George Phillips Cellars Zinfandel (2004)

Oh yum! This is a great wine! This George Phillips Cellars Zinfandel 2004 is just delicious. The nose is spice and mushrooms, oddly, but it really makes a nice bouquet! The tannins are lip-smackingly firm, which I love. The taste is full of fruit — plums and cherries.

It is Sunday night and I have pork loin chops marinating, potatoes simmering (for mashing); I baked a loaf of whole wheat bread (it’s cooling) and a pan of oatmeal walnut-chocolate chip cookie bars (also cooling) and I’ll be heating up leftover baked beans and also a vegetable (undecided).  We’ll be heading outside in a few minutes to sip our wine and watch over the grill. It was a stupendously beautiful Indian summer October day in MIchigan. The leaves are turning but are not at their peak, yet. We took Trigger on a couple of very long walks today and enjoyed the sights.

Tommy had class today and he is now home. We miss our Tony, but all is well!

Viña Correa Albano Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

This Viña Correa Albano Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 is from the Central Valley of Chile. Of course, this wine makes me think of our son Tony because he spent last summer hiking around South America (and sampling the wines among other things).

This is, not surprisingly, a wine we both are enjoying very much. It has everything we like in a wine. The nose is grassy and bitter (in a good way). The taste is dark chocolate, cherries, and a touch of vanilla. The tannins are dense and firm.

Because we are experiencing a warm and lovely October weekend in Michigan, we are going to grill steak tonight, which is why I chose this wine.

Our son Tommy is playing in his band “The Ben Daniels Band” tonight in downtown Ann Arbor. He plays the bass guitar and the band is very good (and I’m not just saying that because I am the mom)…


Ménage à Trois California Red Wine (2007)

This Ménage à Trois California Red Wine 2007 is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I bought it tonight. I stopped at Kroger’s for groceries on my way home from work and couldn’t resist, of course, wheeling my already full cart through the wine isles to see what was on sale. This one was marked down from $13.29 to $9.99.

The reason it caught my eye is because my good friend, Vicki Voisin, loves this wine. Vicki is a remarkable woman and I love her to pieces! I know, however, that we don’t have the same tastes in liquid refreshments because she has tried my martini and doesn’t swoon. 🙂 But I give her credit for this one.

Although at first breath it was bit hot and overpowering, after it had decanted awhile it became quite delicious.  This red blend has a fragrant nose of green peppers and strawberries. On the palate is a blackberry – like peppery spiciness as well as a mature fruity bell pepper quality. The finish is surprisingly sweet, which I didn’t care for at first, but now that it has had some air the finish is milder and less cloying.

It is Friday night and we are celebrating as we always do on the eve of our weekend! For dinner, I picked a bowlful of tomatoes and started a cast-iron skillet of delicious homemade tomato sauce. That is simmering and I just baked a loaf of whole wheat bread. I will serve the spaghetti with vegetables and our “Vicki” wine and it will be delicious – can’t wait!

(I miss you, Tony!)

Merlot Veneto Allegro (2007)

This Merlot Veneto Allegro 2007 from Italy is our choice for this Thursday evening. The nose is really nice: cloves and a touch of licorice. The taste, however, is, so far, nothing like the nose. I suspect this will change as it breathes. At this point in time, I would describe the taste as initally astringent with a thin texture and the essence of strawberries on the finish. This is not surprising from an Italian Merlot. In my opinion, Italian reds tend to be a bit austere. If one is accustomed to a fruity Australian Merlot, this would take some getting used to.

Tom chose this wine to go with our dinner of a casserole that I actually made last night — with brown rice, chicken broth, mushrooms, spices, and chicken. (I had intended to have it for dinner last night but it was taking too long to bake in the oven so I ended up serving leftovers last night and saving the casserole for dinner tonight.) I am going to make broccoli too.

Cheers. Tony, we miss you!

Tubul Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (2007)

This Tubul Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007 Chilean blend is our choice for tonight, a midweek Wednesday evening.

