Il Papavero Primitivo (2008)

Saturday night . . .at last! What a busy work week. Today I went to our men’s basketball game and happily we won! Now we are settling in for a quiet evening at home. We have music playing, we’re working on the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle, and dinner is simmering.

I chose this wine from our wine club shipment for tonight. This is very much like a Zinfandel — but Italian style. Fruity yet astringent. Rich color. Plummy nose. Lots of fruit on the palate with a dark chocolate finish and velvet tannins. This will be a good choice for our pork loin/mashed potatoes/sauteed spinach dinner. Nothing fancy but comforting food for tonight.

While I was at the game today, our son, Tony, Skyped from Ecuador. I am so sorry I missed his call, but at least Tom was here to talk to him. He is doing great and I miss, miss, miss him!

Dancing Bull Zinfandel (2005)

It is a Thursday evening in Michigan; the weather has really turned cold, dark and, quite frankly, depressing for Michiganians who thrive only in the summer. Lucky for me, I am not one of those people. Although I prefer the carefree-ness of summer weather, I try my best to embrace the changing seasons. Today, for example, I went for a 42-minute run during my noon hour at work. It was very cold! Windy, dark, cold, with a little precipitation in the air. Nonetheless, I made myself go out there and I warmed up after about the first mile and had a great, invigorating run and felt wonderful the rest of the day. Moral of the story: Get out and embrace the yucky weather!!

So, tonight Tom chose this bottle of wine for our dinner. (I purchased this at one of my favorite wine shops in Ann Arbor — the A & L Wine Castle.) For dinner, I prepared an oven-baked chicken dish. . .. chicken that was first brined in saltwater, then dredged in a combination of eggs beaten with spicy mustard. . .then tossed with a mixture of bread crumbs, falafel and spices. This will result in a tasty, juicy, crispy baked chicken. Because I was going to be using the oven, I also put together a quick apple crisp — with a totally made-up recipe. I took the remains of apples that I bought at a farmer’s market, peeled and sliced and put them in a glass baking dish, then I mixed some melted butter with flour, brown sugar and lots of oats (and cinnamon) and spread that mixture over the apples. Then, I spooned some applesauce over everything and it is baking (and smelling delicious) along with the chicken.

And now to the wine. . . this is great! For some reason, I have a psychological block against Zinfandel. I find Zinfandels to be a little on the sharp, astringent side. This is no different but,, in this case,  the sharp astringent quality is coupled with a rich and luscious cherry and vanilla taste that is wonderful! It is a lovely blend of flavors and textures that combine for a real treat.

So, cheers to miserable Michigan weather because it really is all about how you choose to take it all in.

Sycamore Valley Paso Robles Zinfandel (2006)

Sycamore Valley Paso Robles Zinfandel 2006It is Wednesday night and we are having a glass of this Sycamore Valley Paso Robles Zinfandel 2006 from California to round out our evening meal. We have had this wine before but it has been a quite awhile. I retrieved this from our stock in the basement.

The wine is pleasantly spicy with pepper and rich with the taste of juicy, ripe berries. This is a lovely red wine and it is perfect for grilled meats of any kind.

For dinner tonight, I marinated a thick, boneless pork chop. My marinade was simple but delicious: Olive oil, rice wine vinegar, spicy brown mustard, salt & pepper. After it was marinated, we cooked it on the grill at a high heat so that it was cooked through and  crispy on the outside. We split one chop and also had brown rice and a really yummy salad (we are having salad almost every night because I keep harvesting my fresh lettuce and onions and don’t want it to go to waste — and, it tastes fresh, sweet, crunchy & delicious)!

All in all, a satisfying cocktail hour and mid-week meal. Cheers!

Green Acres Zinfandel (2008)

Green Acres Ranch Lodi Zinfandel 2008It is a summer Wednesday night in Michigan, the first day of July. We have a cool front with some rain so it is quite cozy tonight. So, I decided to take advantage of the cool weather and use my oven. I baked a batch of double-chocolate, walnut brownies (Tom loves these) and I made a stew out of leftover pot roast and some vegetables, which I put in a cast-iron skillet in the oven. We’ll have a comfy night and a comfy meal tonight.

I chose this California Zinfandel for our post-martini cocktail! (The martini was wonderful — served in an icy cocktail glass with just the right combination of gin & vermouth.) I am happy with this wine. I generally do not gravitate to Zinfandels — only because I am such an avid, die-hard Cabernet Sauvignon fan. But, I thought this would be a good selection for our dinner and I am pleasantly surprised at how good this is. A pleasant burst of raspberries and spice and a mellow mouthfeel. The finish is true oak.

Deepwater Point Zinfandel (2007)

We have had Deepwater Point Zinfandel quite a few times. Tonight we are having it with a dinner of slow-cooked marinated pork loin. (My recipe is pretty basic: Place pork loin in heavy skillet. Sprinkle with dry onion soup mix. Add 3/4 cup of dry red wine, 1 cup of water, 3 TBS soy sauce and mix. After turning the loan to make sure it is soaked thoroughly in the marinade, chop 2 cloves of garlic and press into the pork. Cover and simmer at a very, very low temperature in the oven (mine has been cooking for nearly 6 hours). I will serve this  Au jus with cheddar potatoes, steamed green beans and a fresh salad (made from baby lettuce leaves from my garden).

