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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!

Went Wrong

If you’re a serious food and wine lover, then chances are you’re familiar with both the Food Network and Wente Vineyards

Recently, the world’s premier food and lifestyle network teamed up with one of the most respected wineries in California’s Livermore Valley to create a collection of wines called Entwine.   The central idea behind this interesting name is “the coming together of extraordinary things.”

Sadly, my very first taste of the 2009 Entwine Pinot Grigio (MSRP:  $13 US) was a far cry from extraordinary.  This white wine delivered a mouthful (as well as a nose full) of sawdust and super-tart Granny Smith apples.  Fortunately, the finish was extra short.

1 Star out of 4 for the 2009 Entwine Pinot Grigio.  I was left scratching my head wondering how this wine went so extraordinarily wrong.   

*Note:  I tried this wine over the course of three consecutive days with the same results.

Holy Kale!?

Kale…isn’t that for garnishing plates?  I don’t know about you, but I never considered including kale on my shopping list.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a grudge against this green cabbage – honestly! It’s just one of those green leafy vegetables that I passed en route to the romaine lettuce or mixed greens.  Maybe a side effect of my upbringing:  salads consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, Ba-Cos and French dressing.

But on one magnificent day, on a jaunt to Whole Foods with my brother-in-law, life changed:  he made the most delicious kale salad for my wife and me!

Checkout this out!

A kale salad mixed with beets, carrots, crumbled bleu cheese, quinoa, walnuts and topped with an Asian Ginger Vinaigrette (I like this one) - freakin’ delicious!!  Since that day, I’ve been hooked and make this salad quite frequently now.

To accompany this healthy goodness, I recommend a sensational Riesling…and I’ve got the perfect one for you!

Made from 100% Riesling, the 2010 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling from Alsace, France is a delicious mouthful of dried apricots, sour apple, and almond with the swagger of flinty Alsatian terroir (plant roots are parked in part soil and part bedrock to give it that twang).  Wildly incredible wine with this kale salad!

4 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling (Sample, MSRP: $15 US).

A huge thank you to my brother-in-law for introducing me to the world of kale and for broadening my salad horizons.  Lookout okra – you’re next! :)

 

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