Let’s be good to ourselves

Everyone loves presents, amiright? But why wait for someone to notice that you deserve a gift…

Reward yourself instead.

I used to buy myself flowers every week. I don’t know why I stopped doing that. I kept them on the counter in my bathroom, the mirror made it seem as though there were twice as many.  Try not smiling when you see that first thing in the morning.

So, I was jonesin yesterday for a pick-me-up. I figured retail therapy was in order. Turns out I ran into a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless just in case she was shopping on the downlow) who was there for the same reason. I got a great new purse, she got a couple pairs of sandals and we both left smiling.

Next time you find yourself in the same sitch, check this list for a quick smile:

  1. Take a field trip ~ to a museum or weird roadside attraction
  2. Retail therapy ~ I like to pretend that I have a $25 or $50 gift card so it doesn’t turn into an out-of-control addiction
  3. Buy yourself flowers ~ They are cheaper than you think (unless its Valentine’s Day)
  4. See a movie in the middle of the day ~ Yeah
  5. Have some wine!

Let’s be good to ourselves!

 

 wine line up

Kimmel Chard ~ LeBaron Ranch Chard ~ Snoqualmie Red ~ Grandfather Zin

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 kimmel chard

2012 Kimmel Chardonnay Mendocino County $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

GOLD
San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition
2014
               

Terry started us off with this Chardonnay, she wasn’t sure she liked the bouquet. Larry said it’s got a ‘ting’ to it and called it thought provoking, he liked it paired with the Organic Four Cheese Pizza. Steve agreed that it had a strong aroma, but he liked the buttery-ness. Becky liked it paired with the Turkey Pepper Jack Deli Spirals. Connie tasted oak and called it ‘kinda wild’. She thought this would be a good wine to bathe in!

From the winemaker: Classic unoaked style – crisp, fresh, full-flavored …
a delicious imprint of Mendocino fruit.
The grapes were whole-cluster pressed and then cold-fermented to dryness in stainless tanks. The fermented juice was left on the lees until just prior to bottling to create a wonderfully fresh, crisp, and fruit-forward wine

Here’s the food pairings they were referring to:

wine snacks

wine pizza wine spirals

Bold Pizza $7.99 for a two pack & Nancy’s Deli Spirals $4.99 60 count

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le baron chard

2013 Le Baron Hop Station Chardonnay Ca $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Arvin and Scott both found this Chardonnay to be on the sweet side, but smooth. Larry said it had a bite to it. Joe R thought it was fruity, peach to be exact. Connie liked the light aroma and said it right up her alley, she loved it.

4 out of 5 on snooth.com: Very good…I got a hint of dill on the finish…

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 snoq wine

2012 Snoqualmie Whistle Stop Red Blend Columbia Valley $3.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

I immediately loved the chocolatey aroma! Connie agreed, saying it had a heavenly bouquet. She added that it would be great with dessert, so smooth. Terry commented that she could sip on this all night. Arvin thought he’d like it with a turkey sandwich at lunch. Larry liked it as well and Joe R called it a good solid quality red wine that lives up to its aroma. I actually had to get a couple more bottles for myself later 🙂

Review from GreatNorthwestWine.com: The nose features a beautiful presentation of black cherry, ripe raspberry, smoky dark chocolate and tobacco leaf. What follows is a smooth drink of dark plum, blackberry and chocolate-covered black cherry, backed by a great finish of raspberry and cranberry.

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grandfather zin

2013 Grandfather Clock Zinfandel Ca $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Steve loved this Zin, he detected a tinge of spice. He added that it was great with chocolate. Larry agreed, he liked the bouquet and found it very smooth. It made Terry tingly as she sipped. Becky tasted a smoky tobacco flavor and Connie said it was a beautifully tasting bouquet. Everybody had a second round. Steve was raving about it like it was beer. Terry said, “Yum!” and Larry said, “Do I actually have to say a red is my favorite?”

No online reviews yet, you’re just gonna havta take our word on it and give a try.

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Wines

Sometimes we just need to go against the mainstream. Go our own way, cut a new path. When the rest of the country was watching the Super Bowl, the Front Porch Wine Tasters were making a stand for each of our perspective football teams (who were also watching the game that day). The struggle is real.

FREEBIE Alert!

Be sure to scroll all the way down for Valentine’s Day FREEBIE! info

I present to you: The Anti-Super Bowl party.

wine tasters bountiful table  photo 1

The food was bountiful, the wine poured freely into royal cups

wine tasters connie dies 2

and tragedy was narrowly averted!

