Latitud 34 Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)

Here we are and June is nearly over. Where did it go? It’s a very warm Monday night; the grass is very green, the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. We’ve had a lot of rain this summer but the payoff is the vivid colors in the yard.

Tonight Tom volunteered to finish off the bottle of “Quail Creek” Cabernet Sauvignon, which was good but a little heavy on the caramel taste and a tad too sweet for me. Happily,  I opened this bottle of Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon. This has a nice complexity of flavors, including blackberries and pine needles. I really like the grippy tannins and the peppery finish.

For dinner I put some leftover (delicious) baked chicken in the oven to reheat. . .and I served it with a pasta side dish that was scrumptious. Basically, this is the recipe:  I sauteed minced garlic and onions in olive oil and added about a half pound of asparagus (cut into 1″ pieces).  I tossed everything in the hot oil and once the asparagus was crisp tender, I added everything to freshly cooked, drained,  thin-spaghetti pasta. I mixed everything with olive oil, Parmesan cheese and freshly ground salt & pepper. Delicious! It really extended the life of the baked chicken; I didn’t think we would have enough but it was more than enough for the three of us.

Glass Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

We are on our third official day of summer, June 23. We had a thunderstorm today and I understand there was an earthquake in Canada that was felt in metro Detroit. Some weather!

I started my day with a run with our youngest son, Tony, who is home briefly. We had a great run in the pre-storm, hot, sticky air. I then continued on with a very enjoyable day (I am on vacation this week), including lots of reading, which I love to do during stormy weather. This afternoon, I attended a visitation service for Joel Gentz , a hero in our hometown. Joel was a classmate of our oldest son, Tommy. Joel was killed in action in Afghanistan. I knew Joel when he was a baby and I have been friends with his parents. My heart goes out tonight especially to Joel’s mom, Judy. My heart is heavy for her. She and her husband, Steve, are strong but I know their hearts are breaking.

I am looking forward to tomorrow when my friend, Pat, will be coming over for a 9:00 a.m. run and then we’re going to ZouZou’s for coffee and catching up. I LOVE my vacays!!

So, tonight we are going to have hamburgers on the grill and salad. I asked Tony to pick the wine tonight and he chose this California Cabernet. Yum. It is excellent. Predominantly blackberries on the palate with licorice mingling with fruit on the finish. Nothing not to like with this wine. Absolutely scrumptious.

LeGrand Pinot Noir (2008)

Our neighbors, Brad & Michelle, brought us this wine a couple weeks ago when we had a cookout in our back yard. I chose it tonight to go with our dinner of grilled salmon. (Thank you to Jim at Merry Hill Farm, who shared with me his recipe.)

This wine is delicious and it is the perfect choice for our fish dinner. This French Pinot has a black sheep on the label because it claims it doesn’t follow the herd. Obviously not! I find this to be a softer and more succulent Pinot than I am accustomed to with a nose of violets and cherries. The  tannins are smooth and velvety with a finish of fruit and spice.

A nice way to end a beautiful summer day. I ran 10 miles and Tom worked on installing a storm/screen door. I think he had the harder job, today!

Placido Chianti (2008)

A beautiful June Michigan evening. The sun is shining brightly at 8:00 p.m., the birds are chirping and the temperature is in the high 70’s. Tom & I just finished our (last Friday’s) Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. I am mentioning this tonight because we sailed through this particular puzzle. So, therefore, we are celebrating (natch).

We are very much enjoying this Placido Chianti 2008. We bought this wine at our local grocery store for $8.95. It’s very good. Placido Chianti is a fun, light-hearted quaff with a touch of floral on the nose. The taste is dry and slightly tannic.

For dinner tonight, we are having some leftover casserole that I made a few nights ago. The casserole was made with ground beef, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, cheese, etc.,. . .all yummy ingredients. That is reheating and I am making a fresh salad with lettuce and green onions from my garden (and my homemade vinaigrette).

Tom: This Placido Chianti 2008 is a very pleasant red, quite dry, with a floral (I’m copying Melody’s word) and peppery nose and a medium body. Very drinkable. I’m sure this wine is very Italian food-friendly: fragrant, pleasantly acidic. A fun discovery for $9.

Cupcake Vineyards Malbec (2008)

Another lovely June evening in Michigan. Tonight is windy and cloudy but so nice for sitting on the patio and feeling the breeze and listening to the birds. We are having a glass of this Argentine Malbec from the Mendoza region. What an interesting wine. I find this to be mellower than what I would expect in a Malbec. I am finding it difficult to find the right words to describe this wine but here is my best shot: The nose is smoked meat — bologna, I think. The taste is robust and predominantly berries. The finish is vanilla.I am enjoying it. This is one reason I enjoy wine; every wine has the potential for  many different tastes, smells and textures. I love the challenge of identifying these sensory experiences with descriptive words.

Chateau Labourdette (2006)

I am having a glass of this French Bordeaux (Chateau Labourdette) that we opened last night. It’s Tuesday evening. I don’t want to sound like a broken record so I won’t tell you how exhausting my work day was!

