Spring 2018 20% Off Wine Sale!

I don’t know if you know this… but, Steve is cheap. Except when it comes to golf or food of course. He is also very competitive. Competitive with himself. When the 20% Off Wine Sale comes around, he wants to beat his numbers from last year (if you’ve ever worked in retail, you’ll know this is a trait all these guys have). So he checks the numbers several times a day. And, when he does, he actually encourages me to buy more wine.

Now, believe me, I do my best to try as many wines as I possibly can throughout the year so I can recommend them to customers when they ask. I haven’t quite drank (drunk?) my way through the entire department, but I keep trying. Because of that, there is never a shortage of wine at my house.

So, when my husband asks me, “don’t you need more wine?” What’s a girl to do? I stock up, because yes Steve – I do need more wine.

I mean, really, who doesn’t?

20% OFF Wine Sale through Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

Here’s a few we tried on the Front Porch this week:

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wine sale

Callie Chardonnay ~ The Oak Reserve Chardonnay

Balverne Estate Red ~ Fonte Regia Chianti

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2015 Callie Collection Central Coast Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $16.99 ~ 20% Off during wine sale $3.99!

I tried this crisp white chardonnay earlier in the week; I thought it would be nice for the warm weather that was coming up. Larry tasted oak but Becky thought it was more like a Pinot Grigio. Joe S. said Larry was oaky. Misty tasted citrus and commented that she liked it. Joe S. and Terry agreed. Terry added that it is sweet and had a creaminess that lingered on the tongue. Steve called it buttery and light, Arvin and Misty both agreed. It paired well with spicy salsa cheese.

CallieCollection: A pale golden color, our 2015 Central Coast Chardonnay brings a bouquet of lime and pineapple with crème brulee notes. This wine is rich and creamy with pineapple, citrus, vanilla bean, and toasty oak flavors and a balanced acidity and finish. 95% Chardonnay, 3% Riesling, 2% Muscat Canelli.

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2014 The Oak Reserve Santa Barbara County Chardonnay $6.99

Elsewhere price $14.99 ~ 20% Off during wine sale $5.59!

Becky started us off on this very light & clear chardonnay; she said it had an earthy aroma. Steve tasted spice. I definitely noticed the lemon zest finish. Scott tasted citrus. Joe S. said it made him feel like he was sitting next to a beautiful tree relaxing when he drinks this. Steve liked it, Scott and Joe S. agreed.

4/5 stars from Vivino: Really liked the pronounced oak flavor in it. Not too dry and not too sweet. A good basic Chardonnay

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2012 Balverne Chalk Hill Estate Red $14.99

Elsewhere price $48.99 ~ 20% Off during wine sale $11.99

I really like this red blend; it’s a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Becky tasted plums and cherry – dark fruit. She said it is fruit forward and finishes with a hint of tobacco. Arvin commented that it is dry, and we know he likes that – Joe R was a little late, but had the exact same comment as his dad, lol. Larry said he can smell the grapes in this one, I think that means he agreed with Becky.

Tasting notes: Cabernet predominates in this particular Claret, but the Merlot is the silent partner that accentuates the cassis and currant fruit of the Cab and combines with its bigger tannins to silken the mouth feel. A small amount of Malbec adds soft black fruit like blueberry and plum. Both Merlot and Malbec bring mid-palate richness and, with carefully chosen French oak, promote a long and complex finish.

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Riserva 2014 Fonte Regia Chianti Italy $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99 ~ 20% Off during wine sale $4.79!

This Chianti was light when we tasted it on the Front Porch. Arvin is our resident Chianti expert; he said it was lighter than he’d hoped. I thought it had a nice dryness to it, but I should’ve decanted it. So, after the Front Porch wine tasters went home, I decanted the rest of the bottle. I’m enjoying a glass of it as I write this. Aerating made a world of difference. It’s like a completely different wine, the kind that would make Terry’s nose tingle, full bodied. I really ripped those guys off by serving it straight out of the bottle. So, we’ll have to rely on the on-line tasters for notes (side bar, I had to translate this review from Portuguese). Cheers!

