Thursday, June 26, 2014


The 2009 Prosper Maufoux Santenay was a truly amazing wine, but not for the reason that immediately jumped into your mind.  

There was a small celebration the other night that centered around a pan seared filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms.  A burgundy sounded good and while cruising through the wine department I saw this wine listed at $24.99 and decided it was what I wanted.  When I went through the checkout line and got my total price for everything it seemed very low.  The clerk and I looked at the receipt and I noticed that the wine range up at $4.99 instead of $24.99.   The store manager was standing close by and I pointed this out to him.  He paged the wine director and after some discussion they thanked me for noticing this and said, 'take the wine for that price and we will correct our error in the computer system'.  A fair deal. 

The color was light and true to Burgundy and the aroma was funky and wonderful - definitely not on the fruity side.  There were leaves and earth primarily.  It sat in the glass while while the filet and mushrooms cooked.  By the time dinner was ready the wine was in much better condition and there was some fruit emerging.  It remained more savory than fruity throughout the meal and was really nice with the mushrooms. It was earthy, a little bit green, and probably just a bit overpriced at $24.99, but worth every penny of $4.99.

Half of the bottle disappeared and the rest was vacuum sealed.  The second day was oven roasted chicken leg quarters and some room temperature, potato salad.  What a difference a day made for this wine.  Most of the funkiness had faded and the leaves and earthiness were now supporting some beautiful fruit flavors.  The wine was now well balanced and  joy to drink.  It was worth every bit of the $24.99 on the second day.

 2009 Prosper Maufoux Santenay.  13% alcohol and $4.99 ($24.99).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rainier Cherries

Two Rainier cherries to accompany two ounces of Rittenhouse bottled in bond Rye whisky.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

California Rose'

One disadvantage of being in the 'flyover' territory of the U.S. is that most of the new, small boutique wineries that are creating a stir in the press are rarely available here.  Most of them are on allocation from the winery and available only via the winery's  mailing list. That said, I was surprised when one my local haunts called and said they had a couple of cases of a wine from Arnot-Roberts.  The wine was a 2013 Rose' of Touriga Nacional, Lushinger vineyard, Clear Lake.  I bought my allotment of two.

The first one was opened  with a dish of clams, shrimp and scallops done paella style, but substituting Israeli couscous for the rice for a quicker cooking time. It included white wine, shrimp stock and tomatoes, along with garlic, onions, and saffron.

The wine got a medium chill and the cork came out about twenty minutes before dinner was ready.  It was electric, neon pink in the glass and reminded me of a sunset.  There were definite aromas of cherries and strawberries and they were bold.  The first sip was bone dry and crisp and went almost entirely with watermelon flavors.  The cherries and strawberries were still hanging around but they were second fiddle in this wine.  A long crisp finish kicked up the strawberry a bit, but this wine was still about drinking a watermelon.    Fantastic with the seafood.  This is as good a bottle of California rose' as I've had.  Delicious.

2013 Arnot Roberts Rose' of Touriga Nacional, Lushinger vineyard, Clear Lake.  11% alcohol and $24.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Sometimes a simple thing is enough. A chicken breast sandwich with lettuce and red onions and mayonnaise and sambal olek chili paste.  Throw in a couple of dill pickle spears and a cool beer and it's a nice summer lunch.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Barnard Griffin Rose of Sangiovvese

It's turned into the rainy season here every afternoon, including the two inches that fell yesterday afternoon and evening.  Here's to living higher up on the hill.

Even if it rains it's still rose' season and there was a new one to try.  The wine was a 2013 Barnard Griffin Rose' of Sangiovese from the Columbia Valley in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.    The color was bright red as pictured above.  If I had been tasting this wine blind I would have known what grape was involved.  This wine has the flavors of dry, tart cherries with that sense of clean earth that one gets in a good Chianti.  The flavors are light and pleasing and they just scream Sangiovese.  Great acid, bone dry on the finish and a tart cherry after taste. 

There was a beef tri-tip roast that was supposed to go on the grill, but fire and rain only mix in a James Taylor song, not when one is trying to grill.  The roast went instead into a cast iron skillet to sear and then into a medium low oven to finish.  There was a side dish of some pasta with asparagus in a garlicky olive oil and anchovy dressing to help things along.  Great with the wine. 

There were leftovers and today's lunch is pictured below with some cheese, tomatoes and Provencal mustard.  Sadly, the Barnard Griffin wine seemed to have disappeared last night.
2013 Barnard Griffin Rose' of Sangiovese, Columbia Valley.  12% alcohol and $11 dollars.  Very much a bargain. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reserve de la Saurine

This wine, 2013 Reserve de la Saurine, should be labeled summer's best buy.  The wine is from the Gard region of southern France and is 100% Grenache.  The taste is pure strawberries with a bit of red raspberry thrown in for good measure.  It has a bone dry mouth feel that is both refreshing  and satisfying.   There's a bit of length to the finish.  This is the wine in the glass with the Asiago bread sticks below this post.  It was also perfect with a spatchcocked chicken from the grill and some rice. 

