Explosive Finish

So, for the last couple of weekends, Steve and I have been travelling. But, through the invention of technology and the widespread availability of Wi-Fi, I was able to continue sending out email blasts (sign up here) and posting Bargains on Facebook to completely fool you into thinking we were at work. We spent a long weekend in Palm Springs visiting family and we went to Green Bay, WI to watch football for our anniversary. Yes, we are Packer Backers. And, before all you Niner fans decide to hate us, just remember that without us you would’ve started the season 0-3. You’re welcome. (Congrats on last night’s win over the Rams!)

But, I digress. This post is about wine not football.

Let me regroup.

Since we’ve been away from home, not only has my DIY projects been on hold, (I like to have multiple major projects going on simultaneously – even at the risk of Steve’s sanity – that’s a whole other blog that has yet to be written) but, obviously there’s been no time for regular household cleaning. So, I headed home early to put the house in order. As orderly as it can be without any kitchen cupboard doors. It’s a work in progress…

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This week we heard a rumor that there were A LOT of people coming to the Front Porch to taste wine, so I had to do something about the kitchen dust (from sanding the cabinets) that covered everything in the entire house. When I say everything – I mean I own a ridiculous amount of wonderfully useless, but treasured, items and they all had to be dusted. Dusting is such a tediously stupid chore. Every week it has to be done again, even if you didn’t sand your kitchen cabinets without covering everything in plastic.

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Also, somehow the flowerbed in my front yard became neglected. The flowers are all gone and the grass has taken it over! Weeds are fairly easy to pull, but grass? Not so much. No time to fix that just yet. I cleverly disguised the problem with pumpkins and scarecrows. It seems as though I grew the grass 12” tall on purpose to accent my Fall decorations. Brilliant.

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Whew! Done. I’m ready for wine tasting.

First up, Riondo Pianello Soave $3.99. Sounds so Italian! blog 11

The color was incredibly light and the aroma was so – I don’t even know how to describe it – so delicious! Terry thought it had a very pleasant bouquet – understated. Kerri said it was not too over-powering, very mellow. Arvin said it was fruity and Larry also thought it was mellow. The Red Hat Ladies (new to the Front Porch this week) said it would good with fruit like crisp apples.

The label reads: ‘Excelsea, the new style Soave. Generous floral nose; elegant, zippy, apricot and pear palate, zesty acidity and lingering mineral finish. Delicious with classic Italian and Asian dishes.

Of course, we indulged! 48 piece Asian Appetizers $9.99 with Jamaican Style Jerk sauce 99¢.blog 9

Wine #2, 2011 Stonefly Vineyards Chardonnay $4.99 – elsewhere price $19.99! blog 6

On-line description: ‘Russian River Valley Chardonnay is renowned for acidity and lean, Burgundian style. StoneFly’s Chard follows suit, with apple, pear, and toast aromas trumping candied-citrus-peel aftertaste. The wine is light-bodied (an advantage to the balance—the softness is a foil to bright acidity) but offers enough to be a serious food-pairing white. The creamy lees contact and French oak regime come through with each taste. Drink now.’  ~source

We paired this wine with chilled green grapes, perfect. Larry and Terry both tasted apricots and said it was heartier than the first wine. Larry said it was more prominent, Terry didn’t agree with that, lol. Kerri said it had a delightfully fruity flavor without being too sweet. And, not overpowering like typical Chardonnay. Connie had a second glass and as she poured what was left in the bottle she announced, “I like this one!” Becky said it is dry with a touch of sweetness and would be good with chicken noodle soup this Fall.

Next up, Totally Random Sweet Red Wine $3.99. blog 8

Sometimes choosing a wine by its label is just the right thing to do.

Of course I liked this blend! I always love a blend, we all know that. The Red Hat ladies both liked it, not too sweet with a nice round flavor. Arvin said it was peppery – in a good way. Larry, who always prefers white wine, said it was not oakey. Just sweet enough, and he likes it!

