Barbaresco (2008)

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We are having homemade beef barley soup and whole wheat bread for dinner tonight. Tom opened this bottle of Italian red wine which is tasting very good with this dinner. The fruit is subtle. The texture and feel is sharp and acidic. This is what I expect from a decent Italian red wine. I like this very much.

We had a great Saturday! My day started with a long run with my girlfriends. It was sunny and the roads were dry — a big treat for a January run in Michigan! Here’s to my running friends. Cheers!

Villa Farnia di Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (2010)

We had a busy Saturday but are now relaxing and enjoying a very lovely happiness hour (or two). We usually have cocktails in our front room but today we are sitting in our living room because Tom is watching football. But he was patient enough to also help me with this week’s Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. This week is pretty difficult and we have aways to go! What is a six letter word for “stick on the field”?

For dinner my trusty cast iron skillet is on the stove with some homemade spaghetti sauce simmering. I am going to stir fry some fresh spinach.

This is is a solid, rustic wine with a soft texture and thick fruit flavors. This is going to go well with out spaghetti and spinach dinner.

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Ultima de Farnese

It is Friday night and we are kicking back, reading the paper, kinda sorta watching a football game, and enjoying this luscious Italian wine. Very smooth with round tannins, this wine is rich with blackberries, spice and black pepper. It is unfiltered so there is a bit of sludge at the bottom of the bottle which we could easily eliminate by decanting (but we didn’t).

We had this wine with spaghetti and something really dark green from the food coop. It might have been kale but I can’t be sure. It certainly made us feel health conscious, whatever it was.

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Villa Farnia Di Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (2010)

We are having an Italian feast tonight and are enjoying this Montepulciano, which is delicious. This is a classic Italian wine. A bit austere with pronounced tannins. Perfect for our meal. I made a homemade spaghetti meat sauce that simmered all afternoon and filled the house with a savory aroma. With spaghetti we had fresh, steamed spinach and cheesy garlic toast. We especially enjoyed having our son Tony home with us. He has recently come home from a year of traveling, spending most of his time during the past year in Australia and South Korea.
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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.)

Poggio Vignoso Chianti (2008)

I stopped at the Plum Market on my way home from work to buy ingredients for my dinner tonight and I picked up this Chianti because I thought it would be perfect for this dinner. And, yes, it was! Really quite delicious. (Such a welcome change from last night’s wine which was not drinkable for me.)

This Italian Poggio Vignoso Chianti 2008 has a fragrant nose of violets and licorice. The palate is fruity without being the least bit sweet, which I love, with a mineral finish. This complemented our dinner beautifully. We enjoyed dinner which was a new recipe. I made penne pasta with sauteed garlic, fresh tomatoes, baby spinach, and feta cheese tossed with some crispy italian sausage wheels. Now (I shamefully admit) I need to see who makes it to the top 24 in American Idol!

Pillastro Primitivo (2008)

Tom selected this Pillastro Primitiv0 2008 for us tonight to go with our chicken casserole dinner. (I found this recipe today by searching Google for ingredients that I had on hand, since I have not been grocery shopping in awhile.)

Sadly, this is my last day of vacation. I go back to work tomorrow. I love my job, but I also love being home! I guess that is a win/win situation, actually.

So, I have to tell a quick story for those of you who crochet. . .I have been working diligently on an afghan. This is not my first. I have made baby blankets, hats and afghans and consider myself a pretty good crochet-er. . .well, I couldn’t figure out why it took me so long to complete one row. I figured it out this afternoon. Here is the gist: The pattern has a base of 175 stitches.  Today I counted the  stitches in my current row to see if I was still at 175. I stopped counting when I got to 500! No wonder it took me so long to complete one row. Obviously, I made some HUGE mistake reading the pattern and I was increasing stitches like crazy. I think it is a lost cause and I should cut my losses. This is after three giant balls of yarn and countless hours of crocheting. I am going to chalk this up to a learning experience (and a laugh on me)!

This wine is typical Italian: somewhat musty on the nose and a strong taste of oak on the palate. The finish is vanilla and caramel. I much prefer a California Cabernet Sauvignon, but this is a fine old-world wine that offers a pleasant change from our usual.

Pillastro Primitivo (2008)

We opened this Italian Puglia Pillastro Primitivo 2008 on this Tuesday-before-Christmas work night. When I got home from work today, I immediately set to work getting dinner in the oven so that we could relax and process our busy day. We also needed to think through the week ahead because — right in the middle of our holiday break — I have to make a 2-day business trip and we needed to figure out how to make it work.  We have it figured out now so that is a load off my mind. So, with that resolved, I made the most delicious baked spaghetti along with sauteed baby spinach and garlic toast. I must say, it was delicious. This wine was perfect with our meal. Unusually fruity for an Italian wine, the taste is bursting with plums, raspberries and vanilla. If I had done a blind tasting tonight, I would not have said this was an Italian wine because it is lush with fruit. It is delicious and was the perfect choice for our pasta dinner.

Renieri Rosso Di Montalcino 2008

I am at a restaurant in  Little Italy in Baltimore with members of a committee that is meeting through Thursday.

A very charming restaurant with delicious food! The group graciously asked me to choose the wine, which was a fun duty. I did pick a great one, I must say!

My tasting notes are very sparse. I was busy talking and did not take tasting notes. Everyone seemed to enjoy the wine. I certainly did. I would love to find this in a store and have it again.