Archive for March, 2009

It's a well kept secret!

March 28, 2009


Recently, the good PR folks from The Wines of Chile (@RobBralow) sent me a surprise box of wine samples. In this box, held a treat for the sense, and an 89 pointer. Ok fine, really it was 88 points by the Spectator but it was voted a Best Buy.

The 2006 Viu Secreto Malbec hails from the Colchagua Valley region of Chile. The Colchagua Valley lies about 80 miles southwest of Santiago, and has a moderate climate. It has often been compared to Napa in many ways, but I bet you won’t find a Napa Malbec at this price point!

This Malbec is priced at a fighting $10-15, and is worth every penny in my opinion. I immediately smell a smokey richness, with fennel and herbs. It is a rich and chewy wine, which one would expect in the over $20 category, but is a treat at this price point. On the palate, there is heavy plum and herb, with an earthy richness. I also taste lavendar and a nice pepper overtone.

Chile has become my go to region for budget minded wines. I have personally tasted several Cabernet blends that are priced around $10 and are a STEAL. Particular varietals that do well in Chile are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Sauvingnon Blanc. I’m still exploring other varietals, so please stay tuned!

Walk, don’t run to your local shop for this gem!

Cross posted to the 89 Project

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It's a well kept secret!

March 28, 2009


Recently, the good PR folks from The Wines of Chile (@RobBralow) sent me a surprise box of wine samples. In this box, held a treat for the sense, and an 89 pointer. Ok fine, really it was 88 points by the Spectator but it was voted a Best Buy.

The 2006 Viu Secreto Malbec hails from the Colchagua Valley region of Chile. The Colchagua Valley lies about 80 miles southwest of Santiago, and has a moderate climate. It has often been compared to Napa in many ways, but I bet you won’t find a Napa Malbec at this price point!

This Malbec is priced at a fighting $10-15, and is worth every penny in my opinion. I immediately smell a smokey richness, with fennel and herbs. It is a rich and chewy wine, which one would expect in the over $20 category, but is a treat at this price point. On the palate, there is heavy plum and herb, with an earthy richness. I also taste lavendar and a nice pepper overtone.

Chile has become my go to region for budget minded wines. I have personally tasted several Cabernet blends that are priced around $10 and are a STEAL. Particular varietals that do well in Chile are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Sauvingnon Blanc. I’m still exploring other varietals, so please stay tuned!

Walk, don’t run to your local shop for this gem!

Cross posted to the 89 Project

It’s a well kept secret!

March 28, 2009


Recently, the good PR folks from The Wines of Chile (@RobBralow) sent me a surprise box of wine samples. In this box, held a treat for the sense, and an 89 pointer. Ok fine, really it was 88 points by the Spectator but it was voted a Best Buy.

The 2006 Viu Secreto Malbec hails from the Colchagua Valley region of Chile. The Colchagua Valley lies about 80 miles southwest of Santiago, and has a moderate climate. It has often been compared to Napa in many ways, but I bet you won’t find a Napa Malbec at this price point!

This Malbec is priced at a fighting $10-15, and is worth every penny in my opinion. I immediately smell a smokey richness, with fennel and herbs. It is a rich and chewy wine, which one would expect in the over $20 category, but is a treat at this price point. On the palate, there is heavy plum and herb, with an earthy richness. I also taste lavendar and a nice pepper overtone.

Chile has become my go to region for budget minded wines. I have personally tasted several Cabernet blends that are priced around $10 and are a STEAL. Particular varietals that do well in Chile are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Sauvingnon Blanc. I’m still exploring other varietals, so please stay tuned!

Walk, don’t run to your local shop for this gem!

Cross posted to the 89 Project

I'm feeling a little puffy – A Bacon Friday Post

March 27, 2009

Mmm bacon!  Sweet delicious tasty meat.  We all no, there is no love lost between the bacon and I – because it’s all been found!

This week’s recipe is brought to you by the following confluence of events: Trader Joe’s – my favorite budget friendly gourmet grocery store; lack of sleep – inspiring me to find something quick to eat; leftover wine – which went perfectly with this creation.

First, I should tell you, that I had the following in my freezer:

  • Frozen Puff Pastry dough
  • caramelized onions
  • cheese of various natures
  • B – A – C – O – N

To begin, thaw the puff pastry according to the directions on the box.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or whatever the box says.

While the pastry is thawing, cook 3-4 slices of bacon until crispy.  Drain and set aside.

When the pastry is pliable, cut 4 – 3 inch square pieces out of it.

