ivan:  That’s why I can’t get a raise.

I know it’s been a while since the last post, so I will answer some of the questions I’ve been asked:

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.
Yes, I’m still drinking wine.
Yes, I still write a blog.

And just in case you’re wondering…no, this isn’t a movie review of The Machinist.

There have been a number of new things going on in the WineLife365 household that have served to cause quite a distraction.  Mostly good stuff, though!  Most recently, we’re finishing up a bathroom remodel.  Now I won’t lie to you:  I’m not doing the work, but it did make me think about my cooking skills.  You see, I’ve built (or repaired) all types of dinner specials,” and I’ve become quite the Journeyman at manufacturing some highly delicious salads.  Like this one…

Like a good machinist, I start by laying out all of my variable parts:

  • Baby Romaine Lettuce
  • Red Onion
  • Portabella Mushrooms
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • Leftover grilled London Broil
  • Briannas Chipotle Cheddar Dressing

Next, I grab a sharp knife and make all the necessary precision cuts for easy consumption.  Finally, I use all my “milling around in the wine closet knowledge” to come up with what I hope will be a highly acceptable application to my Cowboy Salad.

My die to put the stamp on this creation?

The 2008 Anka (Sample, MSRP: $20 US) from Chile!  Made from organically grown grapes, it’s a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 7% Carmenere, 4% Syrah and 1% Petit Verdot.  Whoa…that’s quite a list, but it added up to 100% delicious!

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2008 Anka.  With its humongous smoky black cherry, green bell pepper, black currant, black pepper and roasted almond flavor, it was the perfect choice to complete this meal.  

So Meaty!

Now I wouldn’t call myself a straight up carnivorous caveman, but from time to time our grill and dining room have been known to look like a scene from one of those Brazilian Steakhouses.  If you’ve never been to one, I’ve got two words for you:  MEAT…RELENTLESS!

As I was saying, we were having our own Fogo de Chao-esque dining experience the other night and needed a couple of reds to wash down all that charred BBQ meat.

For starters, we had the 2009 Viña Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon (Sample, MSRP: $20 US).   Check out the mug on this label!  :)

He sure looks raring to go with our hunk of beef. 

Consisting of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, this tasty red is the product of 100% hand-picked fruit.  50% of this wine was aged for 10 months in second and third-use French oak barrels.  The 2009 Viña Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon was like throwing a chunk of milk chocolate, ripe dark fruit and a handful herbs down on our big ‘ol steer.

3 Stars out of 4 for this tasty, chunky madness.  So meaty!

But, ay caramba!!  Our second red wine of the evening was superb with those succulent juicy slices of beef.  That red was the 2009 Viña Maquis Carmenère (Sample, MSRP: $20).

Unlike the richer style Cabernet that we tried polished off, this red just calmly and steadily thumped our taste buds from start to finish.  Made with 100% estate grown Carmenère (also hand-picked), this red showcases brilliant sweet raspberry, chased by cinnamon and black pepper from the very first sip!

3 Stars out 4 for the 2009 Viña Maquis Carmenère.  It’s succulent and super cool.  Shit man – not even a dirty-good horseradish infused cheese spread could break this Carmenère’s stride.  :)   So meaty!

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