Road Trip!

The Front Porch Wine Tasters hit the road this past week for a long weekend in the mountains. I was really looking forward to taking time to relax with friends & family.

We had a blast!

     

But…

I’m grateful that I survived the trip up the mountain. Steve gets a little distracted by lakes and streams that are alongside the road. He lets the car get a kinda sweevy as he looks too long while deciding if… “Yep! There’s fish in there!” at Every. Body. of water we pass.

He also gets irritated by me:

  1. Reminding him that he is driving
  2. Clutching the door handle/bracing for impact
  3. Telling him I don’t want a close up view of the water from the car as it falls off the road

Needless to say, he was excited to be going fishing.

We all had a great time fishing, hiking and playing all kinds of games and, as always,  we had a lot of laughs.

Some of us may have even sang and/or danced (there is video).

    

Boys will be Boys (great wine glass balancing skills!)

    

Full Contact Croquet

 

So, on Winesday, we gathered on the Front Porch to debrief while we tasted some new wines that Steve has brought in just in time for Father’s Day!

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Hillersden Sauv Blanc ~ Anthony Koster Chard

Chillhouse Zin ~ Parlay Red Blend ~ Old Mill Petite Sirah

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2014 Hillersden Sauvignon Blanc

Marlmorough, New Zeland

$3.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $14.99 elsewhere

Kerri tasted fruity undertones, she doesn’t usually care for a Sauvignon Blanc but she liked this one. She seemed surprised at herself as she said again that she liked it. Becky thought in the glass it looked more like a chardonnay, she tasted tobacco. Joe agreed. Scott called it nice, not sweet and Steve found it fruity. Larry thought it was good right out of the bottle as he downed the last drop. Keepin it classy.

3.7/5 stars from Vivino.com: Clean @ crisp with a bit of fruit. I loved it. Easy drinking and a great summer wine. I was able to find it way under retail (probably @ Grocery Outlet) and might get a case

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2016 Anthony Koster Family Estates Chardonnay

Sonoma Ca

$5.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $18.99 elsewhere

On first taste, Connie said: “mmmmm, ew la la”. Larry said it was creamy. Becky thought it was more like a sauvignon blanc, and she tasted guava. She also tasted oak and said it was really good. Joe tasted peach or apricot, he couldn’t decide at first. After a couple sips he confirmed, peach. Scott found this Chardonnay to be smoky.

no on-line reviews found 😦  ~ this’ll be the first 🙂

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2010 Parlay the Bookmaker Red Blend

Central Coast, Ca

$4.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $19.99 elsewhere

Take a gamble on the blend, it always pays off! I heard Terry quietly say, “Oh! This is REALLY good, tastes like grape juice.” (I think she didn’t want me to hear). Kerri commented on the great aroma and Connie agreed with Terry – Tastes like mature grape juice. Becky tasted tobacco and Joe said he liked the dryness. Rudy agreed and Scott named this his favorite of the night.

88.4 points from Cellartracker.com: Mellow with dried fruit and earth flavors. For the price ($21 for me), it is a nice Wednesday night wine. I wouldn’t crack it open for special occasions but this would be really good with some BBQ ribs or grilled meats.

From the bottle: Rich aromas and sumptuous flavors of boysenberry & ripe black cherry form the backbone of this delicious wine made from premiere grapes grown at a combination of central coast vineyards in California.

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2012 Peachy Canyon Chill House Zinfandel

Paso Robles

~ Silver Medal Winner ~

$5.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $17.99 elsewhere

Kerri started us out with this Paso Zin, she tasted cherries. Connie said this wine was like having dessert. Terry agreed, she found it sweet. Connie added that this Chill House Zin really lights a fire, (she would have said her fire, but didn’t think she should) Smokin’ Hot Chill House. Becky thought it smelled like an old vine zin and Joe agreed. She added that she tasted Cuban cigar. She said she likes this one a lot, it stays with you – lingers. She said, “Let it sit on your tongue and it starts to tingle”. Yeah baby!

88 points from Tastings.com: Deep purple color. Mild aromas of baked berries, cocoa, and pickling spices with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, breezy dried berries and raisins, chocolate orange peels, and nuts finish with chewy tannins and light oak. A nice and easy, everyday zin.

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2014 The Old Mill Petite Sirah – Classic Nightfall Series

Amador County, Ca

$6.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $ elsewhere

Right off the bat, I knew I would like this one! Joe agreed from his first sniff. He said, “Oh man that is really good – what is it (referring to the aroma) it is deep… Becky thought this Petite Syrah would pair nicely with a rack of lamb. Joe added that the description on the label is spot on and he commented on the ‘nice stems’. Rudy tasted oak and fruit. Kerri smelled pipe tobacco and Becky agreed. Joe tasted licorice. Becky closed with, “this is really good”.

