Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve

Another year soon to be gone, another one with high points and low points.  We will be ending here on what I hope is a very high note, a 1983 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle.  It's the oldest bottle in the cellar and it's time has come.  A simple roast chicken and some potatoes fried in duck fat will help it along.

Happy New Year and best wishes to each of you.

And tomorrow this small corner of the cyber world will begin its tenth year.   There's still more wine and more dogs to come - and of course at least a flamingo a year.

Monday, December 28, 2015


Champagne season.  This bottle had been in the cellar for six years and was a bit on the downhill side, but still very drinkable.

Camille Jacquet Brut Champagne, Blanc de Blanc.  The golden color showed the age on the wine.  Hints of cardamon and lots of yeast aromas in the wine.  not overly bubbly, but sufficient.  A touch of sherry flavors added a bit of interest to the wine.

Camille Jcquet Bland de Blanc.   $45 and 12.5% alcohol

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Chrtistmas 2015

Wishing each of you reading this a wonderful holiday season - full of good cheer and good friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Louis Jadot

It's not every day that a glass of Corton Charlemagne presents itself for consumption, but that was the case a few days ago.  The vintage was 2009 so there was a wee bit of age to the wine. 

The aromas were much more on the mineral end of the spectrum than on the fruit end.  One would suspect from just smelling the wine that it was a little austere, but that wasn't the case.  Rich fruit flavors of ripe apple and a bit of pineapple were strong.  There was a good deal of citrus as well, but the earthiness still came through.  Tart and sharp, yet rich - a delicate balancing act that this wine pulled off well.  There was a super long finish that left a smile on my face.  There should be more of this in my life, but considering the price I'll take this glass and be happy.

2009 Louis Jadot Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru.  13% alcohol and $175.00.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Good Bottle

Kinkead Ridge
A small, lamb roast called for Cabernet Sauvignon so I opted for the 2011 Kinkead Ridge to see how it was doing.  It's doing quite well.

All the loose ends have come together here.  The aromas are great with hints of fruit and wood and a bit of cinnamon.  Dark cherry and plum flavors were strong, but there were some herbal tones to compliment them.  Moderate body with good acidity, and just about perfect now.

With some roasted butternut squash and a few green beans it was a very good meal.

Kinkead ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Ohio River Valley.  $21 and 13.9% alcohol.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Winter Drinking

Kopke Fine Tawny

One good thing about the Christmas season is that the local winesellers all seem to start offering special prices on port. That was the case with this bottle of Kopke Fine Tawny that I adopted a week or so ago at $7 off on a bottle.

Lots of dried fruits and nuts and spices in the nose.  This is a wine that is not overly sweet or strong.  It sips very easy, blooms in the middle of the palate and ends very smoothly with some length.  Rich fruit and and nutty flavors.  It's not a mind blowing wine, but for $17 it's a great bargain and delicious.  It was good with a bite or two of bittersweet chocolate, but it was superb with a very ripe pear that was halved and cored.  The pear was then filled with Gorgonzola cheese and tossed into a hot oven just until the pear warmed and the cheese melted.  A little bit of heaven on a cold night with a glass of port.

Kopke Fine Tawny Port.  17% alcohol and $17. 

Monday, December 7, 2015


Starting Over

There is a major local program underway to repair the tremendous amount of damage done by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species of beetle that has decimated the forests in this area.  Ohio was reported to contain over three billion ash trees of various subspecies before the pest arrived. More than two thirds of those trees are now gone.

The picture above makes one think of a newly planted vineyard or an abandoned cemetery.  Instead it is a photo of a hillside above the Great Miami River where the dog and I walk frequently.  This was once a totally forested hillside full of mature ash trees.   The trees were removed and a program is underway to replant with other species of trees native to the forests in this area - maple, walnut, oaks, etc.  The white, plastic tubes are to protect the young trees from being eaten by the deer and other wildlife so they can take root and grow.  So in another sense this is a cemetery, but one that forty years down the road should look considerably different. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Ms. Birdie checking for rabbits
Weather conditions overnight were perfect for a beautiful morning display of hoarfrost.  A thick layer of fog settled over the Great Miami River and then temperatures dropped a few degrees below freezing.  Everything was evenly covered with a powdery, white blanket.  Blue, clear skies above, but the layer of fog muted everything. 

Along the Great Miami River
There was no wind at all but it was still cold.  The color palette of nature is fascinating.  These scenes are cold and northerly, but the colors are the white and turquoise of sunny beaches of much warmer areas. 

Still Water
It helped that this was not far from home and there was a steaming cup of coffee waiting when the dog and I finished our walk.  A very good day.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sunshine and a Cocktail

Red Blooded Americano
I don't think there is more colorful drink than the one pictured here even though it took some work.  The work involved tearing apart a large, fresh pomegranate and running the arils through a potato ricer to extract the juice while leaving the seeds behind.  The juice was added to the ingredients for an Americano and it came out shocking, electric red.

Combine one ounce each fresh pomegranate juice, Campari and sweet vermouth.  Pour over ice and stir until well chilled.  Top with club soda or seltzer and stir again.  Toss in an orange peel for a garnish.

Very fruity and punch like at first, it becomes full bodied in the mid palate and finishes with the wonderful bitterness of the Campari.  Of course the ones that followed were much easier since there was a good amount of pomegranate juice remaining.  Low alcohol and quite tasty. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Finding Color

The Great Miami River
Finding color that isn't gray or brown in the landscape in December in southwest Ohio is difficult.  That was certainly true yesterday as the resident canine and I headed out for a long walk on a foggy and drizzly morning.  There was some vestige of green grass left in the parks but the woods are mostly dull and gray with the floor of the woods mostly brown.  But if one tries one can always find color.

moss and lichens
The color yesterday was chartreuse and was found on moss and lichens covering the concrete on an abutment for a long gone suspension, bridge over the river.  There was even some young green growth in a few areas that are more protected from the weather.  The summer heat and sunshine prevents the lichens from growing on this west facing wall, but both of those things are rare now and they are flourishing.

more lichens and moss
The square holes are another part of the old support structure for the bridge and there are thirty or so of them, each about twelve inches.  Their new role in the world is to serve as nesting sites for bank swallows that show up every spring.  They are about eight feet above ground and being on a sheer face there is great protection for the birds. 

We came home damp and the canine made certain that the Canada geese were in the river and not on shore and that two squirrels stayed in the trees.