The Quest for the Best Paint Color in the History of Paint Colors

I’ve learned that the best time to make big changes or start huge projects is while Steve is golfing. Let me give you an example. Years ago, in our previous house, I thought it’d be cool to build a bar for the game-room. A seven foot long bar. I planned it in my head each night instead of sleeping until I had to build it just so I could get some rest. I made the mistake of telling King-Veto my plans. He said, ‘Do Not Build a Bar’. Then he left for his early tee time with his brother Chris.

Like the submissive wife that I am…. I went to the garage and started building. By the time they got home, it was mostly complete except for the bar top. They found me in the garage. Steve said, ‘what are you doing?’ It wasn’t an angry ‘what do you think you’re doing’, it was like he didn’t remember the bar/no bar controversy at all and was actually curious about what I was doing. So I said I was building a giant dog house. This was acceptable to him. A bar height, seven foot long dog house.

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(the only picture I could find of my first bar)

In his defense, we did have a giant mastiff that would actually require a house of this size. He wasn’t fooled for long, but while he was Chris sure enjoyed it.

So, in my quest to find the perfect paint color I had to paint the walls gray-camo.

camo wall 1     camo wall 2

I was worried that it would tip Ol’ King-Veto off about the start of a big painting job. But, when he returned from golf he didn’t even notice! He just came in and threw his keys down on the mantle.

camo wall with mantle

This mantle with the swatches painted right there!

The next day, when Larry & Terry came over to give me their opinions, he claimed he did notice. (unlikely). What he did notice was the egg-shell finish. I claimed that it was flat, he only likes flat paint. I don’t know if he’s on to me yet…

To be continued on the perfect paint color. I’m looking for a grayish color with a blue or green undertone. Not too much blue or green, not too light so it looks like dirty white and not too dark either. It’s an imaginary color that exists only in perfect light on HGTV. Impossible to duplicate in reality so far.

I need a couple days to contemplate the colors, some times you just have to drink things through. Let’s have some wine!

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three wines blog

Dream Walking Chard ~ Algorithm Red ~ Four Star Cab

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dream walking chardonnay

2010 Dream Walking California Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Terry got the first taste of this St. Helena California Chardonnay, she gave it a thumbs up! Kerri commented that she didn’t taste any oak and liked the floral bouquet. Arvin said, ‘not too bad for a white.’ We all agreed that the wasabi chips paired nicely with this crisp Chardonnay.

Tasting notes from the winemaker: Dream Walking is a nuanced, medium-bodied Chardonnay that is broad on the palate. In the glass, the wine is clear and bright with notes of marzipan, meyer lemon, chamomile, and pineapple. Dream Walking finishes with focus and will pair well with ceviche, simple grilled fish, or a spicy vegetable dahl

On-line review from WineWithLisa:  For those of you who are tired of heavily oaked and buttery Chardonnays, your dream has come true! Cultivate Wines gives us a virtually un-oaked Chardonnay -Dream Walking- with the freshness and crisp acidity of meyer lemon and hints of pineapple,banana and green apple. Cooler growing conditions in the Mendocino and Santa Rita Hills subregions of California and fermentation without the use of heavy oak allows the freshness and fruitiness of this Chardonnay blend to stand front and center. Raise your wine glass to your nose,close your eyes and and inhale the subtle aromas of lemon peel,floral jasmine and fragrant almonds.

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algorithm red

2012 Algorithm California Red Blend $4.99

Elsewhere price $10.99

***Silver Medal, Best Buy – BTI World Value Wine Competition, 2013***

Kerri started us off with this California Red Blend, she took a sip and tasted Red Velvet Cake! Rudy said it was excellent with the fresh raspberries, it really brings out the cherry flavor. Arvin tasted vanilla and Scott called it, ‘kinda nice’. Steve tasted black cherry and plum. He added that when paired with dark chocolate, it completely changed the taste. Rudy agreed, but preferred it with the berries.

Tasting notes from the winemaker: The Algorithm Red Blend possesses a network of dark cherries and plums, interlaced with rich notes of chocolate and vanilla. Mature tannins create a silky backbone that is linked together with ripe, concentrated fruit flavors. Enjoy young to fully appreciate its abundant fruitiness.

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four star cab

2013 Four Star Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $9.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Larry thought this Napa Cab was more mellow than a traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, kinda like a red blend. Kerri liked the spicy & dry tampernero and liked the pairing with salted caramel brownies. Steve agreed with the dryness, he says he appreciates a dry wine.

