Gougenheim Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and Lan Rioja Crianza 2005

Melody and I spent a wonderful Christmas in Asheville, North Carolina.

On Saturday we had a great lunch at Carmel’s (a fun place with excellent service) that included some very nice wines.

Melody had a Gougenheim Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 with an aspargus-and-shitake-mushroom-and-basil pizza. The Gougenheim was an excellent big red — tannic, dark fruit. It complemented the pizza beautifully.

I had a Lan Rioja Crianza 2005 with a turkey club. The Lan was a simple, light table wine that actually went very well with the sandwich.

Dona Sophia (2007) and Villa Farnia Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (2008)

Last night we had friends over for dinner. After a lengthy cocktail hour full of good conversation (and perfect gin martinis) we sat down for dinner and some red wine. We drank several bottles, two of which I am listing here. Both were fabulous.

I had prepared a totally organic dinner. For starters, I stuffed a well salted and peppered grain-fed chicken with a lemon, fresh thyme and 5 cloves of garlic.  I put the chicken in my cast iron skillet and drizzled it with olive oil and cooked in a hot, 425 degree oven for one hour. Then, I added carrots and potatoes (from the farmer’s market), more sprigs of thyme and 5 move cloves of garlic to the skillet along with about 1/2 cup chicken broth. Then, I turned down the oven to 350 and let it roast another hour and a half. I also sauteed a pint of pole green beans  (freshly picked), and made a salad with freshly picked lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and onions. So, I think dinner was delicious and healthy. For dessert I served some decadent chocolate cookies that I had prepared earlier in the day accompanied by some lemon sherbet.

I was too busy to write down my wine-tasting notes, but I can tell you that these two bottles of wine were a hit. Fabulous.

Tonight we are having a less-expensive wine that Tom bought on sale at the grocery store. I will blog about it tomorrow night (assuming we don’t finish it tonight). For dinner tonight, I am making a chicken stroganoff made with boneless, skinless chicken strips sauteed in butter, fresh mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter, then, the  addition of a thickened chicken broth and sour cream to simmer. I am going to serve it with buttered noodles, sliced fresh tomatoes and sauteed Swiss Chard. Yummy!

Orovales Rioja (2007)

It is Monday night at the Werner household. I have prepared a tuna casserole and it is in the oven.  We both had rather hectic days at our jobs and now we are relaxing, reading the paper, listening to music, staring out the window, feeling the breeze. What a great way to rejuvenate after a demanding day at the office.

Looking out the window, I see nothing but bright blue sky. It is a beautiful summer night in Michigan. The grass is green, the trees are green and the sky is bright. I really love Michigan.

This Spanish red Tempranillo is delicious. It’s fresh and lively yet complex and spicy. The palate is full of concentrated fruit flavors with a vanilla and oak finish. Love this; a definite reorder. . .

I am going to serve our tuna casserole with fresh tomatoes and green onions from my garden along with garlic toast and green beans. (The casserole has elbow macaroni with celery, cream cheese, a white sauce, onions, dry mustard. The topping is Grape Nuts in melted butter [for crunch]).

Baron de Barbon Rioja (2005)

Baron de Barbon Rioja 2005

It is Monday night and we are enjoying this Spanish Tempranillo very much. This will be a fairly quick post because I have some dinner preparations to monitor!

Yesterday (Sunday) I made oven-baked ribs; I started the process at 2:00 in the afternoon and took them out of the oven at 8:00 p.m. They were delicious and I will share my recipe with anyone who is interested. It’s definitely a weekend kind of meal if you work during the week.

Tonight I am making a pasta dish with fresh vegetables. I already have yellow and red peppers, leeks and fresh spinach, chopped, washed and ready. . .

The wine is very good with hints of licorice and blackberries.  It is light-to-medium bodied and dry. Lovely!

Belezos Rioja (2005)

belezos-rioja-2005This Belezos Rioja 2005 from Spain is our choice for this snowy Friday night in Michigan. We have at least 11″ of new snow today. What a storm! It was beautiful. All the schools were closed. I went out later in the afternoon and the roads were slippery, snow covered and treacherous.

We purchased this wine up north in Traverse City at “The Blue Goat” for $11.99. In the glass, this is lovely red and violet. On the nose is cinnamon, strawberries and flowers. The taste is full of fruit and licorice.

