Friday, January 31, 2014


The Willi Schaefer Graacher Dromprobst Riesling discussed in the post below this one had something very good to go along with it for Burns Night.  In the bowl is a butternut squash bisque with a myriad of spices in it.  There is cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, dry mustard and brown sugar to name some of them.  The flavors are complex and changing with every bite and the mace and nutmeg give this bisque a unique and wonderful aroma.   

It was near perfect with the wine as it highlighted the sensation of the dry slate and amplified the fruit flavors as well.  Just a wonderful match.

A personal note:  For the next month or so postings here are likely to be much less than usual.  Within the last two weeks I have lost unexpectedly a great friend since second grade, one of my very best friends and fellow Gordon Setter owner, and Scott, the last remaining dog from the title of this blog.  Feel free to browse some of the older posts or to discover other folks who love food and wine as much as I do. 

To close on a positive note I am awaiting the results of a breeding that will, with good luck, lead to a replacement puppy and all the happiness a pup brings along with it. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Littermate

The first wine at the Robert Burns Night dinner last Saturday was the 2010 Willi Schaefer Graacher Dromprobst Riesling Kabinett.  Several weeks ago I opened it's litter mate from Schaefer, the 2010 Graacher Himmelrecih Kabinett which you can read about here.

The Dromprobst was a very similar wine so most of the descriptors would be the same.  However, whether because of the wine itself or the situation involved, this wine seemed a bit more serious and deep.  The sense of sweetness seemed a little greater on the front end of the taste, but it still finished with the blast of acid at the end to refresh the palate.  The flavors were stronger and more pronounced in this bottle.  There seemed to be more apple flavor than it's counterpart and there seemed to be a bit more of the slate sensation in the finish. 

Regardless, this was an outstanding wine and very much the equal of the Himmelreich.  There will be two more chances to compare these wines down the road as there are two more of each in the cellar.  Perhaps the next time will be side by side. 

2010 Willi Schaefer Graacher Dromprobst Riesling Kabinett.  7.5% alcohol and $27.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Sad Passing....

Pete Seeger, May 1919 - January 2014

He is made one with Nature: there is heard
His voice in all her music, from the moan
Of thunder, to the song of night's sweet bird;
He is a presence to be felt and known
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone,
Spreading itself where'er that Power may move
Which has withdrawn his being to its own;
Which wields the world with never-wearied love,
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.
Percy Shelley, from Adonis

One of my lifelong heroes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Glass of Wine

The wine in the glass is the 2004 Willi Schaefer Riesling described a couple of posts below this one.  We did not finish the wine two days ago and the rest was vacuum sealed and chilled.  I opened it for lunch today.  Beautiful golden color for a ten year old wine, but in no way over the hill.  Still singing and doing its thing, and what it's doing is wonderful. 

Friday, January 24, 2014


'The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken.'     Homer, The Odyssey
For the last couple of years I have been mostly disappointed with my remaining few bottles of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1997 vintage.  All the excitement and promise they showed as young wines faded to mostly over the hill a few years ago. 

I couldn't be happier to report that I definitely found an exception with the Von Strasser Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon that I pulled out of the cellar.  It has aged, but though it's age shows what it has aged into was sleek, balanced, mature and drop dead gorgeous wine.  In a blind tasting I would have pegged this as a classified Bordeaux.  Full flavors of currants, graphite and cassis were highlighted by gentle tannins and a still firm acidity.  At sixteen years of age it was a reminder of the style of wine that Napa can make if it chooses too.  There was no excess weight, no overwrought flavors, no in your face attitude.  This was a warm and gentle hug on a winter night.

There was a small piece of medium rare beef and some faro on the side, but the only thing I needed last night was this wine and big glass.

Von Strasser Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.  13% alcohol and $60.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Entry Level Riesling

While prowling around in the bottom of the cellar I came across a forgotten bottle of wine, placed there about eight years ago.  The wine was a 2004 Willi Schaefer Riesling Qualitatswein, the entry level wine for this producer.  It's two siblings were consumed several years ago but this one escaped detection. 

It got a slight chill and the cork came out.  The color was showing a bit of age as it was a light golden color without a hint of green edges.  The aromas were fresh apricots, a mellow and sweet apple, and a bit of ripe pear.  The wine did not show as much minerality as the single vineyard bottlings from Willi Schaefer, but it was still there - especially in the finish.  The flavors blended together well and kept things interesting through a meal of orange chicken with steamed rice.  The chicken was spicy with fresh ginger and garlic and orange juice and the red peppers provided a bit of heat without making the dish fiery - a dish balanced just like the wine. 

2004 Willi Schaefer Riesling Qualitatswein.  9.5% alcohol and $16.

Monday, January 20, 2014


The Minneolas pictured in the post below this one wound up as part of the sauce for this dish of Pork, Pineapples and Orange (PPO).   The fatty rib chop of Berkshire pork was pan seared and set aside.  Into the pan went white wine, white rum, pineapple chunks, the orange juice and some orange zest, some white vinegar, some brown sugar and a bit of chopped tomato for color.  After a few minutes of reduction the chop went back in to warm through.  Some potatoes roasted in duck fat came along for the ride.