4.0 stars from Vivino on-line reviewer: I thought it was a great value at $10 at Grocery Outlet. Full body with a nice hearty finish

86 points from Cellartracker on-line reviewer: Nice fruit forward. Opened up well in 30 minutes (in the interest of full disclosure, the next reviewer did not like this cab. He gave it 80 points and did not finish the bottle, he poured it out. I guess he didn’t get it a Grocery Outlet where he could’ve returned it if he didn’t like it. bummer for him)

Food & Wine Pairing Challenge:

Mexican Food. Generally you’d think beer or a margarita or even a shot of tequila when you’re having Mexican Food. So, the challenge was to find wines that compliment the spiciness of the food. All of the Front Porch Wine Tasters ordered food from the Manteca Police Dept K-9 Unit fund-raiser that was conveniently scheduled on Winesday.

k9 duty to serve

Read more on the Manteca Police K-9 Unit

I read that sweeter wines pair well with spicy, but I also wanted a Spanish Red. Turns out there are all kinds of Spanish wines! It was really hard to choose just one.   So let’s see how I did:

4 wines mexican food

Middle Sister Rose’ ~ Little Rascal’s Sauv Blanc ~ Feeding Frenzy White ~ Antano Rioja

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middle sister rose

Middle Sister Blushing Beauty Rose’ $3.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Terry started us off with the California Rose’, she called it Rosey and Sweet and liked how it went with the spice of the food. Steve found it Fruity and Sweet and thought it paired well with the carnitas. Joe R liked the bouquet and Arvin thought it was more of a desert wine. Larry said it was very mild, I agreed, it was delicate.

On-line review from WineSisterhood.com: What is better than a beautiful pink wine with fruity flavors of cherry and strawberry. Not much! It’s definitely time to get some friends together and drink pink! Try this beauty with grilled hot dogs, white-sauce pizza and picnic foods.

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little rascals sauv blanc

2012 Little Rascal’s Sauvignon Blanc $2.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Connie found this sustainably grown Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc spicy. Larry agreed, he said it’s got a bite to it. Terry thought it was pretty good, she tasted grapefruit. Steve commented that it was very spicy and he may be tasting pear…

81 Points from WineEnthusiat.com

On-line review from CheapWineSnobs: Although not a complicated wine, I think Stymie would approve for a first meeting wine. It is very flowery and has a little citrus. It is a little heavier than most (Sauvignon Blancs). One might even guess it to be a Chardonnay. My pal, Stymie and I will give this one a strong 2.5

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feeding frenzy white blend

Feeding Frenzy White Table Wine $2.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Feeding Frenzy wines have been a favorite on the Front Porch in the past, and this California White Blend was no exception. Arvin immediately commented, ‘I like this one!’ Steve said, ‘Best one yet. It becomes one with your mouth.’ To which Terry replied, ‘Whoa, that’s deep.’

Again, I could not find much about Feeding Frenzy wines on-line, but Front Porch Wine Tasting came up in the Google search!

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Antano spanish red

Reseva 2008 Antaño Rioja $5.99     ***Limited Supply***

Elsewhere price $14.99

***Berliner Wein Gold Trophy Winner 2012***

***Concours Mondial Silver Medal Winner 2012***

I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish, let me translate this wine for you: 2008 Antano Red Reserve. Your welcome. ‘Muh Bueno!’ came from Arvin, he added that he noticed tobacco in the bouquet and tasted oak. Connie thought it had a nice bouquet and very long legs. Joe said it was a little dirty, like wine cellar dirt (what!?!), Misty agreed but said more like Spanish dirt. Becky said it had an earthy aroma (oh, that’s what they meant) and she thought it tasted very bold, she liked the pairing with the creaminess of the guacamole.

84.8 points from Cellartracker.com  

Tasting notes via WinesFromSpain: Red currants and black cherries are prevalent, but there’s a little white mushroom note underneath it, so typical of traditionalist Rioja. Tart red cherries are in the nose too, and come to the fore in the mouth; it gives a fresh, crushed red fruits crunchiness to the wine. Fascinatingly, the mouth immediately gets darker and richer, black cherries and even more black plums dominate the finish, along with sawdust and vanilla. Stylish and almost lengthy. Drink soon or in the next several years.

It’s good to have goals

I only recently realized, after I heard Steve make yet another comment about making the Senior Pro Tour, that he has been secretly training for it for the past 20 years. Helllow, Sugar Daddy! I’m not sure he realizes how close he already is to being old enough (50)…. (how to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour) but, I digress. Good ol’ Steve is on a slow steady pace (maybe more slow than steady) of improving his game to the level of providing us (me) with the lifestyle I would like to become accustomed to. It’s good to have goals.

golfing

Steve & his buddies

His secret? He does better with the right combo of perspective and alcohol. Relaxing buzz, he calls it. From what I can gather from his golfing buddies, they may all kinda suck. (find the fix for what ails your game) Settle down, settle down. I meant compared to pros of course. But, I’m pretty sure if you have to four put on even one hole you’re not gonna make the Senior Tour let alone become the Sugar Daddy you aspire to be.

