Golf for Gals

Is there such a thing as spending too much time with your spouse?

For YEARS Steve has been trying to get me to take golf lessons. Now, just for a point of reference, I should explain that we are always together. We live together (obviously) and we work together. Most men would enjoy some time to themselves on the golf course. I have enjoyed his golf time as the best time to start DIY projects as he is not around to object. You remember my dog house/bar project.

So, as it turns out, him AND his golf buddies (all Front Porch Wine Tasters, of course) thought it was a good idea for us wives to take lessons. Well, we finally did it this week.

Five of us signed up for lessons. Check out these lovely ladies:

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From left to right, Terry, Kerri & Carol

not pictured: Misty (who has lessons a different day due to work) Boo. And me ‘cause I’m taking the pic🙂

Our first lesson was all about putting. Great. I really suck at miniature golf. So bad that I have actually picked up my ball and threw it into that freakin windmill and I still didn’t make it. Miniature golf is all putting. Sigh.

The instructor was pretty good though. She gave us some great tips and I even made a couple long(ish) puts.

The girls and I decided we’d have to practice during the week. That was fun, but I had to borrow Steve’s putter. Afterward, he decided to get me my own. In the shop at the course they had a real cute set of ladies clubs. Used, so they were a good price. Steve checked out the driver and said they weren’t for me. Why? Who knows.

Man, did he regret not getting the cheap set. He took me to a fancy golf store and we checked out all the putters. There were so many different kinds. I picked one that felt right, plus it was super cute. Steve tried to suggest others, but I’d already found my putter.

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I love the matte copperyness of it

The next lesson is chipping, so we thought we’d get a chipper too (probably not what it’s called). The salesman showed us a few, but I thought it should match the putter. So I picked it out. Bonus, it was on clearance! At the register, I asked if they had any coupons and I’m pretty sure I heard the guy roll his eyes, but hey, this girl loves a bargain.

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Turns out though, I have expensive taste. Steve told me on the way home that I choose the most expensive brand. I asked him, “why didn’t you tell me?” He said he tried.

He just might regret this after all.

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UPDATE: I won’t be getting any more new clubs, I’m gonna use Steve’s old hand-me-down irons & woods

Cheers!

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~ Figueira White Wine ~ Chateau Julien Chardonnay ~

~ Chateau Julien Merlot ~ Obscured Red ~

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2014 Barao De Figueira White Wine, Portugal

Elsewhere price $7.99 Our ~ Price $3.99 ~ You Save 50%!

This slightly sweet white blend felt kinda sparkly to me. Arvin declared it a good wine and Ethan thought his wife Barbara would like it. Larry liked the taste but didn’t care for the bubbliness, Scott agreed. Terri thought the effervescence was a nice surprise.

3/5 stars from Vivino.com: Great value white wine, typical of a Portuguese white, peach fruit, citrus aroma with tart green leaf acidity, has an element of Muscat on the palate too, but without any of the associated cloying sweetness. I’d buy this again for an afternoon of savoury light bites on the terrace reading the Sunday papers.

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1014 Chateau Julien Chardonnay, Monterey County

Elsewhere price $10.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 55%!

Terri found this chardonnay very smooth. Arvin added, ‘silky’. Steve thought it tasted vanilla-y. Larry didn’t immediately speak up, but after a couple tastes said it’s growing on him.

Tasting notes from WineLibrary.com: Aromas of white peach, pear and lemony citrus are complemented with notes of toasted vanilla on the palate

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2014 Chateau Julien Merlot, Monterey County

Elsewhere price $14.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 67%!

Larry commented that this merlot has a pretty good tobacco aroma, and he liked the fruity taste. Scott said he really liked this, not too dry – soft but not sweet. I found it to be very light. I noticed that Larry and Scott both had a second glass, Scott said it was his favorite of the night. It is ready to drink now.

Tasting notes from UltimateWineShop.com: Forward fruit aromas of ripe plum, cherry and soft raspberry balance mild tannins and a hint of cedar. A full bodied palate with complexity through the finish.

