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!

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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.

Razor’s Edge Shiraz

razors-edge-shirazEarlier in the week I had the pleasure of dining with four fellow members of the NCAA Research Committee while attending the annual meeting in San Diego. I promised them I would blog about our wine.

Katie, Roxanne, Kurt, and Bruce, this is for you!

The five of us headed out together in search of dinner in the Gaslamp district of downtown San Diego. After stopping and browsing at several restaurant menus, we settled on the Asti Ristorante on Fifth Avenue. I think the offer of a free dessert helped us make our decision. (It’s not easy committing to one place with five different people saying “Anywhere is fine with me!” We were a flexible and agreeable group.)

As we were getting ready to walk in, Katie noticed Dick Vitale. We all got a good look and, sure enough, he was right there eating outside on the sidewalk seating area. So we knew it must be a good restaurant.

The three red-wine drinkers in the group chose the Razor’s Edge Shiraz because none of us had had it and the price for a bottle was reasonable.  We all enjoyed it. It was very fruity on the palate with good structure. I noted a touch of pepper and vanilla on the finish.

We all had delicious dinners. Three of us, including myself, had fresh crab linguine. Quite yummy. But the dinner was not the best part of the meal. The best part was the company of these fun and intelligent new friends. Cheers!

Three Buck Chuck Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

charles-shaw-cabernet-sauvignon-2006Melody is on the road and she will be hoping two things: (1) that I blog and (2) that I drink our Three Buck Chuck while she’s gone. So I’m doing both.

Melody finds the idea of Three Buck Chuck a little too, shall we say, basic. However I find this Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 to be a perfectly fine table wine.

It’s on the fruity side (maybe strawberries), but it has some tannins and is tasty and fun. It went well with my leftover steak-and-brown-rice stirfry.

It’s hard to imagine a better wine buy for three dollars.

(By the way, I’ve read that the year doesn’t matter with a Charles Shaw because it doesn’t vary year to year. But no matter, I still say it’s not bad at all.)

La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux (2006)

la-ferme-julien-cotes-du-ventoux-2006I am finishing the bottle of this La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux 2006, a French blend, tonight. This red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan, and 15% Cinsault. I already blogged about this last night but I wanted to add my comments for the second night after it had spent some time breathing. (You can see my comments last night when it was freshly uncorked.)

In the glass it is dark violet. On the nose are scents of berries, spice, and pepper. This is full-bodied, fruit-filled wine with plenty of bright fruit and spice. This is one of the wines that Tom bought at Trader Joe’s for a very reasonable price; this is an excellent value. I would purchase this again in a minute.

I have leftovers in the oven because I have so many! Tonight is leftover potatoes and carrots (from the pot roast dinner) and leftover ribs (from last night). I have also made a fresh salad.

La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux (2006)

la-ferme-julien-cotes-du-ventoux-2006Tom chose this La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux 2006 from France for this Sunday evening. This red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan, and 15% Cinsault. Fairly low in tannin, Cinsault is grown abundantly in France and used to blend with other grapes. The Cinsault has great perfume and supple texture and is often used to offset the harshness of the Carignan.

We have had a good weekend and tonight we can hear sleet hitting the windows. Winter has arrived in Michigan. For dinner I am preparing two slabs of pork ribs. I started by mixing a rub of chili powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper on the ribs and letting them rest for an hour on the counter. Then I covered them with foil and put them in the oven at 300 for an hour; then took off the foil for an hour. Then I prepared my own barbecue sauce by sauteing onions and garlic and adding chili powder, cayenne pepper, catsup, molasses, cider vinegar, spicy mustard, and worcestershire sauce . . . and then I smothered the ribs in the sauce and put them back in the oven and that is where they are now. They need to continue to cook for an hour and half. So by the time they are done they will be succulent and tender. The ribs have been an all-afternoon undertaking — very fun, comforting, and cozy.

This wine is perfect for tonight’s dinner.