From the bottle: When Nightfall comes at The Old Mill, take the time to unwind and pour yourself a glass of this bold Petite Sirah. The rich, oak accented dark fruit flavors and aromas create intense color and soft structure.

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2017 Manteca Grocery Outlet Spring Wine Sale!

It’s easy being Cheesy!

I feel pretty comfortable saying I love cheese more than anyone. Anyone. I have a cheese drawer in my fridge. A drawer full of cheese. The fridge is often empty, but that drawer never is.

We get so many specialty cheeses in every week at bargain prices, it’s really a great time to be alive. I’ll tell you a little secret: we actually have regular customers that work at other grocery stores in town that come here just for the cheese. Shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.

Well, it’s no secret that wine pairs nicely with cheese so during the Marathon Wine Tasting on the Front Porch this week we had plenty of cheese. We set out to try as many wines as we could to get reviews for the 20% OFF Wine Sale this week (April 10 – 15, 2017), it’s tough job, but somebody has got to do it!

BTW, these Finlandia Spreadable cheeses are amazing! The vanilla bean flavor could pass as frosting, and is great with fresh strawberries. I think the sweet lemon is my favorite though.

So, let’s jump right in…

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Honeywell & Todd Chard ~ Pull Cab Sauv ~ Lithos Merlot ~ Botte Malbec

Bonus reviews:

~ Fabio Viviani Chard ~ Wind Storm Zin ~

scroll to the end for the rest of these ‘bonus’ wines

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2015 Honeywell & Todd Chardonnay, Lodi      $3.99

Elsewhere price: $12.99

Connie liked the aroma of apricot and commented that she tasted a touch of honey, Larry agreed but also tasted pear. Arvin thought it tasted like apricot right off the tree. Scott didn’t find it too sweet, which many whites are too sweet for him, he liked it. Zineb, AKA: the Rockin’ Morrocan (Scott’s D.I.L. to be), also really liked this Lodi Chardonnay. Neighbor Steve thought it was more like a Pinot Grigio than a Chardonnay. It paired really nicely with the spicy Mediterranean Jack cheese, which Terry called ‘earthy’.

Tasting notes Vivino.com: Sweet honey on the nose, light mouthfeel. Dry, underlying oak, good everyday chardonnay

$3.49 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $5.89 elsewhere

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2013 Fabio Viviani Chardonnay, California     $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Gold Medal Exceptional ~ Tasting.com

We opened this Chardonnay as a bonus tasting, Scott and Zineb are choosing wedding wines. Here’s their notes: Sweet without  Fruitty (lol) Fruity without being overly sugary. They choose this for the wedding J

Tasting notes and reviews: “We were surprised to find ‘Top Chef’ alum Fabio Viviani’s California wine here (at Grocery Outlet). We were even more pleasantly surprised to taste apple and pear, kissed with caramel.” ~Mary Orlin East Bay Times (published in Modesto Bee 4/5/17)

90 Points from Tastings.com: Golden yellow color. Bright, fruity, oaky aromas of toasty praline and apple tart with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long pineapple cake, crème brulee, and smoked nuts finish with fine tannins and light oak. A round and welcoming chardonnay with pleasing oakiness.

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2015 Wind Storm Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi     $5.99

Elsewhere price: $15.99

Also a bonus tasting, Zineb tasted grapefruit with dark chocolate finish. I’m not sure about grapefruit, this Old Vine Zin was more like spicy raspberry and a little vanilla. Definitely better after allowing it to breath a while.

3.9/4 stars from Vivino.com: Very fruit forward, nice strong spice finish. Long finish with the spice, fruit stays until the spice kicks in. I could drink alone but it is better when paired with food. Very good wine.

Really love nose on this one after it’s had some time to breathe, but the flavor profile is great too.

Bold. Thick. Chocolate and blackberry flavors. A very nice warm wine.

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2010 Pull Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles     $5.99

Elsewhere price: $17.99

Larry thought it was more like a pinot on the nose. Zineb thought it was nice. Arvin tasted blackberry. I found this medium bodied Cab very smooth, juicy at first, then just smoooooth. I could not identify the aroma, but I love it! It pairs nicely with caramelized onion meatballs 🙂

$4.99 at Manteca Grocery Outlet ~ $6.59 elsewhere

88 points from Winemag.com: Blackberry liqueur, violet, cola and slight dustiness form the nose of this well-priced wine ($18 on WineMag) The flavors are a bit thinner than expected, most reminiscent of ripe pomegranate.

Broken Earth Winery, Paso Robles: This fine Cabernet has ripe blackcurrant fruit and consists of ever emerging layers of complexity. The wine’s texture is of important note, as is the presence of balancing fine, ripe tannins. New French oak completes the wine’s structure, offering the perfect physical support for the lingering fruit flavors.

