Carpe Diem!

Did you ever notice how fast time passes? Like when you first have a baby and everybody tells you they grow up so fast – take pictures and pay attention. And you’re like, yeah sure, I have decades ahead of me taking care of this new person. The next thing you know, they’re teenagers and you look back and think WOW. That was fast. You then become one of the people warning others to watch out, they grow up so fast.

I’ve noticed that as I get older, time goes by faster and faster. The holidays come quicker each year and there’s less time to prepare for them. I’ve had to be more creative in finding time to make progress on the famous DIY project list that must be done by Thanksgiving. (It’s kind of at a boring stage, stayed tuned for the before & afters!) Instead of making dinner when I get home, I head out to the garage to paint another coat on the cabinet doors and tell Steve to find something in the freezer to heat up. I am sick of painting cabinet doors. It takes forever. When I finally come back in, with an aching back and paint-stained hands, I find Steve and Jake eating apple pie for dinner. At least they used plates. Pass me a fork.

We all get older, but we don’t have to grow up. One day this past week I thought I’d try something new and act like a grown-up. I wore one of my nicer work shirts and a watch. That shirt was uncomfortable and the watch squeezed my wrist all day. So much for that! Acting like a grown-up is no fun. It was alright for a day, I guess, but I’d rather wear a comfortable shirt and go through the day wondering what time it is.

Sometimes we have to pay attention to time so we don’t miss out on something great. Like babies growing up or a 20% OFF WINE SALE that ends this Sunday (November 10, 2013) Time to stock up on great wines for the holidays so we can relax with our families and make new memories. Carpe Diem! Seize the day!

20% off wine sign

Here’s this week’s wine picks – worthy of stocking up…

four wines

Hey Mambo Swanky White ~ Carmen Chardonnay ~ Homestead 1897 Red Wine ~ Red Door Pinot Noir

This month is CHEESE-topia! (loosely translated means: cheese-lovers paradise)

fresh mozzarella     Irish cheese sliced

Here’s some wonderful CHEESE-topia treats! Fresh Mozzarella cheese drizzled with herbs and olive oil on slices of Campari tomatoes and two Irish Specialty cheeses from Kerrygold. Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey and Dubliner with Irish stout.

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 Hey Mambo 2

Hey Mambo Swanky White California $3.19 (after discount)

Elsewhere price $13.99

At first sip, I thought the Hey Mambo Swanky White was tangy. It’s color is very light and it tastes fruity like a summer wine. Terry said it was slightly sweet and also noticed the fruity bouquet. She liked it, as did Larry. Steve announced that this was his favorite white wine, tasted like sauvignon blanc.

Winemaker’s Notes

A refreshing blend of eyebrow-raising charm, this Hey Mambo Swanky White is markably an uncommon treasure. This vintage is a harmonious blend of Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Muscat Canelli, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Fresh and alluring, this wine is an ideal candidate for holiday occasions. Serve with herb and Dijon mustard roasted turkey or baked ham glazed with tropical fruit. When the heat sets in, try this wine as a base for a puréed, chilled watermelon-mint soup or a dessert of ripe blackberries and raspberries folded with freshly whipped cream made with Mexican or Tahitian vanilla.

The hue of fine yellow crystal, this wine unfolds with aromas reminiscent of summertime by the pool or in the garden with fragrant floral blossoms, rose petals, ripe apricots and a hint of cloves over a backdrop of lemon-lime from the Muscat. The palate is very juicy, honeyed with gooseberries from the presence of Viognier and grassy tones from the Sauvignon Blanc. This wine’s heart and soul is captivatingly fruity, with crisp acidity driven by the Chenin Blanc. It concludes with a clean, dry finish of Pink Lady apples, orchard peach and limestone.

90 Points from Wine Enthusiast

“The word for this white is fun. It’s filled with apricot, pineapple, peach,green apple, honeysuckle and spice flavors, and is not complicated, but has a fine, crisp structure. The creative blend is Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat and Chenin Blanc.”

