Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (2003)

catena-cabernet-sauvignon-2003It is February 28 and Open Your Bottle Night. Woo hoo! We’ve been looking forward to this. We have two special bottles in our possession that we didn’t choose tonight: 1) A bottle of wine from our two sons, Tommy and Tony (we don’t want to open it until Tony is back from South Korea and we are all together), and 2) a bottle of wine from Tommy’s girlfriend, Amanda, which we don’t want to open unless Amanda is here with us to enjoy it too. So we settled on this Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 from the Mendoza region of Argentina. I bought this wine for Tom for Christmas in 2007 and it, along with the other bottles I purchased, have been stored in our cool, dark basement.

In the glass, this Catena is a deep, dark-violet color with reddish hues. The nose is intense;  focused aromas of ripe raspberries and blackberries intermingled with notes of tobacco and pencil lead. The mouthfeel is muscular, full and concentrated bursting with rich blackberry and espresso. This was a great choice for Open Your Bottle Night with just the two of us. (Of course, we would have chosen something different if our boys were home, but that day will come.) I think our new cyber friends, Marty and Jeannie, would like this wine.

For dinner tonight, I had to rummage through my refrigerator and freezer. I did not go to the grocery store today because . . . well, because I went for a long run (9-miles) this morning in 14-degree weather and it was cold, which takes the wind out of your sails . . . then, after a hot shower and a little lunch, it was time for me to go to a baby shower for a friend of mine from work. By the time I got home, the day was over. So, I took some Polish kielbasa out of the freezer and some cabbage, carrots and onions out of the vegetable drawer. I started by browning the sliced kielbasa in hot olive oil until it was very brown; then, I added sliced onions and stirred those around until they, too, were brown, then added a boatload of chopped cabbage, sliced carrots and some chicken broth. It is now simmering and I am making mashed potatoes for the side. It should be a comforting, filling meal for our last day of February. Spring is near! Cheers!

Granrojo Rojo (2007)

rojo-2007Oh boy, Friday has arrived! It is cold February night in Michigan and the forecast is for an even colder weekend. We are snuggled in for the evening — listening to music and reading the paper.

I chose this Granrojo Rojo 2007, a Spanish blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, to go with our dinner of spaghetti bolognese, fresh-steamed spinach and a salad.

This is a very pleasant wine. It doesn’t make me swoon like some wines do, but this is quite delightful, nonetheless. This vintage is young and fresh, with bountiful cherries on the nose and palate. The wine is light bodied with a fresh and minty finish.

This post was interrupted briefly with a Skype call from our son, Tony, who is in South Korea. It was so good to see him and talk to him. He is just as cute and sweet as ever.

Time to finish preparing dinner. Here’s to a great weekend, everyone. Cheers!

Kalder Syrah (2005)

kalder-syrah-2005It is a Wednesday night in Michigan. The weather is mild and we had some rain today. Spring is going to come to Michigan; I just know it.

We chose this Kalder Syrah 2008 from California for tonight to accompany our dinner of pot roast. (I got home early today, so took advantage of the extra time by preparing a pot roast with potatoes, onions and carrots. I am also baking acorn squash and I mixed up a batch of biscuits, which I just put in the oven with the squash.)

This is a great wine for slow-cooked beef. This Syrah is gushing with ripe fruit — on the nose and the palate. The finish is different; definitely peppery, but also somewhat thin for a Syrah. I asked Tom for his opinion and he said it was an “odd finish — peppery, a tiny bit bitter with not a lot of fruit.”

Well, my oven timer is beeping; the biscuits are done baking. Cheers!

Warburn Estate Shiraz (2008)

warburn-estate-shiraz-2008It is a Tuesday evening at our household; a winter storm warning is in effect for tonight and tomorrow and we are hunkering down to read the paper and see what happens. Neither Tom nor I had a particularly happy day at our jobs so we are glad to be here together, licking our wounds, so to speak.  Jobs can be demanding!

For dinner, I put the pot of soup that I made this weekend on the stove to heat. I took the rest of the bread that I baked this weekend on the table and I took a chunk of cheese out of the refrigerator to warm to room temperature. This will make a delicious, but very, very easy dinner. I just didn’t have the energy to do much else tonight.

Tom chose this Warburn Estate Shiraz 2008 for us tonight. This is a great wine to taste and describe . . . the color is deep purple and the nose is grassy and vegetal; the taste is blackberries and freshly-ground black pepper. The feel in the mouth is round and supple with soft tannins. The finish is long and peppery. I like this wine . . . we haven’t had an Australian Shiraz for awhile and this is nice.

Domaine d’Aubaret Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

reserve-domaine-daubaret-cabernet-sauvignon-20071It is Monday evening and we both worked hard at our jobs today. I was able to sneak in a 3-mile noon hour run.

I am making ricotta-stuffed chicken breasts,  brown rice, and steamed asparagus for dinner tonight and I chose this French Domaine D’Aubaret Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 because I thought it would be a good complement (and because I was curious to taste it). We haven’t had much opportunity to taste many French Cabernet Sauvignons.

This is a keeper and I like it very much.  As soon as I opened the bottle, I knew I was in for something good; the nose  is brimming with licorice and spice. The color is a deep red in the glass. On the palate is plenty of plums, cranberries, and cedar. The tannins are full and round.  Yes, this is yummy and I am glad that we have three more bottles waiting for us to enjoy. Cheers!