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2014 ObscuRed Dark Red Wine Blend, Napa

Elsewhere price $16.99 ~ Our Price $3.99 ~ You Save 77%!

Arvin thought this dry, full bodied dark red blend tasted like dark chocolate, Ethan agreed. I tasted black cherries, it was a very smooth drinkable blend. Arvin had a second glass and said, “I like this chocolate wine’.

4/5 stars from Vivino.com: A surprisingly good red blend from napa, good flavor and drinkability

 

Memorial Day – Celebrate * Honor * Remember

The other day, I happened to be scrolling through Facebook and I saw the first Memorial Day post in my news feed this year. I thought I’d share it with you today courtesy of my cousin Tracy🙂

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Just a reminder that Memorial Day is not about BBQ’s, a day off work or parties.

It is to remember those that have fallen to protect those rights to have that BBQ, that day off of work or that party!!! I will remember and never forget their sacrifice!!

I love this reminder to just simply remember our fallen soldiers especially during our BBQ’s and parties. Most of us can’t even fathom the sacrifice that they and their families have made for all Americans. I believe they appreciate the fact that we all choose to celebrate our Freedom, each in our own way, in their name.

The “Gone but Not Forgotten” Memorial Day event at Woodward Park right here in Manteca is the place to be this weekend! If you haven’t been yet, Go. You have to experience this event. Check out it out here: Not Forgotten

“Not Forgotten” is an annual event that takes place every Memorial Day Weekend in Manteca, California. The purpose of the event is to honor all who have served our country in the military, to remember our fallen heroes and their families, to raise awareness in our community and remind our citizens that freedom is not free.

God Bless America!

I plan on going to the Not Forgotten weekend and we’ll probably BBQ at some point during the weekend as well. My flag will out on the house, and I hope to gather with some good friends. Of course, good friends deserve good wines…..

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Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc ~ 2013 Costiera White Blend ~ Graymont Chardonnay

Valley of the Moon Orbitor ~ Woodwork Red Blend

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2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc

Elsewhere price $11.99 ~ Our Price $2.99 ~ You Save 75%!

I actually had never tried this variety of wine, and I still cannot pronounce it:-/ But, I don’t need to be able to say the name to enjoy it (thank goodness cause I really liked it) Arvin thought it was a nice summer wine and it paired nicely with the spicy shrimp guac that we had. Joe R said it was a little tart, and Steve agreed – tart like a Granny Smith apple. He added that this is a good one. Joe S called it nice, and said it had a little bite to it. Terri and Misty both liked this lighter wine and Ethan called it smooth.

Winemaker’s Notes

A powerful nose of guava, lime zest and ripe pear braced by honeysuckle and orange blossoms. A juicy palate with opulent passion-fruit, following through from the nose and finishing off with tart grapefruit characteristics. The refreshing acidity is perfectly counteracted by a creamy mid palate and subtle oak-derived spice. The 2011 vintage is a more fruit-driven style that is fresher and drier comparing to the 2010 vintage. A delightfully accessible wine that is mouth-wateringly moreish.

Partner with shellfish, grilled tuna, grilled sardines, lemon and herb roast chicken, or vegetable stews

88 points from WineEnthusiat.com: “Young and fresh, this Chenin shows the stuffing to hold for another couple of years thanks to firm, tight acidity and a solid fruit core of pear, melon, guava and lime rind. The mouthfeel is round, but the palate isn’t heavy. An attractive hint of sweet spice unfolds on the finish.”

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2013 Costiera Russian River Valley White Blend

Elsewhere price $22.99 ~ Our Price $6.99 ~ You Save 70%!