But first, before I describe this wine, I have to tell you about the martini we had for our cocktail hour. I usually make our martinis with a touch of olive juice from the jar, but tonight I tried a product called “Dirty Sue.” This product comes in a bottle that looks like a Worcestershire bottle. I was skeptical and wary. . .I liked our martinis just the way they were; but, I wanted to try this. So, I substituted the olive juice I normally spoon out of the olive jar with this Dirty Sue olive juice. Well, let me tell you, it is GREAT! This will probably only make sense to you if you’re a martini lover, but the deal is that — olive juice can overpower your martini and taste like, well, salty olive juice. But, Dirty Sue apparently is a high quality olive juice and what you taste is olives instead of salty brine. I used three teaspoons of the Dirty Sue in our mixture for two martinis (instead of three teaspoons from the olive jar) and it was simply delicious and it was definitely a BETTER martini with the Dirty Sue than with the normal olive juice from the jar. It gives the martini that olive taste without overpowering the gin & vermouth with a briney, salty taste. I’m sold! I would highly recommend this product. You can purchase it at:

Now, on to our Chilean red wine blend, Tubul Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007. This is good midweek quaff with lots of chocolate and fruit tastes. The finish is butter and a bit of grass. The tannins are just right — lip smacking but not overpowering.

For dinner, I have put together a casserole with brown rice, chicken and broth. It is baking in the oven for 2 hours. I also have an acorn squash in the oven. I am going to make a salad to top it off.


Oakton Lane Paso Robles Petite Sirah (2007)

It is Tuesday evening. I put together a meatloaf for dinner tonight. Since the oven was going to be on, I put an acorn squash in the oven, too. It smells delicious. (I am also going to make mashed potatoes and green beans.) Meanwhile, I am finishing the last of this Oakton Lane Paso Robles Petite Sirah 2007 from California, while Tom is having a cabernet-merlot blend from Chile, which he just opened.

Mine is delicious. The tannins are pronounced and the taste of pepper and black fruit is predominant. I really like this one. Well, my oven is beeping so I need to put the vegetables on the stove. Cheers!

Barón De Barbón Rioja (2005)

Baron de Barbon Rioja 2005

This Barón De Barbón Rioja (2005) is my choice for this Sunday evening. I have made a casserole of baked beans with lots of crispy bacon (which is in a low-temperature oven), and I put together an apple crisp for dessert. Oh, and the main dish will be hamburgers on the grill with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

This wine is made from 100% Tempranillo. It is the perfect balance of toasty oak and very ripe strawberries and cherries. It is surprisingly light and refreshing with subdued tannins.

Tommy is out playing flag football tonight. He will be home soon for dinner. I was able to have a 30-minute Skype call with Tony yesterday morning. It was so good to see him and talk to him. I learned so much about his job, the culture, and his routine in South Korea.

Gigi, if you are reading this, hi!!! Thank you again for your sweet post the other day!

Amala Springs Cabernet Sauvignon (2005)

It’s a beautiful, autumn Michigan Saturday-night evening. I have a pot of bean soup simmering on the stove and a loaf of whole-wheat bread rising on the counter. I am excited to have soup and bread season here again! I am making my bean soup with a meaty ham bone from the butcher shop and chicken broth. Those two additions make for a very tasty, savory soup.

California knows Cabernet. This was obvious as soon as I poured this Amala Springs Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 in the glass and took a deep whiff. The nose is delectable with hints of grass and vegetables. The taste is understated, yet full of layers. It starts with a strong taste of blackberries, changes to cherries and then ends with oak and vanilla. My expectations were low when I opened this wine — for no particular reason. However, as soon as I poured the wine, I knew I was in for a treat. This is wonderful. I am going to order a case of California Cabernet!

As a side note, I was able to talk to Tony this morning on Skype. It was so incredible! He was sitting in his apartment in South Korea. It was Saturday night for him and Saturday morning for us. Tony loves his job and did a phenomenal job of describing the South Korean culture to me. He was able to educate me in ways I would never have been able to understand in any other way. Tony is doing great!

Pèppoli Chianti Classico (2004)

I chose this Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2004 from Italy for our Friday night feast. We are having spaghetti tonight. I purchased this wine at Kroger’s in Ann Arbor. It was a $27.78 bottle that was in a “discontinued” section for 50% off the price.

This is a quintessentially Italian wine. It is not fruity, yet it is bursting with flavor. The tannins are firm and the mouthfeel is crisp. The nose is pencil shavings and the finish is violets. Simply delicious.

Happy Friday everyone!

Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon (2004)

gre_cabsauv_btlsht_webTom brought home this large bottle (1.5 L) of Cabernet from the grocery store one night when he was concerned we were running low on mid-week wines. We are having it tonight (Thursday) after a demanding day at work and teaching a night class. In fact, Tom just left to pick up a pizza because it has been a long day and we want to curl up and watch the vice-president debates without me having to cook. (By the way, it is definitely becoming snuggle weather in Michigan; feels cold and damp tonight.)

This wine is a decent mid-week quaff. There is a good deal of vanilla and fruit on the palate. The tannins are sluggish. All in all, a good choice for a pizza and debate evening on a cold Michigan evening.