Angove red belly black Shiraz (2008)

It is 4 degrees and windy tonight. I had made a pot of bean soup this weekend to have on these cold work-night evenings, which is what we are doing tonight. I chose this really luscious Australian Shiraz, which is the perfect accompaniment for this bitter-cold evening. I love this wine. Big, silky smooth with plentiful tannins.

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Francis Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon

This is delicious after an active day. It was football day for us. Fruity with soft tannins and a velvety finish.

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Trapiche Malbec (2008)

It is Friday night and we are both a little on the “sapped” side from a long and demanding work week. It is 8 degrees outside and we are staying in and keeping warm and cozy tonight. I have a kettle of bean soup reheating on the stove. We’ll have the soup along with some bread and cheese for our supper.

I purchased this Trapiche Malbec 2008 from Mendoza, Argentina wine at our favorite wine shop (A & L Wine Castle) in Ann Arbor. It was on sale for $6.79. This is a good value because the wine is excellent. The nose is plummy with a touch of licorice. The taste has big mouth-filling fruit with vanilla; the tannins are understated and mellow.

This wine makes me think of our son, Tony, who is in South America. He also enjoys a good Malbec and has had the opportunity to enjoy Argentina’s wines while traveling through that area. (Cheers, Tony!)

Tom: This is a great wine. Tannic, big fruit taste, grapy but not fruit-bomby. Makes me think of steak on the grill; will have to remember this for next summer.

Don Elias Garnacha (2008)

This Spanish wine was cultivated in an area of Spain known for its low production capacity. This  results in an intensely-flavored wine. My first sip was quite intense — it was verging on bubbly. However, with time to breathe, the bubbly intensity has dissipated and what is evident is a tasty mixture of fruit, wood and thyme. The finish is spicy.

A delicious choice for our Tuesday night. For dinner, I am reheating the bean soup that I made this weekend. We also have a half loaf of the whole wheat bread that I baked on Sunday. A very easy, yet comforting, dinner for a very cold winter evening.

De Loach Merlot (2006)

Tom chose this California DeLoach Merlot for our Friday night quaff. . .it is a beautiful April evening  in Michigan. Everyone is outside, joyously skipping, running, walking dogs, or whatever they can think of to do outside.

I jokingly “poo-poo’d” this wine when Tom suggested it; I generally find Merlots a bit too soft and mellow for my taste, but this is a big Merlot.  The nose is sweet vanilla while the taste is cherries and oak.  Grippy tannins complement the long finish.

We are having the rest of the bean soup that I made this weekend, along with whole wheat bread and cheese. I need to eat well tonight to prepare for my long run tomorrow. Cheers!

Torciano Crete Rosse Chianti (2007)

I chose this Italian Torciano Crete Rosse Chianti for our Sunday night supper. I am enjoying being home after a 2-day trip to Indiana, with my school’s  Gymnastics team (it was our conference championship meet). I didn’t get home until very late and was unable to  unwind enough to sleep  — so, a short night for me. Then, up and out the door for my long run (11 miles). So, dinner tonight is simple: A batch of bean soup and a loaf of whole wheat bread. The soup is simmering and the bread is baking. . .and Tom and I are watching some of the basketball games (just watched Michigan State beat University of Southern California and Louisville beat Siena.)

So, back to the wine. This is a light wine. The nose is barely discernable. Perhaps it needs to open for awhile longer. The taste is understated and thin. This would be a great wine for new red-wine drinkers because it has a very mild taste. I’ll bet, though, that tomorrow the wine will have more character than it does tonight.

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.

Amala Springs Cabernet Sauvignon (2005)

It’s a beautiful, autumn Michigan Saturday-night evening. I have a pot of bean soup simmering on the stove and a loaf of whole-wheat bread rising on the counter. I am excited to have soup and bread season here again! I am making my bean soup with a meaty ham bone from the butcher shop and chicken broth. Those two additions make for a very tasty, savory soup.

California knows Cabernet. This was obvious as soon as I poured this Amala Springs Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 in the glass and took a deep whiff. The nose is delectable with hints of grass and vegetables. The taste is understated, yet full of layers. It starts with a strong taste of blackberries, changes to cherries and then ends with oak and vanilla. My expectations were low when I opened this wine — for no particular reason. However, as soon as I poured the wine, I knew I was in for a treat. This is wonderful. I am going to order a case of California Cabernet!

As a side note, I was able to talk to Tony this morning on Skype. It was so incredible! He was sitting in his apartment in South Korea. It was Saturday night for him and Saturday morning for us. Tony loves his job and did a phenomenal job of describing the South Korean culture to me. He was able to educate me in ways I would never have been able to understand in any other way. Tony is doing great!

Della Flora Zinfandel (2006)

Della Flora Zinfandel 2006This Della Flora Zinfandel 2006 from California is complex. It has equal measures of ripe fruit and spice. The finish is long and delicious.

Although it is mid-May in Michigan, we are having a very cool day. I decided to take advantage of the weather and make a pot of bean soup. I purchased a meaty ham shank from the local meat market, sauteed garlic and carrots, added Navy beans and chicken broth to simmer all afternoon. I have a loaf of whole wheat bread rising and will soon put it in the oven. It will be a cozy and delicious dinner. Tom made a good choice with this wine.