I took note of the very light color of this Russian River Valley White wine. Arvin said it has a little tingle – like a sangiovase. Steve noticed it’s long legs and fruitiness. Joe R agreed with Arvin that it was like a red – stronger than you’d expect a white to be – and he agreed with Steve on the fruitiness. I didn’t get notes from the other tasters on this Chardonnay as the Front Porch was pretty lively, so I missed some comments:-/

Winemaker’s Notes

Enticing aromas and flavors of pears, stone fruit and citrus Rich texture and complexity on the palate balanced by crisp acidity and clean finish. 83% Pinot Grigio, 17% Vermentino

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2013 Limited Reserve Graymont Estate Napa Chardonnay

Elsewhere price $19.99 ~ Our Price $6.99 ~ You Save 65%!

This is the type of Chardonnay that I really enjoy! Steve called it buttery and sweet, definitely buttery though I didn’t really find it sweet. Arvin and Kerri were trying to identify the aroma, they decided on tobacco (but that could’ve been Ethan and his pipe). Joe R thought it had a buttery aroma and he said it ‘stays up a little longer’ (turns out that means, long legs). Larry said, Whoa! It clears your sinuses – great before bed wine to keep you from snoring.

I spent way longer than I should’ve searching the interweb for any info on this wine. I have nothing to show for it but this link to the GraymontWinery.

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2011 Valley of the Moon Orbitor Sonoma County Red Blend

Elsewhere price $16.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 71%!

Misty called this red blend a good one! Arvin thought it paired nicely with Misty’s chocolate birthday cake (Happy Birthday Misty!) This was the winner of the night for Joe R. He complimented the aroma, he loves the smell of a good red wine. He called it ‘heavy’, adding: it’s a strong blend of all the good red wines (Zinfandel 49%, Petite Sirah 39%, Syrah 12%). It’s ready to drink now.

Surprisingly, only a 82.8 points from CellarTracker.com the reviews seem like they are from a completely different bottle of wine! But, the newest review is a year old. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t ready then.

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2013 Woodwork Central Coast Red Blend

Elsewhere price $15.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 69%!

Arvin was afraid this Central Coast Red might have some sawdust flavors, but he was wrong. Terri and I both found it to be smooth. Joe R called it super dry – solid wood – the dryness sucks the juice from your gums. He thought it would be great with BBQ but he would lay it down for a couple years. Ethan said it smoothes out as you go, especially if you add an ice cube. Joe didn’t want to sit by Ethan after that, lol.

From the bottle: Influence: toffee, mocha, clove notes – Expression: Blackberry, plum, black current notes.

4.1/5 stars from Vivino.com: Toffee and mocha are evident but blackberry and plum come through as well. Smooth and tasty

 

 

Getting ready for Summer

So, here we are again. The hot summer months are on the way. What else can we do but seek out the shade and drink our chilled summer wines around the pool until Fall finally gets here.

I actually started a backyard makeover five years ago and never really got to the finish line.

Here’s the only before picture I have

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So, right there along the fence on the left side is where we removed the alien trees. We added brick first, then let is sit for a few years until the fence looked like it was gonna fall down.

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So, we added new posts

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Posts that looked like they should be a pergola…

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Yeah, so the fence is fixed and I have a nice shady place to drink wine all summer.

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Hopefully, I’ll finish the rest of the yard soon.

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Let’s get started!

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Field Notes Chardonnay ~ Bixby Creek Bridge Chardonnay

Pile Driver Red Blend/Cab ~ Querceto Chianti

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2012 Field Notes Chardonnay – Sonoma County

Elsewhere price $10.99   ~  Our Price $4.99   ~  You Save 55%!

Joe S. started us off and declared this ‘a good one’. Steve agreed. My first sip wasn’t chilled enough, but after it was I really liked it. Misty and Rudy both agreed, definitely serve this Chardonnay super chilled it’s a real nice summer wine.

From the bottle: Luscious honey and crisp apple notes.

Tasting notes: This Chablis-style Chardonnay enters the palate with the elegant ease of Meyer lemon, crisp green apple and ripe stone fruit flavors that gracefully extend into a refreshing and zesty finish.

