Beaumont Des Gras Cotes Du Rhone (2006)

Beaumont des Gras Cotes du Rhone 2006

It is a Tuesday night in April and we have had our cocktail. Tom opened this Beaumont Des Gras Cotes Du Rhone 2006 from France for our dinner. I can’t remember where we purchased this wine or whether we received this as a shipment in a wine club, but it is an excellent wine. I started ‘mmm-mmmm-ing” as soon as I took in the bouquet and certainly after I had my first sip.

This wine is a lovely red color with a very pleasant nose. On the palate is a burst of berries and spice. The tannins are evident and the finish is dry and satisfying. I appreciate the lack of fruit forward presentation — this is a more austere and crisp old-world wine. Absolutely delicious.

Agustinos Carmenere (2006)

Agustinos Carmenere 2006I have purchased three more bottles of the Agustinos Carmenère 2006 from Chile and that was a very good decision. I opened a bottle last night to celebrate with our two sons, Tommy and Tony. Tony graduates Magna Cum Laude tomorrow with a double major in International Business and Management. Tony is very fond of South America and is fluent in Spanish (hence the Chilean wine)! For dinner, I grilled a pork tenderloin. The tenderloin spent the day in a marinade of chopped garlic, white wine vinegar and szechuan sauce. Along with the tenderloin, I had red potatoes, which I had quartered and mixed with olive oil, rosemary, coarse salt and pepper. Those went into a skillet and cooked until crispy. I also grilled asparagus and made a salad with my homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, spicy brown mustard, basil, oregano, savory, thyme, rosemary and pepper.

We had a lovely celebratory dinner. The wine was fantastic. There wasn’t a morsel of food leftover! Congratulations Tony. . .we love you!

Chateau Fantin Bordeaux (2005)

This French Chateau Fantin Bordeaux is delicious. I ordered a half case of this wine on the recommendation of another red-wine lover. The nose is black fruit and plums. In the mouth is medium to full-bodied structure with a rusty taste mid-palate. The finish has the lovely taste of candied cherries. This wine will stand up to a good steak — which is what we are having for dinner. Tom will grill one steak and then I am going to slice it to serve with steamed brown rice, broccoli and a salad. I think this wine is a winner and I’m glad we have 5 bottles left to enjoy.

Terre di Ricaldone Barbera D’Asti Superiore (2005)

Terre di Ricaldone Barbera d\'Asti 2005We received this Terre di Ricaldone Barbera D’Asti 2005 in a wine-club shipment. We opened it last night, but I didn’t get a chance to write about it. I just finished the last of it and I loved it. This wine has the Italian characteristics I have come to enjoy and appreciate: acidic, dry, fruity but not overly so, and no sweetness. The tannins are firm.

Definitely my kind of wine. I am happy to know we have two more bottles of this one on hand. Exquisite!

Francis Coppola Celestial Blue Label Malbec (2005)

Coppola Malbec 2005

I bought this Francis Coppola Celestial Blue Label Malbec 2005 as a gift for Tom for Christmas (along with a variety of other South American wines). Although this is a grape that is known for its Argentinian roots, Francis Coppola has found a way to grow these grapes in California. I have been keeping all of these wines downstairs in our “secondary” wine rack and I decided it was time to bring a bottle up tonight.

This is a fabulous wine and I can’t help think of our son Tony, who spent 99 days in South American (including Argentina) last summer between his junior and senior years of college. He would love this wine. He has his mother’s taste in bold and assertive red wines.

The nose is ripe with plums and minerals — the minerals remind me of our well water in tin glasses that I had a girl growing up in northern Michigan. The color is velvety violet — it has almost a creamy texture in the glass. The taste is acidic with black fruit and tannins.

I am serving this wine tonight with hamburgers on the grill with a side dish of penne pasta tossed with fresh sauteed broccoli in olive oil. We are so excited to have spring weather and I can’t resist a grilled burger to celebrate!

