You deserve some Wine Time

Some people have a sixth sense. A ‘gift’ they may call it. Their intuition may alert them to someone who needs help or something equally heroic.

Mine is connected to salvaged things of awesomeness.

Ridiculous? I think not! I can prove it…

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The plan for the day of watching football with Steve’s nephew & family was hijacked by my increasingly nagging intuition. So, I sent this text:

text message

We drove straight to the thrift store. Not the closest one, or even one in town. We drove 25 minutes across two cities. And, waiting there for me – in the pile outside of stuff that was just donated, not even priced yet – was two wonderfully Mid-Century night stands. Sure they were hideously painted green ‘shabby chic’ style, but that’s no deterrent. It was like the Universe sent me a text message via mental telepathy. That’s how the Universe works.

Universe: Your nightstands were just delivered – come pick them up.

Me: I’m on my way.

nightstand     faux gator skin

Here’s a repainted nightstand with the faux gator skin that will be held in place with decorative upholstery nails and, in turn, transform it from salvaged junque to one-of-a-kind-awesomeness.

Just in case you’re not convinced…

I designed this bed frame for our new mattress:

new bed diagram     new bed

The upholstered part is a genius idea that DOES NOT REQUIRE SEWING. See it here. Notice the angle part of the headboard for Steve to prop himself up? I’ve been trying to decide how I was going to build that when the Universe took pity on me. I found this on the side of the road:



This picture was taken after I cleaned, sanded, primed and painted one coat (it still needs another coat of paint). It’s not exactly what I had planned, it’s much better and the angle is perfect! Thank you Universe.

There you have it, indisputable proof.

Needless to say, I deserved some wine time on the Front Porch!

Here’s this week’s picks:

four wines 2

Blackboard Chardonnay ~ Deep Sea Chardonnay ~ Cerro Chalten Malbec ~ Red Willow Cab


blackboard chardonnay     blackboard chard saying

Blackboard Chardonnay ~ California $3.99    elsewhere price $11.99

Terry said this Chardonnay was very light and not too sweet. Steve commented that it is a good drinking wine and Larry really liked this pick.

On-line review:  Tropical fruit nose, apple pie on the palate followed with a toasty finish. A tasty go to Chardonnay. Perfect with seafood, salmon, roasted chicken, and creamy cheeses

From the label: Like children, grapes need proper care and encouragement to grow and mature. Similarly, winemakers use the skill and patience of teachers to craft grapes into the highest quality wines. Blackboard wines earn high marks for being delightfully balanced – and for donating a portion of the proceeds to support the educational development of children.


Deep Sea chardonnay

2009 Deep Sea Chardonnay ~ Central Coast $3.99    elsewhere price $17.00

This Chardonnay did very well the last time we had it in the store, I’m glad Steve chose it for tasting. Becky recognized it from the last time we had it in stock. She enjoyed it with hand seared Tilapia with a basil crème sauce. Yum. Steve said it was dryer than the first Chardonnay and Arvin thought it would go well with chicken.

On-line review:A crisp, clean Chardonnay from the Central Coast of California.  This wine does not have any of the off-putting butter or oak that some Chardonnays do – instead, this is easy drinking with enough acid to keep the wine refreshing throughout your mouth.  An excellent value Chardonnay that will please Chard lovers and those skeptical of Chards as well.

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2009 Deep Sea Chardonnay is a brilliant golden hue. Welcoming aromas of mandarin orange with a hint of green apple, fresh dough and honey greet the senses echoed by soft, notes of citrus zest and just enough oak to add a layer of complexity. A sprinkling of vanilla, butterscotch and nutmeg, add to the supple mouthfeel complemented by a refreshing crisp acidity and minerality.



Cerro Chalten ~ Mendoza, Argentina $4.99    elsewhere price $11.99

Mmmmmm, I really liked this one. Becky said it was a lighter red that would go great with food. Arvin and Larry both liked it. Terry commented on how it finishes mellow on your pallet and Connie said this is delicious, great with chocolate!

On-line review: This Cerro Chalten tastes young and is on the mild nose to speak of but smooth with a bit of earth. I liked it and in fact bought it again to make sure..I still do.


red willow cabernet

2007 Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Yakima Valley, Washington $5.99    elsewhere price $15.99

This Cabernet was recommended to Steve by one of his loyal wine customers that had tried it, then came back for a whole case. Becky noticed the blueberry aroma and called it a ‘good hearty’ wine. By this time in the evening I noticed that I was failing at taking good notes on everyone’s comments. I sure was having a good time though.

From the winemakerTasting Notes
Dark red color. Aromas of red fruits accented with cocoa, sage and lavender. On the palate, cassis and plum are balanced with moderate oak flavors which lead to a medium-long finish.

On-line review: All three wines are excellent. The 2007 vintage is drinking beautifully right now, and the 2009 vintage, while still young, may be their best wine yet.


Award Winning Wines…

Chaos. Complete chaos. All my ideas, no matter how small they seem at the beginning, snowball into a chaotic maze of out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new. We finally got a new bed. Simple, right? Not so much. The new bed is bigger than the old bed, so we need a bigger frame. The night stands and dressers match the old bed frame, so they go too (they’re all listed on craigslist). I scored the ‘new’ nightstands at a second hand store and they need to be refinished. So, the bookshelves that are staying also need to be refinished. and the bench.


