red belly black Shiraz South Australia (2008)

Happy Friday! It is a bitterly cold Michigan winter evening and I feel very happy to be home after a busy day at work and iffy roads to and from. Tonight we are having this really delicious Shiraz (recommended by our friends Erica and Jodi) that I just love. I bought a case of it and would have been smarter to purchase two cases. It is that good. This wine is chocolaty, plummy and luscious and makes any meal taste special. So, for dinner, I had taken a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs out of the freezer this morning. Then tonight I made a balsamic vinegar chicken dish with tomatoes, garlic and chicken broth served over quinoa along with fresh steamed green beans and a green salad. Tom says it is a wonderful dinner so I guess I passed!


Francis Coppola Malbec (2005)

Tom poured me a glass of this California Malbec. I bought this for Tom and paid $20 for the bottle so was expecting something quite good.  Instead, I find the nose to be musty, which is a turn off for me. I am patiently swirling and sipping and hoping that as the wine breathes, the mustiness will subside. Getting past the nose (which smells like a closet filled with damp, dirty clothes). . .the taste is pretty good but, for me, the nose is such a big part of my enjoyment. I am having a difficult time getting past it.

For dinner, I am baking yams (which I received from the food co-op) along with chicken. I also have an apple cobbler baking (again, I had some extra apples from the co-op). I am going to serve this with the leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce and maybe we’ll even finally finish the pumpkin pie!

Il Papavero Vino Da Tavola Rosso

We chose this Italian table wine for our Monday night cocktail hour. We have been holding onto this wine for quite awhile. . .we had 3-4 bottles of it and this is our last one. We like this very much. This wine has dark, ripe fruit with some spice.  A velvety finish makes for a luscious work-week quaff.

For dinner, I put chicken legs and thighs in saltwater brine. Then, I dredged the brined chicken in a mixture of eggs and poupon mustard. Then, I tossed in a crumby mixture of bread crumbs, falafel mix and spices. Then, the chicken went into a very hot oven to get crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. I also am baking a couple of yams.

Los Rosales Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

Well, here we are in the middle of the week — Wednesday night. Hectic work days for both of us. But now we are home and life is good. Listening to music while enjoying a glass of this Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, talking and reading the papers.

(For those of you who are interested in my dinner menu. . .when I got home I immediately plunged a package of chicken drumsticks into a saltwater brine. After about an hour and a half, I dried the chicken and placed in a bag of flour, breadcrumbs and spices and shook until evenly coated. I then browned the chicken in hot olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. Then, I turned the chicken to low (but did not cover). The chicken will continue to cook for another 45 minutes or so and I will serve with mashed potatoes, asparagus and a fresh salad.)

Back to the wine. This is a good Chilean red! The color certainly caught my eye. . . a brownish red opaque in the glass. The nose is tobacco and cedar. The taste is black fruit — currants, a touch of blackberry — along with a metallic finish. Tom is raving about it. He loves it. I like it very much but I’m not raving about it. . .so there you go. I would say between the two of us, it is safe to say that the wine is definitely above average.

Chiñigue Andes Collection Carmenere (2006)

chinigue-andes-collection-carmenere-2006We have had this Andes Collection Carmenere 2006 before but it has been a long time. I remember that I liked this very much the last time we had it, and I like it very much now.

We chose this Chilean Carmenere for this Sunday evening. It has been snowing all day and the ground is white. It is 31 degrees outside, but cozy inside. I have a dinner of chicken and potatoes in a heavy cast-iron skillet. I started by browning the chicken in hot olive oil for about 15 minutes, turning the chicken every minute or so. Once it was very brown, I added cubed red potatoes and then a mixture of chicken broth, thickener, and mushrooms. This has been simmering for the last 90 minutes so I know it will be tender and savory when we sit down for dinner.

The wine has a lovely, dark-red color in the glass. The nose is quite fruity with hints of vanilla and spice. In the mouth the taste is predominantly caramel and chocolate with firm tannins. The finish tastes like oak and it lasts a long time.

This is delicious. We both love it!

Iglesia Vieja Reserva (2003)

Iglesia Vieja Reserva 2003This Iglesia Vieja Reserva 2003 from Spain is a blend of 68% Mataro, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% Tempranillo. The color is pure purple! The nose is a refreshingly soft spice. And the taste is fruity and succulent with a peppery finish. It is Sunday evening. I have a fresh, organic chicken (from a local farm) roasting in the oven. I used an entire garlic bulb as I prepared the chicken — put about 8 cloves under the skin and the rest of the garlic in the vegetables surrounding the chicken. I have potatoes and carrots tossed with olive oil and garlic cloves in the skillet, too.  Talk about fragrant! I started the chicken in the oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes to make sure it would be crispy on the outside; then I turned the oven down the 325 to let it bake for 2 hours. It’s a long time in the oven, but I like the chicken falling off the bone. We’ve had a lovely weekend and anticipate a busy week ahead. Cheers!

Velazco (2007)

Velazco Aminga Valley La Rioja 2007This Velazco Aminga Valley La Rioja 2007, an Argentinian red, is a blend of 85% Bonarda and 15% Syrah. We have had this wine before and I loved itl. Tonight it is Friday and we have both had a long and hectic work week. I will be teaching this weekend, as well, so I requested a special wine for tonight. Tom chose this wine because he knows that I am a fan of the Bonarda grape. This is a delicious full-bodied, lip smacking blend of spices, plums, and green peppers. So yummy.

For dinner tonight, I browned chicken in a skillet, added diced potatoes and chicken broth, covered and let it simmer. It has been an hour and a half and it is smelling yummy. I also went out to my little garden and harvested lettuce, green onions and cucumbers for the salad. My neighbor gave me some fresh Swiss Chard, which I will steam. All in all, I think this will be a delicious and fragrant Friday night dinner. But, more importantly, a relaxing and nurturing respite from a busy week.

Rancho Eleora Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (2005)

Rancho Eleora Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2005This Rancho Eleora Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 came to us via a wine club. I chose it tonight (a Monday) to serve with a delicious dinner that is on the stove. This is our kind of wine in every way. From the moment the black and inky liquid was poured into the glass, we could tell we would love it. The aroma is heavenly with a fresh, spicy fruit on the nose. The taste is absolutely luscious; it is very fruity, but also dry and tannic with a very long and velvety finish. I have a hunch we will finish this bottle and let dinner simmer a bit longer.

For dinner, I brined some chicken before drying and seasoning. Then I browned the chicken in hot olive oil until crispy on all sides. After it was browned, I added cubed, freshly-chopped potatoes and parsley and covered the skillet. It’s been simmering for over an hour and I know the chicken will be off-the-bone tender and the potatoes will be infused with the broth of the chicken. I also harvested some lettuce and green onions from my garden. I will make a salad with that — along with some avocado and yellow peppers. For the salad, I make an oil-and-vinegar dressing consisting of olive oil, red wine vinegar, poupon mustard, horseradish, basil, oregano, savory, thyme, and rosemary. Yummy. Cheers!