Friday, April 24, 2015

Pheasant's Back

Ms. Birdie, the resident canine, and I were out for a long walk along the Great Miami River this morning. At one point she stopped to thoroughly sniff something on the ground when I happened to glance up ten or more feet.  Growing on the side of an upright but totally dead tree on a very steep bank  was an enormous  Pheasant's Back or Dryad's Saddle mushroom.  True to its name it looked like the back of a pheasant or a saddle a wood nymph might use.  While I have seen very small version of this in this area I had never seen one quite this large. 

Not only is walking good for the health and the soul but it can make one hungry.  Suddenly I was craving mushrooms.

There will be mushrooms for dinner tonight and an Oregon Pinot Noir.  Since there was no way to reach the ones in the picture I stopped by a local market and came home with a large handful of morels.  Dinner will be very good tonight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


In this case there is no accent grave so the title is not about wine, but flowers.  There was the last of the Protocolo rose' from below that drank very well on the second day with bread, cheese and salami for lunch.  No fading at all and just as pleasant and happy as the day it was opened.

Cleaning out old storage areas sometimes leads to surprises.  That was recently the case here as several thousand 35mm color slides were discovered stashed away.  Lots of old family pictures, dog event pictures, and motor racing pictures from as far back as 1955 turned up.  Some were ones that I took but most were pictures my father took dating back to before I knew anything about cameras.  

I have been converting a number of them to digital format and sharing with relatives.  This one jumped out at me.  The date on this pictures that he took of two roses from my mother's garden was dated 1960.  It has some non-removable dust particles but it does provoke some memories and has survived very well. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spanish Rose'

It is better to have bread left over than to run short of wine.....    Spanish Proverb
Salmon again - this  time a small piece with the added benefit of an even smaller piece of Walleye and both cooked over alder. Some angel hair pasta with fresh pesto completed the meal.

The wine was a 2014 Protocolo, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla in La Mancha.  It is a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Bobal.    The color was a cross between orange and pink and it smelled of raspberries and citrus.  Light, refreshing, slightly tart, bold fruit flavors that managed to finish totally dry.   This was an incredibly easy wine to drink and at $8 a bottle it is an incredible bargain.  With its low alcohol it's also one that was gone before the bread.

2014 Protocolo, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla.  12.5% alcohol and $8.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sweet Woodruff

There is a spot up against the house that only gets sunshine in the early spring before the leaves on the birch tree develop.  It is planted with sweet woodruff.  Not only is it pretty but it has a fresh, grassy and clean scent.  Drying accentuates the aromas.

It is the flavor agent in a spring time beverage in Germany, May wine.  Local white wine is infused with woodruff.  It's also used in beer making.

After blooming in the spring it turns a much darker green color and thrives in this spot because it gets only a hour or so of low sun during the day. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Northwest Bounty

There was a definite northwest USA dinner earlier this week here in Ohio featuring a Columbia River Valley rose' wine and a filet of Columbia river king salmon cooked over an alder wood fire.  

The wine was a 2014 Barnard Griffin rose' of Sangiovese.  Bright red colors when poured into a glass the wine was just full of the flavor of tart, red cherries and herbs.  It's just loaded with sweet fruit and more than enough acidity to balance out that sweetness.  This is not a shy or subtle rose', but it is a flavorful and bold wine. 

The salmon was from the first wild catch of the year to appear in the market.  It was clean and pure and very rich with fat.  The alder wood smoke gave it nice edge of earthiness and the smell of the smoke drew a couple of the neighbors out of the house. 

The side dishes were inconsequential.  All that was important here was a bit of fish and a sip of wine repeated over and over.  Both the wine and the fish were as bold as the colors in the photo.

Barnard Griffin Columbia Valley Rose' of Sangiovese.  12.9% alcohol and $13.  A bargain.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Still Spring

The world is exploding in emerald, sage, and lusty chartreuse - neon green with so much yellow in it. It is an explosive green that, if one could watch it moment by moment throughout the day, would grow in every dimension.............  Amy Seidl, Early Spring
There's also some red from the Hustle rye pale ale.  And then there's being able to sit on the patio in the sunshine and drink it. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

National Beer Day

On April 7, 1933 a long, national nightmare ended when the Cullen–Harrison Act went into effect after being signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on March 22.    Americans were once again allowed to buy, sell and drink beer as long as it was less than 4% alcohol. 

It is estimated that 1.5 million barrels were consumed on this day in 1933.  We may have been in a depression, but at least there was beer again!

Pictured is a can of Rhinegeist Hustle, a rye pale ale from Cincinnati.  Yesterday was the opening day of baseball season for the Cincinnati Reds and this rye based, and very red, ale was part of the celebration.

Party responsibly today!