Zombie Zin

zombie-zin-banner

For the last few years my family has become interested in – no, obsessed with zombies.

zombie steve     zombie kids     zombie me

We gather together to watch Walking Dead every week. Our house is known as the ‘Zombie House’ among trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. We even have endless discussions on how to survive the zombie apocalypse. I know many people must be thinking –Crazy- But, have you considered WHAT IF!?!

Maybe, just maybe you should be prepared too. I apologize for this slap-in-the-face reality check for those of you that may not have picked up on the possibility that I may be a tiny bit nuts. In my defense, people that are kinda nuts make the most interesting of friends.

If you’re local to the Manteca area, the Bass Pro shop may be a safe refuge. All the camping gear and weapons on the second floor at your disposal with only elevators and one staircase accessing it. Once you stock pile some food and block the staircase you should be safe – after all, zombies lack the intelligence to use the elevator. (sidebar: if you work at PG&E, please set the main electrical control switch to stay on, even without payment, at the first sign of zombies. Thank you.) However, many people will probably think Bass Pro is the place to go and the food will run out quickly, so have a back-up destination planned.

The internet is great resource to get your plan together. Here is great video on the first steps you should take:

But, in reality, (yes, I get the irony) you could just add The Zombie Survival Guide (get it here on Amazon) to your earthquake preparedness kit (and maybe a couple weapons) and nobody will notice and think you’re crazy. I recommend including wine in that kit as well, as I predict booze will become a top commodity in the zombie apocalypse. After a long day of zombie hunting we all need to be able to wind down and relax a little. Tip: Don’t forget the can opener and the cork-screw!

Wine choice in a post-apocalyptic world: Zombie Zin! $7.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet

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I actually sought out this wine for the novelty value alone. I was extremely excited to find that the wine was way better than I expected! The Front Porch goers agreed.

Caroline (our resident wine-snob) immediately said it was very good after the first sip. She said it was smooth and the color was clear & not cloudy. I quote, “one of the best Zins I’ve had in a long time.” She tasted blackberry & cherry and again said this is really good. Terry also seemed surprised at how good it was. She commented, ‘Oh! It’s really good and it smells really good!’ Arvin said it was bloody nice, he thought he noticed a peppery-ness to it, but he wasn’t sure if that came from the spicy meatball he just ate. Larry thought his mummy would really like it ;-p  Becky said it starts fruity, like cool-aid, and Steve agreed. Joe said the flavor raises the dead. He also noted that he tasted strong Bing cherries and reported that it tasted woody –oak not cedar. So, cheesy wisecracks aside, we finished ALL the Zombie Zin and most of us plan on getting more. Our first shipment was only 4 cases and it’s going fast, but I hear we have another 12 cases coming.

Meet some of the Front Porch Wine Tasting tasters:

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top: Larry & Terry bottom: Arvin & Connie

   zombie wine tasters 3

Joe R, Becky & Caroline

Courtesy of Walking Dead’s ‘Dead Yourself’ app. You can download the app to ‘dead’ yourself here

Cellar Tracker gave it 87.5 points.

On-line review: Really enjoyable zin. Nose is full of berry and spice. Jammy, like a mouth full of fruit; black cherry, plum, blueberry. Almost a creamy finish with some pepper poking through. Rich, but very pleasant, with a nice long finish. I would definitely buy again, even at a higher price.

The label reads: As survivors of the apocalypse we have found refuge, hidden away from the world that was and from those who refuse to die. We pass the time making wine dreaming of better days gone by. The Zombie Zinfandel is blood-red in color. The aromas evoke visions of ripe blackberries and cedar coffins. The flavors meld together as an oozy mass of dark, ripe and horridly rich fruit with a layer of black pepper and spice. If you dare venture out and want to find us, look for the clues at chateaud.com/zombie. Be smart and stay alive.

Click this link to enter to win your own Zombie Apocalypse essentials kit including: Zombie Survival Guide book, Zombie Zin and cork-screw.

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The Meaning of Life

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This blog is written in memory of Frank Malorzo, my good-friend’s best-friend. You will be impossible to forget.

What is friendship? Simply put, it’s just connecting with others, humans are very social. We feel each other’s pain and celebrate each other’s joy. Friends inspire us to be more interesting, have more fun and to be all around better people. They also inspire shenanigans. Like Lucy and Ethel. Whether you are a ‘Lucy’ or an ‘Ethal’, having fun, being silly, and yes, participating in shenanigans with our friends is what makes our potentially mundane daily lives worth it.

