Barbaresco (2008)

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We are having homemade beef barley soup and whole wheat bread for dinner tonight. Tom opened this bottle of Italian red wine which is tasting very good with this dinner. The fruit is subtle. The texture and feel is sharp and acidic. This is what I expect from a decent Italian red wine. I like this very much.

We had a great Saturday! My day started with a long run with my girlfriends. It was sunny and the roads were dry — a big treat for a January run in Michigan! Here’s to my running friends. Cheers!

Villa Farnia di Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (2010)

We had a busy Saturday but are now relaxing and enjoying a very lovely happiness hour (or two). We usually have cocktails in our front room but today we are sitting in our living room because Tom is watching football. But he was patient enough to also help me with this week’s Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. This week is pretty difficult and we have aways to go! What is a six letter word for “stick on the field”?

For dinner my trusty cast iron skillet is on the stove with some homemade spaghetti sauce simmering. I am going to stir fry some fresh spinach.

This is is a solid, rustic wine with a soft texture and thick fruit flavors. This is going to go well with out spaghetti and spinach dinner.

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Ultima de Farnese

It is Friday night and we are kicking back, reading the paper, kinda sorta watching a football game, and enjoying this luscious Italian wine. Very smooth with round tannins, this wine is rich with blackberries, spice and black pepper. It is unfiltered so there is a bit of sludge at the bottom of the bottle which we could easily eliminate by decanting (but we didn’t).

We had this wine with spaghetti and something really dark green from the food coop. It might have been kale but I can’t be sure. It certainly made us feel health conscious, whatever it was.

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Villa Farnia Di Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (2010)

We are having an Italian feast tonight and are enjoying this Montepulciano, which is delicious. This is a classic Italian wine. A bit austere with pronounced tannins. Perfect for our meal. I made a homemade spaghetti meat sauce that simmered all afternoon and filled the house with a savory aroma. With spaghetti we had fresh, steamed spinach and cheesy garlic toast. We especially enjoyed having our son Tony home with us. He has recently come home from a year of traveling, spending most of his time during the past year in Australia and South Korea.
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Pillastro Primitivo (2008)

Tom selected this Pillastro Primitiv0 2008 for us tonight to go with our chicken casserole dinner. (I found this recipe today by searching Google for ingredients that I had on hand, since I have not been grocery shopping in awhile.)

Sadly, this is my last day of vacation. I go back to work tomorrow. I love my job, but I also love being home! I guess that is a win/win situation, actually.

So, I have to tell a quick story for those of you who crochet. . .I have been working diligently on an afghan. This is not my first. I have made baby blankets, hats and afghans and consider myself a pretty good crochet-er. . .well, I couldn’t figure out why it took me so long to complete one row. I figured it out this afternoon. Here is the gist: The pattern has a base of 175 stitches.  Today I counted the  stitches in my current row to see if I was still at 175. I stopped counting when I got to 500! No wonder it took me so long to complete one row. Obviously, I made some HUGE mistake reading the pattern and I was increasing stitches like crazy. I think it is a lost cause and I should cut my losses. This is after three giant balls of yarn and countless hours of crocheting. I am going to chalk this up to a learning experience (and a laugh on me)!

This wine is typical Italian: somewhat musty on the nose and a strong taste of oak on the palate. The finish is vanilla and caramel. I much prefer a California Cabernet Sauvignon, but this is a fine old-world wine that offers a pleasant change from our usual.

Pillastro Primitivo (2008)

We opened this Italian Puglia Pillastro Primitivo 2008 on this Tuesday-before-Christmas work night. When I got home from work today, I immediately set to work getting dinner in the oven so that we could relax and process our busy day. We also needed to think through the week ahead because — right in the middle of our holiday break — I have to make a 2-day business trip and we needed to figure out how to make it work.  We have it figured out now so that is a load off my mind. So, with that resolved, I made the most delicious baked spaghetti along with sauteed baby spinach and garlic toast. I must say, it was delicious. This wine was perfect with our meal. Unusually fruity for an Italian wine, the taste is bursting with plums, raspberries and vanilla. If I had done a blind tasting tonight, I would not have said this was an Italian wine because it is lush with fruit. It is delicious and was the perfect choice for our pasta dinner.

