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Posts Tagged ‘2009’

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.

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.

Don’t Call It A Comeback

Well, how you doin’?  I know, I know…it’s been forever since my last post.  I could provide you with a host of excuses for my mysterious disappearance -  some interesting and others not so interesting – but what’s the point?  Let’s move on and talk about LOVE!  What about it, you ask??

The simple truth of the matter is that I’ve fallen in L-O-V-E:  not with one, but with 2 very special things since the start of 2012.

I’ll describe my first love of 2012 as restoration from devastation.  After 15 years with our beloved cats, they both passed away within weeks of one another at the end of 2011.  Noodle, our terrific alley cat who loved Fancy Dinner Friday and a big old plate of spaghetti and meatballs, passed away just before Thanksgiving.  Then to our complete shock (just a few weeks later) Noodle’s housemate and our soft and cuddly roomie, Church (who bore a striking resemblance to the cat from Pet Sematery), also passed away.  We bawled and then bawled some more all the way through the holidays. 

Shortly after the first of the year, my kids pulled me aside to ask the question, “Dad, can we have another pet?”  “What do you have in mind…a kitten…a litter of kittens?” I asked.  “No. Can we have a DOG this time?”  I did what every good father would do in this instance:  I turned to them and said, “Umm…I dunno, talk to your mother.”

A few mornings later, as we were waking up, my wife asked, “Can we get the kids a dog?”

I couldn’t believe it?!  They got to her.  The person who said that we would NEVER have another pet.  BRAINWASHED.  My immediate response:  “Are YOU going to get up at 4:30 in the morning to take it out?”  As far as she was concerned, that was the end of the conversation.

Later that day, something came over me and I thought to myself that it wouldn’t hurt to check out some cute dogs on Petfinder.com.  I sent my wife a couple links of some cute dogs, and that was the end of it:  A Mom’s love for her boys kicked into full gear.

It sure didn’t take her very long to track down the cutest, sweetest little doggie in the whole wide world to join our family and fill that open void in our hearts.  Nothing like gushing and being a proud new daddy (and all it took was a little coaxing :) )…

Meet the newest addition to our family, Billie.

Look at that cutie! 

We adopted Billie from Paula’s Dog House, a dog rescue in Mount Olive, NJ.  She was aptly named by the people at the rescue:  she has the cutest underbite that sort of makes her look like a little billy goat.  We’re not quite sure what breed she is, but whatever she is there might be some bunny rabbit mixed in since she loves to hop up and down the stairs!  ;)    What else can I say  – she’s adorable, super friendly, and a great new addition to our family!  Something tells me that you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about Billie. :)

Not a pet person?  Well I have another true love that has recently entered my life.  The second love is a kitchen super-tool that every aspiring master or top chef needs:  a pressure cooker!! 

After watching countless episodes of cooking shows last year, I decided that I needed to take my Poor Man’s Chef Creations to a whole new level.  I became infatuated with pressure cookers and begged my wife and friends for one of these nifty kitchen devices.  So what makes a pressure cooker so damn great you ask?  Well, imagine cooking something in an hour (or less!) that would take a crockpot/slow cooker all day. 

Ask and you shall receive!  The pressure cooker that I received as a gift was the Fagor Futuro 10-Qt. Stovetop Pressure Cooker.  One word for you – AMAZING!!

It’s even inspired my wife to get down, MasterChef Style!  It’s dishes like this one that make us want to use it nearly every night of the week.  Chicken Adobo!

Here’s a link to the recipe.

I decided to give our chicken adobo dish a go with two different wines:  the 2010 Morro Bay Split Oak Vineyard Sur Lie Chardonnay from California (Sample, MSRP: $11 US) and the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (Sample, MSRP: $16 US).  I figured the sweetness of the molasses would be a good fit for a Chardonnay.  Why the Cabernet Sauvignon?  Well…just because I was feelin’ Cabernet.

Brimming with tropical fruits such as fig, papaya and pineapples, the 2010 Morro Bay Split Oak Vineyard Sur Lie Chardonnay had bright acidity with a touch of sweet spices that was a perfect complement to this chicken adobo recipe. 

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 Morro Bay Split Oak Vineyard Sur Lie ChardonnayNot oaky in the least – it worked perfectly with this chicken dish, but would have been just as enjoyable all by itself.

For the red wine, I opted for the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for no other reason besides wanting a Cabernet – you know how that goes.  :)

I’ve reviewed several Los Vascos wines before and have found them to be reliable, go-to wines.  However, there was something different about the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was the first Cabernet Sauvignon that I’ve tasted from Los Vascos that teetered a little too much (for me) into that juicy-sweet New World style.  The 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon delivers a sweet flow of cherries, blackberries, cinnamon and chocolate flavors from start to finish.

2 Stars out of 4 for the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  I tasted this Cab over the course of three days with similar results:  it made me want to search through cabinets looking for the half-eaten Whitman’s Sampler that was leftover from the holidays.

Here’s to great new beginnings!

 

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