Robert Mondavi Vinetta (2006)

robert-mondavi-private-selection-vinetta-2006I am waiting to see what Tom chooses for our wine tonight. We just finished a martini — the life-giving fluid, as Tom always says. It is Sunday after Thanksgiving, the snow is falling heavily in Michigan, Trigger is snuggled in my chair with me and we are anticipating our week ahead. We had an active weekend and wish we had one more day to recover.

I have a pot of beef stew on the stove — a change from turkey! I started with a chuck roast, which I cut into cubes, dried with paper towels and seasoned with salt and pepper. I browned the beef in a cast-iron skillet with very hot oil; I added a chopped onion and two cloves of garlic (chopped); then I added about 1/4 cup tomato sauce, the remains of a bottle of dry red (probably a cup or so) and a small can of chicken broth and let it simmer for awhile (at least an hour, probably more). A few minutes ago, I transferred the beef mixture from the skillet into a larger pot and added thyme, bay leaves, cubed potatoes and carrots. It’s covered and simmering now.

And Tom has brought me a glass of wine! It is something he bought today at our local grocery store, Polly’s Country Market. He said it was on sale for $8. This Robert Mondavi Vinetta 2006 is very good. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), Merlot (10%), Petit Verdot (10%), Malbec (7%) and, last and least. Cabernet Franc (1%). I really like these red blends; so interesting. This is very Bordeaux like. The nose is delightful — with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. On the palate is wood, cocoa and bramble. The tannins are firm. Tom selected a good wine for our beef stew on this snowy, winter night. Cheers!

Robert Mondavi Syrah (2006)

robert-mondavi-private-selection-syrah-2006It is the Friday after Thanksgiving. I am about three nights behind in blogging. We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving. My parents drove down from Traverse City and I am very thankful that they had an uneventful trip. My dad, who is 85, is so smart! My mom forgot to bring the directions to our house (she decided not to bring her purse, which is where the directions were), but he figured it out.

I had ordered a fresh turkey from a local farmer and, to my dismay, discovered the smallest turkey they had was 25 pounds! I was concerned about cooking it. . .but the turkey was delicious. I put it in the oven at 11:30 at 425 for an hour; then I flipped it (no easy task) and then turned the oven down to 325. I had the turkey on a v-shaped rack in a roasting pan. The turkey then roasted for another 5 1/2 hours. It turned out moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Although our son, Tony, was not with us, we did have a great “Skype” conversation with him, which was wonderful.

Now, our parents have gone home and we are having a relaxing evening together. Trigger is slumbering on my lap and I have leftover turkey and stuffing in the oven.

This wine is delicious! It is bursting with fruit and oak with a very smooth and long finish. Yum!

Yalumba Barossa Shiraz (2005)

yalumba-barossa-2005This Australian Barossa Shiraz is 95% Shiraz and 5% Voignier. Tom chose this wine for us because I was trapped (Trigger was on my lap). It is a Monday night and I had to work late so I have a pot of leftover soup on the stove to heat up.

This wine is impressive. I was surprised to see the alcohol content at 14.5% because I didn’t notice any heat on the nose. Rather, I noted dried apricots and flowers.

The first taste is chocolate and dried apricots.  The mid-palate shows some cherries and plum along with pepper. There are also hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The finish is chocolate, apricots and cloves with velvety tannins.

This is a very fine wine. I believe I purchased this at  A & L Wine in Ann Arbor. I would definitely purchase this again.

Beringer California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

beringer-cabernet-sauvignon-2006This Beringer California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 is Tom’s choice for this Sunday night. We have had a very nice weekend together and this Sunday will top it all off for us.

This California wine has a lovely, flowery nose. The taste has a strong vanilla flavor on the front and a blackberry on the finish. The tannins are soft and smooth.

Confession time: I just didn’t want to grocery shop this weekend. I put it off and put it off. So I rummaged through our little freezer and pulled out two very thick pork shops. I browned those and now they are simmering in the skillet in chicken broth along with peeled, cubed potatoes. I will thicken the sauce after the pork chops are fork tender and I’ll make a vegetable and call it good. I will probably end up going to the grocery store Tuesday night after work and getting everything I need for Thanksgiving.

This will be my first Thanksgiving in 23 years without Tony. Tony is in Paju, South Korea, working as a teacher. I miss him terribly and I can’t imagine sitting at our Thanksgiving meal without him!

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Syrah (2006)

robert-mondavi-private-selection-syrah-2006This California Robert Mondavi Private Selection Syrah 2006 was on sale today at our local grocery store and Tom picked it up along with milk and orange juice (the three essential liquids). Yum, this is good! It is fruity with a velvety texture on the finish. This is an easy-to-drink wine that would pair well with lots of different foods.