It’s a delightful June summer night in Michigan. The sun is shining, everything is uber-green, the flowers are in bloom and the birds are chirping and the frogs are croaking.

This Bordeaux is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet; I recognize the sharp taste and the structured tannins of the Cabernet. At the same time, I detect the mellowness of the Merlot. Together, they create a lovely purple color and a nose of plums and tobacco. The taste is plummy with a touch of pepper and spearmint.

Beringer Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

It’s Monday night and I went back to work today after a week off. As is to be expected, I worked like a fiend for about nine straight hours. . .there is always that first day back that is brutal. But now I am home and I have dinner on the stove. We had a martini and then Tom brought me a glass of this Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 that he bought locally — probably on sale. Amusingly, when I blogged about this wine previously, we had also had it on a Monday night.  I think that is because we kind of “live it up”  on the weekends (and open more expensive wines) and then drink our more modestly-priced wines during the week.

The wine is very nice. It is a good value. I’ve had better — but at a higher price.  I’ve had other wines at this price that were too simple or downright objectionable. This one is good. The predominant taste is blackberries with a vanilla finish. A very adequate California Cabernet.

For dinner, I am reheating a leftover grilled pork chop (we will split it), some freshly mashed red potatoes, a leftover homemade biscuit (again, we’ll split) and a fresh salad. I also have homemade chocolate/walnut brownies. I’m going to hand my computer over to Tom to get his thoughts. . .

Tom: Big blackberry fruit on the nose of this Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. Very nice; not at all skunky or hot. A pleasant, fruity, medium-tannic, New-World cab. A nice Monday table wine.

Walnut Crest Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)

Okay, this Walnut Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is a cheap wine that my husband bought at our local grocery store (I believe he said it was around $6). So, being a little bit of a wine snob (or so I like to think) I was prepared to not like it. Well, I like it. Granted, I am not going to rave about it, but it is pleasant. This will go well with a simple meal I have prepared — a savoury casserole of ground beef, onions, peppers, potatoes, corn, cheese, etc. . .a simple wine for a simple meal! The predominant taste is cranberries with notes of thyme and sage. The finish is a little hotter than I would like, but not bad at all.

Sadly, this is my last day on vacation and I am back to work on Monday. Usually, I am celebrating “TGIF” but tonight I am sorry to see Friday arrive. . .however, it’s been a delicious week for me and I enjoyed every minute. And, while I hate to see it end, I will enjoy getting back to work (once I get there- haha).

Tom: A friend, calling from a supermarket wine aisle, recently asked for a wine recommendation and I said, “Anything from Chile is good.” My thinking was that more-expensive Chilean wines, both reds and whites, are great and the less-expensive are at least OK. This Walnut  Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is a test case. It was under$6. I think it proves the rule. It’s at least OK. It has dark fruit and some tannins (although a bit too much sweetness). But it’s an OK table wine, and better than many other fruit bombs that your $6 -$7 could buy. If you’re underwhelmed, for $11-$12 you can pick up a Casillero del Diablo Carminere and have a pretty darn good Chilean.

Alamos Malbec (2009)

This is midweek of my vacation. It is so nice to be home and just doing whatever I want to do! Today, I went into downtown Ann Arbor for a haircut. Our sons met me and we had lunch at an Indian restaurant and then I meandered on home, stopping at a nursery on the way home to pick up some climbing vines for our pergola.

I was in the process of rubbing two pork chops with a spicy rub when Tony stopped by and said that he and Tommy would be coming for dinner after they played a round of basketball. So, I put the pork chops away and got out some chicken that I also had in the refrigerator (I only had two pork chops; not enough to feed all four of us). I quickly changed gears and prepared the chicken. I also scrubbed potatoes to bake alongside the chicken. I whipped up some biscuits, I scrubbed and sliced carrots for sauteing, and I peeled about 9 apples for an apple crisp. Now, everything is baking in the oven and Tom & I are having a cocktail while we wait for the boys to arrive. I thought this Argentine Malbec would be a good choice for our chicken dinner. This wine is abundant with blackberries, leather and pepper on the nose. The taste is lush with plums and pepper and smooth tannins. I like this very much. Also, this is a good one to let breathe a bit because the more I swirl the better it gets.

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Mas Donis Barrica Old Vines (2007)

It’s Monday night and I have had such a wonderful day. First, I’m on vacation. Second, I got a lot done, starting with a 6-mile run this morning. But, most importantly, both of our sons are home today! Tony, who came home from a 9-month trip around South America and Tommy, who came home to see his little brother! It’s been so much fun. They both just left the house to play basketball at their old junior-high basketball courts while Tom & I relax, read the paper and enjoy this lovely wine. I bought this wine at Baxter’s in Ann Arbor. The owner recommended it to me. This purple Mas Donis Barrica Old Vines is a blend of 85% Grenache (from an historic vineyard) and 15% Syrah. The nose has a piquant blend of cloves, ambrosial flavors with a fruity finish.The only thing I didn’t like about this wine is the label, which is silly of me. . .