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2014 Lithos Merlot Reserve, Napa     $11.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Kerri commented on the great aroma of berries right off the bat, she called it full bodied and smooth. Steve thought he tasted licorice? Arvin found this Napa merlot dry and peppery. Yeah, Steve said, pepper not licorice. Arvin said, it tastes like more… (as he poured a second taste). I thought the tannins showed in the end with a nice dryness. Definitely a wine to take as a hostess gift or for a Holiday dinner. Pairs nice with grilled garlic butter chicken and excellent with dark chocolate.

There is absolutely no information about this wine or even the vineyard online.  The label says: Vinted & Bottled by Lithos Vineyards, Oakville, CA.  This is the second Lithos wine we have reviewed on the Front Porch, the cab label also mentioned that it is family owned and “from the heart of Napa Valley”.

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2013 Botte Malbec, California     $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

I noticed the relaxing nose on this Malbec right away. I wish I could identify it like a wine snob, but for me, it’s a feeling that I get when I smell a wine I like. Arvin said fruity and sweet, Terry said spicy and nice. Arvin added that this what he’d call an after dinner wine. A wine that you’d kick back and sip and watch T.V. Terry agreed and said it goes down real smooth. Intense and deep, with ripe mulberry fruit flavors. Long and satisfying.

From the label: This Malbec is smooth and elegant with flavors of mocha, spice and vanilla.

Also no on-line tasting notes or reviews. The label says Vinted and Bottled by JL Giguiere, Zamora, CA. Which is the same winery/family that makes Matchbook wines.

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Bonus Wines ~ wines I tasted alone or that we have tasted in the past.

2015 Raviva Chardonnay $3.99 / $16.99 elsewhere

Starts out light, but has a smooth buttery finish. We reviewed the 2012 year here

2015 Raviva Cabernet Sauvignon $5.99 / $18.99 elsewhere

Lots of fruit and I’m pretty sure I’m tasting oak in this one

2015 Projection Chardonnay $4.99 / $12.99 elsewhere

4.1/5 Stars from Vivino.com: Med oak nice around chard I enjoyed this wine very much. Love the clean, crisp taste. No butter! It did have more fruitful flavor as it warmed. Previously reviewed on the Front Porch

2015 Projection Cabernet Sauvignon $5.99 / $14.99 elsewhere

92 pts – Brian Whitaker, GM/Somm (source)

“Wild black cherries, sweet red plums, licorice, hint of lavender, mild oak, vanilla, and spice.  Recommended Pairing: Iron-Skillet Steak with Thyme Butter”

2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Chardonnay $5.99 / $21.99 elsewhere!

Creamy wood, ripe pear and toasted nut flavors combine in this rich chardonnay that fills the mouth with rich, satisfying flavor and a lingering finish. Previously reviewed from the Front Porch

2015 Pra Vinera Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $6.99 / $21.99 elsewhere!

3.7/5 stars from Vivino.com: Light on the tannins, nice finish. A delightful surprise at the G.O. 2015 is sweet and very easy to enjoy. Light for a cab, but my preference. Delicious- smooth with a slight bite to finish. Dark cherry undertones. 2012 reviewed from the Front Porch.

2014 Perseverance Cabernet Sauvignon $6.99 / $11.99 elsewhere

Winery Notes: Rich and full with black cherry flavors followed by hints of exotic spices and plums. Nicely balanced with backbone. The finish is full and satisfying allowing it work well with red meats, red-sauced pasta dishes and chicken sausages with sautéed onions and green peppers.

Memorial Day – Celebrate * Honor * Remember

The other day, I happened to be scrolling through Facebook and I saw the first Memorial Day post in my news feed this year. I thought I’d share it with you today courtesy of my cousin Tracy 🙂

Memorial-Day-2016-1024x567

Just a reminder that Memorial Day is not about BBQ’s, a day off work or parties.

It is to remember those that have fallen to protect those rights to have that BBQ, that day off of work or that party!!! I will remember and never forget their sacrifice!!

I love this reminder to just simply remember our fallen soldiers especially during our BBQ’s and parties. Most of us can’t even fathom the sacrifice that they and their families have made for all Americans. I believe they appreciate the fact that we all choose to celebrate our Freedom, each in our own way, in their name.

The “Gone but Not Forgotten” Memorial Day event at Woodward Park right here in Manteca is the place to be this weekend! If you haven’t been yet, Go. You have to experience this event. Check out it out here: Not Forgotten

“Not Forgotten” is an annual event that takes place every Memorial Day Weekend in Manteca, California. The purpose of the event is to honor all who have served our country in the military, to remember our fallen heroes and their families, to raise awareness in our community and remind our citizens that freedom is not free.

God Bless America!