Funny-Golf-25

Lining up the put

He does love the game. When he thinks he’s got time to sneak away from work to hit the course – it’s like it changes his whole outlook on the day. He’s almost giddy. So who am I to dash his hopes? What do I know anyway? Maybe a 96 will be good enough for the tour.

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aaaaa wine pairings

My goal this week- easy food pairings that work. Much more easily attainable.

aaaaa line up

Mission Ines Sauv Blanc ~ Leto Old Vine Chard ~ JanKris Syrah ~ Nova Vita Old Vine Zin

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aaaaa 1

2013 Mission Ines Sauvignon Blanc $3.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Right off the bat, I liked this refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. It reminded me of my first wine tasting experience, check it out here: MantecaGroceryOutlet, and it paired easily with the summer sausage. Arvin said it was a bit citrusy, which he liked. Steve agreed, he found it mild and refreshing as well. Terry liked it and Larry thought it tasted buttery with a hint of pear.

4 out of 5 stars from on-line reviewer at Vivino.com: Surprised at the mild sweetness! I don’t remember what I spent on this, but knowing where I got it, I know I didn’t spent more than 5.99 most likely, and certainly not more than 8.99, and am quite impressed for the price. I’m not usually a huge fan of non-sweet whites, but this had excellent balance….

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aaaaa 2

2012 Old Vine Leto Chardonnay $5.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Steve noticed the light color and commented that he found this Old Vine Chardonnay to be dry. Arvin called it ‘Buttery’ and Terry thought it had a punch to it. Its buttery-ness contributed nicely to the Cranberry Apple Spice cheese on Butter crisp crackers, which also took the punch out. Larry agreed with the label, on the ‘grilled pineapple’ after tasted, he liked it.

88 points. Expert review from Virginian Boone on WineEnthusiast.com: The vines behind this wine were planted in the 1960s and 1970s, qualifying them as old in the Napa Valley. Winemaker Lisa Warner uses native yeast as well as one from Montrachet to craft this muted, nutty Chardonnay. Richly textured it is otherwise awash in high-toned citrus, both lemon and pineapple

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aaaaa 3

2013 Jankris Syrah $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Arvin immediately commented that he liked it. He called it corky (?) and said it tastes perfect, Scott agreed with a ‘very nice’. Larry liked the aroma and said he tasted black currant. Steve thought this Syrah made his mouth feel like it does when you bite into a great steak. (Happy). Terry agreed, saying this would pair great with a good piece of steak. I liked the sweet aroma and dry berry-ness, it melts in your mouth. Larry added that this wine is mellowed out when combined with chocolate.

Wine info from Vivino.com: Californian Syrah certainly isn’t a wine for the meek. This bold, spicy wine typically has heaps of raspberry, black fruit and heady levels of alcohol.

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aaaaa 4

2013 Nova Vita Old Vine Zinfandel $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Terry started us off with this Old Vine Zin, she said, “It’s got a very strong….” I guess she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, lol. Arvin found it peppery; he said it kinda grabs you. Steve thought it would add a spicy zest to a great steak. I agree, but it also paired nicely with the creamy Gouda cheese. Scott commented on the long legs and added that he liked it, it’s not to sharp.

Wine info from Vivino.com: While California Zinfandel can be produced in various styles, ranging from light to full-bodied, they all exhibit a certain fruit forwardness that is frequently described as “jammy”. It is also known for licorice, spicy and peppery notes. Zinfandel has gotten a bad rap from the abundant jugs of cheap, pink “white zin” lining the bottom shelves of many grocery store chains. However, this grape variety produces quality red wines that are food-friendly, versatile and delicious.

Let’s be good to ourselves

Everyone loves presents, amiright? But why wait for someone to notice that you deserve a gift…

Reward yourself instead.

I used to buy myself flowers every week. I don’t know why I stopped doing that. I kept them on the counter in my bathroom, the mirror made it seem as though there were twice as many.  Try not smiling when you see that first thing in the morning.

So, I was jonesin yesterday for a pick-me-up. I figured retail therapy was in order. Turns out I ran into a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless just in case she was shopping on the downlow) who was there for the same reason. I got a great new purse, she got a couple pairs of sandals and we both left smiling.

