January 2015, What wine do you drink when the temperature outside is single digit and the wind chill is -teens? Cabernet Sauvignon of course. This is considered to be the big, heavy. dry red that will warm you up on those cold winter nights. This month we will be tasting the following wines, and pairing them with Beef Tenderloin with Bearnaise Sauce, Scalloped Potatoes, Green Bean Bundles and Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake w/ Raspberry Balsmic Chocolate Ganache.
- California Carnivor 2nd/1st/1st
- Napa Valley Franciscan 3rd/6th/5th
- Mendocino Ray’s Station 5th/5th/
- Sonoma County Rodney Strong 4th/3rd/4th
- Paso Robles True Myth 1st/2nd/3rd
- Washington Wild Meadows 6th/4th/6th
- Coumbia Crest H3 (at 3rd tasting) /2nd
Here are pics of dinner.
February 2015 This month we will focus on Merlot. This was the darling up and coming red grape at the end of last century (1999) but then the bottom fell out of everyone’s desire for Merlot thanks to a movie. It is amazing how much media/movies can motivate us to drink or not drink something in particular. Needless to say, Merlot is still a solid red wine that needs your attention. It is considered one of the hardest wines to describe and that is shown sometimes by the winemaker tasting notes that go on forever with every aroma/flavor you can think of. But trust me it is worth trying again, we are going to pair it with pasta, but a good steak is also another option.
- Barnard Griffin Columbia Valley 3rd/6th/4th
- Chat Ste Michelle Columbia Valley 1st/tie 4th/3rd
- 3 Blind Moose California tie 4th/5th/5th
- Ryder Estate Monterey 2nd/3rd/2nd
- St. Francis Sonoma County tie 4th/1st/tie 6th
- Ramsay Napa Valley tie 5th/tie 4th/tie 6th
- Save Me San Francisco Hella Fine tie 5th/2nd/1st
March 2015 This month I am so looking forward to tasting Syrah or better known as Shiraz! I did find a major challenge this month however, most of the Australian wines are getting more expensive each year. To get the ‘good’ stuff is going to cost a little more. There are still some value Shiraz but we have tried lots of those already. Then when you look domestically… same thing $$$ the good stuff is $30-$50, and there are not as many to pick from in the under $25 range. This may be the last year we include Shiraz in the lineup. The wine will pair well with grilled meats, so I’m thinking a Grilled Thick Cut Pork Loin Chop with Kahlua Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Carrots & Parsnips, and Chocolate Red Wine Cake.
- 2013 Shoofly Shiraz 7th/4th/1st
- 2013 Rosemount Shiraz 3rd/3rd tie/2nd
- 2013 Thomas Goss Shiraz 6th/5th/3rd tie
- 2013 Andrew Murray Tous Les Jours Syrah 4th/3rd tie/5th
- 2012 Austin Hope Syrah 1st/1st/3rd tie
- 2012 Ancient Peaks Renegade 2nd/2nd/4th
- 2011 Ancient Peaks Renegade 5th(only did 1st night)
April 2015 What a struggle it has been to determine food pairings for this month! April is always an odd month for reds and this year we are finally going to look Red Blends, and a couple Petite Sirahs. When I think of Red Blends the first thing that comes to mind is Burgers and Pizza. I tossed around several ideas but kept coming back to Burgers and Pizza. So we will see how it all turns out. Here are the wines…
- 2011 Michael David Petite Petit Petite Sirah 1st/2nd/1st
- 2013 Peirano Vineyard Heritage Collection Petite Sirah 2nd/4th tie/2nd
- 2011 Bogle Phantom 4th/1st/3rd
- 2012 Vina Robles 4 Red 6th/4th tie/6th
- 2010 Tudal Tractor Shed Red 3rd/4th tie/5th tie
- 2012 Milbrandt Brothers Blend 5th/5th/5th tie
- 2010 Brutocao Quadriqa 7th/3rd/4th
May 2015 Finally time to start tasting some white wines! Well for the 50% of you who like whites that is what you are saying. For the other 50% who like your red wines, this is your chance to broaden your horizons and realize that on those hot summer days ahead it is nice to have a cold glass of white wine before having a glass of your favorite red. Therefore, in May lets check out Chardonnay wines, over the past several years unoaked chards have become popular and we will throw a couple of them in the mix. Chardonnays with well appropriated oak however can be so smooth and creamy. How did that phrase go? “try it you might like it”.