We choose a random theme (Game of Thrones), the Front Porch Wine Tasters went all-out dressing up. I am still impressed with the creativity of these wine tasters!

photo 3 wine tasters carol with white walkers wine tasters rudy and kerri wine tasters arvin and connie

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everybody tried on my wig 🙂

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I thought it would be a good time to choose some Valentine’s day wines. However, it was quite difficult to take proper wine tasting notes on all of the wines as the tasters mingled with each other, had their caricatures drawn and watched the court jester juggling and doing magic tricks.

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Plus, we had A LOT of wine!

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Whites

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Reds

Here’s what I got, Enjoy!

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 photo 3

2012 Bel Arbor Bella White Blend $2.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Scott announced, ‘this one is good’ and Terry agreed. Larry couldn’t quite identify the fruit he tasted – maybe apple. Kerri liked this white blend, she found it very floral. Becky said it was nice and sweet and Connie tasted spicy pear.

From the label: Sociable and spirited, with just a trace of whimsy, Bel Arbor wines entertain the palate and complement the mood. Take Bella White, bringing the crisp flavor of apple, peach and pear to the table. It loves whatever you’re eating but can happily stand on its own.

86.3 points from Cellartracker.com: A great wine for the price. Crisp, straw color with a hint of pear and apple 88 points. Very nice. Consistent, easy-drinking, well rounded, crowd pleaser 86 points. Smells and tastes of pears, light tropical fruits, spring flowers and melons. Pleasing texture. Nothing not to like 86 points.

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 photo 2

2012 Two Amigos Albarino $4.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Kerri thought this is a great spring wine and would pair well with a big salad. She prefers three amigos, but will settle for two. Becky found it to be crisp and citrusy. Larry enjoyed drinking his through a straw. Terry agreed ;-p

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From the label: Two friends, one path. The story of a journey. 2amigos.com   Ours is a natural wine meant to be drunk young, one to three years, when the fresh aromas of white peach, apricot, citrus and jasmine still prevail with a dry, lively, fruit and mineral finish with a firm acidity.

“2-AMIGOS“ is a perfect afternoon or after work wine. Accompanied by young white cheese it will bring out tremendous flavours. With fish, raw or cooked sea food it will outshine any other white wine. “2-AMIGOS” is a delightful wine meant to be drunk “cold” but it will also accompany any white meat dishes thanks to its firm acidity.

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2013 Myka Cellars Mitzi Chardonnay $8.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Connie started us off with this Santa Cruz Mountains Chard, saying it was very nice, full body – love it! Joe added ‘sexy body’. Terry didn’t really care for it, but Kerri called it mellow and added that she liked it a lot.

From the label: As a micro-winery, we create artisan, terroir driven wines from sustainable grapes in the heart of the Monterey Bay. We employ a hands off approach using natural fermentation and gentle handling to let the grapes shine. 100% Clone 4 Chardonnay. Enjoy Mitzi with white fish, creamy soft cheese and roasted chicken.

4.3 stars of 5 from Vivino.com: Nice sharp dryness, no oak is a plus

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2010 Manifesto Chardonnay $2.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

Terry liked this un-oaked Chardonnay, she found it sweeter than oak barrel aged wine. Caroline usually prefers an oaky Chard but reported that this is a good Chardonnay.

From the label: Great wine is made in the vineyard. Great wine doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Great wine should complement your meal, not overpower it. That’s our Monifesto!

On-line review: It has a wildly complex, floral nose of ripe pear, freshly squeezed key limes, fennel, orange zest, gardenia and a touch of salinity. Broad, bright flavors of pear, key lime, quince, green apple, and a hint of licorice coat the palate. It finishes long and lean, with secondary flavors of Bosc pear, tequila-laced orange zest and wonderful food-marrying acidity

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2011 Mc Williams Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Larry immediately liked the smooth aroma. Caroline did not taste any oak, but liked the summery citrus taste.

From the label: The McWilliam family has been at the forefront of Australian winemaking since 1877. Drawing on six generations of winemaking experience, McWilliam’s has created a classic Australian Chardonnay. McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate wines have been crafted using premium grapes from some of South Eastern Australia’s most renowned wine regions. This wine has a golden hue, with melon and tropical fruit aromas. The use of oak has added complexity and subtle vanilla overtones, ending with a long, crisp finish. The perfect accompaniment to grilled salmon or roasted chicken.