This wine is pleasant and easy to drink. It is surprisingly gentle on the palate for a Zinfandel. The first taste is almost watery, but then it explodes in the mouth with strawberries and green pepper. The finish is peppery and delicious.

My neighbor is mowing his lawn (poor fellow; doesn’t he know it is cocktail hour?) and the children across the street are playing basketball. I enjoy all the sights and sounds. Cheers!

El Portal Zinfandel (2007)

el-portal-zinfandel-2007Yay! It’s Friday night and we are celebrating the close of a big work week. Tom chose this El Portal Zinfandel 2007 from California for tonight. This dark beauty has luscious ripe raspberries on the nose and dark blackberry pepper and plums on the palate.  The tannins are subdued. This is an easy-to-drink wine and that will be perfect for our dinner tonight.

I am concocting my own rendition of stir fry for dinner tonight. I took one small steak and cut it into small chunks, drizzled with olive oil, and freshly ground salt and pepper. I set that aside and chopped about 5 miniature peppers (yellow, red, and orange), 2 leeks, 12 small cherry tomatoes, and 3 cloves of garlic. I will sautee the steak, add the vegetables, and then add about 10 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves. After the spinach wilts, I will add the entire skillet of steak and vegetables to a big bowl of penne pasta. I’ll add some freshly-ground salt and pepper and voila! Yummy! Cheers and have a great weekend!

Deepwater Point Zinfandel (2007)

deepwater-point-zinfandel-2007This Deepwater Point Zinfandel 2007 from California is a triple-repeat wine for us. We really enjoy it. Tonight, on this second night of 2009, we are cozying up for a wintery Friday night in the bitter cold. I have a pot of chili on the stove (simmering, in honor of my father-in-law Joe), and I have a loaf of whole-wheat bread rising and almost ready to bake. We are reading two nights worth of newspapers because we didn’t realize that we had a paper last night sitting in our mailbox! The Christmas tree is still decorated and lit, but we will probably take down the decorations tomorrow.

This wine has an aroma of blackberry jam and fennel. On the palate is anise, green pepper, and strawberries. The finish is long with a taste of black pepper.

Tom and I are going to watch a movie tonight and get cozy. Cheers!

Deepwater Point Zinfandel (2007)

deepwater-point-zinfandel-2007Tom opened this Deepwater Point Zinfandel 2007 from California, which we have had before, for our Tuesday evening. We are having yet another winter storm, with snow and cold temperatures. Tom and I are supposed to leave very early tomorrow morning to start our 11-hour drive south to his sister’s house in North Carolina. We are hoping we can make the trip — the winter storm will be in effect through tomorrow. I am packed and ready to go and hoping for the best.

This wine is quite spectacular. It is full of fruit and spices with just the right amount of tannins. I love the taste of pepper on the finish.

For dinner, I made a casserole with leftover ham. It smells very good. I started with fresh, cubed potatoes, sliced carrots and celery, which I cooked until partly tender. Then I sauteed the ham with onions and green peppers and added a mixture of milk and flour to thicken, and added cheese. Then I mixed everything together and baked it; I sprinkled it with bread crumbs at the end. It is ready so I should go.  (I also baked an acorn squash and made bisquits.)

A cozy meal on a cozy night. Cheers!

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel (2007)

cline-ancient-vines-zinfandel-2007We are having a glass of this Cline “Ancient Vines” Zinfandel 2007 from California. This wine (which has a high alcohol content of 14.5%)  is bursting with flavor. Grapes for this wine originate from very old vines in the Oakley, California region. The flavor is strong coffee and chocolate along with blackberries and a bit of pepper.

It is a Monday night and brutally cold in Michigan. This morning when I got up at 5:45 a.m. it was a balmy 45 degrees. Within a couple hours, the temperature had dropped to a bone chilling 16 degrees with strong winds. Oh! It was so cold! I had three different meetings that required me to walk around campus. On the way home I stopped at Kohl’s and purchased a new scarf and hat.

This morning before I went to work, I took frozen bread dough out of my freezer. It sat on the counter all day and I baked it tonight to serve with my turkey soup (which I made from all the savory and flavor-filled broths from Thanksgiving). It’ll be a comforting and warming dinner tonight and this wine is quite perfect for this winter night.

Deepwater Point (2007)

deepwater-point-zinfandel-2007This California Deepwater Point Zinfandel arrived today in a wine club shipment. Tom chose it for our Friday night to accompany a dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce and sauteed spinach. This is quite a spectacular full-bodied wine showing richness and depth with structured tannins. The taste has hints of strawberries and vanilla with pepper and cloves on the finish.
I am so glad it is Friday!