4/5 stars from Vivino: Um bom chianti, de excelente RQP!! Eu não sou fã de Chianti, mas este me surpreendeu! Pelo custo e pelo que entregou, é show! Ganhou 1/2 ⭐️ pela relação! No visual, cor e reflexos rubi. No nariz, frutas vermelhas e negras, especiarias, aceto balsâmico e terra. Na boca, corpo leve, taninos macios, baixa presença de álcool, mas boa acidez. Mineralidade que remete a campo. Harmonizou com um espaguete com shitake, brócolis e iscas de filet!! Delícia!!

Translation: A good chianti, excellent RQP !! I’m not a fan of Chianti, but this one surprised me! For the cost and what you gave, it’s a show! Won 1/2 ⭐️ by ratio! In visual, color and ruby reflections. On the nose, red and black fruits, spices, balsamic aceto and earth. In the mouth, light body, soft tannins, low alcohol presence, but good acidity. Minerality that refers to the field. Harmonized with a spaghetti with shitake, broccoli and filet baits !! Delicious!!

 

 

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Simple DIY Kitchen Island-Turned Patio Table

It’s been awhile since I felt the need to build something, but when the idea strikes.. I cannot get it out of my head. Just like old times.

The Front Porch is currently going through an expansion of sorts, big changes are-a-comin! And, because of that, I had a need for a longish/skinnyish patio table. I wanted to be able to put my feet up on it, like a coffee table and Terry didn’t want to have to reach far to put her glass down. So, it needed two levels.

I consulted my old friend Google for a simple design. Countless hours of scrolling through thousands of photos later (and a new pair of reading glasses), I found a simple design that could work. Bonus, it was simple enough for me to wrap my head around. kinda like these:

 

Paint Rustic Wood Dining Table – Modern Kitchen

I wanted to re-purpose the table tops that I made for the original NOSH (Natural~Organic~Specialty~Healthy) tables we used in the store a few years ago – if you remember they were used in front of the Deli case before we moved all the NOSH into its own aisle. I just needed a base.

I almost skipped work to build it, I was pretty excited. But, I am a responsible adult, sigh. I went into work, got everything that had to be done –done, and left early.

The table was built in about 2 hours. Might’ve been quicker if I didn’t have so much help from Baby Cree.

less teal more white seemed Front Porch appropriate

Of course, I made it too tall. So, I had to take it apart, cut off its legs and put it back together. That took an additional two hours. That’s how I roll.

Whatta ya think?

Perfect for wine tasting!

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Petit Maison Chard, Lodi ~ Gray Mountain Chard, Paso Robles

Nitty Gritty Merlot, Napa ~ Luke Donald Collection Red, Napa

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2015 Petit Maison, Lodi $5.99

We started with this very pale, clear chardonnay. Larry liked the aroma, might be some citrus in there. Terry found it sweet and refreshing, but not too sweet. Arvin called it fruity, he tasted peaches. Connie said she liked it, she found it spicy and fruity. I thought it paired well the spicy cheese. Terry agreed, she said: when you’re mouth is on fire, this is real nice.

Grocery Outlet Exclusive: There are currently no on-line reviews of this Lodi Chardonnay as I believe it has been labeled for Grocery Outlet specifically. The back label reads: Cellared & Bottled by Rutz Cellars, Sebastopol, Ca. As a result, there is also no elsewhere retail price available for comparison.

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2015 Gray Mountain Cellars Chardonnay, Paso Robles $5.99

Next up, this beautiful golden pale yellow –on the clear side- Chardonnay from Paso Robles. Terry said the aroma tickled her nose. Arvin thought it was very mellow. Scott, who arrived very late so he started with this wine, said: OH, that’s nice – smooooth. Connie called it buttery and snapped a picture to remember the label for later.

3.9/5 stars from Vivino.com

From the Label: This full-bodied Chardonnay from Paso Robles, California, temps the senses with aromas of ripe melon and honeycomb, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel. It’s a perfect match for soft cheeses, lobster bisque or pasta with cream sauce.

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2012 Nitty Gritty Merlot, Napa

Retail Price 20.99 ~ Grocery Outlet Price $8.99

This Napa Merlot was a dark ruby red in the glass. Larry said drinking it was like sucking on a blackberry. Scott thought it was very smooth and dry, but not bitter. Arvin agreed. Connie said: even a Chardonnay drinker likes this red.

