Archive list of 2015 Monday Nights

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. 

photo 1-4   jan 2015 dinner v2 jan 2015 dinner Jan 2015 dessert choc rasp cupcake


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

We paired it with Beef & Cheese Lasagna (I used all sauce), Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, Garlic Bread and Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

feb 2015 starbucks cake feb 2015 lasagna feb 2015 lasagna dinner feb 2015 dessert starbucks chocolate cake

 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)

 march chocolate red wine cake 1 march pork w kahua 2 march 2015 dessert thurs march 2015 dinner thurs mar 16 2015 wine dinner pork w kahlua

 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

april 2015 burgers n pizza 1 april 2015 dessert 1 april 2015 2 chocolate triffle


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

May 2015 chicken cordon blue May 2015 Lemon Delight Cheesecake 2 IMG_6497


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.

IMG_6974 IMG_6971


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

 july dessert1a july dinner1


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

aug 2015 dessert1 aug 2015 dinner1


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

Sept 2015 steak w chimichurri Sept 2015 cheesecake w dulce de leche2

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

IMG_7994 IMG_7995 IMG_7997

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

IMG_0867 spiced cranberry bread pudding nov 2015 tasting turkey dinner2 nov 2015 tasting turkey dinner1 nov 2015 tasting spiced cranberry bread pudding

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

chicken enchilada 1 chicken enchilada 2 dessert dec 2015 desserts dec 2015 2 desserts dec 2015 donuts finished herbed goat cheese cashew caramel bread done 2 razzle dazzle bites thai chicken bites finished thai chicken bites

  • following are links for recipes, pictures will be loaded later Tuesday night….
  • caramel and cashew pull apart bread on food network
  •   (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.


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