The wine a 2012 Kinkead Ridge White Revelation - a blend of a number of grape varietals.  Perfect match.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Minneolas in the Snow

Noting helps with winter more than having the UPS delivery person knock on the door to deliver fresh citrus from Florida.  In this case it was a quarter bushel of grapefruit and a half dozen Minneolas from Vero Beach, Florida.   The Minneola is a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine. It has a loose skin and a very high juice content for the amount of pulp.  Sweet and delicious and one of them will have a prominent role in dinner tonight.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2007 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc

The final effects of my severe cold are finally leaving and it was time for a serious red wine and some beef.  The wine was a 2007 Kinkead Ridge, Ohio River Valley Cabernet Franc.  Over the years I've come to prefer the red wines from Kinkead Ridge about five years after the vintage, and this one was six years from vintage.  It's still a big wine and loaded with fruit and concentrated flavors.  There's spicy aromas to balance out the fruit component.  Very easy to drink, but a very extracted wine - nothing shy here. 

Dinner was a small tenderloin of beef that  was pan seared and then wrapped in fresh rosemary and bacon and popped into a 300 degree oven until it registered 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  There were some mushrooms and a potato gallette to go along with a small salad.  The beef was sliced into rounds and served unsauced.  Delicious and so was the wine.

2007 Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Franc.  14.9% alcohol and $19.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Beautiful Oak

No sooner did the previous post hit the cyber world than the Google gods responded with a work around.  No virgins were sacrificed in generating this post.

I'm tending more and more toward a lighter style preference in my red wines, so instead of a bigger cabernet sauvignon based wine with a filet mignon done as steak au poivre I opted for a 2006 Querciabella Chianti Classico.  It was lip smacking good.

The wine was full of bright, tart cherries and dry earth.  With seven years age on it any rough edges it may have had were gone.   Refreshing fruit flavors with good acid, a bit of light smoke and no sense of pretension made it highly enjoyable and worthy of it's translated name of beautiful oak.

This wine was a fresh, country girl with no make up covering up a blemish or two and a gorgeous smile on her face.  I liked it a lot.

2006 Querciabella Chianti Classico.  $25 and 13.5% alcohol.


The cyber world (primarily Blogger) has decided that it doesn't want to accept photos or allow me to use a few other features.  Conveniently for them even  the feedback button insists I don't have permission to use that feature.  We'll be back after finding a virgin to throw into a volcano to appease the cyber gods.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Speechless and Frozen

The temperatures never ventured into the positive range yesterday.  They bottomed out at -10 degrees last night with wind chills I prefer not to discuss in polite company. 

A small Boston Butt roast of pork went into a 300 degree oven before noon and roasted the entire day.  It helped warm the house and it also made for some great aromas.  After resting for an hour when it came out of the oven I carved it and there was a feast.  Delicious stuff.

The wine was a 2010 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett.  It was a beautiful bottle of wine and I sat there just staring at it after taking the first sip.  Clean and pure, precise, electric, and spicy in its aromas, the taste was tart apple, a suggestion of pineapple, a bit of white peach and lime zest.  The finish was long and incredibly sharp and refreshing.  The pork elevated this wine and the wine in turn made the pork roast as good as any I have ever had.  There simply aren't enough superlatives for this wine.  It was remarkable bottle.

2010 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett.  7.5% alcohol  and the best $27 I have spent on a bottle of wine in a long, long time.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sushi on a Pewter Plate

Even though there was the Scharffenberger sparkling wine described below, the belated New Year's dinner was still a little subdued thanks to the cold.  Mostly the meal was just some appetizers throughout the day and a glass of wine when needed. 

The sushi was purchased  and included vegetable roll, crab roll and shrimp.  Of course a dab or two of wasabi cleared out the sinuses and was especially good at giving a flavor boost to the vegetable roll.  It was a good way to spend the day. 

I'm almost back to normal and the appetite is finally returning.  With the next two to three days here expected to produce temperatures as low as  -16 degrees (-27 C) and wind chills as low as -40 degrees (-40C also) there will be red wine and a few hearty meals.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Delayed Celebration Completed

"Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully."   --    Graham Greene
I finally got around to opening the New Year's Eve bottle on January 2 when my head cleared and I could taste again.  The Scharffenberger Brut from Mendocino County in northern California was just what the doctor should have prescribed if he wanted me to feel better much quicker.  Lively and yeasty with a good core of fruit and a long bread like finish, this remains  one of my very favorite California sparkling wines.  The wine making is overseen by its neighbor, Roderer California and they make my favorite California sparkling wine. 

12% alcohol and $21

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Louis Chavy Nuits-Saint-Georges 2005

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity......Albert Einstein, famed wine critic?
Perfectly mature wine that was drinking beautifully with a duck breast in a blood orange, reduction sauce. 13% alcohol and $30.

And with this post, and one less dog than we started with, this blog has now begun its seventh year and there is more wine to go.