I plan on going to the Not Forgotten weekend and we’ll probably BBQ at some point during the weekend as well. My flag will out on the house, and I hope to gather with some good friends. Of course, good friends deserve good wines…..

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Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc ~ 2013 Costiera White Blend ~ Graymont Chardonnay

Valley of the Moon Orbitor ~ Woodwork Red Blend

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2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc

Elsewhere price $11.99 ~ Our Price $2.99 ~ You Save 75%!

I actually had never tried this variety of wine, and I still cannot pronounce it :-/ But, I don’t need to be able to say the name to enjoy it (thank goodness cause I really liked it) Arvin thought it was a nice summer wine and it paired nicely with the spicy shrimp guac that we had. Joe R said it was a little tart, and Steve agreed – tart like a Granny Smith apple. He added that this is a good one. Joe S called it nice, and said it had a little bite to it. Terri and Misty both liked this lighter wine and Ethan called it smooth.

Winemaker’s Notes

A powerful nose of guava, lime zest and ripe pear braced by honeysuckle and orange blossoms. A juicy palate with opulent passion-fruit, following through from the nose and finishing off with tart grapefruit characteristics. The refreshing acidity is perfectly counteracted by a creamy mid palate and subtle oak-derived spice. The 2011 vintage is a more fruit-driven style that is fresher and drier comparing to the 2010 vintage. A delightfully accessible wine that is mouth-wateringly moreish.

Partner with shellfish, grilled tuna, grilled sardines, lemon and herb roast chicken, or vegetable stews

88 points from WineEnthusiat.com: “Young and fresh, this Chenin shows the stuffing to hold for another couple of years thanks to firm, tight acidity and a solid fruit core of pear, melon, guava and lime rind. The mouthfeel is round, but the palate isn’t heavy. An attractive hint of sweet spice unfolds on the finish.”

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memorial day wine 2

2013 Costiera Russian River Valley White Blend

Elsewhere price $22.99 ~ Our Price $6.99 ~ You Save 70%!

I took note of the very light color of this Russian River Valley White wine. Arvin said it has a little tingle – like a sangiovase. Steve noticed it’s long legs and fruitiness. Joe R agreed with Arvin that it was like a red – stronger than you’d expect a white to be – and he agreed with Steve on the fruitiness. I didn’t get notes from the other tasters on this Chardonnay as the Front Porch was pretty lively, so I missed some comments :-/

Winemaker’s Notes

Enticing aromas and flavors of pears, stone fruit and citrus Rich texture and complexity on the palate balanced by crisp acidity and clean finish. 83% Pinot Grigio, 17% Vermentino

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memorial day wine 4

2013 Limited Reserve Graymont Estate Napa Chardonnay

Elsewhere price $19.99 ~ Our Price $6.99 ~ You Save 65%!

This is the type of Chardonnay that I really enjoy! Steve called it buttery and sweet, definitely buttery though I didn’t really find it sweet. Arvin and Kerri were trying to identify the aroma, they decided on tobacco (but that could’ve been Ethan and his pipe). Joe R thought it had a buttery aroma and he said it ‘stays up a little longer’ (turns out that means, long legs). Larry said, Whoa! It clears your sinuses – great before bed wine to keep you from snoring.

I spent way longer than I should’ve searching the interweb for any info on this wine. I have nothing to show for it but this link to the GraymontWinery.

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memorial day wine 5

2011 Valley of the Moon Orbitor Sonoma County Red Blend

Elsewhere price $16.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 71%!

Misty called this red blend a good one! Arvin thought it paired nicely with Misty’s chocolate birthday cake (Happy Birthday Misty!) This was the winner of the night for Joe R. He complimented the aroma, he loves the smell of a good red wine. He called it ‘heavy’, adding: it’s a strong blend of all the good red wines (Zinfandel 49%, Petite Sirah 39%, Syrah 12%). It’s ready to drink now.

Surprisingly, only a 82.8 points from CellarTracker.com the reviews seem like they are from a completely different bottle of wine! But, the newest review is a year old. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t ready then.

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memorial day wine 1

2013 Woodwork Central Coast Red Blend

Elsewhere price $15.99 ~ Our Price $4.99 ~ You Save 69%!

Arvin was afraid this Central Coast Red might have some sawdust flavors, but he was wrong. Terri and I both found it to be smooth. Joe R called it super dry – solid wood – the dryness sucks the juice from your gums. He thought it would be great with BBQ but he would lay it down for a couple years. Ethan said it smoothes out as you go, especially if you add an ice cube. Joe didn’t want to sit by Ethan after that, lol.

From the bottle: Influence: toffee, mocha, clove notes – Expression: Blackberry, plum, black current notes.

4.1/5 stars from Vivino.com: Toffee and mocha are evident but blackberry and plum come through as well. Smooth and tasty

 

 

Why don’t you just hire a guy?