86 points from Cellartracker.com

From the WineMaker: Delicate tannins and rich acidity. Aromas of barrel spice and dark cherries. FOOD PAIRING: Hearty lasagna, pork-stuffed mushrooms

http://www.nittygrittywines.com/

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2012 Luke Donald Collection Red, Napa

Retail Price $29.99 ~ Grocery Outlet Price $9.99

I took the advice of an on-line reviewer and decanted this baby for about 45 min -1 hour before serving. Arvin found this Napa red blend to have a good nose and nice legs. Larry said it was oaky and he tasted tobacco. He said he doesn’t care for oaky. Arvin said he does, it’s oaky and I like it! I always love a red blend, but especially when it’s dry. Great paired with dark chocolate and also with sharp aged cheese. I loved it. 43% Merlot, 43%Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot.

91 Points from WineMag.com (Wine Enthusiast Magazine)

WineMag Review #1: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are equally represented in this soft, robust blend that also includes smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Juicy blackberry and plum combine with dusty, integrated tannin, as a length of dark cherry and sage weave in and out.

WineMag Review #2: This is a well-balanced wine with excellent structure. I’m tasting it in January 2018 and I find that with a little aeration a lot of lovely fruit emerges. Lots of concentrated berries but not in any way jammy. The structure is clean, focused and the tannins very present. This is an excellent food wine.

Luke Donald Collection

Luke Donald plays an active role in crafting the wines that bear his name. His personal involvement in the blending makes the wines original and unique; wines that best reflect his own personality and style. Luke’s personal style is also reflected in the non-traditional, contemporary labels, which connect with today’s luxury wine consumers. For wine drinkers who share Luke’s passion for culture and competitive spirit, LDC delivers wines from Napa Valley that reflect Luke’s own sense of style, taste and artistic expression. Legendary balls ;^)

 

Time to Decorate!

This past summer, instead of wine tasting (gasp), the Front Porch Wine Tasters spent most of our free time making fall decorations for the Manteca Pumpkin Fair. (All the proceeds go back to our local community).

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GOOD NEWS!  Follow Manteca Grocery Outlet on Facebook for a chance to win one of these next month!

It was a long dry summer.

I finally dusted off the Front Porch this past week to get back to drinking our way through all the great wines that Steve has in the wine department @MantecaGroceryOutlet.

Quick update (for those of you who’ve been following): Steve has yet to make the senior tour and the stairs remain unfinished.

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Camelot Moscato ~ 49Crows Chard ~ Adobe Red ~ ChopHouse Merlot

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Camelot Moscato from California

Elsewhere price $7.99 ~ Grocery Outlet price $2.99

500 Medals for Quality!

I wasn’t sure how this varietal would go over on the Front Porch as we don’t try many sweet wines. Terry took a sip, she liked it! She called it a desert wine and thought it had a nice blend. Scott is definitely not a fan of sweet wines, however he said it was nice paired with the spicy sausage as the spice cut right through the sweet. Larry tasted apricot, Ethan agreed. Terry commented that this wine was also nice with chocolate, it changes the flavor.

Winemakers notes: Pale lemon hue, vibrant aromatics of jasmine and peach nectar, intense floral and grape flavors, and inviting sweetness balanced by bright acidity.

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2013 49 Crows Chardonnay from Mendocino

Elsewhere price $19.99 ~ Grocery Outlet price $5.99

Scott started us off here, with a, “oh, that’s… That’s Nice!” Larry found the aroma interesting – maybe toffee? Steve commented that this was much better than the Moscato – good and fruity. Citrus, he added. Terry thought this chardonnay had a nice a finish. I thought it felt like a sauvignon blanc, Dara agreed.

4/5 stars from Winestyr.com: This pure and focused Chardonnay from Alder Springs Vineyard is on the lighter side and drinks well on its own or paired with lighter foods. Wines from this Mendocino vineyard have made it on the wine list at The French Laundry in Yountville and Alder Springs also supplies fruit to some of the best winemakers in the country for a variety of projects. A very well made Chardonnay with amazing fruit. This wine is a great value.

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2013 Adobe Red Blend from Paso Robles

Elsewhere price $12.99 ~ Grocery Outlet price $3.99

Larry tasted berries. Dara thought it was more like cherries, nice paired with the sea salt dark chocolate. Ethan thought this red blend left a taste of pepper on the tongue. Scott simply likes this, lol. Dara added, also pairs nicely with sharp cheddar.