Next time you find yourself in the same sitch, check this list for a quick smile:

  1. Take a field trip ~ to a museum or weird roadside attraction
  2. Retail therapy ~ I like to pretend that I have a $25 or $50 gift card so it doesn’t turn into an out-of-control addiction
  3. Buy yourself flowers ~ They are cheaper than you think (unless its Valentine’s Day)
  4. See a movie in the middle of the day ~ Yeah
  5. Have some wine!

Let’s be good to ourselves!

 

 wine line up

Kimmel Chard ~ LeBaron Ranch Chard ~ Snoqualmie Red ~ Grandfather Zin

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 kimmel chard

2012 Kimmel Chardonnay Mendocino County $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

GOLD
San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition
2014
               

Terry started us off with this Chardonnay, she wasn’t sure she liked the bouquet. Larry said it’s got a ‘ting’ to it and called it thought provoking, he liked it paired with the Organic Four Cheese Pizza. Steve agreed that it had a strong aroma, but he liked the buttery-ness. Becky liked it paired with the Turkey Pepper Jack Deli Spirals. Connie tasted oak and called it ‘kinda wild’. She thought this would be a good wine to bathe in!

From the winemaker: Classic unoaked style – crisp, fresh, full-flavored …
a delicious imprint of Mendocino fruit.
The grapes were whole-cluster pressed and then cold-fermented to dryness in stainless tanks. The fermented juice was left on the lees until just prior to bottling to create a wonderfully fresh, crisp, and fruit-forward wine

Here’s the food pairings they were referring to:

wine snacks

wine pizza wine spirals

Bold Pizza $7.99 for a two pack & Nancy’s Deli Spirals $4.99 60 count

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le baron chard

2013 Le Baron Hop Station Chardonnay Ca $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Arvin and Scott both found this Chardonnay to be on the sweet side, but smooth. Larry said it had a bite to it. Joe R thought it was fruity, peach to be exact. Connie liked the light aroma and said it right up her alley, she loved it.

4 out of 5 on snooth.com: Very good…I got a hint of dill on the finish…

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 snoq wine

2012 Snoqualmie Whistle Stop Red Blend Columbia Valley $3.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

I immediately loved the chocolatey aroma! Connie agreed, saying it had a heavenly bouquet. She added that it would be great with dessert, so smooth. Terry commented that she could sip on this all night. Arvin thought he’d like it with a turkey sandwich at lunch. Larry liked it as well and Joe R called it a good solid quality red wine that lives up to its aroma. I actually had to get a couple more bottles for myself later :-)

Review from GreatNorthwestWine.com: The nose features a beautiful presentation of black cherry, ripe raspberry, smoky dark chocolate and tobacco leaf. What follows is a smooth drink of dark plum, blackberry and chocolate-covered black cherry, backed by a great finish of raspberry and cranberry.

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grandfather zin

2013 Grandfather Clock Zinfandel Ca $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Steve loved this Zin, he detected a tinge of spice. He added that it was great with chocolate. Larry agreed, he liked the bouquet and found it very smooth. It made Terry tingly as she sipped. Becky tasted a smoky tobacco flavor and Connie said it was a beautifully tasting bouquet. Everybody had a second round. Steve was raving about it like it was beer. Terry said, “Yum!” and Larry said, “Do I actually have to say a red is my favorite?”

No online reviews yet, you’re just gonna havta take our word on it and give a try.

Romantic Valentine’s Day Wines

Sometimes we just need to go against the mainstream. Go our own way, cut a new path. When the rest of the country was watching the Super Bowl, the Front Porch Wine Tasters were making a stand for each of our perspective football teams (who were also watching the game that day). The struggle is real.

FREEBIE Alert!

Be sure to scroll all the way down for Valentine’s Day FREEBIE! info

I present to you: The Anti-Super Bowl party.

wine tasters bountiful table  photo 1

The food was bountiful, the wine poured freely into royal cups

wine tasters connie dies 2

and tragedy was narrowly averted!

We choose a random theme (Game of Thrones), the Front Porch Wine Tasters went all-out dressing up. I am still impressed with the creativity of these wine tasters!

photo 3 wine tasters carol with white walkers wine tasters rudy and kerri wine tasters arvin and connie

photo 1 photo 4 photo 4

everybody tried on my wig :-)

photo 1 photo 2

I thought it would be a good time to choose some Valentine’s day wines. However, it was quite difficult to take proper wine tasting notes on all of the wines as the tasters mingled with each other, had their caricatures drawn and watched the court jester juggling and doing magic tricks.

photo 3

Plus, we had A LOT of wine!

photo 1

Whites

photo 4

Reds

Here’s what I got, Enjoy!

