Pico Syrah (2005)

Pico Syrah 2005Tom chose this Pico Syrah 2005 for our Friday night cocktail hour. I just came home from watching the EMU baseball team play in the first round of the NCAA championship game. We played Arizona. We were ahead in the 6th inning but we did eventually lose. It is double elimination so we play again tomorrow at 2:00 — we’ll play the loser of the U/Michigan vs. U/Kentucky game, which is being played right now.

This Syrah has a lovely nose — black licorice and mint.  The taste is full of fruit — cherries and blueberries — as well as some good old black dirt. The finish is buttered toast and pepper. Yum, yum.

We’re having leftover pizza tonight — it’s Friday night and it was a good night to take a break from cooking.

Red Rose Lane (2005)

It is a Wednesday evening; the sun is shining and it is a beautiful evening. Tom chose this wine for us tonight. We’ve had this before and like it very much. This California red is a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon (predominantly Merlot). It is delicious! I will have to see what I wrote the last time I blogged about this wine. Tonight, I taste a luscious blend of vanilla and cherries with velvety tannins.

I am marinating chicken which I will soon grill (along with marinated peppers). I also have some fresh spinach and green beans (thank you Michelle Bowersox [my neighbor who brings me vegetables from her food co-op]) which I will steam, along with brown rice. Tom chose a good wine for this dinner.

Cherry Creek Cellars Proprietor’s Reserve

I have been saving (hoarding) this special wine for a long time. The Cherry Creek Montage has been my absolute favorite Michigan wine and I was waiting for a special occasion to open this Proprietor’s Reserve, which we purchased during a wine-tasting expedition to Cherry Creek Cellars. John Burtka, the winemaker, does not disappoint! The wine is complex and acidic with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. The Cabernet contributes color and tannins; the Pinot contributes the soft and velvety feel in the mouth. This is an old-world tasting wine that reminds me of the Italian wines we have enjoyed. This is the opposite of the Australian fruit-forward wine — complex and tantalizing.

It is the close of Memorial Day weekend so that is one reason to celebrate. The other reason is that this is the weekend that Tom & I met (years ago) via being introduced by mutual friends. Who knew that a blind date could be so wonderful? Thank you, Will & Shirley, for getting us together that memorable Memorial Weekend.

Longview Rustic Red (2007)

Tom and I first tasted this Longview Leelanau Peninsula Rustic Red 2007 in Longview Winery’s tasting room in Cedar, Michigan. We were on a mini-vacation get-away to the gorgeous and serene Homestead Resort in Empire.

On one of the days, we drove to the Dunes and climbed the sandy mountain to the top to view Lake Michigan. It was breathtakingly beautiful. After running and jumping our way back down the dune, we drove to Cedar to visit the Longview Winery and had a pleasant hour or so standing at the polished-wood bar sampling the wines. We ended up purchasing a couple bottles, including this Bordeaux-like red with a rich berry taste and supple tannins. We had this wine last night with barbecued ribs, corn on the cob, and broccoli salad.

I can’t finish this post without also mentioning a wonderful meal we had while staying up north at the Homestead. On Thursday evening, Tom & I ate at Trattoria Funistrada in Burdickville (near Glen Arbor). We knew we were going to love it the moment we walked into the friendly and cozy dining room. We had wonderful service and started our evening with a martini, served generously in a chilled stem-less martini goblet. The special that evening was any two pasta dishes AND a bottle of wine for $40. Tom had a spicy sausage pasta dish and I had angel-hair pasta with grilled chicken. Both were mouth-wateringly delicious. When it came time to choose the wine, we were able to choose from a variety of bottles that were displayed on the bar. We had a Rosso (I will have to look back at my written notes to be more specific). The entire meal from start to finish was everything I could wish for in a meal. We can’t wait to go back the next time we head north.

Velazco Red Wine (2007)

Velazco Aminga Valley La Rioja 2007This Velazco Aminga Valley La Rioja 2007, an Argentinian red, is a blend of 85% Bonarda and 15% Syrah and, oh, is it wonderful. We actually opened it last night (Friday night) and we finished the bottle, but I took notes. (Our son, Tony, would love this one!) We know, of course the smoky, peppery flavor of Syrah, but the blend of the Bonarda grape produces an exciting mouthful of cherries, plums and spice.

This wine was perfect for our dinner of marinated steak on the grill with grilled orange, yellow and red peppers, steamed brown rice and asparagus. By the way, this is the first time I have grilled peppers. I know it is not novel to most, but it was to me. I drizzled olive oil on the peppers and we grilled them — probably about 3 minutes a side. They were splendidly delicious! This will be a standard now for the summer.