Best of all was the price - a mere $7.99.  Not the greatest rose' but when one is paying $8 it is definitely a best buy.

2013 Reserve de la Saurine, Rose' of Grenache.  12.5% alcohol and $8.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Sliced Asiago cheese bread sticks, some 2013 vintage olive oil and a glass of lightly chilled rose'.  Simple and good.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Strange label and a strange name for a wine.  The name turns out to be the elevation of the Jeff Runquist Winery in the Sierra Foothills of California which assembled this wine from various sections of California.  The wine is a 2011 vintage and from taste there has to be a fair amount of Petit Sirah in the mix.  It has that unique purple color from Petit Sirah and the in your face expression of fruit from that varietal also.  The taste is mostly blackberries and blueberries and sits on top of some moderate tannins and some acid.  Flavorful and nice and an early drinker.

2011 R 1448 California red table wine.  14.3% alcohol.  A gift.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


It has been a good spring here for flowers after a long, snowy and cold winter. The lilies are particularly pretty this year so you will have to deal with a few more flowers pictures. The first one is a wild tiger lily that is a volunteer.

The second two are from a plant that i purchased last year at the end of the season in a discount section at a local garden store. I stuck the bulbs in the ground and I never expected that they would survive the winter. There are three stalks with multiple blooms. Of course I can't locate the tag that came with them to identify the variety, but they are obviously healthy.

The final one is a potted rain lily that came from my grandmother many years ago and keeps blooming every year.  It winters inside in a dark place and gets taken back outside every spring. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Manhattan Monday

Sometimes the mood is right for a cocktail and yesterday afternoon was that time. The result was a Manhattan with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters.  Four small, frozen, mini-quiches went into the toaster oven - two spinach, one four cheese and one Lorraine.  It was a good early evening before leftovers for dinner.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Muscadet Sevre et Maine

Small bay scallops sauteed in butter and olive oil with fresh chervil, thyme and dill and a bottle of Domaine de la Garniere 2011 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie, Vieilles Vignes.  Ruch and buttery scallops, light and bright wine.  Delicious.

2011 Domaine de la Garniere Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie, Vieilles Vignes.  12% alcohol and $14.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

Citrusy, sharp, bitter, pleasing.

Rhinegeist Zen. Session Pale Ale.  4.8% alcohol.  $10 for six.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Thursday Afternoon Mojito

Half a lime quartered and muddled with fresh mint from the garden and a teaspoon of superfine sugar.  One and one half ounces of white rum.  Shake all together and pour into a tall glass.  Fill with more ice and seltzer and garnish with a bruised mint sprig.  Sip outside in 73 degree weather with a light breeze.  Repeat with caution.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Rose' D'Anjou

While they are delicious year round Rose' wines are at their peak in the late spring when the wines from the previous harvest hit the market.  Light and fruity and fresh only begins to describe how much fun they are to drink.  My latest one was a remarkable bargain for what it delivered.  The wine was a 2013 Rose' D'Anjou  from Caves De L'Angevine from the Loire region of France.  Crush some ripe raspberries and throw them in a blender, add a cherry or two and top off with a couple of strawberries and give them a spin, and that is pretty much what you get with this wine.  Great acid, beautiful color, bone dry, low alcohol and happy. 

Caves De L'Angevine Rose' D'Anjou.  11% alcohol and $12.

Monday, June 2, 2014

2011 Rombauer Chardonnay

The last white wine of the lobster dinner was a 2011 Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay. This is a very big style wine with full on butter flavors and oak in heavy doses.  Lots of melon flavors resting on top of bacon fat here, it fills the mouth with both flavor and weight without ever quite going to extremes.  

This was more of a stand alone wine than a food friendly wine, and it certainly over powered the lobsters.  Retrieving a well used cliche' -- this is the type of wine one would like if one liked this type of wine. 

2011 Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay.  14.4% alcohol and $35.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cracklin' Savie

New Zealand checked in with one of the wines at the lobster fest and it was unique and different.  The Lake Chalice Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region was labeled as Cracklin' Savie.    The wine was non vintage Sauvignon Blanc with added carbonation. 

Very pale color in the glass, almost to the point of being colorless.  There wasn't much of a nose except for grass clippings.  The carbonation was on the level of an Italian  Prosecco,   The wine was bone dry and as devoid of flavor as it was color.  Bottom line for me was that it tasted like a sweetened tonic water.  A wine for people who don't like wine.  I'll leave it at that.

Lake Chalice Cracklin Savie, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand.  12% alcohol and $15.