3.7/5 stars from Vivino.com: This is a great wine to share with friends that are just starting to enjoy red wines. It is medium bodied with light acidity. It does have small sweetness to it but it is not over powering.

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2016 Chop House Merlot from Paso Robles

Elsewhere price $11.99 ~ Grocery Outlet price $4.99

Oh, I knew I’d like this one. My first reaction was: smooooth. Steve commented that this merlot was on the dry side and he tasted tobacco. He added that it paired well with the sea salt dark chocolate. Terry agreed with me, she said “mmmmm smooth. I like it.” She also said it was easy drinking, be careful with this one.

No on-line reviews for this wine… you’re just gonna havta take our word for it – This is a good wine.

Road Trip!

The Front Porch Wine Tasters hit the road this past week for a long weekend in the mountains. I was really looking forward to taking time to relax with friends & family.

We had a blast!

     

But…

I’m grateful that I survived the trip up the mountain. Steve gets a little distracted by lakes and streams that are alongside the road. He lets the car get a kinda sweevy as he looks too long while deciding if… “Yep! There’s fish in there!” at Every. Body. of water we pass.

He also gets irritated by me:

  1. Reminding him that he is driving
  2. Clutching the door handle/bracing for impact
  3. Telling him I don’t want a close up view of the water from the car as it falls off the road

Needless to say, he was excited to be going fishing.

We all had a great time fishing, hiking and playing all kinds of games and, as always,  we had a lot of laughs.

Some of us may have even sang and/or danced (there is video).

    

Boys will be Boys (great wine glass balancing skills!)

    

Full Contact Croquet

 

So, on Winesday, we gathered on the Front Porch to debrief while we tasted some new wines that Steve has brought in just in time for Father’s Day!

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Hillersden Sauv Blanc ~ Anthony Koster Chard

Chillhouse Zin ~ Parlay Red Blend ~ Old Mill Petite Sirah

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2014 Hillersden Sauvignon Blanc

Marlmorough, New Zeland

$3.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $14.99 elsewhere

Kerri tasted fruity undertones, she doesn’t usually care for a Sauvignon Blanc but she liked this one. She seemed surprised at herself as she said again that she liked it. Becky thought in the glass it looked more like a chardonnay, she tasted tobacco. Joe agreed. Scott called it nice, not sweet and Steve found it fruity. Larry thought it was good right out of the bottle as he downed the last drop. Keepin it classy.

3.7/5 stars from Vivino.com: Clean @ crisp with a bit of fruit. I loved it. Easy drinking and a great summer wine. I was able to find it way under retail (probably @ Grocery Outlet) and might get a case

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2016 Anthony Koster Family Estates Chardonnay

Sonoma Ca

$5.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $18.99 elsewhere

On first taste, Connie said: “mmmmm, ew la la”. Larry said it was creamy. Becky thought it was more like a sauvignon blanc, and she tasted guava. She also tasted oak and said it was really good. Joe tasted peach or apricot, he couldn’t decide at first. After a couple sips he confirmed, peach. Scott found this Chardonnay to be smoky.

no on-line reviews found 😦  ~ this’ll be the first 🙂

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2010 Parlay the Bookmaker Red Blend

Central Coast, Ca

$4.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $19.99 elsewhere

Take a gamble on the blend, it always pays off! I heard Terry quietly say, “Oh! This is REALLY good, tastes like grape juice.” (I think she didn’t want me to hear). Kerri commented on the great aroma and Connie agreed with Terry – Tastes like mature grape juice. Becky tasted tobacco and Joe said he liked the dryness. Rudy agreed and Scott named this his favorite of the night.

88.4 points from Cellartracker.com: Mellow with dried fruit and earth flavors. For the price ($21 for me), it is a nice Wednesday night wine. I wouldn’t crack it open for special occasions but this would be really good with some BBQ ribs or grilled meats.

From the bottle: Rich aromas and sumptuous flavors of boysenberry & ripe black cherry form the backbone of this delicious wine made from premiere grapes grown at a combination of central coast vineyards in California.

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2012 Peachy Canyon Chill House Zinfandel

Paso Robles

~ Silver Medal Winner ~

$5.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $17.99 elsewhere

Kerri started us out with this Paso Zin, she tasted cherries. Connie said this wine was like having dessert. Terry agreed, she found it sweet. Connie added that this Chill House Zin really lights a fire, (she would have said her fire, but didn’t think she should) Smokin’ Hot Chill House. Becky thought it smelled like an old vine zin and Joe agreed. She added that she tasted Cuban cigar. She said she likes this one a lot, it stays with you – lingers. She said, “Let it sit on your tongue and it starts to tingle”. Yeah baby!