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2014 Bixby Creek Chardonnay – Napa

Elsewhere Price   ~    $24.99    ~   Our Price $6.99    ~    You Save 72%!

Larry like the aroma and Kerri thought it was sweet at first, then she tasted citrus. Scott said it grows on you (remember, he doesn’t care for white wines) Connie said she like this chardonnay, then added: it makes you feel like you’re on top of a grassy knoll under the sunset and brings visions of a young strong handsome man…   Yeah, she liked it.

3.5/5 stars from Vivino.com: Nice moderate chard; better at temps just below room temp. Modest and pleasant malolactic butter, nice hint of vanilla on the nose. Slight oak. Buttery chard with green Apple and pear on the finish. Decent wine for Napa valley under 12 bucks

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2013 Pile Driver Red Blend – Paso Robles

Elsewhere Price $13.99    ~    Our Price $3.99    ~    You Save 71%!

2014 San Francisco Chronicle Silver Metal Winner

Before you read this review, you should know this will likely be sold out before you can get down here to the store to get some. It was just that good. There are a few of the Pile Driver Cabernet bottles left, but you would have to hurry to get one of those too. Terri found this red blend to be smoooooth and Misty thought it was a good one (she doesn’t usually like reds) Kerri tasted plum, and thought this was great combined with blackberries and dark chocolate. I was listening as some of these guys were trying to decide what they tasted – Scott: Smokey? Larry: Tobacco? Steve: Licorice? Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding. They decided on Licorice.

Tasting notes: A bold, no-nonsense Red Blend with intense flavors of blackberries, jammy fruit and coffee bean with oak overtones. Rich yet approachable with robust tannins.

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2014 Querceto Chianti

Elsewhere Price $13.99    ~    Our Price $4.99    ~    You Save 64%!

Arvin’s favorite, Chianti. He called this wine ‘The taste of Italy’. He noted that there were flavors of smoked wood but added that he doesn’t smoke wood often. Scott said that’s because it’s hard to roll. Becky asked for farver beans. We are a classy bunch. Terri brought us back; she liked how it paired with the strong parmesan cheese. Steve liked his first taste, but by the time he got to a second glass he decided that he could drink this all day long.

3.5/5 stars from Vivino.com: Medium garnet colour. On the nose plums, raspberries and spices. On the palate medium bodied with chewy tannins and a moderate finish.

Craft Beer & Wine Tasting!

Here’s your chance to meet some of the Front Porch Wine Tasters!

Craft Beer & Wine Tasting Sign

Craft Beer & Wine Tasting

Free Admission ~ Live Music

$10 tasting includes your choice of Craft Beer or Wine Tasting, snacks & raffle ticket

Friday, April 1st, 5pm – 9pm

Near the gazebo in Library Park, downtown Manteca

Fool-Proof Thanksgiving Wine

Never is a wine choice more important than when you are bringing it to Thanksgiving Dinner with new people, like future In-Laws or even new friends & co-workers. Or worse, serving a wine at your first try at cooking Thanksgiving for your In-Laws. It’s like you’re on stage screaming, ‘Please judge me on the bottle of wine I brought.”  Or, maybe you’ve just struggled over the years with finding wines that are just ok with turkey – and now you’re ready for something better.

That’s why people Google wine reviews and that’s why I’ve been drinking my way through the wine department one bottle at a time. Just for you. Your welcome.

So, based on all the information on the internet, I can deduce that ALOT of people have trouble pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. I weeded through all the information available on the subject so you don’t have to, here is the simplified info that’ll help you get compliments on your wine choice this year:

 

What Wine Goes With Turkey?