1amwords_shenanigans

Do you remember Lucy and Ethel singing about friendship? They were mad at each other for wearing the same dress during their performance and, well here, you check it out:

That’s the song I hear as I’m typing this blog. I don’t know why I tend to think of black & white television shows when I reflect on anything and everything. I guess I relate to them. Don’t we all? Life lessons – learned through situational comedy.

It’s not how we connect to friends thats important though- it may be texting during football, dancing in the sand at a beach party once a year, or spending an hour or two each week tasting wine on the Front Porch – it’s only important that we connect. Touching each other’s lives for the better, making memories – good and bad – living life & having fun.

I just stumbled on the Meaning of life! You-Are-Welcome. Tell your kids.

Our friends at home took over Front Porch Wine Tasting this week. Steve and I went to meet up with all the friends we’ve made since being a part of Grocery Outlet. Mostly other store owners, and a lot of corporate friends too. We appreciate everyone who joined Joe & Becky on their Back Porch to help us all choose the right weekend wines. Thank You!

friendship wines

Lot 205 Chardonnay ~ Roblar O Pescador ~ Harlow Ridge Cab ~ Independent Producers Merlot

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lot 205 chard

100% California 2012 Lot 205 Chardonnay $3.99 elsewhere $11.99

Chris says this Chardonnay is very smooth and sweet tasting. Bob and Misty both found it to be citrusy and Becky thought she tasted pear. The label offered no ‘clues’ as to what to expect except: Lush, Vibrant & Aromatic… Think Grilled Seafood or Chicken.

On-line review: “I was pleasantly surprised by this wine, because it was a nicely balanced, creamy Chardonnay without aggressive oak flavors. It was pale straw in color, and had aromas of butter, cream, and apples. These aromas carried through into the flavors and there was a citrusy, creamy aftertaste that was pleasant and not at all artificial. This wine would be great with grilled chicken with lemon, fried chicken, or grilled halibut. But don’t underestimate the appeals of a white wine like this served with some simply munchies and an ice bucket on a Sunday afternoon.”

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Roblar

Santa Ynez Valley 2010 Roblar O Pescador $3.99 elsewhere $8.99

Click here for Roblar Winery Pairing Cuisine recipes

Becky has been trying to get me to taste this wine since we started Front Porch Wine Tasting! and I missed it… :-/ She really liked it but couldn’t remember the name, she called it fish wine because of picture on the label. Christine said this white blend is light, an enjoyable summer wine. Bob likes it dry and found it to be light and airy. Joe S. commented that, “it doesn’t taste like fish at all.” Whew! That fish pic on the label confused me too Joe, what a relief. Larry thought it had a sharp taste and Thelma said it was fruity with a hint of peach. Dan wanted to make sure we knew there were no peach pits :-p

I could not find any on-line reviews except for the wine-snob that harshly (in my opinion) reviews Grocery Outlet wines and is sometimes hard to understand if you happen to be regular people. But, this particular review is pretty funny. He clearly does not like it at first, but it becomes ‘drinkable’ to him in the end.

The label reads: Roblar Winery is committee to producing the highest quality varietals that best reflect the viticultural diversity of Santa Ynez Valley. Our logo is a symbol of our winery, our vineyards, and the meaning of our name: strength. Strength you can count on for quality and value.

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harlow ridge

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Harlow Ridge
Lodi
2011 CABERNET SAUVIGNON

SILVER MEDAL
Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition 2013
Pacific Rim International Wine Competition 2013
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Lodi 2011 Harlow Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon $4.99 elsewhere $9.99

The label reads: When Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown in regions where summer days are warm and nights are cool, the wine is full-bodied and vibrant with varietal and fruit complexities. Meticulous cellar practices promote these attributes while imparting a pleasant, long finish on the palate. The enjoyment in composing this wine can only be enhanced when gracing your table with family and friends!

Local Lodi Wine! So, what did the Porch think? Bob says the 6th glass of wine is always good. Misty thought it was a good nightcap wine. And Dan, my new favorite Dan, said, “just a couple of sips and my cough went away. Is there a grape flavored Nyquil?” Yes. Yes, there is Dan. It is not good. But, wine flavored Nyquil, Now that’s what I’m talking about! (This must’ve been the last wine that was tasted, judging not only by the comments but the notes are kinda harder to read than the rest) Somebody said warming is the word that describes this Cab and two other people agreed that it had staying power with a little heat in the front. Well worth the price – it does Lodi proud.

 Wine Maker notes: “The striking appeal of this wine is the complexity of fruit and spice characters. Black cherry with hints of black olive and plum greet the palate. The wine continues with lingering notes of vanilla, cedar, and nutmeg.”