88 points from Tastings.com: Deep purple color. Mild aromas of baked berries, cocoa, and pickling spices with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, breezy dried berries and raisins, chocolate orange peels, and nuts finish with chewy tannins and light oak. A nice and easy, everyday zin.

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2014 The Old Mill Petite Sirah – Classic Nightfall Series

Amador County, Ca

$6.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $ elsewhere

Right off the bat, I knew I would like this one! Joe agreed from his first sniff. He said, “Oh man that is really good – what is it (referring to the aroma) it is deep… Becky thought this Petite Syrah would pair nicely with a rack of lamb. Joe added that the description on the label is spot on and he commented on the ‘nice stems’. Rudy tasted oak and fruit. Kerri smelled pipe tobacco and Becky agreed. Joe tasted licorice. Becky closed with, “this is really good”.

From the bottle: When Nightfall comes at The Old Mill, take the time to unwind and pour yourself a glass of this bold Petite Sirah. The rich, oak accented dark fruit flavors and aromas create intense color and soft structure.

2017 Manteca Grocery Outlet Spring Wine Sale!

It’s easy being Cheesy!

I feel pretty comfortable saying I love cheese more than anyone. Anyone. I have a cheese drawer in my fridge. A drawer full of cheese. The fridge is often empty, but that drawer never is.

We get so many specialty cheeses in every week at bargain prices, it’s really a great time to be alive. I’ll tell you a little secret: we actually have regular customers that work at other grocery stores in town that come here just for the cheese. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.

Well, it’s no secret that wine pairs nicely with cheese so during the Marathon Wine Tasting on the Front Porch this week we had plenty of cheese. We set out to try as many wines as we could to get reviews for the 20% OFF Wine Sale this week (April 10 – 15, 2017), it’s tough job, but somebody has got to do it!

BTW, these Finlandia Spreadable cheeses are amazing! The vanilla bean flavor could pass as frosting, and is great with fresh strawberries. I think the sweet lemon is my favorite though.

So, let’s jump right in…

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Honeywell & Todd Chard ~ Pull Cab Sauv ~ Lithos Merlot ~ Botte Malbec

Bonus reviews:

~ Fabio Viviani Chard ~ Wind Storm Zin ~

scroll to the end for the rest of these ‘bonus’ wines

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2015 Honeywell & Todd Chardonnay, Lodi      $3.99

Elsewhere price: $12.99

Connie liked the aroma of apricot and commented that she tasted a touch of honey, Larry agreed but also tasted pear. Arvin thought it tasted like apricot right off the tree. Scott didn’t find it too sweet, which many whites are too sweet for him, he liked it. Zineb, AKA: the Rockin’ Morrocan (Scott’s D.I.L. to be), also really liked this Lodi Chardonnay. Neighbor Steve thought it was more like a Pinot Grigio than a Chardonnay. It paired really nicely with the spicy Mediterranean Jack cheese, which Terry called ‘earthy’.

Tasting notes Vivino.com: Sweet honey on the nose, light mouthfeel. Dry, underlying oak, good everyday chardonnay

$3.49 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $5.89 elsewhere

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2013 Fabio Viviani Chardonnay, California     $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Gold Medal Exceptional ~ Tasting.com

We opened this Chardonnay as a bonus tasting, Scott and Zineb are choosing wedding wines. Here’s their notes: Sweet without  Fruitty (lol) Fruity without being overly sugary. They choose this for the wedding J

Tasting notes and reviews: “We were surprised to find ‘Top Chef’ alum Fabio Viviani’s California wine here (at Grocery Outlet). We were even more pleasantly surprised to taste apple and pear, kissed with caramel.” ~Mary Orlin East Bay Times (published in Modesto Bee 4/5/17)

90 Points from Tastings.com: Golden yellow color. Bright, fruity, oaky aromas of toasty praline and apple tart with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long pineapple cake, crème brulee, and smoked nuts finish with fine tannins and light oak. A round and welcoming chardonnay with pleasing oakiness.