Tonight I am making a steak stir-fry — nothing fancy. I have one steak that I took out of the freezer and cut into chunks. I will sauté the steak in my trusty cast-iron skillet coated with olive oil. Then I’ll add asparagus, ground salt, and pepper, and then mix it with some cooked Barilla thin spaghetti and olive oil.  Like I said, nothing special. I didn’t go grocery shopping today so I needed to make do with what I had on hand.

Corral del Sol Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

corral-del-sol-cabernet-sauvignon-2007This Chilean Corral del Sol Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is our pick for this Friday evening. It is cold and dark, but I have a pot of soup on the stove and a loaf of bread in the oven, and an afghan (and Trigger) on my lap so we are warm, cozy, and happy.

I was very pleased to taste this wine and discover that it is a real treasure from Chile.  On the nose is spicy fruit and leather. On the palate is a smooth combination of cherries, vanilla, and pine.  The finish is dry with a hint of black tea.

A Friday night with this Chilean Cab is a great way to end the week. (To our son Tony, in case you read this, I miss you!)

Ramshead Ridge Carneros Syrah (2006)

ramshead-ridge-carneros-syrah-2006Tom and I couldn’t remember where we purchased this Ramshead Ridge Carneros Syrah 2006, but we think it was included in a shipment from our wine club’s wine consultant. (She put together a case of red wine for us.)I must admit, when Tom brought me the glass of wine and presented the bottle to me, I didn’t have a good first impression. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I was pre-judging this wine by its label (and I didn’t like the label). Don’t ask me why, but it just didn’t appear to be a very impressive wine.

Well, happily (not to brag) I am a good taster and don’t allow the appearance of a bottle to cloud my impressions. This wine is quite delicious. This is a California wine from the region of Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Immediately, I was aware of the full body and the luscious fruit on the palate. It is bursting with plum flavor! The finish is also fruity with an assertive bit of pepper. Really, this is quite spectacular!

It is Tuesday night and 19 degrees in Michigan. I am sitting here with Trigger at my side and an afghan on my lap! I have made a skillet of goulash for dinner tonight. I am going to steam some spinach and call it good. A good, cold-weather dinner. . .let me know if you want my goulash recipe. I made it up and it is delicious!

Chiñigue Andes Collection Carmenere (2006)

chinigue-andes-collection-carmenere-2006We have had this Andes Collection Carmenere 2006 before but it has been a long time. I remember that I liked this very much the last time we had it, and I like it very much now.

We chose this Chilean Carmenere for this Sunday evening. It has been snowing all day and the ground is white. It is 31 degrees outside, but cozy inside. I have a dinner of chicken and potatoes in a heavy cast-iron skillet. I started by browning the chicken in hot olive oil for about 15 minutes, turning the chicken every minute or so. Once it was very brown, I added cubed red potatoes and then a mixture of chicken broth, thickener, and mushrooms. This has been simmering for the last 90 minutes so I know it will be tender and savory when we sit down for dinner.

The wine has a lovely, dark-red color in the glass. The nose is quite fruity with hints of vanilla and spice. In the mouth the taste is predominantly caramel and chocolate with firm tannins. The finish tastes like oak and it lasts a long time.

This is delicious. We both love it!

Pont du Rhône Côtes du Rhônes (2007)

pont-du-rhone-cotes-du-rhone-2007Tom purchased this Pont du Rhône Côtes du Rhônes 2007 French red at Trader Joe’s. We are enjoying this on this rainy and cold Saturday night in Michigan.

I immediately noticed a wonderful nose. This blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdere is lovely. On the palate is anise  and pine. The tannins are nicely balanced with pepper and fruit. This is an acidic wine that is bursting with flavor.This is a great find. Absolutely. I will put this on our “purchase again” list!

For dinner, I am simmering a big kettle of bean soup with a ham bone that I bought from the local butcher. I have a loaf of whole-wheat bread rising on the counter. It’s looking like it’s about 20 minutes away from putting in the oven.

It is so cozy to be home, warm, and comfortable on this cold night. I walked by lots of homeless people when I was in San Diego this week. I know that I am a very lucky lady. Trigger is cuddled next to me as I write this and I am glad we are all together.

Zaràfa Pinotage (2007)

zarafa-pinotage-2007We’re having this Zaràfa Pinotage 2007 from Trader Joe’s tonight. It’s quite pleasant.

Out of the bottle it’s simultaneously chocolaty and vegetal. As it breathes, the grassy, vegetal quality increases.

It’s a pleasant red table wine and a great value, and it’s fun to have a pinotage.