Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have been digging on Rose' lately....could be the weather: hot and humid! They seem to work really well with a sweet and some times spicy dish. I will report back with some different ones I have tried and enjoyed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back for now

Been over a week and I really must get a bit more disciplined in writing or this will just slowly die away. Made it back from Albany last Friday and heading down to Louisiana on Thursday. Looking forward to some crawfish and beer. Not expecting any mind blowing wines down south, but you never know.

Got lots of wines to talk about so let's jump right in. Finally broke down and tried the Pinot Grigio from Yellowtail (2009). I am completely baffled as to what people see in this winery. I have tried various grapes and various vintages and have yet to find one I would call a "good value" or "true to the grape" as I read from time to time. This time around was no different. This wine had some good fruit on the nose with a little pear. However, I found the wine very acidic and a bit chewy. VERY far from what I would consider a Pinot. I would say it is a bit over priced at $7 a bottle.

A good stand by for company on any evening is the 2008 Bodega Septima Malbec. This is a big wine out of Argentina at only $9 a bottle. It possesses a deep red color and a bit of alcohol on the nose which results a hint of alcohol on the palate. The big fruit on the nose comes through with black cherries, raspberries, and plum on the palate. This wine shows some soft tannins and a long finish. I believe this wine could do well with a bit of time in the cellar. An exceptional buy.

The 2008 Dacu 100% Tempranillo out of Spain should be given very little thought and time here. This wine smelled of a truck driver finishing up a cross country trip with no shower in sight. Little caramel and lot of burn on the palate. Very little fruit and very little interest on my part.

Finally got around to trying the 2008 Los Vacos Cabernet from Chile. This wine was an offering from the Vineyard owned by Baron De Rothchild (Lafite). From the initial pour it showed bright red in color and light fruit on the nose as well as a hint of dirt. Big tannins all over this wine but with a lot of balance. The initial alcohol burn dissipated after the wine was allowed to breathe for a bit. Overall not a bad buy at $10.

As usual, might as well save the best for last. The 2006 Rosenblum Cellars Lodi Syrah Abba Vineyard is by far one of the best wines I have had in quite some time. I am not a huge fan of other Rosenblum offerings. This wine is deep red in color with nice fresh fruit on the nose. HUGE tannins, very complex, and well balanced. Lots of black cherry and spices on the palate. Long can still get those tannins and fruits well after your sip is gone from your mouth. This is a big wine and probably not for everyone. Buy and enjoy!

The sun is shining even though it a bit chilly today. Throwing some cheese stuffed burgers on the grill this evening that may just go well with a nice Zin from California. Looking to be a beautiful week...the summer is drawing near!!! Until next time......

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seared equals Well done?!?!?!

I am in Albany, NY for the week for work. With no real dinner plans, I decided to hit the local Macaroni Grill where I know they have OK wine and a somewhat healthy entrée. I ordered the Scallops and Spinach Salad which I have enjoyed in the past. What I got this evening was nothing like the dish I was served a few months back.

The description on the menu is as follows: Seared seas scallops with fresh spinach wilted and tossed with aged prosciutto, roasted garlic, fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Where do I begin? The scallops were far from seared and the spinach had not seen a source of heat since being opened from their plastic bag and dumped on my plate. However, the prosciutto along with the scallops spent a LOT of quality time with the fire. This was more like WELL done scallops with burnt prosciutto, roasted garlic and fresh spinach. I guess I should try to find something nice about the meal....the garlic was perfect.

All in all the night was not a complete bust. I had a 2008 Ruffino Pinot Grigio Lumina to accompanying the meal. This wine was quite a delight. Fruity on the palate and lightly effervescent. It retails around $10 a bottle (although I paid $7.49 a glass) making it quite a steal. Hopefully tonights meal was not a foreshadowing of meals to come this week on the road. Fingers crossed that lunch makes up for dinner tomorrow. Ciao for now.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Death by pollen

The unseasonably warm weather this week is wreaking havoc on my sinuses. Thought I would be OK this year, but it finally hit me full force today. I must press ahead.

Crab cakes on the grill...unsuccessful. Although they cooked through, they did not develop the crispy outer shell and never stayed together once they were done. That would be one for the books.

Few wines to discuss and we can start with the two whites. The 2006 Folonari Soave is a light Italian wine. Soave wines are dry white wines from the Veneto region in northeast Italy. This one in particular was true to form: dry, clean and crisp. It would do well with seafood or a simple pasta dish as well as on it's own as an aperitif.