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 photo 3

2012 Bel Arbor Bella White Blend $2.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Scott announced, ‘this one is good’ and Terry agreed. Larry couldn’t quite identify the fruit he tasted – maybe apple. Kerri liked this white blend, she found it very floral. Becky said it was nice and sweet and Connie tasted spicy pear.

From the label: Sociable and spirited, with just a trace of whimsy, Bel Arbor wines entertain the palate and complement the mood. Take Bella White, bringing the crisp flavor of apple, peach and pear to the table. It loves whatever you’re eating but can happily stand on its own.

86.3 points from Cellartracker.com: A great wine for the price. Crisp, straw color with a hint of pear and apple 88 points. Very nice. Consistent, easy-drinking, well rounded, crowd pleaser 86 points. Smells and tastes of pears, light tropical fruits, spring flowers and melons. Pleasing texture. Nothing not to like 86 points.

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 photo 2

2012 Two Amigos Albarino $4.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Kerri thought this is a great spring wine and would pair well with a big salad. She prefers three amigos, but will settle for two. Becky found it to be crisp and citrusy. Larry enjoyed drinking his through a straw. Terry agreed ;-p

photo 2

From the label: Two friends, one path. The story of a journey. 2amigos.com   Ours is a natural wine meant to be drunk young, one to three years, when the fresh aromas of white peach, apricot, citrus and jasmine still prevail with a dry, lively, fruit and mineral finish with a firm acidity.

“2-AMIGOS“ is a perfect afternoon or after work wine. Accompanied by young white cheese it will bring out tremendous flavours. With fish, raw or cooked sea food it will outshine any other white wine. “2-AMIGOS” is a delightful wine meant to be drunk “cold” but it will also accompany any white meat dishes thanks to its firm acidity.

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 photo 1

2013 Myka Cellars Mitzi Chardonnay $8.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Connie started us off with this Santa Cruz Mountains Chard, saying it was very nice, full body – love it! Joe added ‘sexy body’. Terry didn’t really care for it, but Kerri called it mellow and added that she liked it a lot.

From the label: As a micro-winery, we create artisan, terroir driven wines from sustainable grapes in the heart of the Monterey Bay. We employ a hands off approach using natural fermentation and gentle handling to let the grapes shine. 100% Clone 4 Chardonnay. Enjoy Mitzi with white fish, creamy soft cheese and roasted chicken.

4.3 stars of 5 from Vivino.com: Nice sharp dryness, no oak is a plus

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photo 4

2010 Manifesto Chardonnay $2.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

Terry liked this un-oaked Chardonnay, she found it sweeter than oak barrel aged wine. Caroline usually prefers an oaky Chard but reported that this is a good Chardonnay.

From the label: Great wine is made in the vineyard. Great wine doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Great wine should complement your meal, not overpower it. That’s our Monifesto!

On-line review: It has a wildly complex, floral nose of ripe pear, freshly squeezed key limes, fennel, orange zest, gardenia and a touch of salinity. Broad, bright flavors of pear, key lime, quince, green apple, and a hint of licorice coat the palate. It finishes long and lean, with secondary flavors of Bosc pear, tequila-laced orange zest and wonderful food-marrying acidity

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photo 3

2011 Mc Williams Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Larry immediately liked the smooth aroma. Caroline did not taste any oak, but liked the summery citrus taste.

From the label: The McWilliam family has been at the forefront of Australian winemaking since 1877. Drawing on six generations of winemaking experience, McWilliam’s has created a classic Australian Chardonnay. McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate wines have been crafted using premium grapes from some of South Eastern Australia’s most renowned wine regions. This wine has a golden hue, with melon and tropical fruit aromas. The use of oak has added complexity and subtle vanilla overtones, ending with a long, crisp finish. The perfect accompaniment to grilled salmon or roasted chicken.

88 points from Palate Press: This very moderately priced Aussie Chardonnay walks the line between round buttery wines slathered in oak and linear bright wines from stainless steel. Crisp, with soft edges and vanilla that stays in the background, judicious use of the wood does great service to good fruit. Red apple flavors give way to peach, with just a touch of pie crust in the background. The price makes a good wine a great bargain. Buy it by the case and enjoy it year round. Drink with fried chicken. Recommended.

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2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay $2.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Becky tasted apples, peaches and pears. Kerri labeled it ‘Gooood’

From the label: Passing through the valley as harvest winds down, the vines reflect the sunset of the season. The fruit: collected; crushed. The joyful colors of fall now grow. Although work remains, we find the time to catch our breath, come together, and share the Red Autumn.