Della Flora Zinfandel (2006)

Della Flora Zinfandel 2006This Della Flora Zinfandel 2006 from California is complex. It has equal measures of ripe fruit and spice. The finish is long and delicious.

Although it is mid-May in Michigan, we are having a very cool day. I decided to take advantage of the weather and make a pot of bean soup. I purchased a meaty ham shank from the local meat market, sauteed garlic and carrots, added Navy beans and chicken broth to simmer all afternoon. I have a loaf of whole wheat bread rising and will soon put it in the oven. It will be a cozy and delicious dinner. Tom made a good choice with this wine.

Tres Valles Curico Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

Tres Valles Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

It is Wednesday evening and I had today (and the rest of the week) off from work. I needed to get a long run in today because I am training for a half marathon and I can’t run long this weekend because I am attending a yoga retreat (my first — I have no idea what to expect). My son Tony, who is home briefly in between graduating from college and starting his summer job, rode my bike along side me today for 12 miles. It was so great to have his company. It rained, it thundered, but we just kept going and going and I got it done. Woo hoo! Tony was a great coach. He talked me through hills and rough spots and even made me do a “kick” as I was in sight of home. Thank you, Tony! You were a magnificent coach and great company. I enjoyed the chance to talk to you for two hours!

Tom chose this Tres Valles Curico Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 from Chile for tonight because we are going to grill steak for dinner. I am going to make a nice salad and keep it simple tonight. The wine is perfect for a steak dinner. The color is purple and dense. There is a touch of bacon on the nose. On the palate it is full of berries and chocolate. The finish is raspberries with a nice round feel in the mouth.

I am totally loving my time off and looking forward to another free day tomorrow.

180 Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

180 Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006It is a Monday night and Tom chose this 180 Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 from California for us tonight. I have fresh mushrooms simmering in wine (red, natch), steaming brown rice, and thick pork chops marinating in Sze Schuan and white-wine vinegar. I also have fresh spinach washed and ready to saute. Dinner will be delicious!

This wine is one of my favorites. The color is magnificent — deep violet. The nose is raspberries, blueberries and subtle black licorice. The taste is very satisfying. I can taste mint, fruit and tobacco. The finish is velvety smooth with plenty of coffee and chocolate. You can’t go wrong with this wine if you are a red wine lover. Ooh-la-la!

Tom has started the grill so I need to bring him the marinated pork chops. Cheers!

Panilonco Carmenere (2006)

Panilonco Carmenere 2006Tony brought this Panilonco Carmenere 2006 from Chile for Mother’s Day. Both Tommy and Tony are visiting for the afternoon. I was going to grill tonight, but it is cold and rainy in Michigan so I changed my plan to make a pot of spicy chili, whole wheat bread with white cheddar cheese, and oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies for dessert. I am just waiting for the bread to come out of the oven right now.

Tom and I just returned from a trip up to Northern Michigan for a long weekend. We stayed at the beautiful Homestead Resort in Maple City, Michigan. We had a wonderful long weekend together and we will be posting more about our dinners and wines from the weekend.

For now, though, it is Mother’s Day and I am thrilled to have our sons, Tommy and Tony, with us. We will enjoy a cozy dinner together.

The bread is out of the oven and will cool for a few minutes. Dinner will be delicious.

This wine that Tony brought us is delicious and perfect for tonight. It is deep maroon in the glass. The aroma is a minty fruit. . . the taste is lovely with lustrous tannins. Tony loves South America and their wines! I know his friend George Royce who spent 99 days with Tony traveling around South American, would also enjoy this wine.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Delight Fagan, and to my mother-in-law, Mary Werner, and to all the other mothers out there who love and care for their children. Cheers, Mom!

Genuine Margarita

It is Sunday evening and we have worked in the yard today. It is a beautiful sunny spring Michigan day. We decided to celebrate with a margarita tonight. Taking a tip from writer Eric Felten, who writes “How’s Your Drink” in the Saturday/Sunday issue of the Wall Street Journal, I made a  couple of genuine maragaritas.  As Eric says, “Saccharrine glop extruded from machines is not the real deal. Nor is anything that comes pre-mixed in a bottle. And sorry, a can of frozen limeade, blended with ice and tequila doesn’t count either.”

Using his recipe, I put the following in a martini shaker with ice: 4 oz. blanco tequila, 2 oz. Cointreau, 1 1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice. I mixed it well and poured it into two icy-cold martini glasses that had been rimmed in fresh lime and coarse salt.

What a refreshing and delicious cocktail! Cheers!