To check out the tasting notes, click here. The label reads: ‘When a quiet night at home becomes a dance party, or a dinner with friends starts at dusk and ends at sunrise – life is giving you its best when you least expect it. So prepare for the unexpected. Be. Live. Think. Totally Random.’

Last, but not least, Roudon Smith Winery 2007 Syrah $5.99 – elsewhere price $16.99! blog 5

This was my favorite of the night.

We paired it with Premium White Cheddar $2.99, Hard Salami $5.99 and Toasteds $4.99blog 7

Larry says this one is oakey. Steve said it starts to mellow out when allowed to breathe. Whoa! Where did that come from Steve? You sound like you know what you’re doing… Rudy commented that it would be great with a nice big slab of red meat – Yeah. Steve seconds that. Becky thought it was smokey with a bite and should go with a rack of lamb and winter vegetables. Joe liked the smoothness and said there is not much to at first but has an explosive finish (who doesn’t like an explosive finish?). Definitely dry.

‘The wine is done in a Rhone style and shows layers of fruit with a herbaceous finish.  The wine has little oak influence, again very similar to what you would find from the Rhone, since most was aged in neutral American oak.  It is a delightful bottle of wine to be enjoyed over the next year or two.’ – source

Wow! Great comments this week, thanks to all for joining me on the Front Porch.

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A Wine You Could Bathe In!

Time to celebrate the end of Summer and welcome in Fall. I love Fall. I guess I love the change from any season to the next, but Summer to Fall is my favorite (until we get to Winter/Spring lol) It’s a combination of the cooler weather, the chance of rain, baking homemade goodies (check your email for my Moist Banana Bread recipe. Click here to sign up to get our emails) and smaller electric bills. Plus, the holidays are coming (don’t groan), which to me, means getting together with friends and family and enjoying some good wines!

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This week on the Front Porch we mixed a little Summer and Fall wines with Chocolate! A delicious assortment of chocolate. What a wonderful world we live in that we can have wine and chocolate whenever we want 🙂 Click here for Lindt’s wine pairing guide.

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We had three wines this week. 2009 Vinum Cellars California Petite  $5.99, Rex-Goliath White Zinfandel $1.99 and 2011 Bandana Chardonnay-Torrontes $2.99.

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This Sirah had an intense fruity aroma, cherries and black berries I think. I’m no expert and have trouble identifying tasting notes, but this is one of my favorite red wines!. It pairs extremely well with a Mediterranean cheddar cheese and both the 70% and 85% dark chocolates. Neighbor Terry says it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, to me it felt like a relaxing sigh after a long day.

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This 30 Gold Medal Winner White Zin is truly reminiscent of Summer. It is very light and fruity. Terry would’ve liked to add fruit to it and Connie thought it would make a great Sangria. (we may have to try that!)

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The biggest hit of the night! Bandana Chardonnay-Torrentes blend. It has a very clear color and a crisp bright finish. Connie commented that is was supple and excellent with the Terry’s Orange Chocolate (no relation to neighbor Terry) The absolute best comment of the evening was: ‘This is the type of wine you want your husband to pour over your body’. And, at $2.99 a bottle, you can actually afford to bathe in it!

Enjoy friends, neighbors and good wine.

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The chairs on the Front Porch have been full the last two weeks. We tried six different wines total, and I’d like to thank all the ‘volunteer’ tasters that have generously sacrificed their Wednesday evenings to help me take wine notes on the Front Porch. Your efforts are appreciated. 🙂

All the wines reviewed here can be found at Manteca Grocery Outlet while supplies last! 1391 E Yosemite Ave, Manteca, Ca. 95336. Open 8 am – 9 pm Monday through Friday (209) 239-4295.

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Cambridge & Sunset

My neighborhood is full of people that take daily walks with their kids & dogs or ride their bikes along the bike trails, you know healthy people. I love to gather friends on the porch to drink some wine and watch them go by. The people who make Cambridge & Sunset California wine agree… the labels read: ‘After 25 years in the wine industry we have learned that we all want our wine to taste great, be affordable, and available for all those wonderful nights when we can gather and reflect on the good deeds we have done while enjoying some R&R in our neighborhood.’ Cambridge & Sunset 2010 Chardonnay $5.99 and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $3.99 were both a big hit on the Front Porch.

