Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)

It’s midweek and we are having this delicious Paso Robles Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 to celebrate a hard day’s work. I am taking four days vacation this week and we are spending our free time doing projects around the house. We have worked very hard and we feel pleasantly, happily exhausted by the end of the day. The weather is slightly cooler today and we have the air conditioning turned off and the windows open.

I made a meatloaf, baked potatoes, garlic toast and sauteed Swiss Chard (from the food co-op) for dinner. Just what we needed after a physically demanding day. The wine has blackberry and cranberry aromas. The taste is very fruity with blackberry, chocolate and vanilla. Tomorrow will be another wonderful day at home!

Hess Cabernet Sauvignon (2005)

We had this delicious Hess Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 on our Saturday night while we grilled barbecued chicken. We like this wine very much. The wine is rich with fruit flavors and gentle tannins.

(We’ve had this wine several times and each time has been memorable.)

A storm blew in during our cocktail hour and ended by the time we were ready to move outside and grill the chicken.

Chalone Vineyard Estate Grown Syrah (2008)

We are in the middle of our heat wave like the rest of the country. I worked all day in air conditioned comfort so I can’t say I suffered except for when I had to get into my car that was parked in a sunny parking lot. Even so, pretty mild compared to what some people are going through who do not have air conditioning.

We enjoyed a relaxing cocktail hour (more like two) and read the newspapers (tonight we get two of them). For dinner, I made a casserole with leftover chicken. I chose this California Chalone Vineyard Syrah 2008 that I have been saving for quite awhile. We had it before and really enjoyed it. It’s very good. Quite simply, it is juicy fruity with minerals and oak. Delicious.

Also, here’s a shot of us tasting wine at the Saddlehorn Winery in Burton, Texas, during our recent family get-t0gether. They grow Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish grapes. (This photo captures the extremely rare event of Melody drinking white wine…)

The Original Smoking Loon Syrah (2008)

Tom poured me a glass of this California Smoking Loon Syrah 2008 to sip while I prepared dinner tonight. I was not gung ho to have this wine tonight because a) it was the dregs leftover from last night [I had not had any, but Tom did] and b) I had a vague memory of not enjoying this particular wine. But I decided to be opened minded (for a change). What I discovered is that my memory was probably accurate in that this is not a wine that tickles my taste buds, particularly. Yet, it is not distasteful and it is entirely drinkable, especially for a Tuesday work night. So considering Tom purchased this on sale at our local grocery store for $8 (normally $11.49), I would have to say it is a good value. The color is purple ink, with a chocolate, strawberries, caramel and sage nose. The palate is very fruity with intense blueberry and strawberry flavor and a finish of  an unusual combination of chocolate and rosemary.

For dinner I prepared what I believe is a healthy dish of high-protein pasta tossed with peas, salmon, olive oil and scallions with a squeeze of fresh lemon. We really enjoyed it.

Bliss Family Vineyards (2009) Cabernet Sauvignon

We had a fun Saturday together. I started my day with a run with my girlfriends before it got too hot. There were five of us this morning: Pat, Christi, Chris, Jeanie and me. We ran pretty fast on the country roads because every time we ran in the wooded, shaded areas, we were swarmed by deer flies, so we had to keep speeding up to outrun them.

Tom & I gave into the heat at about 5:00 this afternoon after walking Trigger. . .decided to close the windows and turn on the air conditioner. It’s going to be in the 90’s all week.

So tonight we started our evening with a Negroni cocktail. It was our first. I had read an article on it and we decided to try it. For two of us: 2 oz. gin, 2 oz. sweet vermouth, 2 oz. Campari. Shaken over ice and poured over a short glass with ice and topped with an orange slice. We really enjoyed it very much.

After our cocktail, we grilled steaks and asparagus and had a glass of this Bliss Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Mendocino, California. This is a structured Cab with spice and blueberries on the nose . The taste  has some oak and a touch of mint with a dark chocolate finish. A great wine for a blissful weekend!

Lindeman’s Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

A long and arduous day at work today but happy to be home and relaxing. We are having this Lindeman’s Bin #45 Cabernet  2010 tonight with a dinner of grilled Brats, sauteed red cabbage and potatoes. We enjoyed sitting on the patio with our glass of wine, listening to the birds and feeling the soft, summer breeze while the Brats were grilling. I like this wine very much.

Tom & I used to purchase this regularly when we initially started enjoying red wine. This is a great value. Authentically fruit forward, soft tannins and juicy on the palate with a long finish. Happy news: Tomorrow is Friday!!

Elsa Bianchi Malbec (2010)

It is a Tuesday night and I wanted to duplicate a delicious meal that my sister- and brother-in-law prepared during our family reunion. We had grilled, marinated salmon with a pasta/tomato/garlic/basil dish. Wow, it was so filling (and yummy)! I could only finish half my salmon so I was able to prepare two separate lunches, which I will enjoy at the office this week.

Although Malbec is not your typical wine to serve with fish, that is what I chose for tonight. (I don’t like white wine. Period.) I am enjoying this Elsa Bianchi 2010 very much. I purchased it on the way home from work tonight, on sale, for $8. I had aimed my  grocery cart for the South American wine section because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and, sure enough, this is a great value. The quality of this low-priced, entry-level Malbec is similar  in value to $30 California wines. Very plummy on the nose and palate. A long finish with hints of vanilla and thyme. Here’s to you, Bill and Linda!

Santa Rita 120 Carmenere (2009)

We grilled burgers tonight and I made a salad with lettuce from our garden. Tom chose this Santa Rita 120 Carmenere 2009 from Chile to accompany our simple meal.

This was a good choice. The Carmenere has lots of fruit on the palate and spice on the finish. It complemented the burgers laden with spicy mustard and onions.  I found this wine on sale for under $10.

Lindeman’s Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)

We are back from a spectacularly wonderful Werner family reunion in Texas. We had the best time together — talking, swimming, cooking, eating, talking, laughing, swimming, eating, drinking, shooting, hiking, talking & laughing, stargazing, eating & drinking, listening to classic-country music and watching for falling stars while sitting at the pool kicking our feet in the cool water. It was GREAT!! I LOVE our family.

So tonight we are back home. I had taken a small zip-lock bag out of the freezer with some left-over country ham. I used the ham for a ham & noodle dish recipe that I came upon. It was very easy, tasty and filling. Along with the main dish, I cooked fresh beets from the food co-op and sauteed dandelion greens (from my neighbor). All in all, satisfying and comforting. Speaking of comforting, I purchased an old favorite, Lindeman’s Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, at our grocery story tonight. Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the first wines that Tom & I enjoyed together many years ago. We had read that this was a great value and we enjoyed it on a regular basis. It was fun to pick it up again. Although simple, this is a fun, fruit-forward Australian red that is a easy to drink and quite delicious.