Ramsden Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa

We are home from a wonderful Christmas with Tom’s family. We drove 10 1/2 hours today through pouring rain, wind and then snow so we are very happy to be safely at home. We ordered pizza and opened this special bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet. Earlier this month, during a weak moment, I said “okay” to a sales pitch to upgrade our wine club membership to a reserve level and this is our first bottle from that selection. Although I was kicking myself for saying yes, I now see it was a good decision. This is a fine wine. Structured tannins and rich flavor. Very smooth and rich.

Bogle Petite Sirah (2008)

It is a very, very cold night here in Michigan. The weather turned bitterly cold suddenly after a beautiful, mild autumn. I am now on a new quest to convert to Catholicism and we went to mass tonight. I sure do have a lot to learn. I do not know when to speak or what to say. . .but Tom reassures me that I am doing well and that I will learn.

So now we are home and having a glass of this Bogle Petite Sirah 2008. I purchased two bottles of this recently at World Market. Sadly, the first bottle had some cork issues and there was a less-than-desirable aroma and a musty finish. On the happy side, Tom finished the bottle for me. 🙂 The second bottle is the Bogle I know and love. Delicious. Fruit forward, dark chocolate and coffee flavor with a strong chocolate finish.

A good choice to go with our pizza!

Beringer California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon (2007)

We have had the 2006 vintage of this wine many times but I believe this is our first 2007. We just finished a gin martini (up, shaken, with olives) and now are sipping this wine while we finish the newspaper crossword puzzle. Dinner will be soon – just a fresh salad from my garden and a leftover pizza. Nothing to brag about but an  easy meal, for sure.

I am too hyper to cook because my son (my baby) is coming home tomorrow. He has been teaching for one year in Paju, South Korea. I cannot describe how excited I am to see him!

This wine is adequate but not particularly my cup of tea. I generally like California Cabernets but this one has a strong vanilla taste. . .a subtle whiff of vanilla is much more my style. So, although I think Tom would say positive things about this wine, I have to conclude that it is a bit too cloying for my taste. So, definitely adequate. But it doesn’t make me swoon.

Quail Creek Shiraz

We are still on our Quail Creek binge! (I purchased 3 bottles of their Shiraz and three bottles of their Cabernet (for $4.99) this week while shopping at Whole Foods.) So, what a deal! We have mixed feelings about this wine.

Tonight I taught a class after work so I am getting home rather late. We are going to have pizza so a Shiraz is an excellent choice for our dinner.

About the mixed feelings: Well, on the one hand, I appreciate the value of this wine. I mean, it’s $4.99 a bottle and it’s a California, which I have found generally to be very good. However, as I said before when I blogged about this wine, there is a kerosene quality to this wine that can’t be ignored. But, the longer it breathes, the better it gets. It doesn’t get to the level of being what I call a really “yummy” wine. . .but, it’s certainly adequate and I am enjoying it. The nose is quite pungent with cedar and cloves. The taste is tobacco and the finish is such that it makes your mouth feel like you just had strong black or green tea. . .

Yet, all in all, I like the wine. It’s an appropriate accompaniment to pizza. And, further, how can anything taste unpleasant on a Friday night?

Bolla Bardolino (2007)

Ahh, a Friday night and I am home from a 5-day trip to Atlanta for a conference. Everything is fresh and green at home on this mid-May evening in Michigan. The first thing I did when I got home (after kissing my husband and hugging my dog) was to see how my garden was doing. I have little green onions that are about 2 inches tall and I have lettuce that is ready to be harvested!

I chose this Italian Bolla Bardolino tonight for our laid-back evening. I set the table and was going to prepare  dinner, but Tom insisted that I should not cook on my first night at home (eat your heart out ladies). So, we will order a pizza and it so happens that this wine is the best choice from those available. (Our supply is getting sparse; we need to bring up bottles from the basement AND we need to purchase more.) This Italian red wine is  medium-bodied with intense flavors. The nose is robust with cherries and vanilla.  It is crisp, clean and dry — fairly acidic with firm tannins.

I like this wine and would defintely purchase it again. It is wonderful to be home.

Arkel Malbec (2008)

It is a Thursday evening  – but seems like a Friday evening – because I have tomorrow (Good Friday) off from work. Woo hoo! After work, I went to my yoga class and came home feeling stretched and peaceful — what a great combination.

I started thawing chicken breasts for dinner. And got out a bag of fresh spinach and some asparagus for stir fry. . .but. . . confession. . .after our martini I said (apparently not very enthusiastically), “wow, I need to go make dinner” and Tom said, “no you don’t; put that stuff away; you can make it tomorrow.” See. this is one of the many reasons why I love him! So, I did put away the food for tomorrow’s dinner, and I picked up the phone and ordered a pizza. So, now I am relaxing with a glass of wine while someone else makes the dinner for us. What a treat!

This wine is exceptional; definitely our kind of wine. Grippy tannins, dry,  and full of berry flavors, this wine is dark red with an earthy finish. I love this wine. I need to buy more. This will be great with our pizza. . .

Lindemans South Africa Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

It is a Thursday night and I worked late. We had a delicious martini to start our cocktail hour. Now we are having a glass of this South African Cabernet, which is quite nice. We keep buying this particular wine on sale at our local grocery store. I think it is usually on sale for $7.99. It is fruity with a predominant taste of strawberries but it is not sweet and it has a rather sophisticated level of complexity, which I enjoy. I have pizza in the oven and this wine should hold up well to the strong flavors. It is a hot and beautiful Michigan summer night. . .cheers!