Bolla Chianti (2008)

Sunday night cocktail hour is here. The picture was taken on the table next to my chair. That is my glass of wine in front of our Squeezebox, which is our music source. It plays all of our favorite tunes while we read the paper, talk, do crossword puzzles, etc.

So, I have chicken and rice casserole in the oven. I am going to make a salad or a vegetable . . . haven’t decided which. We had to search high and low for a wine for our dinner tonight. We were going to have a Pinot Noir but we only had cabernets and malbecs upstairs. So I went downstairs and found this Bolla Chianti 2008 amongst cabernets and malbecs. That is okay . . . we buy what we like and we like . . . you guessed it. . .cabs and malbecs.

This is a delicious chianti that will go well with our homey chicken and rice dinner. Although it is generally a pasta wine, it also goes very well with chicken dishes. This is fruity, dry, and robust with plenty of berries (particularly raspberries) on the palate.

What a lovely close to a beautiful day. Happy Sunday!

Bolla Chianti (2008)

Just as I started to write, Louie Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World started playing. Instantly puts me in a happy, grateful and joyful mood. . .so don’t expect a negative review! I love that song.

So, here we are a Monday evening. It is unseasonably hot in Michigan. . .low 90’s or maybe high 80’s by now at close to 8:00 p.m. So, we are going to grill burgers and I am going to make a green salad with my homemade salad dressing. It occurs to me that I have never purchased salad dressing, ever. I can’t even imagine it could be good. . .not when freshly made is so tangy and delicious.
Mine is a simple concoction of olive oil, red wine and balsamic vinegar, spicy mustard, and basil, oregano, Rosemary, savory and thyme. Simply delicious.

This wine was a good deal at our wine shop in Ann Arbor. I picked up two of these this weekend. . .along with another 22 bottles ( a variety). We were running low. It was getting to be a wine crisis in our household so I solved that issue. Now we are stocked for the time being.

This is a nice every day wine. I would describe this as fresh and crisp. Like many Italian wines, this is not fruit forward but rather a bit dry and austere with acidic characteristics. It is a nice alternative to a California Cabernet or an Argentine Malbec.

Time to make the salad. . .cheers!

Collezione di Paolo Poggerissi (2008)

Ahhhh, Friday night after a very eventful and demanding week (which is why we haven’t posted in quite awhile). But, we made it through. We said goodbye to our youngest this morning (just writing this makes me want to cry). He is on a jet now to Seoul for one month and then on to Australia for who knows how long?  Be smart, be safe.  .  .

So, I just finished teaching a week-long graduate-level class in the evenings after my day job. What a great class! Loved it! And now we are winding down. I have a pot of spaghetti sauce with meatballs simmering. I chose this Italian Chianti made with 100% Sangiovese grapes for our dinner. This is a lovely sipping wine. I could just sit here and relax all night — and forget about dinner if I could! The color is a bright purple and the nose has opened considerably since I opened it, yet it is still quite subtle — a touch of cherry and vanilla. The taste is very smooth with a bit of caramel on the finish. This will be perfect with spaghetti and meatballs.

Happy Friday; here’s to a slow-moving weekend (let’s not let it end too soon)!

Placido Chianti (2008)

A beautiful June Michigan evening. The sun is shining brightly at 8:00 p.m., the birds are chirping and the temperature is in the high 70’s. Tom & I just finished our (last Friday’s) Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. I am mentioning this tonight because we sailed through this particular puzzle. So, therefore, we are celebrating (natch).

We are very much enjoying this Placido Chianti 2008. We bought this wine at our local grocery store for $8.95. It’s very good. Placido Chianti is a fun, light-hearted quaff with a touch of floral on the nose. The taste is dry and slightly tannic.

For dinner tonight, we are having some leftover casserole that I made a few nights ago. The casserole was made with ground beef, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, cheese, etc.,. . .all yummy ingredients. That is reheating and I am making a fresh salad with lettuce and green onions from my garden (and my homemade vinaigrette).

Tom: This Placido Chianti 2008 is a very pleasant red, quite dry, with a floral (I’m copying Melody’s word) and peppery nose and a medium body. Very drinkable. I’m sure this wine is very Italian food-friendly: fragrant, pleasantly acidic. A fun discovery for $9.