Castello Montedoro (2006)

It is Sunday evening and we had a lovely weekend. I have spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove for our dinner tonight. My sauce is a hodgepodge of onions, garlic, tomatoes, ground beef, thyme, oregano, parsley, brown sugar, red wine, red pepper flakes.  Makes for a spicy, substantial sauce.

For a spaghetti dinner, I chose this Italian Castello Montendoro. It’s a lovely deep red in the glass. The nose is plummy and the taste is a vivid blackberry with some cherry notes. The finish is oak and cherry.

It’s my brother-in-law’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, Bob! Can’t wait to see you in July.

Cupcake Malbec (2008)

It’s Saturday evening and we are enjoying this Argentine Malbec that I bought this week at The Plum Market in Ann Arbor. I also picked up some ground beef at the meat counter and I have made some super burgers (with spices, steak sauce and green onions) which we are having tonight along with a salad.

The first thing both Tom & I noticed about this wine is the nose:  Beefy. Tom is oohing and ahhing over this one. This is our kind of wine. Big. With dark chocolate and coffee notes along with sumptuous ripe fruit. Thank you, Plum Market for putting this one on sale! I am going to get more. . .

Happy news! I heard from our youngest, Tony, today, who is still in Ecuador but will returning to “Murica” on April 30. He will be making his way back to Michigan sometime in late May. We can’t wait! We will celebrate his return, for sure.

Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work today and this wine was on sale so I picked up a bottle for our mid-week dinner. This is exactly what I expected: A new-worldish, fruit forward wine with (obviously) lots of fruit on the palate and a dry finish. This is absolutely fine for our dinner of goulash, sauteed spinach and salad.  .  .nothing elaborate about our dinner and nothing fanciful about our wine! We worked a bit on the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle and now we are reading the paper. It’s a beautiful, sunny evening and everything is blooming. Stunningly beautiful!

Venta Morales Tempranillo

It is Sunday night and we had a great weekend. I was able to “play” outside a lot today with my new toy. . .Land Roller skates! It was so much fun. I am not the best skater, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am practicing. I was able to take Trigger for a walk and I finally got the nerve to skate down my driveway (instead of walk on the grass) and over the crack onto the street! Woo hoo! Really fun. My neighbor, Alex, who is 9 years old, came over and talked me through a lot of moves and then finally put his skates on. We had fun.

So. . .now it is relaxation time. We worked a bit on our Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. . .had a martini. . .now we are sipping this Spanish wine that Tom purchased at our local Meijer’s grocery store. For dinner, I sliced two sizzler steaks that were in the freezer (from the cow that I purchased as part of the food co-op to which I belong). Then, I whisked together soy sauce, chopped garlic, brown sugar, pepper, and lemon juice. I will start by cooking the steak in a hot cast-iron skillet, then adding onions and broccoli and the sauce for a stir fry. This Tempranillo is perfect for our dinner. I wouldn’t have expected this wine to be so delicious, but it really is.  . . worth buying more, for sure. Lots of ripe fruit. Tom just said, “Big, but dry fruit; it’s big but it is not at all a fruit bomb. It’s very dry and tannic, but still fruity.” I agree. It’s tight and structured. Delicious. We are putting this on our list to get more.

Valoroso Cabernet Sauvignon Castelao (2008)

It’s a Friday night — woo hoo! It was a long and arduous work week for me and included a very, very long road trip to do a presentation and then turn around and drive back. (Well, ride back; I didn’t have to drive. . .my colleague did all the driving; thank you, Mike!)

So, here we are; taking a deep breath and relishing in our Friday night status! I have leftovers (pot roast) heating up on the stove. I also have some kale I will saute and I am going to make a fresh salad with arugula, romaine, avocado and carrots (that’s all I have) with my homemade salad dressing. This is the best salad dressing. It is all we ever eat in this household. In a nutshell, here is what I do: I take a bottle of spicy mustard that is close to empty. I add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar until it is almost full. Then, I add basil oregano, savory, rosemary and thyme, along with salt & pepper. Shake until the spicy poupon/horseradish mustard is mixed well and what you have is a simply delicious salad dressing. This bottle will last for many salads (or until you have nearly finished the next spicy mustard).