That’s it! I’ve given up on the stairs. I have been considering the unthinkable….. hiring a guy to do the work! GASP

Clearly I don’t want to do it myself. I have removed the old carpeting from only half of the steps plus the landing. The landing is refinished but only one new step is in place. I say ‘in place’ because it could actually use a few more nails. I’m pretty sure it’s safe but the dog doesn’t trust it. (this dog) She hops over it on her way up and down the stairs. Do dogs have a sixth sense about danger? (I’ll have to google that later)

I love the finish on that one slightly-wobbly-possibly-dangerous step.

landing 2  landing 3  landing 4  landing 5

Landing Pics – re-finished subfloor

Can I actually trust a stranger to duplicate it eleven times? I think I’m gonna have to if I ever want completed stairs. At the rate I’m going now, it’ll take 22 more years just to replace the rest of the steps. Not to mention the risers and the railing.

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these are not my stairs… yet

I really wanted to spend my weekends this Fall baking all the recipes I see on Facebook, not working on the stairs. You know, if I would just set my mind to getting it done, it would only take one weekend.

The problem with hiring someone to work in my house?

  1. I don’t trust anyone to do it exactly the way I want it.
  2. Thinking about it gets me all fired up to do the work myself.
  3. It’s more expensive than doing the work myself.
  4. He might will do better work than me – I can’t have that
  5. I’d want him to fix all my work around the house.
  6. Hiring a guy is shameful
  7. It’s like admitting defeat

It’s settled then, I might have to quit my day job to finish those stairs. Don’t worry, I’ll still keep my second job, you know the one where I try ALL the wines that come into the store so I can tell you about them. Yeah, that one. It’s a tough job, but somebody has got to do it.

This week is our 20% OFF WINE SALE!

wine blog stairs 5

Only 7 days Nov 4-10 2015

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Here’s this week’s wine picks

wine blog stairs 4

Michel-Schlumberger Chardonnay ~ Blackjack Allusion Red

Chateau Grand Billard Bordeaux

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2013 Michel-Schlumberger Chardonnay $4.99

($3.99 after 20% discount this week)

Elsewhere price $16.99

89.3 points from Cellartracker.com

The Front Porch Wine tasters were all without their spouses tonight, spouseless tasting. Larry started us off with this California Chardonnay with a mmmmmmm. Arvin said it was very good, and would make a good Thanksgiving wine. Scott agreed, he thought he’d get some to bring to the in-laws this month. Ethan and I both liked how it paired with a spicy chipotle cheddar cheese. This one is selling by the case, plus it’s super fun to say the name.

On-line review from Cellartracker.com: Pale gold. Typical restrained aromas and flavors of the Dry Creek growing area — i.e., obviously Chardonnay but not overly fruity, tropical or tart. There is enough substance to offset the 14.7% alcohol but could use a little more acid. Finishes with just a hint of chalk and bitterness, which I like. At the $14 I paid for it, a real steal

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wine blog stairs 2

2007 Blackjack Ranch Allusion Red Blend $3.99

($3.19 after 20% off discount this week)

Elsewhere price $24.99

89.5 Points from CellarTracker.com

Arvin liked this Santa Barbara County red blend right away. He said it had a current aroma and he tasted black licorice. And, with the power of suggestion, I tasted it too! I would call this a nice drinking wine, tastes nice by itself, very smooth. Larry liked the aroma and thought that Terry would really like it. Steve called this one his Fav.

On-line reviews from CellarTracker.com:

WOW this one was a pleasant surprise. We really like this one

Almost no nose. Restrained black cherry on the palate. The strength of this wine is on the mid-palate. Good mouth feel with friendly tannins. Medium bodied with a light but lingering finish. No Cali fruit bomb here. Very very easy drinking

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wine blog stairs 1

2011 Chateau Grand Billard Bordeaux $6.99

($5.59 after 20% off discount this week)

Elsewhere price $21.99

91 Points from the Los Angeles International Wine Competition

88.3 Points from CellarTracker.com

Ethan couldn’t wait to get to this French Bordeaux, he found that he liked it (no surprise), he added that it was full bodied. Arvin agreed, and compared it to Marilyn Monroe – nice body. He said it was dry and it had an aroma of a Cuban Cigar. I liked the aroma, it was not overbearing. Larry agreed, calling it mild. Steve liked it better after it got some air. Becky liked how it paired with chocolate and she said it was kind of buttery, but not like a Chardonnay is buttery.