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2015 Wind Storm Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi     $5.99

Elsewhere price: $15.99

Also a bonus tasting, Zineb tasted grapefruit with dark chocolate finish. I’m not sure about grapefruit, this Old Vine Zin was more like spicy raspberry and a little vanilla. Definitely better after allowing it to breath a while.

3.9/4 stars from Vivino.com: Very fruit forward, nice strong spice finish. Long finish with the spice, fruit stays until the spice kicks in. I could drink alone but it is better when paired with food. Very good wine.

Really love nose on this one after it’s had some time to breathe, but the flavor profile is great too.

Bold. Thick. Chocolate and blackberry flavors. A very nice warm wine.

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2010 Pull Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles     $5.99

Elsewhere price: $17.99

Larry thought it was more like a pinot on the nose. Zineb thought it was nice. Arvin tasted blackberry. I found this medium bodied Cab very smooth, juicy at first, then just smoooooth. I could not identify the aroma, but I love it! It pairs nicely with caramelized onion meatballs 🙂

$4.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $6.59 elsewhere

88 points from Winemag.com: Blackberry liqueur, violet, cola and slight dustiness form the nose of this well-priced wine ($18 on WineMag) The flavors are a bit thinner than expected, most reminiscent of ripe pomegranate.

Broken Earth Winery, Paso Robles: This fine Cabernet has ripe blackcurrant fruit and consists of ever emerging layers of complexity. The wine’s texture is of important note, as is the presence of balancing fine, ripe tannins. New French oak completes the wine’s structure, offering the perfect physical support for the lingering fruit flavors.

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2014 Lithos Merlot Reserve, Napa     $11.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Kerri commented on the great aroma of berries right off the bat, she called it full bodied and smooth. Steve thought he tasted licorice? Arvin found this Napa merlot dry and peppery. Yeah, Steve said, pepper not licorice. Arvin said, it tastes like more… (as he poured a second taste). I thought the tannins showed in the end with a nice dryness. Definitely a wine to take as a hostess gift or for a Holiday dinner. Pairs nice with grilled garlic butter chicken and excellent with dark chocolate.

There is absolutely no information about this wine or even the vineyard online.  The label says: Vinted & Bottled by Lithos Vineyards, Oakville, CA.  This is the second Lithos wine we have reviewed on the Front Porch, the cab label also mentioned that it is family owned and “from the heart of Napa Valley”.

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2013 Botte Malbec, California     $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

I noticed the relaxing nose on this Malbec right away. I wish I could identify it like a wine snob, but for me, it’s a feeling that I get when I smell a wine I like. Arvin said fruity and sweet, Terry said spicy and nice. Arvin added that this what he’d call an after dinner wine. A wine that you’d kick back and sip and watch T.V. Terry agreed and said it goes down real smooth. Intense and deep, with ripe mulberry fruit flavors. Long and satisfying.

From the label: This Malbec is smooth and elegant with flavors of mocha, spice and vanilla.

Also no on-line tasting notes or reviews. The label says Vinted and Bottled by JL Giguiere, Zamora, CA. Which is the same winery/family that makes Matchbook wines.

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Bonus Wines ~ wines I tasted alone or that we have tasted in the past.

2015 Raviva Chardonnay $3.99 / $16.99 elsewhere

Starts out light, but has a smooth buttery finish. We reviewed the 2012 year here

2015 Raviva Cabernet Sauvignon $5.99 / $18.99 elsewhere

Lots of fruit and I’m pretty sure I’m tasting oak in this one

2015 Projection Chardonnay $4.99 / $12.99 elsewhere

4.1/5 Stars from Vivino.com: Med oak nice around chard I enjoyed this wine very much. Love the clean, crisp taste. No butter! It did have more fruitful flavor as it warmed. Previously reviewed on the Front Porch

2015 Projection Cabernet Sauvignon $5.99 / $14.99 elsewhere

92 pts – Brian Whitaker, GM/Somm (source)

“Wild black cherries, sweet red plums, licorice, hint of lavender, mild oak, vanilla, and spice.  Recommended Pairing: Iron-Skillet Steak with Thyme Butter”

2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Chardonnay $5.99 / $21.99 elsewhere!

Creamy wood, ripe pear and toasted nut flavors combine in this rich chardonnay that fills the mouth with rich, satisfying flavor and a lingering finish. Previously reviewed from the Front Porch

2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $6.99 / $21.99 elsewhere!