Courtesy: Thumbs Up Wine Food Pairing

To help ease the stress of the holiday, here are some recommendations for wines that will make you the toast of the table:

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2012 Canoe Ridge Reserve Chardonnay – Oaky – $7.99 ($24.99 elsewhere)

2013 Michel Schlumberger Chardonnay – UnOaked – $4.99 ($16.99 elsewhere)

  • Chardonnay is always a safe bet. A fuller-bodied wine will stand up nicely to the rich dishes on your dining room table. A great California Chardonnay with a bit of toasty oak in it definitely fits the bill with its round mouthfeel and slight creaminess, which just begs for some buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re not a die-hard fan and usually dislike Chardonnay, go for one that’s un-oaked, which will allow more bright, appley and citrusy fruit to shine through while the grape’s full body will still satisfy. ~source

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Rocks! Stepping Stone North Coast Blends

2012 Red Blend – $3.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

2013 White Blend – $3.99 ($17.99 elsewhere)

  • Blended Reds – These are blended to take the best qualities of different grapes and make them compatible with a variety of foods. You will generally find Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel and Shiraz in the blend. ~source
  • White Blends – These often pair well with a number of dishes, and can please those who like both sweet and dry wines. ~source

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2013 Bay Leaf Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($18.99 elsewhere)

2013 Passages Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($19.99 elsewhere)

  • Pinot Noir – The Go-To red wine for the perfectly roasted turkey. Pinot Noir is the darling choice for poultry as a light red wine. Since the US just had 2 awesome vintages in a row (2012–2013), you’ll luck out on value Pinot Noir this year. ~source

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2012 Abbeycourt Cotes-Du-Rhone Reserve – France – $5.99 ($13.99 elsewhere)

  • Rhone – If you’re having smoked turkey, choose this bolder red. The smoked turkey flavors are rich and somewhat sweet. You’ll need a stronger wine to hold up to it. The combination of 3 varieties, –Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre,– make up the blend. Because of the mishmash of varieties, you’ll taste both red and black fruit flavors and find a range of medium to full-bodied flavor. These wines are a perfect match for a rich piece of meat because of their complexity. And yet, they are still light enough for poultry. ~source

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2011 Gusher Zinfandel – Lodi – $3.99 ($12.99 elsewhere)

2013 Cline Zinfandel – California – $3.99 ($9.99 elsewhere)

  • Zinfandel – This is the classic turkey pairing wine for 2 reasons: for one, it’s a variety with a long history in America and two, the flavors of raspberry and sweet tobacco are an ideal match for rich darker or smoked turkey meat. It also will do great alongside a honeybaked ham. Zinfandel tends to be much more fruit-forward which is why is does well with sweet meat. The best Zinfandels generally hail from these 5 regions: Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Santa Barbara and the Sierra Foothills. ~source

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2010 Gergenti Sangiovese – Sicily, Italy – $9.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

  • Sangiovese – Love bone-dry savory wines? From Tuscany and Umbria, Sangiovese-based wines have notes of tomato, cherry and leather along with an earthy note of terra-cotta. Expect tingling acidity and moderately high tannin that will compliment homemade gravy like a dream. The original Sangiovese wines were very rarely aged in oak which means they’ll be anything but a vanilla bomb. In short, they are a savory wine lover’s dream. The 2010 vintage was awesome for Sangiovese. ~ source

Why don’t you just hire a guy?

That’s it! I’ve given up on the stairs. I have been considering the unthinkable….. hiring a guy to do the work! GASP

Clearly I don’t want to do it myself. I have removed the old carpeting from only half of the steps plus the landing. The landing is refinished but only one new step is in place. I say ‘in place’ because it could actually use a few more nails. I’m pretty sure it’s safe but the dog doesn’t trust it. (this dog) She hops over it on her way up and down the stairs. Do dogs have a sixth sense about danger? (I’ll have to google that later)

I love the finish on that one slightly-wobbly-possibly-dangerous step.

landing 2  landing 3  landing 4  landing 5

Landing Pics – re-finished subfloor

Can I actually trust a stranger to duplicate it eleven times? I think I’m gonna have to if I ever want completed stairs. At the rate I’m going now, it’ll take 22 more years just to replace the rest of the steps. Not to mention the risers and the railing.