On-line reviews from CellarTracker.com:

Recoding my note from memory. Getting a little more complex than the last bottle a few years back. Medium bodied, tannins slowly integrating. Nothing mind blowing but great value for the price and will continue to get better

Dark red colour. Spicy nose, a little wood, and closed berries. Certainly very young and very closed still. Medium bodied, tight tannins, but seems to have some nice layers of fruit underneath. Needs a bit of time. Will revisit in a few years

FOUND: The Perfect Paint Color! (Part 2)

After 150 trips to Home depot for gray paint, painting splotches all over the walls (see Part 1 here), mixing different grays together and with random left-over paints from my collection in the garage then painting more splotches on the walls, I found the perfect paint color.

gray blog paint color

Thank goodness it was not one of my custom mixed colors. I would’ve never been able to duplicate the exact recipe of absurdly measured colors for the guy at Home Depot anyway. Unless he is used to measuring paint by counting One Mississippi, Two Mississippi as he slowly pours one paint into another.

The perfect paint color was already painted in my game room. It was the base color that my daughter painted under the ‘brick’ wall. It only appears as grout, but it’s perfect. Porpoise in an eggshell finish. BTW, King-Veto loves the eggshell finish.

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Side note: I’m sure my daughter just strolled right into the paint department and grabbed the first gray without any thought or planning at all. Because the universe takes pleasure in watching me over-think the insignificant details of my five-year-flip.

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Cement floors stained, new baseboards painted and installed, new paint on walls & trim, fireplace whitewashed and walnut installed above mantel – all done.

Living room complete. CHECK!

Ahhhhhh, a finished room. I don’t even know how to live like this.

gray blog stairs gray blog stairs 2

Not to worry. I still have to paint the rest of the place and finish those darn stairs.

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Here’s this weeks wine picks:

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Ca’ Bella White Blend ~ Redwood Empire Chard ~ Sunset Oak Syrah ~ Sticky Beak Toscana

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2010 Ca’ Bella White Blend $3.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerri noted the floral aroma and said this Pinot Grigio/Fiona blend is light and crisp. Terry commented that she liked it a lot. Larry agreed, saying: Ummm, that is good. He added that he tasted pear and found it refreshing, Joe also thought it was pear-ish and nice. Becky thought it was a tiny bit sweet. Scott said it paired nicely with the spicy guacamole.

From the label: “Va piano” in Italin means to “proceed calmly”.  At Lago di Merlo we have blended the best of the northern part of Italy with some of the best from the south to create “Pi-ano”. The Pinot Grigio contributed to the earthy steeliness of this wine while the Fiano gives it the lush stone fruit character that is so supple. It is the only blend of its kind that we know of. Please enjoy the diversity of these two great Italian grapes in the same bottle. Salute!

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2012 Redwood Empire Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Steve liked this North Coast Chardonnay right away. He called it full-bodied and he thought he tasted citrus. Kerri agreed, she tasted mandarin and added that it had nice legs. Larry found it to be refreshing and Terry said it was spicy. Becky liked the fruity aroma, she tasted kiwi or grapefruit.

Tasting notes from Vivino.com: Honeysuckle and pear on the nose. Buttery mouthfeel with a hint of honey and vanilla and a touch of pear. Medium length finish that is warming

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2012 Sunset Oak Syrah $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

This Sonoma County Syrah has a beautiful plum color. Larry like the aroma and it’s smoothness. He said it had legs all the way up to it’s bum (I cleaned that up for ya!),  he also liked how it paired with chocolate. Scott called it grapey (lol) and Becky tasted plum with an oak finish. Kerry agreed on the plum and called it velvety as well. Joe thought it was nice and mild with a tang to it.

3.5 stars out of 5 from Vivino.com: Californian Syrah certainly isn’t a wine for the meek. This bold, spicy wine typically has heaps of raspberry, black fruit and heady levels of alcohol.

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2011 Sticky Beak Toscana $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Kerry called this Toscana spicy and would like to try it with a good rib eye steak. Terry said it tickles your nose and Becky really liked it. She added, ‘mmmmmm’. Then whispered, ‘It’s like an explosion in your mouth’. Scott said it was very nice and Joe liked the dryness. We all agreed that it was good with brownie bites.

4.5 stars out of 5 from Vivino.com: “Really good wine for the money, great acid that pairs well with food, Italian of course, but also roasted lamb would be great.”

Tasting notes from the Wine Maker: Wonderful lifted red fruit and light herbs on the nose, with a good palate and tight clean acidity. Tart cherry typical of Tuscan Sangiovese melds seamlessly with luscious Merlot and a hint of spice from the Syrah. Drinks beautifully now, and will only get better with a little bit of age

That’s why we can’t have nice things, Happy Mother’s Day!

So, it turns out that we just can’t have nice things. I plant a nice flower bed but it doesn’t stay nice. It needs attention. Someone to water it and weed it. I fix things and more things need fixin. I decorate the house, everything in its place, then people move stuff or disturb the dust revealing the required maintenance. It used to be easier. When my kids were little, they did all the household chores. Now they’re grown and I might have to hire a guy; clearly I didn’t have enough kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy they all grew up and everything. But come on! I didn’t realize the free household labor I had until it was gone. I love who they are as adults, biting sarcasm and all. It doesn’t matter how other people may see them, they’re happy and so am I.

