Chardonnay Night!

Whew! this has been a busy week. Wine Tasting was fun, thanks for coming if you were there. If not and you know where to find my front porch, come on by Wednesday evening 6:15  (because I’m always running late) -7pm. (sorry I can’t post the address).

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We started with two chardonnays, but this wine tasting quickly got away from me and we went through quite a few bottles from my collection (my name is Debbee and I hoard wine).

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We started with the 2009 Pennywise Chardonnay ($10.99 elsewhere price) and the 2011 Indigo Eyes Chardonnay ($12.99 elsewhere price). I usually like to read the back label for some clues as to what I should be tasting, but the Pennywise label was keeping that a secret! I found on-line that it received 87 points on Cellar Tracker, which is not bad. It’s produced in Napa by ‘The Other Guys’ which is part of the Don Sabastiani Family of companies. I found this wine to be light and not intense. It was a clear pale yellow and smelled mildly fruity. It tastes lightly of oak. A pleasant enough wine. The Indigo Eyes Chardonnay was a little more yellow and tasted of tropical fruits. There was definitely more of an oaky taste. I found it to be very smooth. Both are pretty good for the price ($3.99).

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BUT, the winner of the night was definitely the 2008 Stretto Chardonnay from Napa Valley. The label reads: “Stretto’s Chardonnay bears aromas of fresh wildflowers, complimented with sweet hints of honeysuckle, ripe pear, and kiwi. This harmonious Chardonnay exhibits crisp and refreshing flavors with light baking spice overtones on the palate. Aged 10 months in 20% new French Oak Barrels adds a toasty sweetness and extra richness of texture in the mouth. Serve with poultry, cream based dishes and salads. Enjoy!”

I tasted pears and peaches ~which I love~ and the strong oakyness (is that a word?) ~which I could usually do without~ but in this case, I liked it! My niece, Caroline, first found this wine in the store last month. And on my way out she held it up and announced ‘Aunt Debbee, I need to try this one!’. I happened to be on my way home for tasting, so I grabbed it right out of her hand, scanned it and left. Well, nice pickin’ Caroline!

Everybody agreed that the Stretto Chardonnay ($34.99+ elsewhere price) was the best Chardonnay of the many (lol) that we tried (finished). It wasn’t even on the tasting list! It’s been selling pretty good at $5.99 a bottle and there is only about a case left at the store (they made me call from the front porch to the store to find out) So don’t be shy! Get all you want now before someone beats you to it.

Feeding Frenzy

The 2011 Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County are an exceptional value at $3.99 this week under the Feeding Frenzy label. Not to be confused with the addictive Feeding Frenzy game by Gamehouse .  Although, I could develop a mild obsession for these wines with the attractive colorful label marketed towards the ‘The Foodie’ in all of us. Being called a Foodie makes me feel young & hip like a single gal living in the big city.

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This week, my husband and a couple of friends joined me on the front porch to ‘help’ me review the Feeding Frenzy wines. Of course when people join me, we talk about all kinds of things, enjoy each others company and have some laughs. But, we still managed to take some notes on wine tasting.

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First the Cabernet Sauvignon:

The label says “this wine possesses aromas of dried cherry and fresh ground nutmeg. The flavors are indicative of dark currants, black fruits and blueberries, with a subtle, round body and long finish. The multiple layers of dried herbs and cranberries carry throughout with a seductive hint of dark chocolate. A well-balanced wine to serve with food. Might we suggest pairings such as a gourmet Pizza with Pesto, Eggplant Lasagna, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, or Grilled Tri-Tip.”

I Thought it smelled of red fruit like dark red cherry, but definitely no nutmeg. It tasted pretty sweet like blueberries and was light and smooth. I tried this with Johnsonville Salami Deli Bites ($1.99) and Tilamook Smoked Black Pepper Sharp Cheddar Cheese($1.99). The FF Cab is very food Friendly. However, I don’t know about the pairings that they suggest on the label. Pizza with pesto & Eggplant lasagna? mmmm, no. Ribs & steaks, for sure. Regular lasagna (any Italian food really) or a nice grilled pork chop would pair nicely with this Cab.

Steve tasted the wine before he read the label and thought for sure it would include the word ‘buttery’. nope. Thanks for playing Steve. Larry & Terry both preferred the Chardonnay, but took a sip of the Cab for all you faithful readers. They we’re surprised that it was a sweeter Cabernet and it got a nod of approval.

And, the Chardonnay:

The label says “this wine possesses ripe summer fruit aromas of peaches and mangoes. The splendid flavors are indicative of crisp lemon-lime, which linger fresh and long on the palate. Containing many complex layers of tropical fruits with hints of rich, creamy vanilla and decadent ripe melon. A well-balanced wine to serve with food. Might we suggest pairings such as a classic Caesar Salad, Dill Poached Salmon, Grilled Shrimp Scampi, or Chicken Fajitas.”