Just after watching Gary V's episode on Chenin blanc, I decided to branch our from my favorite Chenin blanc/Viognier blend from Pine Ridge and try one from South Africa. The 2008 Herding Cats from the Western Cape is a Chenin blanc/Chardonnay blend. This is a very well rounded wine with a nice balance of acidity and fruit. It presented a taste of green apple and fig on the palate. I found more characteristics of a Chenin blanc in this wine rather than the Chardonnay. Unfortunately the label did not indicate the percentage used of each grape. One of the best things I liked most about this wine was the price: $5!

Lastly, I took a chance on an inexpensive Pinot Noir: 2008 Estancia from Monterey. I am always apprehensive with Pinot Noir to begin with. They are either good or bad and I have yet to find one right in the middle. Then there is the price. Fortunately I have had those rare occasions to stumble across a really decent Pinot Noir at a substantially low price (2008 Red Tree $8.99 and Brownstone which was a non-vintage Pinot from California $7.19). However, this particular one is close to the middle as I have seen to date. It is a very light bodied wine with lots of fruit on the nose. There is a distinctive taste that is not quite skittles and not quite star burst....cherry chewy??? Is there such a thing? All in all an fair wine, but I would go with Brownstone or the 2008 Red Tree if I was looking to save some money and still enjoy that Pinot Noir taste.

Decent start to the weekend, sun shining albeit a little colder. Grilling pizza tonight and which may pair well with a Carmenere. This varietal, primarily used in blends, is now starting to gain in popularity and closely resembles a Malbec in taste. If you are looking to give one a go, try the 2008 Lapostolle...full bodied, bit of spice, and lots of tannins!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blister in the Sun

It has been a hot one in Maryland the last few days and today appears to be no different. One thing the hot weather has encouraged me to do is grill, grill, grill! Last night we did a portobello mushroom burger with a cucumber salad. The burger basically consists of a grilled portobello cap with a kalamata/tomato/feta/roasted red pepper mixture on top. Very easy to make and very tasty.

Tonight I am going to attempt crab cakes on the grill. I have done this numerous times inside on a grill pan, but never once on the grill outside. We shall see how my attempt goes. In addition, I am going to test freezing a few that have been cooked. Not sure how well they will freeze, but with the amount of crab meat I have and only 2 people eating, I gotta do something!

OK, let's see what has been going on in the wine department. Recently I tried the Barefoot Cuvee Brut. I have to admit for the price this is not a bad sparkling wine. Somewhat sweet, but can work well with a number of dishes. Also their Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are excellent everyday whites and ~$7 a bottle, that can't be beat!

The other wine to note was a 2007 Sola Fred produced by Celler el Masroig in the Montsant region of Spain. I noticed one site described this wine as a pleasing, well-rounded Spanish wine. I have to admit I found it a pleasing, well-rounded piece of crap! Although it presented some vibrant fruit on the nose and some acidity on the palate, it was too earthy and all over the place when tasting. Not one I would recommend.

With that being said, I am off to plan my garden and see what plants I can find to get things started. Until next time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Good Monday?

I started out with good intentions and now it is a few days later. However, with no followers yet, who the hell cares!

Tried the Spiegelau glasses and was thoroughly satisfied. The vino-grande burgundy glass has an adequately sized bowl, stem not too long & transitions to bowl quite nice, narrows enough at the top and is thin enough to not take anything away from the wine at hand. Since my last posting I tried a Zin, a Cab, and a petite syrah in the glass. All showed beautifully and drank well.

At a tasting on Saturday, a 2006 Rosenblum Lodi Syrah was poured. Out of all the recent Rosenblum selections I have tried recently, this one was by far the best. It was deep ruby in color, a fruity nose as well as a fruit forward taste. It possessed a well balanced tanic structure and I feel could drink well over the next few years. THIS was all gathered from a plastic cup. I cannot wait to have a try in an actual glass.

The sun is shining and calling me to come sit outside. Tonight on the table will be Grilled Chicken & Polenta with a Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa. Not sure if I should go white or sparkling, but either should complement the meal well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day one or something like that

So where do we start. Guess I am kind of late to the game of starting a blog...maybe fashionably late. Who blogs anymore? This has been replaced by Twitter via Facebook via MySpace....etc. ANYWAY, I envision this a way to vent...rant....let completely bored people know what I am doing and maybe push some good food and wine along the way. Right now I am sitting in the sun and patiently waiting to try out my new Spiegelau wine glasses that came in the mail just a bit ago. I am done with my stemless phase and looking to move back to stemmed glasses, but would like to try a different route than Riedel this time. Spiegelau seem to be highly rated and I thought a direct competitor to Riedel until it came to my attention that Riedel actually bought Spiegelau a few years back. I have tried many lines of Riedel and have never been disappointed except by the price! We will see how the new glasses go this evening. Not sure what I will try in them...possibly the bit of Spanish Quarter (a Cab/Tempranillo blend) that I have left or possibly the 2007 Rosenblum Zinfandel I opened the other night. Time will tell. Cheers.