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Posts Tagged ‘2010’

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.

 

 

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! :)

 

Keepin’ It Light

I gotta a fever, I tell you.  Spring Fever!  It’s been one terrific week of warm temperatures in my neck of the woods; and I’m soooooo ready for Spring to arrive.  However, there’s one (not so) little thing that needs to be addressed before I break out my Speedo bathing suit.  Ewww…whah wa!??  :)   I kid…I kid, but I do need to do something about the old waistline before the hot weather arrives.

Sauvignon Blanc is just the wine to slice away those pounds!  Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly true, but it’s those Sauvignon Blancs that are bursting at the seams with intense acidity, massive grapefruit, lemon-lime and grassy flavors that make me want to eat lighter, simple meals.  Which is precisely what I need right now!

The 2010 William Cole Columbine Special Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Sample, MSRP: $15 US) from Chile’s Casablanca Valley, is full of that in-your-face high acidity rush that I love about Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s packed with intense grapefruit, lemon, lime and touch of peach on the finish.  Oh yeah – it’s also got some of that grassy, herbaceous component that makes you think that it might be from New Zealand rather than Chile.

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 William Cole Columbine Special Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.  It makes you crave the healthy stuff!  :)

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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