Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

We are having a cold spell in Michigan. No one is complaining, though, because we have had such a beautiful spring. But tonight it is cold and rainy. A cozy night and I am thankful to be inside looking out the window.

For dinner tonight I have two round steaks (they look like cubed steaks to me) cooking in a mushroom sauce (with mushrooms from my food co-op). I added potatoes to the mix to simmer. I will also make a fresh salad and steamed green beans. So, for the wine, I chose this Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from Chile. I stopped at the A & L Wine Castle (in Ann Arbor) on the way  home from work last night and purchased 11 bottles. This was one of them. The nose is a bit different than what I am used to — floral with some cedar. The palate is interesting. . .and, no lie, I pondered for awhile and concluded that I was tasting green peppers and chocolate. . .then I checked the label and discovered that the wine makers said ” Bright ruby red in colour, with hints of green pepper and chocolate. . .” so I guess my impressions are not unique. Grippy tannins with a vanilla finish. Like it! This was on sale for $7. I would have to say this is a very good value. There is no doubt: Chilean wine is a very good value.

Tom: This Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is a very big wine, very full-bodied, tannic, with a chocolaty, dark-fruit taste. Very big. Perhaps a tiny bit overly acidic (to my taste), but a wonderful wine and an amazing value. A friend asked me for wine advice last week, and I said, “Really, anything from Chile is great.”

Tubul Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (2007)

This Tubul Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007 Chilean blend is our choice for tonight, a midweek Wednesday evening.

But first, before I describe this wine, I have to tell you about the martini we had for our cocktail hour. I usually make our martinis with a touch of olive juice from the jar, but tonight I tried a product called “Dirty Sue.” This product comes in a bottle that looks like a Worcestershire bottle. I was skeptical and wary. . .I liked our martinis just the way they were; but, I wanted to try this. So, I substituted the olive juice I normally spoon out of the olive jar with this Dirty Sue olive juice. Well, let me tell you, it is GREAT! This will probably only make sense to you if you’re a martini lover, but the deal is that — olive juice can overpower your martini and taste like, well, salty olive juice. But, Dirty Sue apparently is a high quality olive juice and what you taste is olives instead of salty brine. I used three teaspoons of the Dirty Sue in our mixture for two martinis (instead of three teaspoons from the olive jar) and it was simply delicious and it was definitely a BETTER martini with the Dirty Sue than with the normal olive juice from the jar. It gives the martini that olive taste without overpowering the gin & vermouth with a briney, salty taste. I’m sold! I would highly recommend this product. You can purchase it at: http://www.dirtysue.com

Now, on to our Chilean red wine blend, Tubul Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007. This is good midweek quaff with lots of chocolate and fruit tastes. The finish is butter and a bit of grass. The tannins are just right — lip smacking but not overpowering.

For dinner, I have put together a casserole with brown rice, chicken and broth. It is baking in the oven for 2 hours. I also have an acorn squash in the oven. I am going to make a salad to top it off.

Cheers!