On-line review from Front Porch Wine Tasting last August! (we’re famous, lol)

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photo 5

2012 Lost Angel Mischief Red $6.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Terry started us off with a ‘Oh! This is good!’ I found this Sonoma California red blend to be nicely fruity. Caroline called it easy drinking. She thought it would be a great table wine, one that many people would like.

From the label: Lost Angel’s wines are for people who appreciate bold, edgy and iconoclastic. They are as different and exciting as you’d like to be. As the old saying goes, if you only live once, make it count. If you live more than once, then who the hell cares? The name says it all. Maybe we shouldn’t have done it, but it was a lot of fun and we’re glad we did. Fruit forward flavors of black cherries, dried plums and sultanas.

3.5 of 5 from Snooth.com: This is a fantastic full body red with lots of flavor. They have it at the market for $7.00. This does not taste like a low cost wine. May be one of the best deals I have found. Has that nice finish and elegant taste. Highly recommend for you to give this a try.

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photo 4

2009 Swami Pinot Noir $5.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Terry commented on the nice color. Caroline called it a dark cherry color and found the wine very nice, ‘I like it!’ Becky commented that this pino was very soft, but had some body. It paired well with smoked turkey legs. (Later, I paired this with pot roast as well, perfect!)

From the label: A California native, Inspired by the land, sun and sea, Swami Pinot Noir is exotic and earthy. Fruit forward and approachable.

86.8 points from Cellertracker.com: Hanging strong. Tasting very characteristically PN now … earthy, ripe nose, powerful “tang”, a somewhat smoky finish 88 points

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 photo 3

2011 Orbiter Pinot Noir $6.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Terry first commented on the pleasing aroma, then added ‘Oh! Good’ after her first sip. Kerry thought it had a great smell as well and thought it tasted peppery. Joe S found it to be smooth, almost as smooth as Larry, and planned on buying some before its gone.

Vinted and bottled by Orbiter, Glen Ellen California

On-line review from Garyswine.com: Jam packed with red and black raspberries along with sweet cherries. Medium bodied with a nice velvety texture lasting into a long finish. A great value Pinot Noir!

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2012 Buonocore Syrah Lodi $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Joe called this syrah ‘The blood of Dragons!’ and he noticed the strong tannins. Becky said it was delicious on the nose. Arvin said it had a smooth palate, he tasted raspberries and he liked the smooth finish.

From the label: Vincent Buonocore, son in a family famed for generations in the wine & food business in Italy, immigrated to the U.S. in 1910 & settled in NYC. Established in America, the Buonocore Family expanded their Italian products to include California wines. In 1934 Vincent established the first winery in the state of Connecticut. Every year he traveled the state of California in search of fine wines & premium grapes to be produced, blended & bottled under the Buonocore label. With his sons & their sons, they established wineries in California extending the family tradition in wine to 6 generations.

From the winemaker: Brewing coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, fig and a hint of fresh blueberry is how I would describe this (as) approachable and well balanced syrah

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 photo 1

2010 Val Moon Zinfandel $6.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Terry liked this Sonoma County Zin right away. She thought it would pair well with a nice steak w/garlic butter. Becky found it spicy and wanted to pair it with a Rib Eye and garlic mashed potatoes. I thought it was perfectly dry, and I’m always game for a good Rib Eye! Steve thought he would pair it with Aussie Fries. SMH

Produced and bottled by Val Moon, Glen Ellen – Sonoma County California

3.3 of 5 stars from Vivino.com

FREEBIE Alert!

carved magic candle

Remember, no matter what you serve at your Valentine’s Day dinner, everybody looks better by candle light. Go to the Manteca Grocery Outlet Facebook page (winner will announced Friday, Feb 13th, 2015) for a chance to win a Carved Magic Candle to light up your romantic table!

wine tasters s & d wine tasters relaxing

It’s not done, until it’s Over-Done!

 

I used to be Clark Griswold. None of my plants would freeze during the winter because of the heat generated from my Christmas lights. Not only did they dance to traditional AND rock-n-roll Christmas carols, but you could possibly see them from space. It was glorious.

It involved careful extension cord maze planning discussions between my daughter & me (editors note: nobody speaks in proper grammar, Karissa), electric bills that rivaled the mortgage payment and friendly inspections by the Fire Marshall. It usually ended in frustration as some cord or fuse would fail.

Inside, you would find a 9 foot tall tree right out of a department store surrounded by perfectly wrapped presents. Lighted garland in every doorway, ornaments hanging from the ceiling and small ‘themed’ trees throughout the house. Yes, it was ridiculous. And, I did most of the decorating myself. Which I realized was stupid.