In the first square, place 2-3 Tablespoons of caramelized onion, making sure it is in the center of the square.   Add some sharp cheddar cheese.  I find a thick slick about the same shape as the pastry works best.  Using a bit of water around the edge of the square, glue down the 2nd pastry square and set this baby aside.

For the 2nd one, place a slice of Comte or Gruyere, a bit of cheddar, and whatever else you have laying about in the center of the square.  Crumble the bacon on top and glue the last pastry square on top.

Bake until puffy and golden brown, about 7 minutes.

I served these with the Cameron Hughes Lot 49 Prioriat D.O.Q., which is a smokey deep blue Spanish blend of  48% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 10% Carignane.

The match of this wine with the classically English Cheese & Onion Pastie (albeit in puff pastry this time) was delicious.  The pairing didn’t work quite as well with the bacon version, but that’s ok.  Because I had bacon!

Next week, MacDaddy & Cheese with Zin!  Comfort food at it’s best.

I'm feeling a little puffy – A Bacon Friday Post

March 27, 2009

Mmm bacon!  Sweet delicious tasty meat.  We all no, there is no love lost between the bacon and I – because it’s all been found!

This week’s recipe is brought to you by the following confluence of events: Trader Joe’s – my favorite budget friendly gourmet grocery store; lack of sleep – inspiring me to find something quick to eat; leftover wine – which went perfectly with this creation.

First, I should tell you, that I had the following in my freezer:

  • Frozen Puff Pastry dough
  • caramelized onions
  • cheese of various natures
  • B – A – C – O – N

To begin, thaw the puff pastry according to the directions on the box.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or whatever the box says.

While the pastry is thawing, cook 3-4 slices of bacon until crispy.  Drain and set aside.

When the pastry is pliable, cut 4 – 3 inch square pieces out of it.

In the first square, place 2-3 Tablespoons of caramelized onion, making sure it is in the center of the square.   Add some sharp cheddar cheese.  I find a thick slick about the same shape as the pastry works best.  Using a bit of water around the edge of the square, glue down the 2nd pastry square and set this baby aside.

For the 2nd one, place a slice of Comte or Gruyere, a bit of cheddar, and whatever else you have laying about in the center of the square.  Crumble the bacon on top and glue the last pastry square on top.

Bake until puffy and golden brown, about 7 minutes.

I served these with the Cameron Hughes Lot 49 Prioriat D.O.Q., which is a smokey deep blue Spanish blend of  48% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 10% Carignane.

The match of this wine with the classically English Cheese & Onion Pastie (albeit in puff pastry this time) was delicious.  The pairing didn’t work quite as well with the bacon version, but that’s ok.  Because I had bacon!

Next week, MacDaddy & Cheese with Zin!  Comfort food at it’s best.

I’m feeling a little puffy – A Bacon Friday Post

March 27, 2009

Mmm bacon!  Sweet delicious tasty meat.  We all no, there is no love lost between the bacon and I – because it’s all been found!

This week’s recipe is brought to you by the following confluence of events: Trader Joe’s – my favorite budget friendly gourmet grocery store; lack of sleep – inspiring me to find something quick to eat; leftover wine – which went perfectly with this creation.

First, I should tell you, that I had the following in my freezer:

  • Frozen Puff Pastry dough
  • caramelized onions
  • cheese of various natures
  • B – A – C – O – N

To begin, thaw the puff pastry according to the directions on the box.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or whatever the box says.

While the pastry is thawing, cook 3-4 slices of bacon until crispy.  Drain and set aside.

When the pastry is pliable, cut 4 – 3 inch square pieces out of it.

In the first square, place 2-3 Tablespoons of caramelized onion, making sure it is in the center of the square.   Add some sharp cheddar cheese.  I find a thick slick about the same shape as the pastry works best.  Using a bit of water around the edge of the square, glue down the 2nd pastry square and set this baby aside.

For the 2nd one, place a slice of Comte or Gruyere, a bit of cheddar, and whatever else you have laying about in the center of the square.  Crumble the bacon on top and glue the last pastry square on top.

Bake until puffy and golden brown, about 7 minutes.

I served these with the Cameron Hughes Lot 49 Prioriat D.O.Q., which is a smokey deep blue Spanish blend of  48% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 10% Carignane.

The match of this wine with the classically English Cheese & Onion Pastie (albeit in puff pastry this time) was delicious.  The pairing didn’t work quite as well with the bacon version, but that’s ok.  Because I had bacon!

Next week, MacDaddy & Cheese with Zin!  Comfort food at it’s best.

Show me your juice, and no one gets hurt.