I chose this wine (from a wine club) for tonight because I think it will hold up well to the roast beef. This Portuguese wine is just the ticket tonight. Lots of plum and a bit of spice on the palate and a velvety, silky finish. There is nothing not to like . . .as it breathes, I also note cloves and a touch of tobacco.

The Full Fifteen (2009)

A beautiful Michigan April evening and we are relaxing after both having busy days at our jobs. Everything is green and blooming here in Southeastern Michigan. I don’t think the grass could be any greener. No wonder we Michiganders are so happy when spring arrives!

So, I am back from a one-night business trip and relishing being back home. I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home and picked up two “ultimate” burgers, which are hamburger patties made with spices and steak sauce . . ..something I could/should have done on my own, but they just looked so good! We are not grilling. Instead, I heated up my trusty cast iron skillet, put kosher salt in the pan and then browned the burgers and turned down the heat. These will turn out juicy and delicious. We can’t grill right now because we are in the process of re-doing our patio. . .but that’s another story.

This wine just arrived in our wine club shipment. I chose it only because it was at the top of the box (and I guess I was eager to open a bottle). This is an Australian fruit bomb and quite good! Lots of blackberries, plums and spice. The finish is smooth. . .almost melt-in-your-mouthish — like m & ms!

I would recommend this wine especially to new wine drinkers who say that they don’t like dry wine but they also don’t like wine that is too sweet. In fact, I think my friend and colleague Streets might like this one. . .I’ll have to mention it to him. Well, time to flip the burgers. Cheers and happy Tuesday!

Marques de Casa Concha (2005)

This Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile was our choice for Saturday night (and I am having the last of the bottle tonight — Sunday). I really like this one. Deep red color. A lively blackberry and smoke taste with a silky texture. The tannins are firm and the finish is long. This wine supports my notion that you get what your pay for. . .even in wine, which is a very subjective subject, to say the least. This was a $20 bottle of wine, which — for us — is not our everyday wine. And, it tastes absolutely great to me and worth the price.

We will have this wine with a pot roast dinner which is in the oven (along with apple cobbler). This roast is from a local cow! We purchased 1/16 of a cow and this is our first roast. I just added the potatoes, carrots and pearl onions – and I put the apple cobbler in, too. This cow is grain fed and “organic” (if that is what you call a cow that hasn’t been shot up with any hormones or other additives). . .it’ll be interesting to see if we notice any difference.

And on to another week . . .and spring is in the air in Michigan!

Zarpado Malbec (2008)

We purchased two bottles of this Argentine Malbec recently at Sam’s Club for a reasonable price (under $10/bottle).  This is good!   Softer than a Cab but more intense than a Merlot, it seems to fall in the middle of these two. This wine offers a generous plum flavor with an acidic finish. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of this one.

This will complement our dinner nicely. I stopped by our local meat market and purchased their polish kielbasa (the best). I browned the kielbasa chunks with some cubed (not peeled) potatoes and added sauerkraut to simmer. I also made a fruit salad with organic strawberries and kiwi fruit from my food coop.

Cheers! Happy birthday to our oldest son who is 26 years old today! We love you very much. . .

Peñalolen Cabernet Sauvignon

We just finished dinner and it was delicious! I had purchased two steaks for our anniversary dinner (which was Friday) but because of some unforeseen circumstances, we weren’t able to have those steaks on our actual anniversary. So, here we are, a Monday after work, and we grilled steaks and opened this Peñalolen wine from Chili. I purchased this wine at Plum Market in Ann Arbor. It was $20 on sale for $17. And. . .it is oh so good. The first thing I noticed was the color. It isn’t red or deep purple — the best way I can describe this color is that it looks like iodine (mercurachrome). (I just asked Tom how to spell mercurachrome and he made it known that I was dating myself by using this descriptor.) But, that is the color! Do you all remember that color? The second thing I noticed was the taste of tobacco on the finish. This is a leather, tobacco and dark chocolate kind of wine and it is oh so good. This is definitely a keeper in our household. Certainly not an everyday wine, but a wine to savor on special occasions. And what better time than April 5, 2010?