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

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carmen-gran-reserva-chardonnay-2010

Carmen Gran Reserva Chardonnay Chili $3.99 (after discount)

Elsewhere price $14.99

This Chardonnay had a nice distinct aroma, that we collectively decided was apples. Steve tasted oak from the kegs but Larry said he could smell the kegs, but couldn’t really taste them. A very enjoyable glass of wine.

From the Winemaker:

A very fine chardonnay with a complex bouquet of fruits, wood, vanilla, and butter; pleasant in the mouth, with great body and length.

On-line review Tasting note:

The 2010 Carmen Reserva Chardonnay wins the Best Brie Wine award! It’s caramel, toffee depths are a perfect backdrop for such a rich cheese. The green apple and citrus notes give the wine a mouth-watering vibrancy. Top me up! Chardonnay  food  pairings: lobster in butter, rich pasta dishes, lemon chicken.

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Red door Pinot 2

Red Door Cellars Pinot Noir Oregon $6.39 (after discount)

elsewhere price $16.99

Warm tastes of cherries and berries. We let this Pinot breath for a good 30 minutes before tasting. Steve noted that it warms the tummy and Larry actually liked it! He doesn’t usually go for the red wines, but he may be coming over to the red side 🙂

On-line review:

13.5% alc., $21 (I have seen it on the internet for $18 which is a steal). Crafted by Laurent Montalieu for NW Wine Co. (Precept Brands) in McMinnville.      ·     Herb-dusted red fruits, sage, bay, oak and char on the pleasing nose. Very light, even ephemeral, with red cherry and strawberry flavors touched by herbs. The fruit is well-supported by supple tannins. Goes down like mother’s milk. My only nit is that the finish ends in a flash. ~The PinotFile

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homestead 1897 2

Homestead 1897 Napa Valley Red Wine $7.99 (after discount)

elsewhere price $35.00

Originally, I had planned on tasting the Homestead 1897 Cabernet Sauvignon. I bought two bottles the morning before wine tasting, but by the afternoon, Steve told me he’s just about sold out, he didn’t even put it out on the sales floor! Some of his regular wine customers came in and bought it by the case when they saw it on the pallet with all the new wines waiting to get to the shelf. So, I opted to get the Red Blend from the same winery. We did taste them both and honestly, I could not tell the difference. I’m sure a lot of you could, but not me. Terry commented on how it tasted very berry and Larry had a second glass! A second glass of red wine for Larry? Its a Front Porch Wine Tasting miracle!

Cellartracker Expert reviews:

1/2/2013 – dnsteadman Likes this wine: 86 Points – I decanted this bottle for about 4 hours and it opened up nicely. We drank it with appetizers and some cheese. It was sturdy but not overpowering and the tannins were fairly mellow after the decanting period. I have 3 more bottles in the cellar and plan to let them age a bit more but would not hesitate to open another bottle this year.

6/16/2013 – dorphil wrote:89 Points – Garnet color – Excellent. Not too overpowering. Went well with meat. Would buy again

8/4/2013 – dorphil wrote: 91 Points – Brick color – Excellent wine. Mellow but bigger than expected for the price. Would buy again

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Explosive Finish

So, for the last couple of weekends, Steve and I have been travelling. But, through the invention of technology and the widespread availability of Wi-Fi, I was able to continue sending out email blasts (sign up here) and posting Bargains on Facebook to completely fool you into thinking we were at work. We spent a long weekend in Palm Springs visiting family and we went to Green Bay, WI to watch football for our anniversary. Yes, we are Packer Backers. And, before all you Niner fans decide to hate us, just remember that without us you would’ve started the season 0-3. You’re welcome. (Congrats on last night’s win over the Rams!)

But, I digress. This post is about wine not football.

Let me regroup.

