Vinsas Côtes du Rhone (2006)

Vinsas Cotes du Rhone 2006This Vinsas Côtes du Rhone 2006 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carigname, and Cinsault. The color is dark violet and the nose is pepper, thyme, and flowers.

This is our New Year’s Eve selection! I am making a nice dinner and we are going to celebrate at home. There is a winter-storm warning tonight so we’ll be grateful to be in our warm, cozy home.

I chose this French beauty just because I decided a French wine was special enough to celebrate the passing of 2007. It is delicious — not fruity but herbal. Very dry with a long, long finish.

Cheers!

Nuevomundo Cabernet/Malbec (2005)

Nuevomundo Cabernet/Malbec 2005This Nuevomundo Cabernet/Malbec Reserva 2005 has a nice balance of fruit, spice, and black dirt. On the nose, blackberry and strawberry fruits blend beautifully with spice and smoke. On the palate, blackberry is mingled with vanilla and oak. The finish is delectable.

Tom bought me this wine for Christmas (along with about a dozen other fascinating bottles)! I chose this wine for our Saturday night dinner of homemade beef-barley soup and a loaf of freshly-baked whole-wheat bread (which is in the oven and smells good). One swirl of this wine and I knew it would be good. I am loving this wine. This is wonderful.

Tom: This Nuevomundo Cabernet/Malbec 2005 is a treat. It is very rich and dry, very chocolaty; the fruit is blackberry. An impressive, delicious wine.

Tunnel of Elms Cabernet & Parducci Petite Sirah

North Point Seafood & SteakhouseMelody and I had dinner last night at North Point Seafood & Steakhouse in Dexter, MI. Our son Tommy works there as a waiter.

Tunnel of Elms Cabernet SauvignonParducci Petite Sirah 2003Melody had a Tunnel of Elms Cabernet Sauvignon. (Tunnel of Elms appears to be made by Beringer.) It was quite good: tannic, rich, big fruit.

I had a Parducci Petite Sirah, which we’ve had before; it was also very good: tannic and chocolaty. This is a favorite of mine.

The food was very good (we both had prime rib), and of course it was great to see Tommy.

Snoqualmie Syrah (2003)

Snoqualmie Syrah 2003This Snoqualmie Syrah 2003 from Washington state was a Christmas gift from Tom. I chose it tonight to accompany a casserole I made with our leftover Christmas ham. I am very excited about this wine. It is bursting with blackberries and blueberries on the palate. The finish is mocha, oak, and crisp apples. The tannins are graceful and lush. Thank you for a delicious gift, Tom!

Mandolin Merlot (2005)

Mandolin Merlot 2005This Mandolin Merlot 2005 from California is an elaborate combination of dark berries on the nose. The berries mix with spice and plums on the palate with a luscious medium-body feel. The finish is dry and crisp. We had this wine with our Christmas dinner of baked smoked ham, squash, potatoes, and green beans. A very wonderful Christmas with our family!

Hamilton Estates Merlot (2003)

Hamilton Merlot 2003This Hamilton Estates Merlot 2003 is a special wine because it was gift from Tom’s parents. We have been saving it and only drink a bottle on special occasions. Well, tonight is Christmas Eve and we have our sons home and it is a very special evening.

This Hamilton Estates Merlot 2003 is deep, dark red. The nose is plum, tobacco, and black tea. On the palate the plum and black tea are coupled with berries, dark earth, and strawberry jam. We chose this wine because it is a special night. We will drink this wine with our dinner of a roasted chicken stuffed with garlic, lemon, and thyme. This is a soft and velvety wine. The tannins are gentle. This is a delicious wine.

Les Pins Domaine Carpy Fitou (2005)

Les Pins Fitou 2005We will have Les Pins Domaine Carpy Fitou 2005, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignon, and Mourvedre tonight with steak and rice. This delicious red is brawny yet delectable. It is full bodied with a fruity nose, firm and grippy tannins, and a bodacious finish.

Prior to opening this bottle, we started our cocktail hour with a martini. Yesterday I stopped at a wine and liquor store in Ann Arbor and decided to get some new gin and vermouth — something different than our normal brand. So, our martini tonight was made with Quintessential London Dry Gin and Noilly Prat French Dry Vermouth. It was a lovely martini. I would describe it as delicate but herbal. The gin has a pure and clean taste; the vermouth is infused with herbs. The two combined produced an equisite martini.

Agustinos Carmenère (2006)

Agustinos Carmenere 2006Trigger 12-21-07This Agustinos Carmenère 2006 from Chile has both of us swooning. It is a deep, blackish violet in the glass. The nose is extravagant — cherries, spice, pepper, and oak. The taste is plum and boysenberries. The finish is densely fruity with velvety tannins. The taste lingers a long, long time. This wine would be great with spaghetti or lasagne but — alas — we are having leftover soup for dinner. It’s Friday night and we are just happy to be at the front end of the weekend. Cheers!

Tom: This Agustinos Caramenère 2006 is delicious. Big, tannic, chocolaty, cherries and berries. Excellent.

(And here’s a photo of Trigger staying warm on this cold December evening.)

Rock Rabbit Shiraz (2004) and Coppola Syrah-Shiraz (2006)

Rock Rabbit Shiraz 2004

Coppola Syrah-Shiraz 2006

Last night Tom and I went out to dinner at the Common Grill in Chelsea. We sat at the bar where we could watch the activity in the kitchen and also do some people watching from our perch on the stools. We both enjoyed the evening out.

I ordered a glass of the Rock Rabbit Shiraz Central Coast 2004. It was mellow and round, with a nose of bacon and pine trees. It went well with my whitefish entre.

Tom ordered a Francis Coppola Syrah-Sirah 2006 with his chicken dish. It was intriguing, a big wine. It combined the chocolatiness of a syrah and the spiciness of a shiraz.

Red Heads Studio The Red Sedan (2006)

Red Heads Studio The Red Sedan 2006This Red Heads Studio The Red Sedan 2006 is a blend of Shiraz (77%) and Malbec (23%) from the southeastern region of Australia. I was excited to taste this wine because it is a combination of two of my favorite red varietals. Sure enough, I am not disappointed. This wine is fruit forward and filled with brush- and briar-tasting wood flavors. The finish is long with a spicy, coffee-flavored savoriness.

For dinner, I have brown rice simmering. I have two boned chicken breasts (which I have cubed) to stir fry in my trusty cast-iron skillet with fresh broccoli. I will mix this all together for what I hope will be a tasty and nutritious meal.

On Saturday night we attended a party at the home of Tom Crawford. His home was decorated absolutely beautifully! And he had prepared delicious food. I was so impressed with his cooking skills. He is a superb host. He also had many lovely red wines on hand. He is the host extraordinaire. It was an absolutely enjoyable party! It was fun meeting Lisa and Frank, Karl, Boyd, and Brian! I hope we will see them all again.

Tom: This Red Heads Studio The Red Sedan 2006 is a fruit-forward blend tasting of chocolate, coffee, and berries. It’s very appealing and drinkable, on the soft side with noticeable fruit.