I actually tried this wine when we got it in earlier this year (I’m a sucker for a great label). I knew I liked it. It smelled of peaches, but I’m not sure of mango. I definitely tasted the citrus fruits and melon. I was pairing it with a Tuscan Melon (99 cents) and Danish Havarti with dill ($2.50). Very refreshing summer wine. I liked it with Dill Havarti but I don’t know about dill poached Salmon (or anything poached). I like the rest of the food pairing suggestions on the label, I just prefer to grill my Salmon 🙂

I don’t think Steve gave me his opinion on this Chardonnay. I know Terry & Larry enjoyed it, but after Larry’s review I’m pretty sure we all agreed with him and just left it at that. His review was that this is the first bottle of wine that tastes exactly the way the label says it does. LOL! Thanks Larry 😉

I managed to read some on-line reviews, but there really is very little on the internet about these wines. I found the Chardonnay was scored 85 points and the Cabernet 87. Both pretty solid according the all-knowing wine reviewers. Personally, I don’t even know what those scores mean or how they arrive at a numbered score. I’m sure there’s some detailed science behind it though. I checked out the web-site on the back of the label, even there I could not locate the Feeding Frenzy. They offer some other wines I recognized though. Black Oak, 707 Estate Wines and Zombie Zin among others. Check it out here . Meanwhile, I’ll see if we can get some of that Zombie Zin in the store before October.

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2011 Flirt California Red & White Wines

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This week my sister joined me on the front porch for wine tasting. She usually only enjoys Moscato (I have a great one to try later), but she wanted to find more wines that she liked. So, I figured a couple of blends would be a good place to start. I gathered up my supplies…

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…and headed out to the porch.

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I love blends! There is no other more enjoyable wine than when the winemaker blends different varieties of grapes, in my opinion. Usually the label simple says ‘ Red Wine’ or ‘Red Table Wine’. We tried both the Red and White bottles of 2011 Flirt wines from California that are on our ad this week at $3.99 each. The label reads, ” It’s the shrug of a shoulder, the wink of an eye, the tossing of hair and the pursing of lips. Playful and provocative, naughty and nice, Flirt is a blend of lively white grapes/ frisky red wines guaranteed to leave butterflies in your stomach.” That’s fun 🙂

We started with the red:

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The label says, “With hints of juicy plum, vanilla, butterscotch and cherry spice, you can’t help but be tempted. So go on, don’t be shy. Take a sip.” (for a more detailed description, click here) I thought this red blend was warm and smooth. A little hint of sweetness and very drinkable. My sister wanted to put ice in hers. Of course any self-respecting wine snob would cringe at this suggestion, I told her lots of people do that with their red wine. Especially in summer time. The Flirt California Red was nicely complemented by a very sharp cheese, Armour Summer Sausage ($3.99) and Milton’s Garlic & Herb crackers ($1.99). When she tasted the wine with the sharp cheese, she didn’t even need the ice. We finished about half the bottle 😉 I was pretty happy to see her enjoy the way the wine tastes different with various foods. I would pair this wine with a nice grilled steak or tri-tip.

If you’d like to read more about this wine from people who know wine, click here

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Now for the White:

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The label says it’s wonderfully refreshing with a hint a of honeysuckle and fresh white peach (for a more detailed description, click here) . I thought it was refreshingly crisp. My sister said it was okay. I had her try an Aidells Mango Jalapeno meatball ($3.99) then have another sip. She was hooked, we finished the bottle! The Flirt California White is perfectly paired with spicy food. I would serve it with Mexican food or Chinese food. We also had Sugar Brook Spicy Gouda ($2.99) and chilled green grapes (1lb $2.99) with this wine.

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Drinking Red Wine Will Extend Your Lifespan, Prevent Cancer, and Make You Thin

If you aren’t drinking red wine right now, stop reading and fill up a glass. Take a sip. Congratulations!! Recent studies show that if you drink red wine you will live longer, be healthier and look thinner.

Wow. This 20-year study, performed by Dr. Leonard Guarente of M.I.T., and recently confirmed by Dr. Richard Weindruch of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (Go Packers), shows that Resveratrol, a chemical compound in red wine, peanuts and green tea, can do some pretty fantastic stuff for humans.

Sure… this isn’t the first study to find fantastic health benefits in wine. And I am sure that next week, I will read an article about the grievous dangers of alcohol abuse. This has been an ongoing debate for decades. I’m no scientist, but I see it this way: French people eat lots of butter and drink red wine. They are thin and healthy. People from Wisconsin eat lots of butter and drink beer. They are not. These scientists might be on to something.

But before you fill up a glass, make sure that it’s red wine. Resveratrol comes from the skins of grapes, so you will find it in higher concentrations in red wine which is fermented with the skins.

Eat, drink and be merry (and thin and healthy and old). You’re welcome.