I only stop here to protect you from the tornado of details that need to be done. (Yes Steve, ‘need’ is the right word!) I can share more with you later, but for now, let’s just say that this project includes faux gator skin and batik burlap. I love the weird and the wonderful! I must admit that it’s exciting to hear that tiny dictator whispering in my head again, cheering me on. I have missed him these past couple of weeks even though the house stays much neater when he’s quiet.

batik burlap

Batik Burlap

So, given this surprise project, it’s understandable that we missed one Front Porch Wine Tasting. I could’ve used it in the middle of all this…

 long gamma white wine

2010 Long Gamma White Wine $5.99 elsewhere price $16.00

Sonoma County, California

Larry commented on the pale clear color and Steve liked the light-crispness of his first sip. Terry said it’s not too sweet, very refreshing. Joe tasted citrus, orange to be exact. He also let me know that nothing rhymes with orange. So, this video is for you, Joe.

On-line review: We are very pleased to bring you another great wine – On paper, this wine might seem sweet. In reality, this is a balanced, crisp and very refreshing white blend. Perfect for your spring and summertime sipping pleasure, we are also recommending that you keep some on hand for the fall holidays.

Tasting Notes from the Wine Maker: Aromas of white flowers, orange marmalade and a touch of honey jump from the glass.  Luscious mango, apricot and mandarin orange make their appearance on the palate, complemented by nutty and honeyed-tea notes courtesy of the Roussanne.  On the finish distinct impressions of lime and minerals keep the wine fresh and balance its tropicality.


Duck pond chardonnay

2009 Duck Pond Chardonnay $3.99 elsewhere price $13.99

Columbia Valley, Washington

WORLD WINE CHAMPIONSHIPS AWARD: Silver Medal Gold medal-2011 Seattle Wine Awards; Silver Medal-2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition; Silver Medal-2012 International Women’s Wine Competition.

Arvin started us off on this Chardonnay, with a nice, ‘mmmmmm, oh yeah’. Terry commented that it is medium bodied and dry, everyone agreed. Joe called it warm – more bold. Steve said he really liked this one, it’s a great chardonnay to have with dinner.

On-line tasting notes:  Silvery golden color. Robust baked pineapple, papaya, and pistachio nougat aromas with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tropical fruit salad and peppery spice finish.

From the Wine Maker: Our Chardonnay is mostly fermented in stainless steel to capture the rich fruitiness of Desert Wind Vineyard’s Chardonnay grapes. One quarter of the blend is fermented in barrels to add structure and weight.


triptych red wine

Triptych Red Wine $5.99 elsewhere price $14.99

Paso Robles, California

Terry called this red blend smooth and smokey. Larry tasted chocolate and Joe tasted licorice. Becky said it was a lighter red wine. Steve and Arvin both liked it and commented on tasting blackberries.

On line review: The color is black cherry red with a crimson halo. The nose is a good mix of fruit and spice, black cherry, Christmas spice, a whiff of smoke, menthol and sweet strawberry. This a medium bodied wine, but with a lush mouthfeel and loads of flavor. It tastes of plum and black cherry, Altoids spice, baking chocolate and cranberry. The mid palate shows a little earthiness and some creamy blueberry. The tannins hover around the edges of this wine, bring structure but never getting in the way. The acidity is well balanced and helps a fruit/spice finish tingle on your tastebuds for a respectable amount of time and actually almost fades away, then comes back strong.

From the Label: A Tritych is a piece of art in 3 panels. Originating in the 11th Century, it also represents the highest amount paid for any piece of contemporary art and has inspired this three-variety blend. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah from our estate vineyards in Paso Robles. The palate shows the lifted, forward fruit of Grenache being further enhanced by the components. It is a wine for many occasions and can even handle being slightly chilled for those warm summer days.


 Lucinda Millie cab

2011 Lucinda & Millie Cabernet Sauvignon $4.99 elsewhere price $12.99

Mendocino County, California

BRONZE MEDAL (2011 Vintage)
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Larry noticed the bold aroma right away and Terry said it was very dry. Arvin said ‘yes it is dry, I like it! Write that down.’ After pairing with a sharp cheddar, Terry thought it was much less dry and Steve thought this Cabernet would also pair nicely with dinner.

On line review: We chose this 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon for many reasons; one is that it is organic, so you feel good drinking it. It is clean and simple with notes of black fruit, cedar and earth — a perfect picnic wine! It is not as full-bodied as many California Cabernets, but we think it’s perfectly charming. From the Today Show, video here: California knows how to party! (1:49-2:18).

From the winemaker: Aromas of red berries reveal flavors of juicy black current and savory spices. The palate is bright and forward with great acidity and firm, balanced tannins. Echoes of cassis and bayberry mingle with cranberry and quince on the finish. This Cabernet is an elegant wine to pair with your favorite dishes.