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independent producers

 Washington State 2011 Independent Producers Merlot $7.99 elsewhere $14.99

On-line review: Post modern northern latitude west coast style. Soft with some angularity, focused acid, somewhat wildly intoxicating, and picked early for greater vintage precision, yet medium high PH for smoothness. Coffee, pencil lead, anise, and earth. A vineyard focused place of origin wine.

Did you read that? ‘Wildly intoxicating’ Yes, please! I checked the notes Joe took twice, nobody tasted pencil lead or earth. Terry liked the intoxicating smooth scent. Larry thought the aroma reminded him of black cherry and Misty’s chocolate cake intensifies the flavor of the wine. Joe noticed a strong smokiness and wrote in the notes that everyone really liked it. Bob commented that it had a Merlot aftertaste with a little bite. He enjoyed the bouquet, even though while swishing it around in his mouth, he got it into his nasel cavity 😦 Ah, poor Bob.

What would we do without our friends? Well, we wouldn’t have any wine reviews for this weekend and we wouldn’t have discovered the meaning of life either. So, if you haven’t already found your ‘Lucy/Ethel’ (or ‘Oscar/Felix’, as the case may be) go out into your community, get involved in something, and find them. You don’t know what you’re missing!

Do you prefer ZING! or Dirty?

Zing=White     Dirty=Red     (I’m not sure what you thought, lol. Read on, to be enlightened)

My #3 favorite thing is Front Porch Wine Tasting. #3??? You may ask. Drinking wine for free on the Front Porch with friends every week comes in at #3? How can that be?

Well, the tiny dictator that lives in my head is obsessive about list making and he says it’s #3. If you have a tiny dictator in your head, then you know he must be listened to. If you try to ignore him, he won’t let you sleep at night.

#2 on the list is text messages from Larry. His typos and auto corrections are at a level hilariousness that cannot be described by the written word without outing me as easily entertained. It has endless entertainment value for me. My current #1 favorite thing (it’s an ever-evolving list) is when a small child – like 2 or 3 years old – puts something – like a quarter – in the tiny pocket of his tiny jeans with his tiny hands.

Is there anything cuter? No. No, there is not.

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Back to that tiny dictator. Not only is he obsessive about making lists, he also is very enthusiastic about encouraging me to take on seemingly ridiculous projects/tasks/endeavors. He says things like, “Of course you should cover an entire wall in the guest room with random leftover wood from the pile in the garage. That would be AMAZING!”

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Then, before that was even finished he was all, “Your kitchen cabinets would look great painted white. I bet you could sand, prime and paint them all in one weekend.” Did I mention that the tiny dictator has no concept of time? He also enjoys shopping at second-hand stores, e-bay and Craigslist for objects that can be spray painted, refurbished or hoarded. And, it was his idea to write a wine blog, It’ll be fun he said. Thanks! tiny dictator, you were right. You are always right 🙂 Read to the end of this blog for a link to Enter to Win FREE Wine!

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 Secret Wine ~ Wine with ZING! ~ Spectacular Wine ~ Dirty Wine (good dirty)

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*****

 a wine pic 6 2009 Lake Girl Sauvignon Blanc $3.99 

North Coast/Sonoma County     Elsewhere price $12.99

Light in color with a fresh, clean taste. Terry liked the lightness of the fruity aroma and Larry noticed the pear in his first sip. Connie said she really liked this one, it was a delightful surprise. Joe thought it had a sweet beginning but that the finish was lacking something. Becky said it was clean & crisp and Arvin tasted crispy Asian pears.

I really couldn’t find much in my internet search for this wine. Weird. The all-knowing internet dropped the ball on this one. The winery must be fairly new or small. Their website is under construction, but they do have a Facebook page. And that is all. Bummer this wine is such a secret cause it’s really good!

The label reads: ‘Listening to the lapping of the waves against the shore and seeing the moon reflected on the water, I’m transported to the moment of my first kiss. I know I’m home when I’m at the lake. Forever Lake Girl.’

*****

a wine pic 5 2012 Mosiac Chardonnay $7.99

Alexander Valley Sonoma County     Elsewhere price $14.99

Larry immediately liked the bold fragrance and Terry said it’s got a real Zing to it! Like, ZING! Steve wasn’t sure if he liked it at first, but after the second sip he decided that he really did like it. He said he tasted something sharp in it…. Terry said, Yeah! That’s the ZING! Arvin tasted apple, Granny smith to be exact. Becky thought it tasted like candy. You know, that bag you get with the twizzlers & nerds and it smells so good when you open it. Joe was like, “No, she’s wrong. It smells like…CELERY. Lol, just kidding. More like vanilla water and it would be good with a caramel apple”. Connie said she’ll take a dozen bottles of this one.