Since we’ve been away from home, not only has my DIY projects been on hold, (I like to have multiple major projects going on simultaneously – even at the risk of Steve’s sanity – that’s a whole other blog that has yet to be written) but, obviously there’s been no time for regular household cleaning. So, I headed home early to put the house in order. As orderly as it can be without any kitchen cupboard doors. It’s a work in progress…

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This week we heard a rumor that there were A LOT of people coming to the Front Porch to taste wine, so I had to do something about the kitchen dust (from sanding the cabinets) that covered everything in the entire house. When I say everything – I mean I own a ridiculous amount of wonderfully useless, but treasured, items and they all had to be dusted. Dusting is such a tediously stupid chore. Every week it has to be done again, even if you didn’t sand your kitchen cabinets without covering everything in plastic.

blog 2

Also, somehow the flowerbed in my front yard became neglected. The flowers are all gone and the grass has taken it over! Weeds are fairly easy to pull, but grass? Not so much. No time to fix that just yet. I cleverly disguised the problem with pumpkins and scarecrows. It seems as though I grew the grass 12” tall on purpose to accent my Fall decorations. Brilliant.

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Whew! Done. I’m ready for wine tasting.

First up, Riondo Pianello Soave $3.99. Sounds so Italian! blog 11

The color was incredibly light and the aroma was so – I don’t even know how to describe it – so delicious! Terry thought it had a very pleasant bouquet – understated. Kerri said it was not too over-powering, very mellow. Arvin said it was fruity and Larry also thought it was mellow. The Red Hat Ladies (new to the Front Porch this week) said it would good with fruit like crisp apples.

The label reads: ‘Excelsea, the new style Soave. Generous floral nose; elegant, zippy, apricot and pear palate, zesty acidity and lingering mineral finish. Delicious with classic Italian and Asian dishes.

Of course, we indulged! 48 piece Asian Appetizers $9.99 with Jamaican Style Jerk sauce 99¢.blog 9

Wine #2, 2011 Stonefly Vineyards Chardonnay $4.99 – elsewhere price $19.99! blog 6

On-line description: ‘Russian River Valley Chardonnay is renowned for acidity and lean, Burgundian style. StoneFly’s Chard follows suit, with apple, pear, and toast aromas trumping candied-citrus-peel aftertaste. The wine is light-bodied (an advantage to the balance—the softness is a foil to bright acidity) but offers enough to be a serious food-pairing white. The creamy lees contact and French oak regime come through with each taste. Drink now.’  ~source

We paired this wine with chilled green grapes, perfect. Larry and Terry both tasted apricots and said it was heartier than the first wine. Larry said it was more prominent, Terry didn’t agree with that, lol. Kerri said it had a delightfully fruity flavor without being too sweet. And, not overpowering like typical Chardonnay. Connie had a second glass and as she poured what was left in the bottle she announced, “I like this one!” Becky said it is dry with a touch of sweetness and would be good with chicken noodle soup this Fall.

Next up, Totally Random Sweet Red Wine $3.99. blog 8

Sometimes choosing a wine by its label is just the right thing to do.

Of course I liked this blend! I always love a blend, we all know that. The Red Hat ladies both liked it, not too sweet with a nice round flavor. Arvin said it was peppery – in a good way. Larry, who always prefers white wine, said it was not oakey. Just sweet enough, and he likes it!

To check out the tasting notes, click here. The label reads: ‘When a quiet night at home becomes a dance party, or a dinner with friends starts at dusk and ends at sunrise – life is giving you its best when you least expect it. So prepare for the unexpected. Be. Live. Think. Totally Random.’

Last, but not least, Roudon Smith Winery 2007 Syrah $5.99 – elsewhere price $16.99! blog 5

This was my favorite of the night.

We paired it with Premium White Cheddar $2.99, Hard Salami $5.99 and Toasteds $4.99blog 7

Larry says this one is oakey. Steve said it starts to mellow out when allowed to breathe. Whoa! Where did that come from Steve? You sound like you know what you’re doing… Rudy commented that it would be great with a nice big slab of red meat – Yeah. Steve seconds that. Becky thought it was smokey with a bite and should go with a rack of lamb and winter vegetables. Joe liked the smoothness and said there is not much to at first but has an explosive finish (who doesn’t like an explosive finish?). Definitely dry.

‘The wine is done in a Rhone style and shows layers of fruit with a herbaceous finish.  The wine has little oak influence, again very similar to what you would find from the Rhone, since most was aged in neutral American oak.  It is a delightful bottle of wine to be enjoyed over the next year or two.’ – source

Wow! Great comments this week, thanks to all for joining me on the Front Porch.