Penumbra Petite Sirah Petit Verdot (2010)

It has been awhile since I took a sip of wine and did a retake. . .like, “wait, need another sip!” This was one of those nights. I opened this bottle and tasted while cooking dinner for one (Tom is out of town) and it made me sit up and take notice. It is splendid! Inky black color, understated nose but huge taste. Full of fruit with subtle spice and chewy tannins. I really love this!

I am making a steak stirfry with my local cow, local broccoli and tomatoes and whatever else I have in my refrigerator. It is me and the Wall Street Journal (and this delicious wine) for dinner tonight. Cheers!

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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.

Valoroso Cabernet Sauvignon Castelao (2008)

It’s a Friday night — woo hoo! It was a long and arduous work week for me and included a very, very long road trip to do a presentation and then turn around and drive back. (Well, ride back; I didn’t have to drive. . .my colleague did all the driving; thank you, Mike!)

So, here we are; taking a deep breath and relishing in our Friday night status! I have leftovers (pot roast) heating up on the stove. I also have some kale I will saute and I am going to make a fresh salad with arugula, romaine, avocado and carrots (that’s all I have) with my homemade salad dressing. This is the best salad dressing. It is all we ever eat in this household. In a nutshell, here is what I do: I take a bottle of spicy mustard that is close to empty. I add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar until it is almost full. Then, I add basil oregano, savory, rosemary and thyme, along with salt & pepper. Shake until the spicy poupon/horseradish mustard is mixed well and what you have is a simply delicious salad dressing. This bottle will last for many salads (or until you have nearly finished the next spicy mustard).

I chose this wine (from a wine club) for tonight because I think it will hold up well to the roast beef. This Portuguese wine is just the ticket tonight. Lots of plum and a bit of spice on the palate and a velvety, silky finish. There is nothing not to like . . .as it breathes, I also note cloves and a touch of tobacco.

Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage (2007)

It’s Monday night and very dark. . .we have our Christmas tree lights on and the house is cozy. Trigger is snuggling with me and we are reading the newspaper. Tom poured me a glass of this California blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The nose is a rich black cherry and a bouquet of roses. The taste is delicious. . .chocolate, raspberries and pepper. The tannins are just right: Firm but mellowing as the wine breathes.

For dinner, I prepared a casserole. . .but I wrapped it in foil and put it in the refrigerator for another night (I have a busy week ahead). For tonight. we are going to have leftover steak & broccoli stir fry with brown rice and the most delicious cole slaw. (Although this cole slaw recipe is very simple, it is the best I have ever had.) Want the rec ipe? Just let me know!

I am enjoying this glass of wine very much. I would not hesitate to buy this again (it was on sale for $8.99).

Robert Mondavi Vinetta (2006)

robert-mondavi-private-selection-vinetta-2006I am waiting to see what Tom chooses for our wine tonight. We just finished a martini — the life-giving fluid, as Tom always says. It is Sunday after Thanksgiving, the snow is falling heavily in Michigan, Trigger is snuggled in my chair with me and we are anticipating our week ahead. We had an active weekend and wish we had one more day to recover.

I have a pot of beef stew on the stove — a change from turkey! I started with a chuck roast, which I cut into cubes, dried with paper towels and seasoned with salt and pepper. I browned the beef in a cast-iron skillet with very hot oil; I added a chopped onion and two cloves of garlic (chopped); then I added about 1/4 cup tomato sauce, the remains of a bottle of dry red (probably a cup or so) and a small can of chicken broth and let it simmer for awhile (at least an hour, probably more). A few minutes ago, I transferred the beef mixture from the skillet into a larger pot and added thyme, bay leaves, cubed potatoes and carrots. It’s covered and simmering now.

And Tom has brought me a glass of wine! It is something he bought today at our local grocery store, Polly’s Country Market. He said it was on sale for $8. This Robert Mondavi Vinetta 2006 is very good. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), Merlot (10%), Petit Verdot (10%), Malbec (7%) and, last and least. Cabernet Franc (1%). I really like these red blends; so interesting. This is very Bordeaux like. The nose is delightful — with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. On the palate is wood, cocoa and bramble. The tannins are firm. Tom selected a good wine for our beef stew on this snowy, winter night. Cheers!