Tom: This Francis Coppola Celestial Blue Label Malbec 2005 is delicious: chocolaty, with a fruit taste of blackberries and a bit of cherries. Mild-medium tannins. Excellent. Who knew Malbec could do so well in California?

Sienna Cellars Petite Sirah (2006) Central Coast

Tom and I are having a glass of this Sienna Cellars Petite Sirah to close out our lovely Saturday night cocktail hour. This wine is special and we have been saving it awhile. In the glass it is inky purple. On the nose is raisins and spice. The taste is chocolate, berries and spice. What makes this wine really delicious to me is the strong tannins that are evident, especially on the finish.

My running partner and I ran 10 miles this morning. My legs are a bit tired but it feels good. After the run, I didn’t feel like grocery shopping so tonight we are having some leftovers — a pot of soup I made earlier in the week, a loaf of sourdough bread and some white cheddar cheese. Very simple, but it will be delicious. Tom rented a movie for us to watch. Ahhh, the comforts of home. . .

Rodney Strong Sonoma County Merlot (2004)

Rodney Strong Sonoma County Merlot 2004

Our friends Will and Shirley brought us this wine one evening when they came over for dinner. We have saved it for quite a while but tonight seemed like a good evening to open the bottle. I am grilling marinated pork loin for dinner. I have brown rice steaming and I will make asparagus too.

This Rodney Strong Sonoma County Merlot 2004 from California has a nice red color in the glass. On the palate are blueberries, plums, and cherries. The feel of this wine is soft and full in the mouth. There is a lovely, lingering, vanilla spice on the finish with a touch of buttered toast.

Will and Shirley, you picked a very nice wine — thank you! It is the perfect wine to celebrate the end of a work week and the start of a warm April weekend.

Elsa Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

Elsa Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon 2007This lovely Argentinian Elsa Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 was included in one of our wine club shipments. I have been saving it because I had a feeling it was going to be a wine we would very much enjoy.

Well, I was right, natch. It is a delicious cabernet. The nose is pine trees and blackberries. In the mouth it is full bodied and bursting with black fruit and structured tannins. The finish is moderately long and quite lovely.

Tonight I mixed up a meatloaf (ground beef, ground pork, oatmeal, eggs, onions, tomato juice, spices) and put that in the oven. Because I had the oven on, I also cut up an acorn squash. Also, my neighbor Michelle, who belongs to a food co-op, brought over Swiss Chard and two large beets. So I washed the beets and they are roasting in the oven with the meatloaf and squash. When the beets are roasted, I will remove the skin and dice. I will steam the Swiss Chard. This should be a delicious dinner by the smells in the kitchen.

Tom: This is a great wine with a powerful, chocolaty nose and a very nice tannic taste of berries with hints of vanilla. Very nice, very interesting.

Della Flora Zinfandel (2006)

Della Flora Zinfandel 2006

It is Friday night and we are glad! It’s been a long, demanding week.

Tonight, I chose this Della Flora Zinfandel 2006 to accompany our dinner of leftover soup and bread. The nose is exuberant with a generous amount of fruit. In the mouth are elaborate flavors of plum, blackberry and cherries. Mmmm, this is delicious. I love a big red and this is big but very different than our usual Cabernet Sauvignons. This is fruitier but very strong tasting and dry.

Sibaritismo Tempranillo (2005)

Sibaritismo Tempranillo 2005Sibaritismo Tempranillo 2005 is a lovely ruby red in the glass. The nose has a blend of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and earthy spices. It has a distinct leather quality on the palate. This is a food-friendly big red.

I looked back at my previous wine notes and, interestingly, I chose this wine for a similar meal the last time we had it. I am making chicken, brown rice and a salad for dinner tonight and that is what I had the last time we had this wine. I guess I subconsciously have decided that tempranillo is a good accompaniment to chicken and rice. And, it makes sense. The taste of tempranillo is bigger than the chicken and rice but it adds just the right amount of pizzaz to the meal. Yummy. . .