For dinner tonight, I have a loaf of whole wheat bread in the oven. (Anytime I can be home, I love to make bread.) I have a skillet of beef stew on the stove. I’ll make some green beans and it should be a fragrant and cozy meal.

I talked to Tony tonight on Skype. Happy day!

Solar de Estraunza Crianza (2004)

solar-de-estraunza-crianza-2004Tom selected this Solar de Estraunza Crianza 2004 from Spain for our Thursday, December evening. I am home late tonight because this was a teaching night for me. We are awaiting a big snow storm — the reports say a storm warning with snow arriving at 4:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. Fun, fun, fun!

We purchased this wine when we were up north visiting my parents in Traverse City. We had stopped in a wine shop called “The Blue Goat” and purchased a variety of red wines. This was one of them.

This is yummy. This Crianzas is a vibrant-flavored and easy to drink. The flavors are vanilla, spice, cherry and black dirt.

Our son, Tommy, just came home with a new CD that he recorded with his band, “The Ben Daniels Band.” We are listening and it is very good!

Barón De Barbón Rioja (2005)

Baron de Barbon Rioja 2005

This Barón De Barbón Rioja (2005) is my choice for this Sunday evening. I have made a casserole of baked beans with lots of crispy bacon (which is in a low-temperature oven), and I put together an apple crisp for dessert. Oh, and the main dish will be hamburgers on the grill with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

This wine is made from 100% Tempranillo. It is the perfect balance of toasty oak and very ripe strawberries and cherries. It is surprisingly light and refreshing with subdued tannins.

Tommy is out playing flag football tonight. He will be home soon for dinner. I was able to have a 30-minute Skype call with Tony yesterday morning. It was so good to see him and talk to him. I learned so much about his job, the culture, and his routine in South Korea.

Gigi, if you are reading this, hi!!! Thank you again for your sweet post the other day!

Baron De Barbon Tempranillo Rioja (2005)

Baron de Barbon Rioja 2005

We have been so, so busy and my blogging has taken a back seat, lately. But, it is Sunday night and Tom & I are enjoying an extended cocktail hour. I spent my day yesterday driving to my uncle’s funeral in Northern Michigan and, thinking I would stay in a hotel, I decided to drive all the way back home. Although it was a very long day, I am so happy to have made the trip. He was my favorite uncle and my mom’s twin brother. I connected with his three daughters, my lovely cousins.

It was raining when I got up this morning and I wanted to go for a run. I talked my son, Tony,  into accompanying me on his bike. It was great!

It is a beautiful evening in Michigan. We had rain this morning but the sun is shining and the sky is blue now. Neighbors are out and about grilling and enjoying the evening.

This wine is an elegant Spanish tempranillo that is dry and understated with licorice undertones. This is a perfect red for a special Sunday evening. Cheers!

Montecillo Crianza Rioja (2003)

Montecillo Crianza Rioja 2003We are having this Montecillo Crianza Rioja 2003, a Spanish red made with Tempranillo grapes, on this lovely, autumn Sunday evening. I am typing with my arms over Trigger as she is stretched out on my lap. I have made a big kettle of beef-barley soup, which smells delicious and I just took a loaf of homemade wheat bread out of the oven.

We had so much fun today visiting with our two sons and Leena Karsan, who is visiting from the University of South Carolina. Leena was the reigning homecoming queen and came back this weekend to Eastern Michigan University to crown the new queen!

It was a fun homecoming game and then Tom and I left to go to dinner at the home of Mike and Denise Long. Agatha and Tim were there and fun was had by all! We drank lots of wine and enjoyed a delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, sauteed green beans, and a delicious salad. Then for dessert Denise served cream puffs with ice cream and hot fudge! Wow!

But back to tonight. This Montecillo Crianza Rioja 2003 wine is simply wonderful. I have already asked Tom to buy more. It is fruity with a good dose of tannicity. This is a well-balanced red that, while very fruity, is not your typical New World fruit-forward wine. This is Old World, dry and delicious. Yum, yum, yum. Definitely on the “buy more” list!

Marques de Caceres Crianza 2003 Rioja

1 – 8 – 07 This Marquest de Caceres Crianza Rioja is from Spain; very fruity with a smooth finish. A delightful aroma in the glass.