88 points from Palate Press: This very moderately priced Aussie Chardonnay walks the line between round buttery wines slathered in oak and linear bright wines from stainless steel. Crisp, with soft edges and vanilla that stays in the background, judicious use of the wood does great service to good fruit. Red apple flavors give way to peach, with just a touch of pie crust in the background. The price makes a good wine a great bargain. Buy it by the case and enjoy it year round. Drink with fried chicken. Recommended.

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2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay $2.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Becky tasted apples, peaches and pears. Kerri labeled it ‘Gooood’

From the label: Passing through the valley as harvest winds down, the vines reflect the sunset of the season. The fruit: collected; crushed. The joyful colors of fall now grow. Although work remains, we find the time to catch our breath, come together, and share the Red Autumn.

On-line review from Front Porch Wine Tasting last August! (we’re famous, lol)

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2012 Lost Angel Mischief Red $6.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Terry started us off with a ‘Oh! This is good!’ I found this Sonoma California red blend to be nicely fruity. Caroline called it easy drinking. She thought it would be a great table wine, one that many people would like.

From the label: Lost Angel’s wines are for people who appreciate bold, edgy and iconoclastic. They are as different and exciting as you’d like to be. As the old saying goes, if you only live once, make it count. If you live more than once, then who the hell cares? The name says it all. Maybe we shouldn’t have done it, but it was a lot of fun and we’re glad we did. Fruit forward flavors of black cherries, dried plums and sultanas.

3.5 of 5 from Snooth.com: This is a fantastic full body red with lots of flavor. They have it at the market for $7.00. This does not taste like a low cost wine. May be one of the best deals I have found. Has that nice finish and elegant taste. Highly recommend for you to give this a try.

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2009 Swami Pinot Noir $5.99

Elsewhere price $16.99

Terry commented on the nice color. Caroline called it a dark cherry color and found the wine very nice, ‘I like it!’ Becky commented that this pino was very soft, but had some body. It paired well with smoked turkey legs. (Later, I paired this with pot roast as well, perfect!)

From the label: A California native, Inspired by the land, sun and sea, Swami Pinot Noir is exotic and earthy. Fruit forward and approachable.

86.8 points from Cellertracker.com: Hanging strong. Tasting very characteristically PN now … earthy, ripe nose, powerful “tang”, a somewhat smoky finish 88 points

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2011 Orbiter Pinot Noir $6.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Terry first commented on the pleasing aroma, then added ‘Oh! Good’ after her first sip. Kerry thought it had a great smell as well and thought it tasted peppery. Joe S found it to be smooth, almost as smooth as Larry, and planned on buying some before its gone.

Vinted and bottled by Orbiter, Glen Ellen California

On-line review from Garyswine.com: Jam packed with red and black raspberries along with sweet cherries. Medium bodied with a nice velvety texture lasting into a long finish. A great value Pinot Noir!

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2012 Buonocore Syrah Lodi $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Joe called this syrah ‘The blood of Dragons!’ and he noticed the strong tannins. Becky said it was delicious on the nose. Arvin said it had a smooth palate, he tasted raspberries and he liked the smooth finish.

From the label: Vincent Buonocore, son in a family famed for generations in the wine & food business in Italy, immigrated to the U.S. in 1910 & settled in NYC. Established in America, the Buonocore Family expanded their Italian products to include California wines. In 1934 Vincent established the first winery in the state of Connecticut. Every year he traveled the state of California in search of fine wines & premium grapes to be produced, blended & bottled under the Buonocore label. With his sons & their sons, they established wineries in California extending the family tradition in wine to 6 generations.

From the winemaker: Brewing coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, fig and a hint of fresh blueberry is how I would describe this (as) approachable and well balanced syrah

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2010 Val Moon Zinfandel $6.99

Elsewhere price $21.99

Terry liked this Sonoma County Zin right away. She thought it would pair well with a nice steak w/garlic butter. Becky found it spicy and wanted to pair it with a Rib Eye and garlic mashed potatoes. I thought it was perfectly dry, and I’m always game for a good Rib Eye! Steve thought he would pair it with Aussie Fries. SMH

Produced and bottled by Val Moon, Glen Ellen – Sonoma County California

3.3 of 5 stars from Vivino.com

FREEBIE Alert!

carved magic candle

Remember, no matter what you serve at your Valentine’s Day dinner, everybody looks better by candle light. Go to the Manteca Grocery Outlet Facebook page (winner will announced Friday, Feb 13th, 2015) for a chance to win a Carved Magic Candle to light up your romantic table!

wine tasters s & d wine tasters relaxing