- Chamisal Unoaked Chardonnay 3rd Tie/5th/1st
- A by Acacia Unoaked Chardonnay 4th Tie/7th/5th
- A by Acacia Chardonnay 4th Tie/6th/4th
- Mercer Canyons Chardonnay (Washington) 2nd/3rd/2nd tie
- Meiomi Chardonnay 1st/1st/3rd tie
- Complicated Chardonnay 5th/4th/3rd tie
- St. Francis Sonoma Chardonnay 3rd Tie/2nd/2nd tie
Paired with Chicken Cordon Blue, Baked Polenta w/ Kale & other veggies, Grilled Green Beans & Onions, Lemon Delight Cheesecake Pie
June 2015 Now that we have actually have had a semblance of spring this year the heat is moving in. That just begs for a nice cold glass of wine if you ask me. Sauvignon Blanc is a great refreshing wine, it has the a nice citrus (grapefruit, gooseberry, lemon, grass, jalapeno) backbone that quenches your thirst. Almost all are unoaked so they are clean and crisp. We will taste several from New Zealand, a couple from Chile, and one from California that not to bias you is a new favorite of mine.
- Anderra Sauvignon Blanc, Chile 5th/6th tie
- Cousino-Macul Isidora Sauvignon Gris, Chile 3rd/4th
- Tangent Paragon Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, CA 1st/5th
- Loveblock Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, NZ 4th tie/6th tie
- Fire Road Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, NZ 6th/1st
- Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, NZ 2nd/3rd
- Forefathers Waxeye Marlborough Sauv Blanc, NZ 4th tie/2nd
What will we eat? Grilled Chicken Piccata w/ Asparagus, Spinach & Artichoke Cous Cous, Spinach & Arugula Salad and Raspberry Limeade Cake. Note: Piccata suace came from Ina Garten, and cake is a play off of Paula Dean.
July 2015 Hot summers days scream for something cold and sweet! This month lets look at Riesling wines, usually lower in alcohol and nice and sweet it is a great patio or deck wine on these hot days. Since you can find Rieslings in several places around the world it was hard to eliminate down to just 7. However, I think we will stay totally domestic and check out the tried and true ones… we will do German separately in the fall. Riesling also pairs with food that is a little spicier so how about Grilled Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Fried Rice, Grilled Vegetables and Peach Turnovers.
- Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, WA 3rd/3rd
- J Lohr Riesling, CA 5th/7th
- Blue Moon Riesling, OR 4th/4th
- Pacific Rim Riesling, WA 2nd/2nd
- Barnard Griffin Riesling, WA 7th/6th
- Eroica Riesling, WA 6th/5th
- Hogue Late Harvest Riesling, WA 1st/1st
August 2015 Italian White Wines, we are going to mix it up a little more over the next year. So these are nice clean crisp wines, not to sweet but easy to drink with cheese and crackers. We paired it with Grilled Tuscan Chicken, Leek & Pancetta Pasta, Zoodle Pasta Pie & Limoncello Tart
- 2014 Cesari Duetorri Pinot Grigio 1st Tie/6th
- 2014 Davinci Pinot Grigio 1st Tie/2nd
- 2014 Villa Antinori Toscana 4th/3rd
- 2013 Santa Cristina Umbria 2nd Tie/1st
- 2011 Poggiotondo Bianco Toscana 5th/7th
- 2013 Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio 3rd/4th
- 2012 Santa Margherita Chardonnay 2nd Tie/5th
September 2015 Now that we are unofficially back into Fall and the temperatures will begin to drop off in the evenings it is a great time to start finding those new red wines on the market. There is also those Saturday Football Games that we all love to tailgate at and be it wine, beer or spirits we are ready to go. This month we will taste Malbec wines. These are great fruit forward reds with a lower tannin level so they are not necessarily as dry. Malbec is typically a good value wine but also good for a nice dinner on the patio to celebrate with friends. All of the following are from Argentina. Pairing for the evening is a beef tenderloin that was grilled and sliced w/ chimichurri, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and Cheesecake w/ Dulce De Leche.
