Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

We are big fans of Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon. For some reason it puts us in particularly good moods. It’s big, tannic, and drinkable.

We are back from a great visit to the Upper Peninsula with some of our sibs. We saw the Ben Daniels Band in Marquette, had some great meals in Au Train, and hiked Pictured Rocks in Munising. We had a blast.

We had the Hess Cab with chicken legs, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Excellent.

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Amalaya 2009

Amalaya 2009 is another one of the cool new wines we’ve been tasting.

It’s a Malbec blend from the Calchaqui Valley in northwestern Argentina.

It’s a big, bright-tasting red, big but the fruit taste is not dark fruit but more like cherry.

Very different and appealing. This is another wine that we could make a regular.

(The label says that “Amalaya” means “hope for a miracle” in the language of the indigenous people of the Calchaqui Valley. Cool.)

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Columbia Crest Grand Estates Amitage 2008

We’ve been tasting some interesting new wines lately. This one is Columbia Crest Grand Estates Armitage 2008, a red blend from Washington state.

The label doesn’t list the grapes in the blend, but it’s very big, cabernet-like, tannic, with lots of dark fruit taste. Very, very good. We could happily make this a regular house wine.

By the way, it went very well with homemade spaghetti sauce on pasta with spinach.

Opi aka Rodolfo Sadler Malbec 2010

We had this very nice Opi aka Rodolfo Sadler Malbec 2010 with pork chops, rice, and broccoli.

(We were going to grill outside but the mosquitoes here are ferocious thanks to recent heavy rains. Melody cooked them inside on a skillet.)

The Opi was nice and big, extremely fruity but dry, and stood up well to the spicy pork chops. Very drinkable, a great food wine.

Melody has been traveling, so this great meal together was an extra treat.

Placido Chianti 2008

Melody is teaching tonight so I’m having modest fare: a ham-and-swiss sandwich with Placido Chianti 2008.

The Placido was inexpensive in our grocery store (on sale for $6), but it’s nonetheless quite good. It’s dry, tannic, slightly bitter, with dark-fruit taste. A very nice table wine.

Besides, the Placido wine label has a cool picture of “the legendary Count Placido, a 13th century Tuscan nobleman” on horseback.

Collezione di Paolo Chianti 2009

We had this Collezione di Paolo Chianti 2009 with pizza. Dry, pleasant, light-medium body, light fruit taste. Very drinkable, and very good with the pizza.

A very nice evening: during cocktails we worked quite a while on last Friday’s Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle because Melody will be out of town the rest of the week. (If you’re working on it, 79 Across “River to Cairo” is Ohio, not Nile.)

Kelly Country Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Melody made an excellent ground beef, tomato, and pasta dish, with sides of beets and cucumbers, and we had this Kelly Country Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Victoria, Australia. (I think this is a wine from the Wall Street Journal wine club.)

This wine is quite good. Tannic, fruity but not fruit-bomby. I tasted a bit of cigar ash. Melody tasted some licorice. It served as a great table wine with Melody’s hearty dish.

We were both feeling tired (even though it’s only Monday!), so the good food and wine helped.

(By the way, this wine is named for the armour-wearing Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.)