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these are not my stairs… yet

I really wanted to spend my weekends this Fall baking all the recipes I see on Facebook, not working on the stairs. You know, if I would just set my mind to getting it done, it would only take one weekend.

The problem with hiring someone to work in my house?

  1. I don’t trust anyone to do it exactly the way I want it.
  2. Thinking about it gets me all fired up to do the work myself.
  3. It’s more expensive than doing the work myself.
  4. He might will do better work than me – I can’t have that
  5. I’d want him to fix all my work around the house.
  6. Hiring a guy is shameful
  7. It’s like admitting defeat

It’s settled then, I might have to quit my day job to finish those stairs. Don’t worry, I’ll still keep my second job, you know the one where I try ALL the wines that come into the store so I can tell you about them. Yeah, that one. It’s a tough job, but somebody has got to do it.

This week is our 20% OFF WINE SALE!

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Only 7 days Nov 4-10 2015

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Here’s this week’s wine picks

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Michel-Schlumberger Chardonnay ~ Blackjack Allusion Red

Chateau Grand Billard Bordeaux

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2013 Michel-Schlumberger Chardonnay $4.99

($3.99 after 20% discount this week)

Elsewhere price $16.99

89.3 points from Cellartracker.com

The Front Porch Wine tasters were all without their spouses tonight, spouseless tasting. Larry started us off with this California Chardonnay with a mmmmmmm. Arvin said it was very good, and would make a good Thanksgiving wine. Scott agreed, he thought he’d get some to bring to the in-laws this month. Ethan and I both liked how it paired with a spicy chipotle cheddar cheese. This one is selling by the case, plus it’s super fun to say the name.

On-line review from Cellartracker.com: Pale gold. Typical restrained aromas and flavors of the Dry Creek growing area — i.e., obviously Chardonnay but not overly fruity, tropical or tart. There is enough substance to offset the 14.7% alcohol but could use a little more acid. Finishes with just a hint of chalk and bitterness, which I like. At the $14 I paid for it, a real steal

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2007 Blackjack Ranch Allusion Red Blend $3.99

($3.19 after 20% off discount this week)

Elsewhere price $24.99

89.5 Points from CellarTracker.com

Arvin liked this Santa Barbara County red blend right away. He said it had a current aroma and he tasted black licorice. And, with the power of suggestion, I tasted it too! I would call this a nice drinking wine, tastes nice by itself, very smooth. Larry liked the aroma and thought that Terry would really like it. Steve called this one his Fav.

On-line reviews from CellarTracker.com:

WOW this one was a pleasant surprise. We really like this one

Almost no nose. Restrained black cherry on the palate. The strength of this wine is on the mid-palate. Good mouth feel with friendly tannins. Medium bodied with a light but lingering finish. No Cali fruit bomb here. Very very easy drinking

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2011 Chateau Grand Billard Bordeaux $6.99

($5.59 after 20% off discount this week)

Elsewhere price $21.99

91 Points from the Los Angeles International Wine Competition

88.3 Points from CellarTracker.com

Ethan couldn’t wait to get to this French Bordeaux, he found that he liked it (no surprise), he added that it was full bodied. Arvin agreed, and compared it to Marilyn Monroe – nice body. He said it was dry and it had an aroma of a Cuban Cigar. I liked the aroma, it was not overbearing. Larry agreed, calling it mild. Steve liked it better after it got some air. Becky liked how it paired with chocolate and she said it was kind of buttery, but not like a Chardonnay is buttery.

On-line reviews from CellarTracker.com:

Recoding my note from memory. Getting a little more complex than the last bottle a few years back. Medium bodied, tannins slowly integrating. Nothing mind blowing but great value for the price and will continue to get better

Dark red colour. Spicy nose, a little wood, and closed berries. Certainly very young and very closed still. Medium bodied, tight tannins, but seems to have some nice layers of fruit underneath. Needs a bit of time. Will revisit in a few years

FOUND: The Perfect Paint Color! (Part 2)

After 150 trips to Home depot for gray paint, painting splotches all over the walls (see Part 1 here), mixing different grays together and with random left-over paints from my collection in the garage then painting more splotches on the walls, I found the perfect paint color.