Fortium Salice Salentino (2005)

fortium-salice-salentino-2005It is a Saturday night and we are having a relaxing evening together. I chose this Italian red wine, Fortium Salice Salentino 2005, to accompany our dinner tonight. This is a surprise! We are accustomed to Italian red wines to being rather austere and musty. But this is everything but! The wine is made from grapes by the name of Negro Amaro (black bitter), Malvaisa Nera di Brindisi, and Malvasia Nera di Lecce. The Negro Amaro is responsible for producing one of the most popular, low-priced Italian table wines in the United States (thanks, Karen MacNeil, for this information). The wine is surprisingly fruity; it was almost off-putting to me at first taste, but with some air I warmed up to the taste (although I prefer a wine that is a bit drier and less fruity than this one). This is very fruity with lots of vanilla and spice. The texture is rather creamy. If you like Australian red wines, you will like this one.

Earlier today I went out for a run but discovered the roads were so slippery from a snowfall of about 5 inches. The snow plows had come through and the result was extremely slippery, sticky snow. The snow stuck to the bottom of my shoes, making ice skates . . .after 1 mile and several scary moments where I almost fell, I realized it was too treacherous. So I drove to the Wellness Center and made myself do 6.5 miles on the treadmill. Oh, misery! I do not like running on treadmills but I was due for 7.5 miles today. Somehow,  I played mind games and got it done.

For dinner tonight, I am making pork chops and small potatoes. Something I have recently discovered is that pork chops benefit from brining. So I brined these and am now cooking them in a hot cast-iron skillet with a bit of olive oil. These will be very brown and crunchy on the outside. I am also simmering small, yellow (organic) potatoes in chicken broth. I need to get up and make a vegetable . . . we’ll see how we like this dinner tonight. I’ll report back tomorrow!  Cheers!

De Loach Private Collection Merlot (2006)

de-loach-merlot-2006It is another Friday night at our household and we are celebrating with an extended “happiness” hour. I have the dinner table set and dinner on the stove. Meanwhile, we are listening to music on the Bose, reading the paper, and enjoying this De Loach Merlot 2006 from California.

I have a habit of shying away from Merlots only because they usually taste too “soft” for my particular tastes.  I like the bigger tastes of Cabernets, Malbecs, Carmenere, etc.  But I am pleased to say that this Merlot represents itself well. While it is a bit creamy in texture, it has a fabulous nose. The taste is heavily cherries and vanilla. On the finish I can taste the oak.

I am thinking about a friend of ours, Tom, who is a very intelligent wine taster. He has good instincts about the aromas and tastes of wine (and he also has a very science-oriented approach and mind). He mentioned to us that our wine reviews are generally positive, which is true. I thought it worth mentioning that the reason we are generally positive with our reviews is that we only purchase wine that we think we will enjoy–as opposed to some wine connoisseurs who will purchase many wines to do blind tastings — that is not what we do. We purposefully try to purchase the wines that we think we will love. And we’re pretty good at it!


35° South Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

35-south-cabernet-sauvignon-2006We are having a glass of this Chilean 35° South Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 on this Wednesday night. It is raining and unseasonably warm for a February night in Michigan. Our neighborhood kids are playing basketball outside in the rain! But they are happy because it is not cold (well, in Michigan we don’t think 40 degrees is cold in February).

I bought this wine last night at Meijer’s when I stopped by to buy a few groceries. It looked interesting. What a find! It is delicious. The color is deep dark red while the nose is filled with fruit and spice. On the palate is fresh blackberries along with a strong taste of caramel and vanilla.  This is a full bodied wine with subtle tannins.

I had to throw dinner together because I worked late; but I think we’ll enjoy it, nonetheless. I have made my favorite goulash recipe (it is simmering now) along with green beans. Very simple, but delicious. This wine is perfect for a mid-week quaff.

Lindemans’ Cabernet Sauvignon South Eastern Australia (2008)

lindemans-bin-45-cabernet-sauvignon-20081I chose this Australian Lindemans Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 for our Monday evening “happiness hour.” The nose is deeply cherry and the taste is filled with berry fruits and oak. Talk about a fruit-forward, luscious wine — this is it!

For dinner tonight I have prepared pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable mix of asparagus, green beans, corn, and baby carrots.

We are trying to decide: Do we watch Obama’s press conference or do we watch my favorite show “House”? Hmmmmmm. I’ll let you know tomorrow who wins.

Finca Dubois Bonarda (2005)

Finca Dubois Bonarda 2005I chose this Finca Dubois Bonarda 2005 Argentine red wine for our Sunday evening. I have a pot roast in the oven that I started at 2:30 this afternoon. After browning the roast in a hot skillet, I took the roast out of the skillet just long enough to add 4 garlic cloves and a chopped onion, then I put the roast back in the pan resting on the onions and garlic, along with some chicken broth and red wine. I covered it tightly and put it in a low 250-degree oven. After about 2 hours, I added potatoes and carrots. When it is ready, I expect the meat to be tender and juicy and the vegetables to be savoury and drenched in a rich broth.

I have been saving this last bottle of Bonarda for quite awhile because it is one of my favorites. This wine is perfect for a Sunday night pot roast dinner. The wine is rich with fruit — plums and blackberry jam — along with mushrooms, tobacco and vanilla — and firm tannins, to make an absolutely luscious, satisfying quaff. Here’s to a February thaw (the temperature got up to the mid-40’s today) in Michigan!