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.

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

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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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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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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!

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I need my Mojo back!

I thought I’d gotten pretty good at ignoring Mojo, the tiny dictator in my head. You know the one that politely encourages me to tackle household projects.

I’ve spent some weekends lately just kickin’ it watching movies and as much Netflix as possible. I tried to get myself motivated, but the pull of the couch kept winning out. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t really notice that he was gone at first. I knew something had changed. I even considered the possibility that I was coming down with a cold or something.

Then I got to thinking: Terry got Larry to clean out their shed, tear it down and build a new one.

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You remember the free old wood I got to build this table, it came from their old shed. Terry decided to use the RV space on the side of their house to create a Secret Garden Patio.

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She got Larry to cut a window out of the side of the house and install French doors leading out into the new patio.

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What!?! That has my tiny dictator’s name all over it! I thought at the time that Terry was Larry’s tiny dictator. But, as you can see here she’s pretty handy too!

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They also found the time and energy to re-decorate Terry’s sister’s master bedroom – hmmmm, suspicious.

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Terry picked out some of the furniture that had been stored in the shed to decorate the new patio. They painted with over-the-top colors, which I looovve, and planted tiny succulents all around. Terry sewed curtains and Larry installed a retractable shade. It’s decorated with fun & quirky stuff that Terry loves and they created a great space to have a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning or a glass of wine in the evening. It held almost 20 Front Porch Wine Tasters at it’s debut.

When I saw their completed Secret Garden Patio I knew. It was so obvious now: Terry totally kidnapped my Mojo.

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Thanks for having us Larry and Terry! Now, please send me my Mojo home. I neeeeed to finish my game-room before football season starts and my stairs are still torn apart.

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Turn 4 White Blend ~ Red Autumn Chard ~ Discoveries Cab Sauv ~ Castro Oaks Cab Sauv

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2010 Bennent Lane Winery Turn 4 White Blend California $3.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Misty thought this white blend was a little tart, but good with salsa. Joe S. said it made him stop and say, “Oh, that’s good”. Scott and Terry liked it but Pat said she didn’t care for it because it was too sweet. But, she added that she’s the type of girl who drinks vodka straight. Neighbors Steve & Dara choose this one as their favorite. Becky said it was crisp and Jose gave it a ‘thumbs up’.

86.3 Points from cellartracker.com

Wine Spectator – Offers appealing pear and fig flavors that are fleshy and round, with a juicy, ripe quality and details of floral and spice notes, especially on the finish. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Drink now. 4,410 cases made.

Wine Enthuisiast – Sweet and forward in pineapple, peach and lime flavors, this is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It has good acidity and a clean, spicy finish.

Tasting Notes – This refreshing California white wine is the perfect partner to our popular Turn 4 Cabernet Sauvignon. With aromatics of honeysuckle, white peaches and a hint of the tropics, this is an incredibly fruit forward and bright wine. On the palate there are rich flavors of mango and ripe peach, balanced by refreshing acidity and a lively clean finish.

 

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2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay California $2.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Steve and Larry liked this Chardonnay right away. Dean agreed, he said it tasted good. Brian commented that it was smooth and refreshing. Terry liked the white blend better, this one got her all flushed. Scott came into the store the next day to get a couple cases for his daughter’s wedding. Steve was able to bring in a second shipment, but at time of this writing – there is only about a case left of the second shipment.

The only on-line review I could find on this Chardonnay was not very favorable. Which just goes to show you that sometimes the wine snobs are wrong lol.

 

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2012 Discoveries Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon California $4.99

Elsewhere $12.00

Pat noticed the oaky aroma from this cab. Steve and Jose found it to be dry. I tried it with dark chocolate which was a perfect pair. Misty said it was strong and it cleared her sinus’. Dara labeled this one as her favorite too, especially for winter. Scott got a case of this for the wedding as well.

87 Points from cellartracker.com

Wine makers notes: Our Cabernet Sauvignon is deep red and violet in color with aromas of tea, cherry and blackcurrent accompained by toasted oak, almond, and a hint of cocoa. On the palate, concentrated fruit flavors give way to smooth, oaky tannins

 

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2011 Castro Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon Sierra Foothills $6.99

Elsewhere price $18.99

Joe R. stopped by before his hockey game for a quick sip of wine, he found this one to be oaky. Becky described this one as a ‘burst of berries’ and liked how it stays on your tounge. Bob called this one his favorite and Brian filled his glass! Terry said it was excellent and I thought it tasted like Syrah – which is my favorite. Dean liked it and Jose found it to be smooth and would pair it with red snapper. Misty  and Larry agreed that it was dry, smooth and less fruity than they expected.

4.0 out of 5 stars from Vivino.com

Wine maker notes: This Cabernet Sauvignon is warm and smooth harvested in mid-October at 3000′ elevation near Yosemite National Park. Aged fifteen months in new American Oak. A full bodied Cabernet with excellent balance of fruit, oak, vanilla, berry, and much more. Drink now or hold.