3.7/5 stars from Vivino.com: Light on the tannins, nice finish. A delightful surprise at the G.O. 2015 is sweet and very easy to enjoy. Light for a cab, but my preference. Delicious- smooth with a slight bite to finish. Dark cherry undertones. 2012 reviewed from the Front Porch.

2014 Perseverance Cabernet Sauvignon $6.99 / $11.99 elsewhere

Winery Notes: Rich and full with black cherry flavors followed by hints of exotic spices and plums. Nicely balanced with backbone. The finish is full and satisfying allowing it work well with red meats, red-sauced pasta dishes and chicken sausages with sautéed onions and green peppers.

We’re back, baby!

It’s amazing how a series of small unfortunate events can change everything.

This past winter the cable on my garage door came off the wheel thing. And, just like that, life as I know it changed. The door wouldn’t close. Steve & the boys eventually forced it closed and stuck a screwdriver in it to secure it. My stuff was in prison, but at least the door was closed. Crisis averted?

nope.

It was just the beginning.

In addition to all my treasures that I  store/hoard in the garage, my daughter had recently moved and had been using a portion of the garage for storage. Her stuff was blocking all access to the corner that needed repair. My stuff was blocking her stuff. There were two nice little pathways, one to my tools and one to take the trash out.

Well now. I needed to open the door to move the stuff out of the way to fix the door! Now what? I considered just completely sealing off the garage, never to be spoken of again. Just write it off as a complete loss. Seemed like the only rational move. C’est la vie!

During this same time, the rains came. Rain like we haven’t seen in years. The Front Porch was soaked. The seat cushions should’ve been stored in the garage, but it was sealed off. What a mess.

I couldn’t work in the garage. I couldn’t work outside. No projects. No wine tasting. It was a dreary winter.

Side-bar: I spent my free time acquiring some great new junque and (kind of) redecorated a couple corners.

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metal & wood shelf for antiques – vintage lunch pails

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Handmade pottery for succulents

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metal & wood shelf corner with giant light & vintage pails for plants

But, Good News! Me and the Girl were eventually able to first clear out my stuff through the house, then her stuff and repair the garage door. It goes up and down again just like the rich folk.

Then, the sun came out (cue the angels singing) and I got the Front Porch all cleaned up and ready for our first wine tasting in months.

We’re back, baby!

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Projection Chard ~ Pra Vinera Reserve ~ Pythian Rock Cab ~ Benison Zin

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2015 Projection Chardonnay     $4.99

Ukiah, California

Elsewhere $12.99

Misty found this Chardonnay to be light and citrusy. Steve added fruity. Joe S. commented that he liked it. Larry noticed a fragrance of pear and also tasted citrus. Arvin called it smooth & fruity and Connie thought it was spicy, like salsa.

4.1/5 Stars from Vivino.com: Med oak nice around chard I enjoyed this wine very much. Love the clean, crisp taste. No butter! It did have more fruitful flavor as it warmed

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2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Chardonnay      $5.99

Napa, California

Elsewhere $21.99

This Napa Chardonnay struck me as floral at first taste. Misty thought it was sweet with a lingering mouth feel. Connie gave really high praise – she said it is three steps away from Rombauer (her absolute favorite). Steve called it buttery and smooth and Larry tasted oak and said it was like slow wet kisses that last all night long. What the heck?

3.8/5 Stars from Vivino.com:

Fruity, slightly oaky, refreshing. Got it at a steal at grocery outlet. Very good value, will buy again if I see it. Smooth and buttery. Dry, vanilla notes. Great Smooth rich body with hints of Earth tones. Good anytime . Pretty good, mild flavor and no strong alcohol taste. Impressive for the price

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2013 Pythian Rock Cabernet Sauvignon      $5.99

Sebastopol, California

Elsewhere $24.99

Larry thought he tasted licorice, not sure… Misty liked this Cab as an evening wine to have with desert, liked how it paired with chocolate. Larry agreed with the pairing. Terry said she liked it a lot and Kerri agreed. Arvin said it was just strong enough.