The Chardonnay was light and crisp and had a very light coloring which indicates a quality chardonnay. Caroline tasted a hint of apple, maybe even pear. Becky thought it was very dry (in a good way) and we all noticed a bit of fizziness on the first sip. The Cab had a solid dark coloring. Terry said it was yummy with a burst of fruity flavor.  Becky commented that it stays on the tongue afterward with a nice finish. Caroline tasted black cherry and thought it would go well with red pasta or dark chocolate. (did somebody say chocolate tasting? YES, we will taste chocolate in the very near future…) And good ol’ Steve said it tasted chocolaty-plum and would go well with a hoagie. SMH Steve, hoagies go with everything.

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2009 Patianna Estates Mendocino Chardonnay  ~made with organic grapes~

Very clear color, I like that in a chardonnay. Clean and mild, tasting of tropical fruits. Not oaky (which I also like). Larry said it was mild and Arvin and Terry agreed. Very drinkable, and Organic!

Patianna
Mendocino
2009 CHARDONNAY

DOUBLE GOLD

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2012
89 POINTS

Wine Enthusiast, September 1, 2011

Source

Expert review: Tremendously pretty with honeysuckle and apricot highlights and memorable texture as well as a bright, crisp finish, this Chardonnay makes for a very good food wine, its cool-climate grapes grown organically along the banks of the Russian River. Source

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2009 Robert Hall Central Coast Red Wine $8.99

This is a blend of hand-harvested Grenache, Syrah, Cinsaut and Counoise grapes. I love a wine made with a blend of grapes (even if I cannot pronounce them) and this wine did not disappoint! Arvin said it really captures your senses (what a great addition of adjectives Arvin, Thank you!). Steve said it started good, but got even better after it was allowed to breath. And Larry (who only really likes white wines) said it was hearty – not bad at all and he didn’t need to pour it out. Lol. A big hit on the Porch!

The label reads: ‘A rich, mouth filling red blend, the aroma is reminiscent of fresh cherries with hints of black pepper and spice. This is what wine is meant to be – flavorful, approachable and honest.’

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2010 Epilogue Chardonnay North Coast $3.99

The label was very fancy, don’t forget to run your fingers across it lightly! I really enjoyed this Chardonnay, very light and crisp. I tasted the citrus and definitely pear. It was too light for Caroline; she would make sangria with it. It had hints of oak and Caroline and Larry agreed that it would be great by the pool on a warm day. Steve says he tasted apple pie and vanilla, but he’s a cheater so I’m sure he read the label first. Shame on you Steve.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine scores this wine at 86 points . Expert review: Simple and straightforward, this Chardonnay has notes of vanilla, caramel and oak. A bite of sweet baked apple is most pronounced on the finish.

The label reads: ‘Offering up delicate notes of citrus, ripe Anjou pear and warm baked apples, this wine finishes beautifully with hints of vanilla and measured oak.’ Check out the winery page here: Envolve

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2011 Zinsanity Lodi Zinfandel $5.99

Who doesn’t enjoy a good local Zin? They are sought out in the wine department on a daily basis. In the past, I have made a gift out this particular Zinfandel, Zinsanity. It’s a solid wine choice, but the name really brings it home! Caroline thought it was spicy, and it was too much for Terry (maybe she’d like it better in the fall, it was a pretty warm evening). Steve and I both enjoyed it (as we have in the past) and it’s always a good seller when we can get it. It pairs well with pizza, grilled red meats, but specifically a spicy tri-tip would be Zinsane!

Maybe someday some of the neighborhood passerbys will stop and join us on the Front Porch to taste some wines, until then we will toast them from afar from behind the white picket fence that contains the Infamous Front Porch.