Ready for Thanksgiving!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I was Samantha Stevens. How great it would be to just twitch my nose and finish my DIY projects. If you’ve been following along, you know that I had a long list to complete in a short amount of time: painting the kitchen cabinets, the guest room and the guest bathroom. Yes, I know the bathroom wasn’t originally on the list – but, in my infinite wisdom, I started that one while completing the rest. It did bump the painting of the front doors though… for now.

kitchen before and after     bathroom before and after

Newly painted kitchen cabinets with new hardware and cultured marble bathroom counter (w/flat iron burn) painted to look like granite

guest room

Retro guest room – hard to get a pic of the whole thing, you can’t even see the most-amazing-thrift-store-find-ever, the purple egg chair!

I was fortunate enough to have all my kids get themselves on restriction! They all pitched in on my project list in exchange for an early release. Turns out, the youngest is a BOSS at baseboard miters. They are perfect! His prize will be to finish the entire house in new baseboards. Don’t tell him, I want it to be a surprise. Surprises are fun. 🙂

So, I’m ready for Thanksgiving. Let’s have some wine!

five wines

Terrapura Chard ~ EOS Chard ~ Concannon Cab ~ Cate Cab ~ Homestead Sangiovese

We paired these wines with a fancy selection of cheese!

goat cheese

I didn’t think I was a fan of goat cheese. It sounds like it should be kinda disgusting. I like to think of myself as adventurous, so we gave them a try. I cannot believe I waited 40 years to try it! They were the perfect compliment to wine tasting. I especially liked the Blueberry Vanilla, it tasted like dessert. Definitely not disgusting. Also, pictured are Garlic & Herb, 4 Peppers and Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil (not pictured: Cranberry Cinnamon). The price in those other stores is $4.39 for 4oz, but who would pay that when you can get it at Grocery Outlet for just $1.99? I will be serving these at Thanksgiving.

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Terrapura chardonnay

2011 Terrapura Chardonnay – Central Valley, Chili – $3.99

Elsewhere price $8.99

Larry says it was very light in color but, it’s got a bite. It’s a wine that’s down to earth. Brian said he liked this one and Becky thought it was earthy. Arvin said it was good and called it a blue collar wine. Terry noticed that everyone was enjoying it and Connie liked how it paired with the blueberry vanilla cheese.

The label reads: Terrapura represents the Balance Spiral, symbolic representation of the earth, that exists in perfect harmony with all the other elements from nature: climate and hand labor.

On-line review: An amazing value Chardonnay (at $10.99)! Big, rich, well-balanced and priced well below the recommended retail price – snap up Terrapura Chardonnay for a Wright Find from Chile!

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eos_chardonnay_1

2009 EOS Estate Chardonnay – Central Coast, California – $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Becky liked this Chardonnay right away and Steve tasted a hint of vanilla. Larry tasted grapefruit or pineapple and Brian said this one had more tannins, it was drier than the first Chardonnay.

The label reads: At EOS our approach to winemaking is traditional and natural; our methods are decidedly low tech. We allow the soils and climates of each vineyard site to be clearly heard in our wines. EOS Chardonnay is fresh, lush and refined with pear, citrus peel, pineapple and vanilla. (dang! Steve & Larry are getting good at this)

On-line review: This Chardonnay is ultra-fresh and approachable with aromas of red apples, lemon custard, pineapple and melon. Toasty oak fills in the palate and adds depth and character to the wine. While there is plenty of richness…

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Concannon

2008 Chateau Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon – San Francisco Bay – $6.99

Elsewhere price $10.99

Connie started right off by noticing the wonderful bouquet, she said it was very smooth and Arvin liked that it was full-bodied. Brian said this Cab was a winner with him, it had long legs but not too much tannins. Larry commented that it goes well with dark chocolate, he really liked it (Red again, Larry? Wow) and he can really taste the dark cherry. Terry agreed, she said it finishes well with the cherry taste.

The label reads: Our Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied, rich with black cherry and vanilla-oak flavors. Subtle spice and just a hint of chocolate mingle in the smooth finish. Enjoy with your favorite cut of beef or cheese.

On-line review: 84 Points. Aromas of sweet cherries, red licorice and rose petals, a little bit of pepper. Medium-bodied and tangy acid, lots of bright cherry and raspberry with notes of caramelized sugar, red licorice and soft toast. A fun, easy-drinking style.

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Cate Cab

2012 Cate Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley, Ca. – $8.99

Elsewhere prize $19.99

Terry found the aroma to be intoxicating before she even had a sip. Brian noticed that it had short legs and thought it would go well with a grilled steak. Arvin liked this one, he said it was dryer and he tasted black berries and enjoyed the finish. Larry and Steve both tasted tobacco, they collectively decided that it would be great with a cigar after a great big steak and loaded baked potato.

The label reads: Fragrant cassis, black cherry and cocoa notes tantalize the nose while the mid-palate is jam-packed with fleshy ripe tannins, blackberry, dark chocolate and tobacco flavors. The finish is well balanced integrating the ripe fruit with its plush tannins ending with subtle hints of caramelized almonds.

On-line review: Can you believe in this day and age that there is absolutely zero information on this wine? Nada, zip, zilch. Not even on the winery. No pictures, nothing, until this blog of course! My internet search gave me everything from cat wine to Cate Blanchett. Crazy.

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sangiovese

2010 Homestead 1897 Sangiovese – Napa Valley, Ca – $3.99

Elsewhere price $14.00

This wine was recommended to us by a regular wine customer. He taught Steve all about Sangiovese, including how to pronounce it. Steve worked Sangiovese into every sentence he possibly could after that, lol. He also learned that this is the prominent grape in Chianti. Chianti is usually a very dry red wine, but this Sangiovese was quite fruity. Terry and Cici both tasted peaches and Becky tasted elderflower. Terry also said it made her feel warm. Warm=happiness.

The label reads: In the boom of Napa Valley’s mining era 1897, Ed Haus homesteaded a small vineyard and ranch in the far north eastern corner of Napa Valley. Homestead 1897 is made with the same care and attention to detail as the first wines handcrafted during the turn of the century.

91 points from Cellar Tracker

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

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!