Here’s a random eighties reference (with a twist), see if you recognize it:

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did WAS wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is

… a DIYer…

…and a wannabe golfer…

…and a hippie…

…and a hipster…

…and a gamer…

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, the Tarr Pitt.

 

It might’ve been nice if they grew up to be a pool man, a maid and a gardener. Just sayin.

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2015 Mother’s Day Family Portrait

Let’s Celebrate Motherhood with some Wine!

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 three whites

Savida Sangria ~ Taproot Chardonnay ~ Bushranger Chardonnay

three reds

Benessere Sangiovese ~ William Hardy Shiraz ~ Taproot Cabernet Sauvignon

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 Savida-Sangria-4-White-600x900

Savida White Tangerine Peach Sangria California $3.99

Elsewhere price $11.99

I thought we’d try something different to start this week off, Summery Sangria. Terry noticed an apricot aroma in the bouquet. She found this wine blend pleasant, but sweet. Scott thought the sweetness paired well with the two spicy cheeses we had, Spicy Gouda and Salsa Jack. Joe R called it a desert wine, 50% fruity and 50% sweet. Steve thought it was an enjoyable summer wine. I think this is a good starter wine. You know, when you’re trying to ease someone into the wine experience. Serve very cold.

From the winemaker: California varietal wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio give a crisp base and are blended with real Tangerine, Peach, Lemon and Lime. No sugar added and real fruit gives complex flavor and clean balanced sweetness.

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bushranger chardonnay 2 bushranger vineyard

2010 Bushranger Chardonnay Australia $3.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

Larry liked this Aussie Chardonnay right away, he noticed an oak aroma. Scott agreed, he said he likes the bush, it’s got a little tang to it! SMH, I wasn’t gonna use that comment but it was true. I noticed a citrusy tang. This Cellartracker reviewer agreed: Fresh straw yellow. Lemon tang, a bit of wet stone, and warm caramel nose. Medium to full bodied, somewhat viscous, grapefruit, slightly bitter almonds, and a fairly long slightly sour finish. Kind of austere with just a touch of oak

86 points from Cellartracker.com

 

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taproot chardonnay

2012 Taproot Chardonnay Central Coast $3.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Arvin commented that this California Chardonnay was spicy, good spicy. Connie said it’s good, kinda tart like a green apple. Terry agreed, she liked the clean finish on this one.

WORLD WINE CHAMPIONSHIPS AWARD: Gold Medal

91 points from Tastings.com: Aromas of lemon yogurt and pineapple tart with a silky, fruity-yet-dry medium body and a tangy, pineapple-mango vanilla custard finish. An unassuming, yet very pleasant and precisely made chardonnay

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taproot cabernet sauvignon

2011 Taproot Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast $4.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Becky started us off, she said this Cab had a nice aroma. She liked it, saying it’s almost peppery – but maybe bell peppery. Terry like the boldness and Ethan said, ‘put me down for a case’. I thought it was very smooth. Arvin tried to hoard this Cab at his end of the Front Porch.

Longbeach Grand Cru 2013 BEST IN CLASS

Tasting notes from the winemaker: Deep ruby in color, our Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of ripe, dark fruits and warm, toasty oak.

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william hardy shiraz

2012 William Hardy Shiraz Australia $3.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Scott commented on the dark color, he liked the spicy-sharp finish. Terry tasted red berries and liked how it paired with the dark chocolate. Becky tasted tobacco and vanilla oak.

90 points from Wine.com

Winemaker’s Notes: This full bodied Shiraz has intense dark fruit flavors balanced with spicy oak, smooth tannins and a long silky finish. The perfect accompaniment to lamb shanks and roast meats.

87 points from Cellartracker.com: Attractive aromas of dark berry fruit and cocoa, then rich sweet dark berries leading to a spicy note and smooth good finish.

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 benessere red truck benessere sangiovase 2 Benessere vineyard napa

2009 Benessere Sangiovese Napa $6.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Terry called this Napa Sangiovese smooooooth, she liked the berries at the end. Joe R said it bites you back. Larry thought it was mild and he tasted currant, he commented on the beautiful legs. Steve said, “I like it! Write that down.” Let this one breath.

87.6 points from Cellartracker.com

90 points from Cellartracker reviewer: Thought this was quite good and a great QPR. Cherries on the nose and palate. Medium body with medium tannins and finish. Drinking very well. A nice “Italian” from California. Only one more bottle remaining; wish I purchased more

The Quest for the Best Paint Color in the History of Paint Colors

I’ve learned that the best time to make big changes or start huge projects is while Steve is golfing. Let me give you an example. Years ago, in our previous house, I thought it’d be cool to build a bar for the game-room. A seven foot long bar. I planned it in my head each night instead of sleeping until I had to build it just so I could get some rest. I made the mistake of telling King-Veto my plans. He said, ‘Do Not Build a Bar’. Then he left for his early tee time with his brother Chris.

