Château Saint Martin De La Garrigue Bronzinelle (2004)

Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue Bronzinelle 2004This Château Saint Martin de la Garrigue Bronzinelle 2004 from the Languedoc region of France was a gift from Tom to me at Christmas. It’s a blend: 34% Syrah, 27% Mourvèdre, 22% Grenache, and 17% Carignan. It is surprisingly fruity for a French wine and has a vigorous, peppy base and an herbal finish. On the palate is cherry and licorice with a sweet, leafy-tobacco aftertaste. The wine is medium to full bodied and so delicious.

I will serve this tonight with a made-up recipe of stir-fried steak and potatoes with green beans and a fresh salad. I have everything cut up and ready to go; I’ll have to let you know how it goes. Cheers!

Melody’s Perfect Martini (timeless)

martiniIt is Friday night and we have had yet another demanding week. I had the pleasure of working at home today on a project that demanded my focused attention (thus, my decision to do so at home rather than in my office where I would encounter interruptions). I also ran 9.8 miles this morning and it was 1 degree (F) when I left the house and 8 degrees when I returned. So, tonight we are celebrating the end of the work week. I have made a pot of vegetable soup and a loaf of whole wheat bread. The bread is in the oven and the soup is simmering. Oh, I love our Friday nights!

Tonight, I thought I would tell you how I make the perfect Martini. (We generally have a Martini and then wine but tonight [I don’t know what got into me] but I made us a second “short” Martini.)

o First, I put our lovely long-stemmed martini glasses in the freezer at least 30 minutes before I prepare the cocktail. Meanwhile, I take queen-sized olives and spear three each on a toothpick and set them aside. (Remember, the glasses are in the freezer chilling during all of this.)

o Then I put a shaker full of ice in my martini shaker. Into the shaker, I add three shots of gin. I use one of four brands: 1) Tangueray, 2) Bombay, 3) Plymouth, or 4) Quintessential. (I am always eager to try new premium gins with an open mind.)

o I then add 1 1/2 shots of Martini & Rossi vermouth. (I have also used Noilly Prat vermouth, which is excellent.)

o Then I add three teaspoons of olive juice from the olive jar.

o I shake it vigorously.

Only then do I take the glasses out of the freezer and put the olives (on the toothpick) in the glass and pour my well-shaken Martini into the glasses. When I serve the Martinis, the glasses are frosted and ice cold. Mmmmmm, delicious! Cheers!

180 Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

180 Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006I purchased six bottles of this 180 Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 from a wine-club offer . . . and I purchased on the basis of its description. The case of wine arrived tonight (six of this wine and six of another) and we are tasting it for the first time. With much relief I can say that both Tom and I think the wine is everything that I had hoped it would be.

The wine is a bit cold because UPS delivered the box just this afternoon! But in spite of the fact that it is has not reached room temperature, here is what I notice. The color is deep violet in the glass. On the nose is an abundance of fruit: raspberries and blueberries, specifically, and a touch of licorice. On the palate is a bit of pencil shavings but more predominantly ripe fruit (cherries and raspberries) and some spice. The finish is shockingly long with ostentatious flavors of coffee and chocolate. This is a good purchase!

Red Heads Studio The Red Sedan (2006)

Red Heads Studio The Red Sedan 2006We are enjoying this Red Heads Studio The Red Sedan 2006, a blend of Shiraz and Malbec, on a Monday evening. This is the third time we’ve tried this delicious wine from Australia. Tonight we will have this with sauteed chicken, brown rice, and a green salad.

It is a very cold night in Michigan and we are thankful to be warm and cozy. This red blend is big and fruity with hints of woods and a lovely, long finish.

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. In the glass it is a very dark violet. On the nose is a flowery pepper and herbs.

It is Saturday night and we are relaxing while dinner simmers on the stove. It is bitter cold today in Michigan. My Saturday-morning running partner and I ran 9 miles this morning. The wind chill was pretty brutal. At one point, I took off my mittens and stuck them in my hat to form “flaps” to hang over my face because my face was freezing! It worked. I tucked my hands into my jacket sleeves and kept my mittens on my face the rest of the run. Our son Tony chose this bitter cold weekend to try outdoor camping. I will be very relieved to hear from him. I’m worried!

This wine is delectable. A perfect end to a wonderful Saturday.

Tom: This Vinsas Côtes du Rhone 2006 is very nice: rich, plummy, tannic. We also had this on New Year’s Eve.

Quinta Da Alorna Vinho Tinto (2005)

Quinta Da Alorna Vinho Tinto 2005This Quinta Da Alorna Vinho Tinto 2005 from Portugal was one of my Christmas gifts from Tom. (I received a nice collection of a variety of wines.) It is a Wednesday night and we have had a demanding work week so far. So this wine is a real treat tonight. Tom chose it because I am cooking chicken (in the skillet) with potatoes.

The wine is delicious. It is fruity and full bodied with very gentle tannins. This wine is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Castelao, Syrah, and Alicante Bouschet. The nose is berries and spice. On the palate is black cherry and ripe raspberries . The finish lingers and is very satisfying. This is an exceptional mid-week quaff and will pair well with our chicken.

Rancho Stella Cellars Paso Robles Zinfandel (2006)

Rancho Stella Cellars Paso Robles Zinfandel 2006Tom chose this Rancho Stella Cellars Paso Robles Zinfandel 2006 tonight to accompany our spicy sausage and potato stew that is simmering on the stove. It’s a Tuesday night and we both worked hard at our jobs. Trigger even took extra-long walks today so she is resting beside me on my chair.

I like this wine because it is dry with lots of pepper on the palate and juicy, ripe fruit on the finish. It will hold up well with our spicy dinner. This is a good Zinfandel.

Admission: Going to watch American Idol tonight!

Monarch Glen Merlot 2005

Monarch Glen Merlot 2005This Monarch Glen Merlot 2005 is a little bigger and richer-tasting than some merlots (although still with a merlot softness) and a bit spicier as well. It has tastes of dark berries as well as cherries and vanilla.

We’re having this with stir-fried chicken with brocoli, steamed brown rice, and a salad, and it will complement nicely.

Cerro Campana Shiraz (2005)

Cerro Campana Shiraz 2005This delicious Cerro Campana Shiraz 2005 from Spain is dry with a mouthful of berries. I can taste cranberries and licorice and a pretty good dose of pepper. On the palate it is velvety smooth and full bodied. Interestingly, I chose this wine to accompany a pot of spicy chili only to realize that the last time we had this wine (in November) it was also with chili. I guess I like a good Shiraz with my spicy soup!

I also made an apple cobbler, which is baking in the oven. I have discovered that I can make my favorite apple cobbler without the stick of butter (called for in the recipe I use). I substitute applesauce for the butter and fruit juice for the water. . .yummy! It is Sunday night and we have had a productive, but lovely, weekend. Yesterday I ran nine miles with my running partner Christi. We are training for a race in April.

Cetamura Chianti (2005)

Cetamura Chianti 2005This Cetamura Chianti 2005 from Tuscany is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo grapes. The nose is pleasant with flowers, herbs, and berries. On the palate is blackberries with zing. By “zing” I mean there is a subtle fizzy quality to this wine, which will probably subside as it breathes. It is medium bodied with lots of fruit and supple tannins.

Tom chose this wine for our Friday night (post martini) to go with our dinner of angel-hair pasta with bolognese sauce and steamed spinach. We are both happy it is Friday night. Trigger seems happy, too, as she relaxes next to me on my chair.