- 2013 Altos Los Hormigas Malbec 6th/2nd
- 2012 Casarena 505 Malbec 1st/1st
- 2013 Domaine Bousquet Reserva Malbec 5th/4th
- 2012 Piattelli Reserva Malbec 2nd/3rd tie
- 2012 Terrazas de Los Andes Reserva Malbec 3rd/3rd tie
- 2010 Valentin Bianchi Malbec 4th/5th
October 2015 Over the past several months many of you have expressed an interest in Chianti, so this month lets check a couple out. There are different levels of Chianti based on quality to an extent and where in the region of Chianti, within Tuscany that the wine comes from. Of course Spaghetti and Meatballs sounds like it would pair great so lets give it a try (I used Bertolli Tomato Basil Sauce) and Cherry Clafoutis for dessert.
- Caposaldo Chianti 4th tie/6th
- Donna Laura Alteo Chianti 1st/5th
- Il Palagio When We Dance Chianti 4th tie/4th
- Villa Nozzole Chianti Classico 3rd/3rd
- Ruffino Santedame Chianti Classico 6th/2nd
- Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 4th tie/1st
- Viticco Chianti Classico ? 5th/didn’t do
- Volpaia Chianti Classico ? 2nd/didn’t do
So just a few notes regarding dinner. First I used Bertolli Tomato Basil Sauce. Second, I made Grandma Maroni’s Meatballs 100 yr old recipe, of course I tweeked it a little using only 3 eggs, 1/3 c milk, .75 oz each of Parsley and Basil respecively. Third used about 5 oz cheese but used Ramano and Parm. Fourth I used a whole head of garlic which was just shy of 2 oz minced garlic. I weighed out 1.5 oz balls made about 24 meatballs. Baked as directed then put in pan and coverd with sauce and kept warm in oven at 200 degrees til dinner.
November 2015 I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. As we all gear up for the holiday season with lots of family dinners and parties to go to let us take just a moment to be thankful for all that we have……. So for Thanksgiving dinner I always think turkey and stuffing, there are several wines that will pair well with turkey but one of the best is Pinot Noir. Not only does it have a nice light to medium body but in general it is lower in tannin so it is more drinker friendly for a family meal. Because Pinot Noir is a thin skinned grape it is harder to grow and that is one contributing factor to it being a little pricier than other wines. So here is the lineup for this month, note due to number people at each tasting I may compliment the line up.
- Mark West California Pinot Noir 3rd/6th/2nd
- Chateau St. Jean California Pinot Noir 5th tie/7th/6th
- Simi Sonoma County Pinot Noir 6th/5th/5th
- Meiomi Pinot Noir 1st/1st/1st
- Calista The Coast Range Pinot Noir 2nd/4th/4th tie
- King Estate Signature Pinot Noir 5th tie/2nd/3rd
- Dobbes Grand Assemblage Pinot Noir 4th/3rd/not available
- Stoller Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ’09 NA/NA/4th tie
Turkey, Stuffing and Green Beans! Spiced Cranberry Bread Pudding.
December 2015 We alternate each year between Dessert Wines and Sparkling Wines. This year it is Sparkling Time!! There are several countries that make Sparkling Wines we are going to taste some good everyday priced ones from USA, Spain, and Italy! Some a little dryer, some a little sweeter but all of them with bubbles!!! see recipe links below pictures.
- Treveri Blanc de Blanc Brut 3rd/1st/3rd
- Dominio de Tharsys Cava Brut 5th/4th tie/6th
- Dominio de Tharsys Cava Brut Rose 6th/3rd tie/4th
- Mumm Napa M Cuvee 1st/2nd/5th
- Freixnet Sweet Cuvee Cava 2nd/3rd tie/2nd
- Martini & Rossi Asti 4th/4th tie/1st
- Senhora Do Convento 2003 Porto
- Senhora Do Convento 40 year Tawny Porto
- following are links for recipes, pictures will be loaded later Tuesday night….
- caramel and cashew pull apart bread on food network
- http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/thai-chicken-crescent-pot-sticker-sandwiches/d5e338ba-4e8c-44d2-b4c4-5826a90304e4 (see notes below on modifications)
Modifications to Thai Chicken, First buy Phyllo Tart shells in frozen section at dillons they are already made 15 per package. will try to post picture. Then I cooked off my own chicken with just EVOO S&P, then cut up into very small, 1/4 inch pieces. On the carrots got the 10oz shredded carrots package but used only half of the bag and cut up the carrots into small 1/4 to 1/2 inch length pieces. Used plain Monterrey Jack cheese and I sherred fine, could just buy fine shred. I used about 3 dashes of siracha to add the spice.Google+