Like the submissive wife that I am…. I went to the garage and started building. By the time they got home, it was mostly complete except for the bar top. They found me in the garage. Steve said, ‘what are you doing?’ It wasn’t an angry ‘what do you think you’re doing’, it was like he didn’t remember the bar/no bar controversy at all and was actually curious about what I was doing. So I said I was building a giant dog house. This was acceptable to him. A bar height, seven foot long dog house.

???????????????????????????????

(the only picture I could find of my first bar)

In his defense, we did have a giant mastiff that would actually require a house of this size. He wasn’t fooled for long, but while he was Chris sure enjoyed it.

So, in my quest to find the perfect paint color I had to paint the walls gray-camo.

camo wall 1     camo wall 2

I was worried that it would tip Ol’ King-Veto off about the start of a big painting job. But, when he returned from golf he didn’t even notice! He just came in and threw his keys down on the mantle.

camo wall with mantle

This mantle with the swatches painted right there!

The next day, when Larry & Terry came over to give me their opinions, he claimed he did notice. (unlikely). What he did notice was the egg-shell finish. I claimed that it was flat, he only likes flat paint. I don’t know if he’s on to me yet…

To be continued on the perfect paint color. I’m looking for a grayish color with a blue or green undertone. Not too much blue or green, not too light so it looks like dirty white and not too dark either. It’s an imaginary color that exists only in perfect light on HGTV. Impossible to duplicate in reality so far.

I need a couple days to contemplate the colors, some times you just have to drink things through. Let’s have some wine!

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three wines blog

Dream Walking Chard ~ Algorithm Red ~ Four Star Cab

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dream walking chardonnay

2010 Dream Walking California Chardonnay $4.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Terry got the first taste of this St. Helena California Chardonnay, she gave it a thumbs up! Kerri commented that she didn’t taste any oak and liked the floral bouquet. Arvin said, ‘not too bad for a white.’ We all agreed that the wasabi chips paired nicely with this crisp Chardonnay.

Tasting notes from the winemaker: Dream Walking is a nuanced, medium-bodied Chardonnay that is broad on the palate. In the glass, the wine is clear and bright with notes of marzipan, meyer lemon, chamomile, and pineapple. Dream Walking finishes with focus and will pair well with ceviche, simple grilled fish, or a spicy vegetable dahl

On-line review from WineWithLisa:  For those of you who are tired of heavily oaked and buttery Chardonnays, your dream has come true! Cultivate Wines gives us a virtually un-oaked Chardonnay -Dream Walking- with the freshness and crisp acidity of meyer lemon and hints of pineapple,banana and green apple. Cooler growing conditions in the Mendocino and Santa Rita Hills subregions of California and fermentation without the use of heavy oak allows the freshness and fruitiness of this Chardonnay blend to stand front and center. Raise your wine glass to your nose,close your eyes and and inhale the subtle aromas of lemon peel,floral jasmine and fragrant almonds.

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algorithm red

2012 Algorithm California Red Blend $4.99

Elsewhere price $10.99

***Silver Medal, Best Buy – BTI World Value Wine Competition, 2013***

Kerri started us off with this California Red Blend, she took a sip and tasted Red Velvet Cake! Rudy said it was excellent with the fresh raspberries, it really brings out the cherry flavor. Arvin tasted vanilla and Scott called it, ‘kinda nice’. Steve tasted black cherry and plum. He added that when paired with dark chocolate, it completely changed the taste. Rudy agreed, but preferred it with the berries.

Tasting notes from the winemaker: The Algorithm Red Blend possesses a network of dark cherries and plums, interlaced with rich notes of chocolate and vanilla. Mature tannins create a silky backbone that is linked together with ripe, concentrated fruit flavors. Enjoy young to fully appreciate its abundant fruitiness.

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four star cab

2013 Four Star Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $9.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Larry thought this Napa Cab was more mellow than a traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, kinda like a red blend. Kerri liked the spicy & dry tampernero and liked the pairing with salted caramel brownies. Steve agreed with the dryness, he says he appreciates a dry wine.

4.0 stars from Vivino on-line reviewer: I thought it was a great value at $10 at Grocery Outlet. Full body with a nice hearty finish

86 points from Cellartracker on-line reviewer: Nice fruit forward. Opened up well in 30 minutes (in the interest of full disclosure, the next reviewer did not like this cab. He gave it 80 points and did not finish the bottle, he poured it out. I guess he didn’t get it a Grocery Outlet where he could’ve returned it if he didn’t like it. bummer for him)