88 Points from CellarTracker.com: Cabernet elements all represented and we’ll balanced, but without the depth or singularity of the next level up price point. A bit thin but a fine general cab that deserves more attention than it has received. Modest floral inflection, suggests oak without insisting, and backs off a slightly sour but reliable aftertaste

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2013 Benison Zinfandel     $5.99

Lodi, California

Elsewhere $19.99

I took note of the long legs, they were apparent even though I was drinking out of a vintage glass that was etched and colored. Arvin agreed, he also found it dry and he liked it. Larry noticed the definite Zin grape taste. Steve simply said, ‘spice’. Terri said it was sweet and gave her that warm tingling feeling that she is famous for.

Tasting notes: A classy package with a whole lot of wine in it! Dark, blackberry and spice fruit, almost jammy, but not over the top. A super buy!

Wine for the Thanksgiving Martyr

Thanksgiving ever sneak up on you? It happened to me.

Here we are days before the big day, and I haven’t even made a list. Not one list. I’m pretty confident it’ll all happen. I have faith. Somehow between all the extra work and volunteer jobs that this month brings, we will still be reminded to be thankful for each other and have way too much food everybody’s favorite dishes. Right after I plan & shop & cook. How will I pull that off?

Thanksgiving Wine – Of course!

no-more-wine-mom

  • Steve loves my stuffing
  • Karissa loves my Apple Pie
  • Joey loves the City Ham
  • Jake loves Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry Sauce and Sparkling Cider

And, even though everyone that lives in my house works at the Grocery Outlet – ALL the shopping is my responsibility. That is horribly wrong and should be corrected will never change.

pie-and-wine

I’m not gonna lie, I do love planning and cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. But, don’t tell my family. I’d rather go down in history as a Thanksgiving Martyr.

Here’s our wine picks to pair with your Thanksgiving Dinner 🙂

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Privilege Sauvignon Blanc ~ Fabio Viviani Chardonnay

A to Z Pinot Noir ~ Willow Crest Merlot

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2015 Drouet Freres Privilege Sauvignon Blanc ~ France

elsewhere $19.99 ~ Our Price $5.99

Larry liked the citrusy taste after a long day of golf, it’s refreshing. Joe R. said it was light, yet sturdy. Steve called it fruity and Ethan, Arvin and Lauren all agreed. Scott thought this was a nice wine, it’s got a zip to it. Ethan added that it paired well with the spicy gouda appetizer and Nancy commented that it goes great with company.

I couldn’t find any community tasting notes for this French Sauvignon, but it did get 3.6/5 from Vivino.com

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2013 Fabio Viviani Chardonnay ~ California

elsewhere $14.99 ~ Our price $4.99

I noticed the buttery-ness of this Chardonnay right away, Scott agreed. I have heard people say ‘this has a nice mouthfeel’ but until I tried this wine, I hadn’t had that experience. Now I know what they were talking about! Arvin said it was so buttery you could put it on popcorn, yet Nancy found it to be lighter but buttery. Larry said, like oleo?

90 Points from Tastings.com: Golden yellow color. Bright, fruity, oaky aromas of toasty praline and apple tart with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long pineapple cake, crème brulee, and smoked nuts finish with fine tannins and light oak. A round and welcoming chardonnay with pleasing oakiness.

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2012 A to Z Pinot Noir ~ Oregon

elsewhere $$12.99 ~ Our price $3.99

Larry commented on the aroma of current. Terry asked, “how do you know what currents smell like?” Joe R. called this Pinot a nice replacement for cranberries at the Thanksgiving table. Ethan found it nice and light. Larry also thought he thought he noticed some tobacco notes and Steve nodded, “yeah, lil’ bit.” I thought this 1/2 bottle was very food friendly, it paired nicely with the Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing. Plus, because of it’s size, it’s cute to add to the table for guests.

86.6 Points from CellarTracker.com: Juicy berries, with lavender and violets. Medium-bodied and reasonably plush, with great complexity.

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2011 Willow Crest Estate Grown Merlot ~ Yakima Valley

elsewhere $19.99 ~ Our price $7.99

Terry spoke right up on this Merlot from Washington State, she liked it. Steve added, “nice”. Joe R. tasted current & dark berry, plum-ish (nobody questioned whether he was familiar with currents). He added that it was nice, strong and dry, the way he likes wine. This was Lauren’s favorite of the night. We paired this with desert of blackberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream, which disappeared quick.

89 Points from CellarTracker.com: A bit more substantive than the same producers of 2011 Cabernet Franc. Red fruits, mineral, juicy finish. Well made in a tough vintage.