The Drink of Success

The Holidays can be a little disruptive to our regular routine. With the New Year, we settle down and get back in the swing of things. And for those of us that frequent the Front Porch… that means wine tasting on Wednesdays. If you think Wednesday is not an appropriate day for wine tasting, then you’re an amateur and we can’t be friends. Just kidding. Pick a night, I’ll drink with you.

Often the New Year is seen as a new beginning or a fresh start. We make New Year’s Resolutions to change ourselves for the better (I haven’t had much success with that). Instead, I like to make a list. I love making lists. I love everything about making lists. Cute little notebooks or nice paper and a smooth pen (hopefully with colored ink) to write with. Seeing my thoughts/tasks on paper makes them seem easier to get done. When you have things written down, they can be physically crossed off the list and that brings a great feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes, if I do something that is not on the list, I write it on the list just so I can cross it off. Okay, not sometimes. I do that every day. My list for the coming year, among other things, includes travelling with my husband and restoring the 1961 Baja Bug that was abandoned at my house. More (fingers crossed) on that later.

It’s gonna be a great year, worthy of many bottles of wine! It is the drink of celebration, of success and the best way to drown sorrows. We wish you much celebration and success and no sorrow in the coming year.

The four bottles we tried are from all over the world! Napa, Idaho, New Zealand and France.

four wines

Ste. Chapelle Soft White ~ Tablelands Sauv Blanc ~ Château Naudin Bordeaux ~ Pra Vinera Cab


soft white

2011 Ste. Chapelle Soft White $2.99 elsewhere price $9.99

from the Snake River Valley in Idaho

We had not seen a wine that was referred to as a ‘Soft White’ before, so the sweetness took us all a little by surprise. It reminded me of a Moscato. Steve tasted pear & melon and Caroline tasted apple as well, pink lady she said. Terry liked it with the Boursin Cranberry cheese and said it grows on you, the sweetness dissipates as it breaths. user review: ‘This wine is great. It is light and sweet it tastes like it is made from pears instead of grapes. I would definitely buy again especially at this price.’ ($7.99)

The label reads: ‘Since 1978, Ste. Chapelle has been crafting award-winning wines from grapes grown in high-altitude vineyards overlooking the famed Snake River in southern Idaho. Our region’s long daylight hours, warm summer days, crisp evenings and well-drained, volcanic ash soils are ideal for producing distinctive wines like this Soft White. Enjoy its delicate pear and melon aromas and richly textured, luscious flavors on their own or with fruit, cheese and light desserts.’


tablelands sauv blanc

2011 Tablelands Sauvignon Blanc $5.99 elsewhere price $12.99

from Martinborough, New Zealand

I am sad to say that the Front Porch Wine Tasters did not care for this wine. However, my favorite Wine Snob/blogger did.

Click this link to read his full review, here is part of it: ‘On the first night, the wine had a pleasant nose of ripe yellow melon with a little green fruit.  Palate of yellow melon, ripe gooseberry, yellow grapefruit / golden kiwi, a little minerality.  Fruit is perhaps slightly weak, as if the wine were already getting old, but the taste finishes well with acid of medium ripe pineapple.’


Pra Vinera Cab

2012 Pra Vinera Cabernet Sauvignon $5.99 elsewhere price $17.99

from the North Coast, Napa, California

This Cab was extremely smooth, the aroma made me feel immediately happy. Terry said it just flows right down. She tasted berries and Caroline tasted blackberry. Steve commented that allowing it to breath a good 30 minutes improves the plum taste.

The label reads: ‘Many thoughts arise when a winemaker gazes at a Field of Vines (“Pra Vinera”). They remember past struggles and past triumphs. They remember techniques that brought flavors to their peak. Their gaze takes in the vineyard’s potential, and ponders how best to capture the vines’ offering. In many ways, to a winemaker a vineyard is field of dreams; dreams rich with the taste of the past and hope for the future.’ (That’s fitting for the New Year!)



2012 Château Naudin Bordeaux $5.99 elsewhere price $18.99

Grand Vin De Bordeaux, France

This French Bordeaux is a perfect example of wine that is meant to go with food. At first taste, Terry said it was really dry, we all agreed. Then when we paired it with Little Smokies from the Deli, Caroline thought the wine was much juicier and we all agreed the food made the wine taste better. Weird.

 I read the label out loud: ‘Our winemaker has selected for you this Château wine from the world famous Bordeaux vineyards for its highest qualities. Perfect to be enjoyed with grilled meats, barbecues, salads and cheeses.’ Steve agreed, he thought it would go great with a grilled cheese. -_- At least he heard two of the words I said, lol.

What does it mean when a French wine is labeled with “Grand Vin De Bordeaux”?

Here’s an explanation from Dr. Vinny at Wine Spector Magazine: ‘“Grand Vin,” or “great wine,” is an impressive-sounding but unregulated term. I’ve most often seen it used with red Bordeaux as a way for a château to indicate its best wine, a step up from the second bottling. Since it denotes what they believe is their best showing, it’ll typically carry a higher price tag. It may be a terrific wine, or not. You might prefer the second bottling more. All you know with the term “Grand Vin” is that they’re marketing it as their best.