March 26, 2009

PINOT!  PINOT!  PINOT!

Pinot Noir, the heartbreak grape. It’s a picky little woman, but when you get it right, you get it SO very right!  Pinot Noir is also a very seductive grape, and one that I go back to over and over again.  The beauty of this wine is that it is extremely susceptible to the local terroir, and I can really taste the differences between Carneros, Russian River Valley, and Santa Lucia Highlands.  Each growing area has tell tale flavor profiles, while adhereing to the beautiful baseline of earth that drives Pinot.  After the release of Sideways in 2004, a huge resurgence in Pinot lovers emerged.  Now, there has been some backlash against that, but I still love it.  Pinot Noir seems to be a more mature wine in many ways, and for me – a more experienced palate can appreciate it.  I still love Zin, but more often than not I reach for a bottle of pinot.

Affairs of the Vine is once again presenting the 7th Annual Passionate about Pinot Noir Summit.  This year’s event takes place on April 5th, at the Marin JCC. The 7th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout will showcase Pinot Noirs from near and far, including Chile, France, Australia and of course, California and Oregon.

The Summit is our unique opportunity to taste the top 40 finalists in the shootout blind.  We then get to compare our results to the judges results!  After the Shootout – Final Showdown, attendees are invited to attend Pinot specific seminars such as Food & Pinot Pairings, A Question of Style, Discovering New Stars and more.  Finally, at the end of the day, there will be an unveiling of the blind tasting, as well as an award ceremony.

Having attended this event last year, I can tell you it was not only extremely enjoyable, but VERY educational.  In fact, this is where I first met, and inspired my friend Liza (@brixchick_liza) to start her illustrious blog, BrixChicks! If that wasn’t worth it, I don’t know what is.  I hope you can join myself, Valerie (@winedog), and Shana (@sharayray) for some Pinot Passion!

Tickets are $100, but discounts can be obtained HERE.  You can purhcase tickets HERE. For complete details about this event, please see the Affairs of the Vine webiste.

Happy Drinking and I look forward to a full post event report!

PINOT!  PINOT!  PINOT!

Life interruptus: In Memorium of Krystal Pepper

March 25, 2009

Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball.  Sometimes, you don’t get what you deserve.  This is certainly the case of my fellow wine blogger and friend, Michelle Lentz (@michellelentz), who’s 21-year old sister Krystal died suddenly from an undetected heart problem in 2007.  The recent death of actress Natasha Richardson and Krystal’s sudden death bring a new perspective to living every day fully and with intention.

IMG_0361

Michelle’s family has established a college scholarship fund to honor Krystal’s memory.  Their goal is to raise $25,000 in the next 3 years, for the purpose of awarding an annual scholarship to an elementary education major, particularly students from Krystal’s high school.

To that end, the 2nd Annual Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship Benefit Dinner tickets are now on sale!  There will be a Silent Auction, Chance Drawings, Dinner, Dancing and more.  Tickets are $30 per person in advance, $35 at the door, and include dinner & drinks. Click here to Purchase tickets online.

Additionally, the wine blogging community is getting together to create a gift basket for the Silent Auction.  If you would like to contribute an item or money, please contact David Honig (@dhonig2) for details.  You can also contribute directly to the scholarship HERE.  This is a 501c non-profit organization, administered by Thomas More College so you can get your tax receipts that way.

If you are healthy, have a job, and are happy, won’t you consider contributing to this great cause?

Thanks!

I'm going to hell in a handbasket!

March 25, 2009

thirst⋅y

[thur-stee] –adjective, thirst⋅i⋅er, thirst⋅i⋅est.

1. feeling or having thirst; craving liquid.
2. needing moisture, as land; parched; dry or arid: the thirsty soil.
3. eagerly desirous; eager: thirsty for news.
4. causing thirst: Digging is thirsty work

pa⋅gan

[pey-guhn] –noun

1. one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
2. a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
3. an irreligious or hedonistic person.
–adjective

4. pertaining to the worship or worshipers of any religion that is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.
5. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of pagans.
6. irreligious or hedonistic.

Thirsty Pagan Communion Red:

This little gem of a red blend was sent to me as a sample to the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman’s Smooch Club, which, if this is any example, promises to WOW you. Upon first glance, you might think this is an average wine, with it’s stevlin closure.  Thirsty Pagans pride themselves on the fact that they only produce a minuscule 250 cases a year, so they didn’t want to risk cork taint.  I’m all for it, as screw caps provide easy access for this Lush.