In my old age I have learned to allow my husband and boys to help through subtle guilt trips. Don’t judge, it makes them feel good to make me happy. Who am I to deny them of this happiness? There may not be as many lights as before but they go up so much easier! I don’t even have to go outside.

Okay, my video wouldn’t load. Ours is just like this. (not really)

I still may or may not have multiple trees, excessive garland and ornaments around the house BUT I do not do it all by myself. My boys were much more easily tricked willing to help than I had expected.

three trees

My best Christmas advice? Plastic wrap your fully decorated tree when it’s time to put it away! I saw it on Pinterest last year, so I tried it with my Candy Themed Tree. It unwrapped perfectly decorated and dust-free!

wrapped tree

Yeah, it does need more ornaments…

Needless to say, I had plenty of Wine-Time this year!

wine snacks

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Slow Dancer Chard ~ Laroche Chard ~ 2 Cocky Sisters Red ~ Vintage Ranch Cab

 wine times 4

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Slow dancer chardonnay

(I forgot to edit this pic)

2010 Slow Dancer Chardonnay Sonoma County $6.99

Elsewhere price $ 16.99

Larry noticed the apricot aroma and Terry commented that this Chardonnay was very good and finishes sweet. Connie liked it as well, adding that it had a spicy kick to it. Scott didn’t care for it at first (he prefers wines that are not sweet), but he said he warmed up to it and Steve tasted peaches and pears. Arvin thought it would make a peachy keen after dinner wine.

Tasting notes from 1000Corks.com: From the Alexander Valley region of Sonoma County. This warmer area produces a richer style, with apple pear and pineapple notes with slight butterscotch and toast

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 laroche chardonnay

2010 Laroche Chardonnay France $10.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

This Chardonnay was a hit. Arvin found it to be dry and peppery. Terry gave it a thumbs-up and Larry called it dramatic. I didn’t get Steve’s comment, but I’m sure he tasted pear.

89 points from The Wine Advocate:  “The qualities of the year come through beautifully in the 2010 Chablis Saint Martin. Layers of silky, polished fruit flow with gorgeous length and persistence. The 2010 is another overachiever among the entry-level wines of this great Chablis vintage.”

89 points from International Wine Cellar: “Pale, bright yellow. Dusty stone, lemon drop and wild herbs on the nose. At once rich and penetrating, with strong acidity and mineral spine intensifying the flavors of grapefruit, lemon drop and wild herbs. Classic steely Chablis with very good grip. A superb village wine, especially if subsequent bottlings are as strong as this.”

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 2 cocky sisters red wine

2 Cocky Sisters Red Wine Paso Robles $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

I knew with this crowd, the label alone would be a big hit. I’m happy to say the wine was pretty good too! Arvin said it was smooth and really good, he called it velvety. Terry agreed that it was very smooth. Steve questioned his first taste, he said it was peppery. I guess he was surprised that it was pear. Connie confirmed for him, peppery. Arvin added that it was silky with a hint of tobacco. Scott joined us a little late, but tried to get the last taste…

wine o scott

4 out of 5 from Wineexpress.com: All estate grown grapes are used for this lush red blend with a quirky name. It’s 28% Syrah, 23% Mourvedre, 23% Counoise, 15% Grenache, 5% Rousanne and 5% Viognier. The combination sounds wild but the wine is supple and inviting. Ripe blackberry, cherry and cassis flavors along with a zesty, spicy note on supple tannins and a hint of sweetness on the finish. Don’t worry about pairings because it drinks beautifully on its own. Wine Enthusiast Magazine said “For an inexpensive wine, this is a pretty good investment. The alcohol is high, but it’s in keeping with the cherry, berry, currant, dark chocolate and spice richness, giving a fat, glycerol oiliness to the fruit. Easy to like this soft, dry, heady wine.”

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 vintage ranch cab

2013 Vintage Ranch Cabernet California $4.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

He did make it just in time for this Cab. He called it nice & smooth. Connie and Larry agreed. Terry said it rolls right down your throat. Steve noticed it had long legs and Arvin liked the oaky finish.

From the label: Vintage Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon opens with rich aromas of black currant. On the palate, deep round flavors of black cherry emerge over espresso, dark chocolate and toasty oak, with just a hint of vanilla on a long, lingering finish.

Thank you Terry for bringing your homemade carrot cake, it was delicious! Steve wanted me to know (and apparently the world too) that he loves cake.

Are you ready for the Holidays? part 2

Did you know that the Industrial Revolution inspired the Thanksgiving Holiday we all know and love today?

