Collezione di Paolo Poggerissi (2008)

Ahhhh, Friday night after a very eventful and demanding week (which is why we haven’t posted in quite awhile). But, we made it through. We said goodbye to our youngest this morning (just writing this makes me want to cry). He is on a jet now to Seoul for one month and then on to Australia for who knows how long?  Be smart, be safe.  .  .

So, I just finished teaching a week-long graduate-level class in the evenings after my day job. What a great class! Loved it! And now we are winding down. I have a pot of spaghetti sauce with meatballs simmering. I chose this Italian Chianti made with 100% Sangiovese grapes for our dinner. This is a lovely sipping wine. I could just sit here and relax all night — and forget about dinner if I could! The color is a bright purple and the nose has opened considerably since I opened it, yet it is still quite subtle — a touch of cherry and vanilla. The taste is very smooth with a bit of caramel on the finish. This will be perfect with spaghetti and meatballs.

Happy Friday; here’s to a slow-moving weekend (let’s not let it end too soon)!

Sonoma Vineyards Merlot (2007)

This is a stormy, steamy Friday night. We are under a tornado warning and a severe thunderstorm warning. We’ve definitely had the severe storm but I think we have been spared the tornado. We are listening to Michael Crawford crooning and the thunder and rain pelting on the windows. Cozy, cozy, cozy!

We are looking forward to a stay-at-home weekend, although our get-a-ways have been stupendous. . .this weekend will be catch up on our tasks weekend.

Johnny, Melody, David

I have posted a picture from last weekend’s class reunion in Northern Michigan. Such fun!

So, in spite of the heat today, I am roasting a stuffed chicken with potatoes for our dinner. I selected this California Merlot. Although I don’t consider myself a Merlot fan, it works well with certain meals and this is one of them. The wine is soft, somewhat fleshy and feels round on the palate. Lots of fruit, too. In the words of my brother-in-law. . .this drinks good.

By the way, in the picture. . .Johnny and I attended a 2-room schoolhouse and sat at a round table with the rest of our kindergarten class! Every grade had a row. . .one room had kindergarten through 3rd grades (one row per grade) and the other room had 4th through 7th grade. Our teacher was Mrs. Goodrich.A stellar educator! I think the other room’s teach was Mrs. Bowen.  How many of you attended a red-brick, 2-room school?

Dona Paula Los Cardos Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

I selected this Mendoza, Argentine wine for our Tuesday night cocktail hour. We are both back to work after a boisterous weekend up in Northern Michigan for my 35th high school class reunion. What a great and happy time it was to see my former classmates.This wine is superb. I purchased this wine for $11.99 at a local wine shop on the recommendation of the owner. Wow, delicious. Drink this wine and you’ll understand why people that love red wine look for wines from this region. This Dona Paula Los Cardos exhibits caramel and berries on the nose. The palate is predominantly berries with a luscious finish of coffee, chocolate and cedar.

I would not hesitate to recommend this wine; we will definitely buy this again.

Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage (2007)

We are enjoying a lovely, July evening. Strangely, the sun is shining brightly, but it is raining. We are very happy to have the rain because we needed it badly. But it is odd to have the rain while the sky is seemingly clear.

Nonetheless, here we are enjoying the soft rain, windows open with a gentle breeze. I took advantage of the cooler evening to put a chicken casserole in the oven (a basic chicken and rice combo).

While completing our weekly “Wall Street Journal” crossword puzzle, we are enjoying this Sonoma, California blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The nose is subtle and takes awhile to reveal itself but with some decanting it offers chocolate and blackberries. The taste is a deliciously complex mix of fruit, spice, flowers and chocolate. Very yummy. This wine was $13.99 but on sale for 9.99, which is an excellent value. Had I paid the full price, I would have been satisfied but at this price it is a real find.

Pepperwood Grove Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)

Here we are . . .a clear, sunny and hot July evening in Michigan. Home after a day of work. I was in the mood for a comforting meal so I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought groceries, including 6 bottles of red wine, one of which we are having tonight. For dinner, I made a dozen meatballs and homemade tomato sauce. The sauce is simmering and I just added the meatballs. Nothing complicated. . .I sauteed onion and garlic in my cast-iron skillet and added canned tomatoes, salt & pepper, a little sugar, basil and oregano. After that simmered for 90 minutes I added the meatballs (ground beef mixed with italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper and an egg.  I have also made a salad with romaine lettuce, a chopped orange pepper, freshly-picked cherry tomatoes and green onions from my garden, avocado, cucumbers and my homemade salad dressing. A meal for the soul, or so I like to think!

Now, back to the wine. One of our readers recommended the Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir, which we enjoyed so I thought we should try the Cabernet. (Also, it didn’t hurt that this wine was on sale and I was, truthfully, looking for wines that were priced right.) I would conclude this is a good value for a great wine. Quite delicious with a cheerful ruby color and a nose of raspberries and wood. The taste is a delightful blend of blackberries, oatmeal, rosemary and caramel. The finish is wonderful. There’s nothing not to like for a mid-week red wine (or even a special occasion, actually).

Savanha Pinotage/Shiraz (2008)

This South African blend of Pinotage and Shiraz is our choice for this hot summer Friday night. This is a spicy, plummy, bold-flavored wine that is an impeccable choice to accompany our sausage-red potato-cabbage skillet dinner. I particularly appreciate the finish — velvety, spicy and crisp. Here’s to a fun summer weekend!

Dancing Bull Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

We are back from our summer vacation/family reunion and ready to get back in the blogging groove. We had the most fabulous, wonderful time in Texas with the Werner family: Host & hostess Bob & Suzanne and sons Matt, Dan & Ben (and dogs Callie and Jake); Bill & Linda and middle son, Michael; Pat and Bob and dogs Molly & Bella; Steve and Janet and daughters Emily and Katie; Tom & I and our sons Tommy & Tony, and the king and queen of the Werner family, Joe & Mary. All 20 of us stayed with Bob & Suzanne and we all loved every minute. Speaking for myself, this family reunion was one of the best times of my life!

We arrived home last night and unpacked. Today we were both back to work. On my way home, I stopped at Kroger’s and did grocery shopping and, natch, I looked at the wine. This Dancing Bull was on sale for $6 if purchasing 4 or more bottles (normally $13.99). So, I bought 3 of the Cabernet and 1 Zinfandel. I opened this Cabernet tonight to go with our dinner of hamburgers on the grill and salad. (By the way, we are under a heat advisory up here in Michigan; it was in the mid-90’s today.)

I like this wine. The nose has some leather along with strawberries and dark chocolate. The taste is very fruity — more so than most Cabernet’s for which I am familiar, but I think this would be a real draw for wine drinkers who generally drink and enjoy Australian fruity reds. The fruit is plummy with strawberries. The slightly smoky finish is enjoyable. This is a great wine to accompany your cookout with grilled meats.

Cheers to the Werner family. We miss you . . .