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Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’

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!

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  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!


25 Days of Christmas: Day 19

On this 19th day of my 25 Days of Christmas, I present to you a really badass, New World style wine that will appeal to a wide spectrum of red wine lovers:  the 2009 PlumpJack Syrah ($50 US) from Napa Valley, California.  The Spirit of Christmas is about sharing and being together. This special red can bring together and unite lovers of Pinot Noir, and those that love bold and rich Cabernet Sauvignon.

This red wine also made me think of Christmas Past.  Well, not Christmas exactly…

It brought me all the way back to September 2000 – our second jaunt to Napa and Sonoma Wine Country – when we experienced a 5.2 earthquake.  Scared the living shit out us, I tell you! 

But it was also on that very same trip that I discovered and fell in love with PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon.  I could have drunk it morning, noon and night…if my liver, wallet and wife would have allowed me!  This particular trip to California Wine Country was extra special because my brother-in-law and another friend of ours were also there to help us drink and explore…one tasting room at a time.  On the last day of our trip, my brother-in-law presented me with a bottle of 1997 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve as a special gift that he secretly purchased for me while we picnicked at PlumpJack Winery.  I gotta say, I’ve loved that guy ever since!!  And I still have that very bottle that just might get opened when he’s in town this weekend!  :)

Back to Christmas Present.

What makes the 2009 PlumpJack Syrah such a badass wine, is that it finds this halfway point where all the great things you love about Pinot Noir can cheer and sing with all the wonderful things of a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Like any great Cab, the 2009 PlumpJack Syrah is big, ooey-gooey rich and chewy inside.  Yet, this Syrah is very bright with a tad of tarty-sweetness, reminiscent of a fantastic Pinot.  It has the perfect amount of mouthful flavors – delicious plum, strawberry, licorice, black currents, clove, dark chocolate and vanilla – to pair with just about any holiday meal.  It will keep you puckering up and licking your chops from start to finish, and is sure to please all of the red wine lovers sitting at your table.

25 Days of Christmas: Day 17

Thus far in the WineLife365 25 Days of Christmas countdown, I’ve shared with you some terrific wine choices, under $20, for holiday parties, marathon wrapping sessions, and even a cookie/wine pairing.  With Christmas now only 8 days away, it’s time to intensify the countdown.  If you’re a frantic, harried procrastinator like me, shopping for last–minute Christmas gifts, then you don’t have time to mess around with bargain shopping.  You need something amazing NOW!  So for the remaining shopping days, it’s only 100% totally badass wines…regardless of price! You can worry about that credit card bill later, when it arrives next month.

The first badass is the 2007 Bodega DiamAndes de Uco Gran Reserva (Sample: $42 US) from Argentina.  Take a close look at the label on this red wine:  it’s got a big ole sparkling diamond – the size of the rock that Kris Humphries gave to Kim Kardashian – on the front.

The 2007 Bodega DiamAndes de Uco Gran Reserva is a luxurious treat of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s an avalanche of blackberry, black cherry, plum, black currants, black pepper, leather, roasted almonds (breathe…breathe…), and finally some vanilla.  And the finish?  Let’s put it this way – it lasted way longer than that Humphries-Kardashian union.

Expect at least 10 “atta boys” and 5 high fives from your peeps thanking you for bringing such a great bottle of wine.  There are only 3,500 cases to go around, making this gift even more special!

Stay tuned for more tomorrow! :)

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