Beringer California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

We’ve had this Califorina Cabernet many times before but we always come back for more. It’s Friday night and we are listening to music and reading the newspapers. I just got home from a one-night trip and it is great to be home. For dinner, I am going to make a gigantic salad. . .with baby romaine lettuce, avocados, orange peppers, some hard-boiled eggs, and some parmesan chicken breasts (leftover from another meal). My salad dressing is my own invention. I start with a bit of spicy brown mustard and add olive oil and red-wine vinegar and a little balsamic vinegar. I add oregano, basil, rosemary, savory and thyme, salt & pepper and shake it until blended. It is wonderful.

I really enjoy this wine every time we have it. Lots of berries on the palate with a vanilla and oak finish. Something fun to try. . .kind of goofy, but interesting. . .take a sip of this wine normally and taste it. Then, take a sip while at the same time “slurping” air. It’s fascinating how many more flavors come through with the slurping method!

Crete Rosse Chianti (2007)

It is a rainy, cold April Monday night but we are cozy and happy inside. We have music on the Bose and our son, Tommy, and his girlfriend Amanda are out in the kitchen making a salad to go with our spaghetti dinner. Wow, it is nice to have them making the salad; it gives me time to blog!

The last time we had this wine, I found it to be. . .well, thin. Thin in taste and in the overall body and aroma. I don’t feel that way tonight. This is a light-bodied wine  but the taste is fresh and spicy. I like this wine very much!

Tommy & Amanda just showed me the big and beautiful salad they made (romaine lettuce with dried cherries, walnuts, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados and bleu cheese) so it is time for me to start the water boiling to finish off the spaghetti dinner.

Salice Salentino (2005)

It is Sunday evening and we are relaxing on this cool and rainy evening. We finished reading the Sunday paper because we had to cut short our paper reading this morning. I have a fresh chicken in the oven. I stuffed it was chopped celery because I read an article that suggested that this makes the chicken very juicy. The house smells quite fragrant so I think this will be tasty.

We had our cooking group gathering (for brunch) today. I brought “chocolate rasberry clafouti” which is a baked dessert with raspberries, milk, butter, cocoa, some flour and sugar. . .a custard like dessert with fruit.

This wine is not your usual Italian, austere red wine. The wine has a creamy texture. The taste is predominantly fruit and vanilla.  I think this wine will benefit from breathing although it is perfectly drinkable right after opening.

I am serving our roast chicken tonight with mashed potatoes, a fresh salad, and steamed broccoli.

De Loach Merlot (2006)

Tom chose this California DeLoach Merlot for our Friday night quaff. . .it is a beautiful April evening  in Michigan. Everyone is outside, joyously skipping, running, walking dogs, or whatever they can think of to do outside.

I jokingly “poo-poo’d” this wine when Tom suggested it; I generally find Merlots a bit too soft and mellow for my taste, but this is a big Merlot.  The nose is sweet vanilla while the taste is cherries and oak.  Grippy tannins complement the long finish.

We are having the rest of the bean soup that I made this weekend, along with whole wheat bread and cheese. I need to eat well tonight to prepare for my long run tomorrow. Cheers!

Longchase Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

I am having the rest of the bottle of this Longchase Cabernet Sauvignon that we opened last night. California Cabernets are pretty reliable (in my humble opinion) and this is yet another example. The color is garnet red and the nose has a cinnamon quality. On the palate, it is a robust fruit and spice. The finish is oaky, but a bit hot for my tastes.

For dinner tonight, I used up some leftover turkey that I had in the freezer. I made a “turkey dumpling” casserole with onions, celery & garlic, thickened with flour and chicken broth, peas, turkey and dumplings in a casserole. I think it will be a filling and delicious mid-week meal.

The oven is calling me. . .cheers!

Arkel Malbec (2008)

It is a Thursday evening  – but seems like a Friday evening – because I have tomorrow (Good Friday) off from work. Woo hoo! After work, I went to my yoga class and came home feeling stretched and peaceful — what a great combination.

I started thawing chicken breasts for dinner. And got out a bag of fresh spinach and some asparagus for stir fry. . .but. . . confession. . .after our martini I said (apparently not very enthusiastically), “wow, I need to go make dinner” and Tom said, “no you don’t; put that stuff away; you can make it tomorrow.” See. this is one of the many reasons why I love him! So, I did put away the food for tomorrow’s dinner, and I picked up the phone and ordered a pizza. So, now I am relaxing with a glass of wine while someone else makes the dinner for us. What a treat!

This wine is exceptional; definitely our kind of wine. Grippy tannins, dry,  and full of berry flavors, this wine is dark red with an earthy finish. I love this wine. I need to buy more. This will be great with our pizza. . .

Pentamere Winery Lake Erie Chambourcin

It is Monday night in April and we have a great deal of new snow on the ground.  It started last night and lasted through about noon today. We Michiganders know and expect an April snowstorm so we are taking it in stride.

I chose this local Michigan wine for our dinner tonight. The label states that this wine is dubbed “Great Lakes Chianti” which is understandable because this drinks very much like an Italian table wine. Lots of oak on the nose and the finish with strawberry and cigar smoke on the palate. The texture is thin with an acidic quality. We purchased this wine locally at a winery in Tecumseh.

For dinner, I am baking a dish I’ll call “macaroni & cheese chicken & broccoli” bake. I started by stir-frying chicken and onions (I cup up chicken breasts in small chunks). In a separate sauce pan, I browned flour in butter and added milk and chicken broth (with cayenne pepper and paprika), then added cheese to melt (and a dab of spicy mustard). Then, combined everything with cooked pasta and broccoli and put it in the oven to bake.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and wintry, too. Another good night to plan a cozy meal and cuddle up and stay warm.

Westend Estate Down Under Shiraz (2008)

This Australian Down Under Shiraz is our pick for a cold and blustery Friday night in Michigan. We Michiganders are tired of cold weather and today was really COLD! But, we are home and snuggled in for the night so we can’t complain.

For dinner tonight, I browned pork loin chops in hot olive oil until brown (in a heavy cast-iron skillet) then I added potatoes (cubed, with skins on) and a sauce of chicken broth and mushrooms (thickened) and it has been simmering for over an hour. I will add a vegetable when we finally decide we are done reading the paper and ready to sit down and eat.

Happily, this wine is a treat. The nose is big and bold and the color is inky. On the palate, this is bursting with black pepper with oak on the finish. It is truly an Australian Shiraz from start to finish. A great complement to our dinner tonight.

Gigi, you would like this one!