Domaine du Vallon Cotes du Rhone Villages (2010)

It is Wednesday night so we are celebrating midweek! It doesn’t take much to initiate a celebration in our house. I had a short night and a long day so I was eager for a comforting meal and a good wine. We had both. For comfort food, I made a skillet chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, steamed spinach and salad. Tom chose this French wine for our meal. Dark chocolate is the predominant word on this one. Dark. Chocolate. Pretty much sums it up. I really like it and it got better as it breathed.

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Domaine La Roquete Chateauneuf du Pape

We had this wine several evenings ago. It was delicious: dry, tannic, dark fruity. No negatives; a step up from our usual fare.

(Interestingly, the history of Chateauneuf du Pape is entwined with the Popes.)

A lot going on right now: my mother is moving up to live in our town this week. Just a little moving hassle, and then it will be smooth sailing. Melody is traveling for work this week. I’m traveling for work next week.

(It kind of reminds me of that old movie, “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium.”)

Chateau Mont-Redon Cotes du Rhone (2007)

I welcomed Tom home tonight from his trip to West Palm Beach to visit his mother. He came home just in time for cocktails and the smell of dinner in the oven. We had a great cocktail hour catching up on all the news.

We had this French Chateau Mont-Redon Cotes du Rhone 2007 with our roasted, stuffed chicken, and baked squash. For dessert I made an apple crisp. Dinner was delicious and so was the wine. The color in the glass is brilliant; the nose a fragrant and clove-ish. The taste is somewhat old-world — complex with some fruit flavors and structured tannins. This finish is spicy and satisfying. Tom bought this wine for $14 at our local grocery store. Very good; very French!

Pont du Rhône Côtes du Rhônes (2007)

pont-du-rhone-cotes-du-rhone-2007Tom purchased this Pont du Rhône Côtes du Rhônes 2007 French red at Trader Joe’s. We are enjoying this on this rainy and cold Saturday night in Michigan.

I immediately noticed a wonderful nose. This blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdere is lovely. On the palate is anise  and pine. The tannins are nicely balanced with pepper and fruit. This is an acidic wine that is bursting with flavor.This is a great find. Absolutely. I will put this on our “purchase again” list!

For dinner, I am simmering a big kettle of bean soup with a ham bone that I bought from the local butcher. I have a loaf of whole-wheat bread rising on the counter. It’s looking like it’s about 20 minutes away from putting in the oven.

It is so cozy to be home, warm, and comfortable on this cold night. I walked by lots of homeless people when I was in San Diego this week. I know that I am a very lucky lady. Trigger is cuddled next to me as I write this and I am glad we are all together.

La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux (2006)

la-ferme-julien-cotes-du-ventoux-2006I am finishing the bottle of this La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux 2006, a French blend, tonight. This red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan, and 15% Cinsault. I already blogged about this last night but I wanted to add my comments for the second night after it had spent some time breathing. (You can see my comments last night when it was freshly uncorked.)

In the glass it is dark violet. On the nose are scents of berries, spice, and pepper. This is full-bodied, fruit-filled wine with plenty of bright fruit and spice. This is one of the wines that Tom bought at Trader Joe’s for a very reasonable price; this is an excellent value. I would purchase this again in a minute.

I have leftovers in the oven because I have so many! Tonight is leftover potatoes and carrots (from the pot roast dinner) and leftover ribs (from last night). I have also made a fresh salad.

La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux (2006)

la-ferme-julien-cotes-du-ventoux-2006Tom chose this La Ferme Julien Côtes Du Ventoux 2006 from France for this Sunday evening. This red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan, and 15% Cinsault. Fairly low in tannin, Cinsault is grown abundantly in France and used to blend with other grapes. The Cinsault has great perfume and supple texture and is often used to offset the harshness of the Carignan.