Fun fact: in 1846, a Philadelphia magazine editor named Sarah Hale thought that the Industrial Revolution would be the decline of western civilization eroding the American way of life. She wanted a holiday that would celebrate home, heart and wholesome family values. So, she spent the next 17 years writing letters to every person with any kind of authority until, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally declared it a national holiday to be held on the third Thursday of November. source ~ Sarah Hale legacy

I may or may not agree with Sarah about the Industrial Revolution, but I salute her for the resulting holiday that is centered around family and of course food and wine!  She was, however, not able to stop the Industrial revolution. It is still alive and well – kinda – in a throwback decorating kind of way, called Steam punk or what I like to call ‘Vintage Industrial’.

Steam punk decor

I love adding some off-beat stuff into my decorating. Vintage Industrial/Steam punk lamps don’t come cheap. Unless of course you salvage the parts and make them yourself :-) What self-respecting hoarder would not rescue every bit of heavy rusty metal parts that they happen to come across to make lamps?

Here’s some pretty great ones from Etsy:

etsy lamp 1 etsy lamp 2 etsy lamp 3

Can you see the price tags on them? I figure I’ve saved a small fortune by making my own. Money I will endlessly sink into an old German rust-bucket that I love dearly. Cousin Gary is like a V-Dub magician. I get daily text updates of the progress; that end of the year deadline is actually possible thanks to his magic.

Here’s some from around the house (notice, no price tag):

steampunk lamp 2   steampunk lamp   steam punk shelf

And, what you’ve all been waiting for…. New floor lamps anchored by 61 Volkswagen Bug brake drums:

brake drum lamp 1 brake drum lamp 3

The doubt I have to put up with. Oh, Steve of little faith. His question may have sounded innocent enough, ‘what are you going to do with them’. But, I don’t think so. I’m sure it was a carefully worded challenge that if not responded to properly, would result in my precious brake drums being pitched into the dumpster. The success of a response to a comment like this also hinges on the correct don’t-mess-with-me tone of voice. The tone that says I am taking that rusty junque home with me and you will thank me for it before I’m done. lol

Yeah – they are Amazing. The Tiny Dictator is so pleased with himself.

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 all four wines 2

I’m ready to Feast! Let’s pick the best Thanksgiving wines:

Raviva Chardonnay

2012 Raviva Chardonnay Napa $3.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Steve thought this Chardonnay was nice and fruity. Terry almost agreed, she found it to be smooth and fruity. Arvin tasted pear. Connie said it was very good and Larry agreed.

From the label: Our move to California in the late 1990’s was a light packing job: we brought with us just a couple of dollars and a pocketful of intentions. As the years have gone on, little by little, vine by vine, we’ve rediscovered ourselves as winemakers. Raviva is our tribute to the comforts we leave behind for the sake of transformation.

 

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all four wines

2013 Spectacle Chardonnay California $4.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

I usually cannot identify any aroma, until this Chardonnay. I immediately smelled vanilla. I took me a couple of trys to find the right word though. Larry said it was buttery and Connie said it was so unique and delicious, unlike any Chardonnay she’d had before.

From the label: Like the many exciting colors of a kaleidoscope, Spectacle Wines offer a compelling splash of aromas and flavors that unfold on the palate with each sip. Spectacle Chardonnay offers up subtle aromas of ripe grapefruit and freshly sliced Golden Delicious apples. Elegant flavors of soft vanilla and ripe melon join on the palate over a toasty oak finish.

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cottes de sonoma pinot noir

2013 Cotos de Sonoma Pinot Noir Sonoma County $6.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Pinot Noir, the go-to red wine for turkey pairing on Thanksgiving. Terry commented that this was good tasting – cherryish – light. Larry agreed, saying it was very good with a mild body. I found it to be much lighter than I’d expected. It went well with the turkey and I think it would be easily drinkable for guests that may not be regular wine drinkers.

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long barn red wine

2013 Long Barn Napa Red Wine $3.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Not only did we all agree that the picture on the label was great and would look nice on a Thanksgiving table, but so was this red blend. Arvin liked the aroma. He said he was treating it like a vitamin B, holding it under his tongue to enjoy longer. Terry said it tingled her nose – which is always a trait of a good solid red. Connie exclaimed, “oh my goodness, that’s good”. She added that it had a sweet bouquet and was also very unique. Arvin had just been smelling it, and after finally tasting it he labeled it DAMN GOOD!

From the label: We make wine in a simple building. It humbles us to reflect on its age, being built in a time when the valley’s dairy cows and prune trees were more well-known than its grapes. With this reminder, we give thanks for all that we have.. and make wines with all that we are.