The Meaning of Life

Friendship-Quotes-4

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!

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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!

3 wine

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.

chocolate

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.

1 wine

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.

2 wine

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!)

4 wine

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.

split wine pic

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.