We have had a good weekend and tonight we can hear sleet hitting the windows. Winter has arrived in Michigan. For dinner I am preparing two slabs of pork ribs. I started by mixing a rub of chili powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper on the ribs and letting them rest for an hour on the counter. Then I covered them with foil and put them in the oven at 300 for an hour; then took off the foil for an hour. Then I prepared my own barbecue sauce by sauteing onions and garlic and adding chili powder, cayenne pepper, catsup, molasses, cider vinegar, spicy mustard, and worcestershire sauce . . . and then I smothered the ribs in the sauce and put them back in the oven and that is where they are now. They need to continue to cook for an hour and half. So by the time they are done they will be succulent and tender. The ribs have been an all-afternoon undertaking — very fun, comforting, and cozy.

This wine is perfect for tonight’s dinner.


Beaumont Des Gras Cotes Du Rhone (2006)

Beaumont des Gras Cotes du Rhone 2006

It is a Tuesday night in April and we have had our cocktail. Tom opened this Beaumont Des Gras Cotes Du Rhone 2006 from France for our dinner. I can’t remember where we purchased this wine or whether we received this as a shipment in a wine club, but it is an excellent wine. I started ‘mmm-mmmm-ing” as soon as I took in the bouquet and certainly after I had my first sip.

This wine is a lovely red color with a very pleasant nose. On the palate is a burst of berries and spice. The tannins are evident and the finish is dry and satisfying. I appreciate the lack of fruit forward presentation — this is a more austere and crisp old-world wine. Absolutely delicious.

Vinsas Côtes du Rhone (2006)

Vinsas Cotes du Rhone 2006This Vinsas Côtes du Rhone 2006 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carigname, and Cinsault. In the glass it is a very dark violet. On the nose is a flowery pepper and herbs.

It is Saturday night and we are relaxing while dinner simmers on the stove. It is bitter cold today in Michigan. My Saturday-morning running partner and I ran 9 miles this morning. The wind chill was pretty brutal. At one point, I took off my mittens and stuck them in my hat to form “flaps” to hang over my face because my face was freezing! It worked. I tucked my hands into my jacket sleeves and kept my mittens on my face the rest of the run. Our son Tony chose this bitter cold weekend to try outdoor camping. I will be very relieved to hear from him. I’m worried!

This wine is delectable. A perfect end to a wonderful Saturday.

Tom: This Vinsas Côtes du Rhone 2006 is very nice: rich, plummy, tannic. We also had this on New Year’s Eve.

Three different red wines

threeTonight was a night to finish off the last of three bottles. We started with the Sleeping Bear Winery Merlot, then finished the rest of the Valréas Côtes Du Rhône Villages, and then, finally, the Reserve De L’Estey Médoc. We just decided, since we had a little bit in three bottles, to finish them. It’s a beautiful evening in Michigan and we are sitting on our patio.

For dinner tonight, I have a fresh-baked loaf of whole wheat bread, and a pot of turkey/garlic/potato/asparagus soup. (This is my own invention and it is fabulous. If you want the recipe, let me know.) Although it is a summer night, I was in the mood for a cozy meal tonight.

Valréas “Cuvée Prestige” Côtes du Rhône Villages

Valreas “Cuvee Prestige” Cotes du Rhone 2005This Valréas “Cuvée Prestige” Côtes du Rhône Villages, a French red Rhône, is a blend of grenache and syrah. Robert Parker, in Wines of the Rhone Valley and Provence, states that the village from which this wine is made is “the top private domaine of Valréas, among the most elegant of the Côtes du Rhône Villages wines.” Only 16 villages of this appellation are allowed to feature the village name on the label.

We chose this wine tonight to accompany grilled steak and salad for our dinner tonight. It will turn out to be a good choice because I believe it will hold its own and complement the steak nicely. It isn’t the least bit fruity, but rather it is spicy and dry. The nose is delicate, but the taste is rather audacious and a bit astringent. This is a wine for those that want a change from new-world, fruit-forward style wines. Drink this wine when you are relaxing and have time to sip and savor. I would suggest letting this one breathe for 15 minutes or so before serving.