Scored 4 out of 5 stars from Vivino , here’s their review: Brilliant gold color with the subtlest of green highlights, this wine has the pretty aromas of caramelized apple, citrus and asian pear. Bright and crisp on the palate with flavors of Granny Smith apple, soft citrus zest, and a whisp of vanilla. A well rounded mouthfeel is reined in by overtones of mineral spice giving the wine great balance and structure.

The label reads: ‘Mosaic Winery is small, family-owned artisan winery in the acclaimed Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. The passion behind the label is the Wilson family and their diverse estate vineyards.’

Winemaker Notes: Vibrant flavors of passion fruit, honey and Key lime lead the way to melon, citrus, and honeysuckle notes in the mouth. This delightfully crisp Chardonnay finishes with tropical fruit, pears and hints of vanilla bean.
Enjoy with an hors d’oeuvre of softened goat cheese topped with fig compote and crackers, or a dinner featuring honey-glazed ham or home-style mac and cheese.

*****

a wine pic 7 2009 Pampano Malbec $3.99

Mendoza, Argentina     Elsewhere price $10.99

Nice dark color, dry with tastes of blackberry. Joe said that this is a spectacular wine! It was oakey with a full bodied aroma and slightly dry. Its dryness attaches to your mouth – which is good because it lasts longer. He said that he and Becky are real fans of 2009 wines, something about the weather that year maybe.

86 points from Wine Enthusiest Magazine  Expert review: Fruity and friendly on the nose, with composure and solid aromas. Feels both plump and dry, with toasty black-fruit flavors accented by peppery spice that turns slightly bitter on the finish. Good and dark overall, with limited follow-through on the finish. ~ Michael Schachner

The label reads: ‘Our wine regions are not determined by their latitude or distance from the coast, but by elevation. At high altitudes, where the air is thin and the water pure comes Pampano Malbec. “Pampano” means a healthy vine root – which is what we seek above all else to give us a balanced crop and fresh, ripe, fruity flavors. Malbec is the emblematic grape of Argentina and this example from the Uco Valley of Mendoza is crammed with bright fruit flavors and makes a perfect partner to our national dish – steak on the grill.’

*****

a wine pic 8 2007 Orsianna Cabernet Sauvignon $8.99

Mendocino County     Elsewhere price $20

Smooth and softly dry, I tasted dark cherries. Steve says this wine improves as it is allowed to sit. Arvin commented that it is peppery and meets expectations. Joe said it tastes rich and full bodied, dirty – the way we all like dirty (WHAT? maybe we don’t all like dirty. and even if we did, we certainly won’t all admit it. Oh, wait. Dirty, like earthy? Oh) – and sometimes a wine does not live up to its fragrance, but this one does!

Expert review from The Wine Spies : The 2007 Orsinna Cabernet Sauvignon is a bright, juicy and delicious Mendocino Cabernet, through and through. If you are used to Cabernet from Napa or Sonoma, then you’ll find this wine to be somewhat brighter, but just as expressive. There are differences, to be sure, and this is one thing that makes this wine so appealing. With balanced, juicy fruit and earthen characteristics, a big nose and a fruity tart finish that ends with a distinct black pepper note. With bright acidity, this is a perfect wine to pair with rich foods, cleansing the palate between bites. Drinking well now, this wine will continue to progress for the next few years. Decant for best results, and enjoy the unique terroir of Mendocino County with this tasty Cabernet.

I would just like to add, I wouldn’t be able to write this blog without all the help from my friends who like to frequent the Front Porch, Thank you! (and that tiny dictator, of course). Visit us on Facebook, to Enter to Win FREE Wine from this blog. Don’t forget to share this blog with your friends!

We had a ‘Remarkable’ time!

Every time I hear the word Remarkable, I think of the Little Rascals. Do you remember them? When I was a kid, I watched them (re-runs of course!) every Saturday morning. One episode, Spanky was babysitting a bunch of babies. Now, Spanky looks like a baby himself in this episode, but he has exceptional story telling skills! He is telling the babies a bed time story so they will take a nap and one of the babies keeps commenting, ‘Remarkable’ all through the story. Babies watching babies, remarkable. I don’t know who in their right mind would allow their baby to be supervised by The Little Rascals, that is really remarkable. As I remember, one of the babies ended up inside a big bird cage to contain him – he was a wanderer. Sure, inappropriate today – but back then – it was effective. If you have 4 minutes, watch a clip from the original Remarkable episode here.