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Thank goodness it was not one of my custom mixed colors. I would’ve never been able to duplicate the exact recipe of absurdly measured colors for the guy at Home Depot anyway. Unless he is used to measuring paint by counting One Mississippi, Two Mississippi as he slowly pours one paint into another.

The perfect paint color was already painted in my game room. It was the base color that my daughter painted under the ‘brick’ wall. It only appears as grout, but it’s perfect. Porpoise in an eggshell finish. BTW, King-Veto loves the eggshell finish.

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Side note: I’m sure my daughter just strolled right into the paint department and grabbed the first gray without any thought or planning at all. Because the universe takes pleasure in watching me over-think the insignificant details of my five-year-flip.

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Cement floors stained, new baseboards painted and installed, new paint on walls & trim, fireplace whitewashed and walnut installed above mantel – all done.

Living room complete. CHECK!

Ahhhhhh, a finished room. I don’t even know how to live like this.

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Not to worry. I still have to paint the rest of the place and finish those darn stairs.

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Here’s this weeks wine picks:

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Ca’ Bella White Blend ~ Redwood Empire Chard ~ Sunset Oak Syrah ~ Sticky Beak Toscana

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2010 Ca’ Bella White Blend $3.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerri noted the floral aroma and said this Pinot Grigio/Fiona blend is light and crisp. Terry commented that she liked it a lot. Larry agreed, saying: Ummm, that is good. He added that he tasted pear and found it refreshing, Joe also thought it was pear-ish and nice. Becky thought it was a tiny bit sweet. Scott said it paired nicely with the spicy guacamole.

From the label: “Va piano” in Italin means to “proceed calmly”.  At Lago di Merlo we have blended the best of the northern part of Italy with some of the best from the south to create “Pi-ano”. The Pinot Grigio contributed to the earthy steeliness of this wine while the Fiano gives it the lush stone fruit character that is so supple. It is the only blend of its kind that we know of. Please enjoy the diversity of these two great Italian grapes in the same bottle. Salute!

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2012 Redwood Empire Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Steve liked this North Coast Chardonnay right away. He called it full-bodied and he thought he tasted citrus. Kerri agreed, she tasted mandarin and added that it had nice legs. Larry found it to be refreshing and Terry said it was spicy. Becky liked the fruity aroma, she tasted kiwi or grapefruit.

Tasting notes from Vivino.com: Honeysuckle and pear on the nose. Buttery mouthfeel with a hint of honey and vanilla and a touch of pear. Medium length finish that is warming

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2012 Sunset Oak Syrah $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

This Sonoma County Syrah has a beautiful plum color. Larry like the aroma and it’s smoothness. He said it had legs all the way up to it’s bum (I cleaned that up for ya!),  he also liked how it paired with chocolate. Scott called it grapey (lol) and Becky tasted plum with an oak finish. Kerry agreed on the plum and called it velvety as well. Joe thought it was nice and mild with a tang to it.

3.5 stars out of 5 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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2011 Sticky Beak Toscana $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerry called this Toscana spicy and would like to try it with a good rib eye steak. Terry said it tickles your nose and Becky really liked it. She added, ‘mmmmmm’. Then whispered, ‘It’s like an explosion in your mouth’. Scott said it was very nice and Joe liked the dryness. We all agreed that it was good with brownie bites.

4.5 stars out of 5 from Vivino.com: “Really good wine for the money, great acid that pairs well with food, Italian of course, but also roasted lamb would be great.”

Tasting notes from the Wine Maker: Wonderful lifted red fruit and light herbs on the nose, with a good palate and tight clean acidity. Tart cherry typical of Tuscan Sangiovese melds seamlessly with luscious Merlot and a hint of spice from the Syrah. Drinks beautifully now, and will only get better with a little bit of age