Then, you notice the label.  See?  Over there to the left?  Yes, that is the label.  Three monks drinking with a wench.  It got you to look right?  Of course, they have had their share of controversy, and if you ask a certain Catholic from Idaho, we are all going to hell for supporting them.  Clearly, if I can have this wine in hell, i’m happy to go there for admiring the religious iconography on the lable.

Now, about the wine.  This 2005 red blend comes from Horse Heaven Hills.  Where the HELL is HOrse heaven Hills you ask?  HHH is a part of the much larger Columbia Valley AVA in southeastern Washington state, and is one of Washingtons newest AVAs.  This appelation is known for it’s award winning cabernet sauvignon, and this blend is 75% cab, the shining star.

Additionally, the Communion Red has 15% Merlot, 5% Malbec, and 5% Petite Verdot.  I taste delicious dark fruit, particularly cherries, and blackberries, with a back end of  smoke, tobacco and mincemeat spices.  I also taste a hint of plum in there.  Even though i don’t taste bacon, I can taste smoked meats, and I bet this would be a treat with bacon & caramelized onion pizza as well as a BLT.  This is a big boy, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  It’s big, bold and spicy, but with a smooth finish.  Kind of like an Isaac Hayes song.

I absolutely LOVE this wine!  Thank you Catie for turning me on!  To the wine.  Now, I know you all want your own Thirsty Pagan so head on over to Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman and pick yourselves up a few!  $26 is a small price to pay for this much sinning.

If you haven’t checked out her Smooch Society, you really should.  Why?  Because you’ll get hte best in Walla Walla Wine is why!  4 shipments of 2 wines per year, for the measly price of $45.  Such a deal!  I have only recently discovered the joy of Washington State red wine, and I plan to continue my adventures as much as possible.  This wine is GOOD!   5 smooches.

I'm going to hell in a handbasket!

March 25, 2009

thirst⋅y

[thur-stee] –adjective, thirst⋅i⋅er, thirst⋅i⋅est.

1. feeling or having thirst; craving liquid.
2. needing moisture, as land; parched; dry or arid: the thirsty soil.
3. eagerly desirous; eager: thirsty for news.
4. causing thirst: Digging is thirsty work

pa⋅gan

[pey-guhn] –noun

1. one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
2. a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
3. an irreligious or hedonistic person.
–adjective

4. pertaining to the worship or worshipers of any religion that is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.
5. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of pagans.
6. irreligious or hedonistic.

Thirsty Pagan Communion Red:

This little gem of a red blend was sent to me as a sample to the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman’s Smooch Club, which, if this is any example, promises to WOW you. Upon first glance, you might think this is an average wine, with it’s stevlin closure.  Thirsty Pagans pride themselves on the fact that they only produce a minuscule 250 cases a year, so they didn’t want to risk cork taint.  I’m all for it, as screw caps provide easy access for this Lush.

Then, you notice the label.  See?  Over there to the left?  Yes, that is the label.  Three monks drinking with a wench.  It got you to look right?  Of course, they have had their share of controversy, and if you ask a certain Catholic from Idaho, we are all going to hell for supporting them.  Clearly, if I can have this wine in hell, i’m happy to go there for admiring the religious iconography on the lable.

Now, about the wine.  This 2005 red blend comes from Horse Heaven Hills.  Where the HELL is HOrse heaven Hills you ask?  HHH is a part of the much larger Columbia Valley AVA in southeastern Washington state, and is one of Washingtons newest AVAs.  This appelation is known for it’s award winning cabernet sauvignon, and this blend is 75% cab, the shining star.

Additionally, the Communion Red has 15% Merlot, 5% Malbec, and 5% Petite Verdot.  I taste delicious dark fruit, particularly cherries, and blackberries, with a back end of  smoke, tobacco and mincemeat spices.  I also taste a hint of plum in there.  Even though i don’t taste bacon, I can taste smoked meats, and I bet this would be a treat with bacon & caramelized onion pizza as well as a BLT.  This is a big boy, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  It’s big, bold and spicy, but with a smooth finish.  Kind of like an Isaac Hayes song.

I absolutely LOVE this wine!  Thank you Catie for turning me on!  To the wine.  Now, I know you all want your own Thirsty Pagan so head on over to Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman and pick yourselves up a few!  $26 is a small price to pay for this much sinning.

If you haven’t checked out her Smooch Society, you really should.  Why?  Because you’ll get hte best in Walla Walla Wine is why!  4 shipments of 2 wines per year, for the measly price of $45.  Such a deal!  I have only recently discovered the joy of Washington State red wine, and I plan to continue my adventures as much as possible.  This wine is GOOD!   5 smooches.