That totally had nothing to do with wine, but may provide some insight as to how my mind wanders like an unsupervised toddler.

We tasted four wines this week on the Front Porch. (which had a tiny make-over to accommodate more people)

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2008 Hangtime Chardonnay from the Central Coast, 2009 Fernz Chardonnay from New Zealand, 2008 Remarkable Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County and 2008 Monkey Business from the North Coast. (from right to left) Check our Facebook page for the ‘Giveaway’ tab to Enter to Win one bottle of each of these wines! Also, you can try the Bandana White blend and the Totally Random Sweet Red wines from previous posts this weekend at the Manteca Pumpkin Fair (Oct 5 & 6, 2013).

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Hangtime Chardonnay $3.99 (elsewhere price $11.99)

3 wine pic First up, Hangtime Chardonnay had a buttery color and was slightly oaky. Terry thought that it started strong but after a few sips it goes down easy. Larry said it was not as lightly colored as some we have tried lately and Joe said it was smooth…like Larry. Lisa said let it breath for a few minutes, it was misleading at first. The Red Hat Ladies liked it but were really looking forward to the red wines (guests of Kitty, who thought the coffee was perfectly strong – just the way she likes it). Cellar Tracker gave it 86 points. (the wine, not the coffee)

The label reads: ‘At Hangtime Cellars, we source Chardonnay from the cool, windswept California Coast AVA where grapes spend a long time hanging on the vine – you’ll find the exact number of days printed on our label. These lengthy “hangtimes” allow grapes to ripen slowly, developing exquisite fruit character perfectly balanced by crisp acidity. Sit back with your friends, open up a bottle, and enjoy a little well-deserved hangtime of your own!’

Fernz Chardonnay $3.99 (elsewhere price $11.99)

4 wine pic I immediately liked the fruity smell of the Fernz Chardonnay. It was lighter in color and both Larry and I thought it had a distinct citrus taste. Joe said it was a little too tart for him (which is funny because he won a free bottle the next day, lol) The Red Hat Ladies wanted to remember this one so they could come into the store to get it – even though it wasn’t red. Tasting.com gave this wine 84 points and it won the Bronze Medal in the World Wine Championship! I like to search out info about all the wines we taste, and I came across a video of the winemakers tasting this wine on YouTube – check out their reaction to livestock crashing the party!

The label reads: ‘The Silver Fern is a national emblem of New Zealand which conveys a sense of inspiration, purity and pride. We strive to provide these same characteristics in our wine by using only sustainable winemaking practices, thus protecting the natural environment. It is our priority to provide you with the taste of pure New Zealand in every drop. Please enjoy with family & friends and take pleasure in the flavor of New Zealand!’

Remarkable Pinot Noir $5.99 (elsewhere price $19.99)

2 wine pic As we passed this Remarkable Pinot Noir around the Front Porch, Lisa noticed the bottom of the bottle and said she loved the ‘belly button’ on the bottle. She thought the wine was ‘Yummy!’ It coated her mouth and felt creamy and had a nice round flavor. She planned on getting a case the next day (her husband did come in and get it for her :-)). Terry said it was refreshing and it would be a crowd pleaser, especially for the holidays. Misty thought it was a remarkable price and would make a great holiday gift.

The label reads: ‘Aromas of maraschino cherry, rhubarb and cream yield into complex smoky notes, and layers of soft tannins.’

Monkey Business Merlot $7.99 (elsewhere price $12.99)

1 wine pic Perfect for the coming Fall months! Monkey Business Merlot brings a lot of fruit and a rich flavor. It is deep red and smells slightly floral. I thought it was smooth and dry. Larry said it started sweet, then becomes dry. It made Terry feel very warm (but, it was the fourth wine she tasted and she was sitting pretty close to Larry, so it could’ve been either of those things).

The label reads: Monkey business is located in the heart of Wine Country in Healdsburg. We bottle and blend small lots of the finest hand-crafted wine form California. Enjoy this wine by itself or with your favorite cuisine.’

ale tasting I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t get any of Steve’s wisdom on any of these wines. He was present on the Front Porch… however, he was a rebel this week – he was having A Little Sumpin’ Ale. He said it might be considered bitter if you compare it to beers like Coors Light or Bud. He thought it tasted kind of like evergreen – like if you were on Naked and Afraid and you made a tea out of pine needles to stay alive – but with a kick. You are a kick, Steve!