Getting ready for Summer

So, here we are again. The hot summer months are on the way. What else can we do but seek out the shade and drink our chilled summer wines around the pool until Fall finally gets here.

I actually started a backyard makeover five years ago and never really got to the finish line.

Here’s the only before picture I have

before

So, right there along the fence on the left side is where we removed the alien trees. We added brick first, then let is sit for a few years until the fence looked like it was gonna fall down.

before 2

So, we added new posts

after 1

Posts that looked like they should be a pergola…

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Yeah, so the fence is fixed and I have a nice shady place to drink wine all summer.

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Hopefully, I’ll finish the rest of the yard soon.

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Let’s get started!

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Field Notes Chardonnay ~ Bixby Creek Bridge Chardonnay

Pile Driver Red Blend/Cab ~ Querceto Chianti

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2012 Field Notes Chardonnay – Sonoma County

Elsewhere price $10.99   ~  Our Price $4.99   ~  You Save 55%!

Joe S. started us off and declared this ‘a good one’. Steve agreed. My first sip wasn’t chilled enough, but after it was I really liked it. Misty and Rudy both agreed, definitely serve this Chardonnay super chilled it’s a real nice summer wine.

From the bottle: Luscious honey and crisp apple notes.

Tasting notes: This Chablis-style Chardonnay enters the palate with the elegant ease of Meyer lemon, crisp green apple and ripe stone fruit flavors that gracefully extend into a refreshing and zesty finish.

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2014 Bixby Creek Chardonnay – Napa

Elsewhere Price   ~    $24.99    ~   Our Price $6.99    ~    You Save 72%!

Larry like the aroma and Kerri thought it was sweet at first, then she tasted citrus. Scott said it grows on you (remember, he doesn’t care for white wines) Connie said she like this chardonnay, then added: it makes you feel like you’re on top of a grassy knoll under the sunset and brings visions of a young strong handsome man…   Yeah, she liked it.

3.5/5 stars from Vivino.com: Nice moderate chard; better at temps just below room temp. Modest and pleasant malolactic butter, nice hint of vanilla on the nose. Slight oak. Buttery chard with green Apple and pear on the finish. Decent wine for Napa valley under 12 bucks

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2013 Pile Driver Red Blend – Paso Robles

Elsewhere Price $13.99    ~    Our Price $3.99    ~    You Save 71%!

2014 San Francisco Chronicle Silver Metal Winner

Before you read this review, you should know this will likely be sold out before you can get down here to the store to get some. It was just that good. There are a few of the Pile Driver Cabernet bottles left, but you would have to hurry to get one of those too. Terri found this red blend to be smoooooth and Misty thought it was a good one (she doesn’t usually like reds) Kerri tasted plum, and thought this was great combined with blackberries and dark chocolate. I was listening as some of these guys were trying to decide what they tasted – Scott: Smokey? Larry: Tobacco? Steve: Licorice? Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding. They decided on Licorice.

Tasting notes: A bold, no-nonsense Red Blend with intense flavors of blackberries, jammy fruit and coffee bean with oak overtones. Rich yet approachable with robust tannins.

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2014 Querceto Chianti

Elsewhere Price $13.99    ~    Our Price $4.99    ~    You Save 64%!

Arvin’s favorite, Chianti. He called this wine ‘The taste of Italy’. He noted that there were flavors of smoked wood but added that he doesn’t smoke wood often. Scott said that’s because it’s hard to roll. Becky asked for farver beans. We are a classy bunch. Terri brought us back; she liked how it paired with the strong parmesan cheese. Steve liked his first taste, but by the time he got to a second glass he decided that he could drink this all day long.

3.5/5 stars from Vivino.com: Medium garnet colour. On the nose plums, raspberries and spices. On the palate medium bodied with chewy tannins and a moderate finish.

Fool-Proof Thanksgiving Wine

Never is a wine choice more important than when you are bringing it to Thanksgiving Dinner with new people, like future In-Laws or even new friends & co-workers. Or worse, serving a wine at your first try at cooking Thanksgiving for your In-Laws. It’s like you’re on stage screaming, ‘Please judge me on the bottle of wine I brought.”  Or, maybe you’ve just struggled over the years with finding wines that are just ok with turkey – and now you’re ready for something better.

That’s why people Google wine reviews and that’s why I’ve been drinking my way through the wine department one bottle at a time. Just for you. Your welcome.

So, based on all the information on the internet, I can deduce that ALOT of people have trouble pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. I weeded through all the information available on the subject so you don’t have to, here is the simplified info that’ll help you get compliments on your wine choice this year:

 

What Wine Goes With Turkey?

Courtesy: Thumbs Up Wine Food Pairing

To help ease the stress of the holiday, here are some recommendations for wines that will make you the toast of the table:

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2012 Canoe Ridge Reserve Chardonnay – Oaky – $7.99 ($24.99 elsewhere)

2013 Michel Schlumberger Chardonnay – UnOaked – $4.99 ($16.99 elsewhere)

  • Chardonnay is always a safe bet. A fuller-bodied wine will stand up nicely to the rich dishes on your dining room table. A great California Chardonnay with a bit of toasty oak in it definitely fits the bill with its round mouthfeel and slight creaminess, which just begs for some buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re not a die-hard fan and usually dislike Chardonnay, go for one that’s un-oaked, which will allow more bright, appley and citrusy fruit to shine through while the grape’s full body will still satisfy. ~source

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Rocks! Stepping Stone North Coast Blends

2012 Red Blend – $3.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

2013 White Blend – $3.99 ($17.99 elsewhere)

  • Blended Reds – These are blended to take the best qualities of different grapes and make them compatible with a variety of foods. You will generally find Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel and Shiraz in the blend. ~source
  • White Blends – These often pair well with a number of dishes, and can please those who like both sweet and dry wines. ~source

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2013 Bay Leaf Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($18.99 elsewhere)

2013 Passages Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($19.99 elsewhere)

  • Pinot Noir – The Go-To red wine for the perfectly roasted turkey. Pinot Noir is the darling choice for poultry as a light red wine. Since the US just had 2 awesome vintages in a row (2012–2013), you’ll luck out on value Pinot Noir this year. ~source

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2012 Abbeycourt Cotes-Du-Rhone Reserve – France – $5.99 ($13.99 elsewhere)

  • Rhone – If you’re having smoked turkey, choose this bolder red. The smoked turkey flavors are rich and somewhat sweet. You’ll need a stronger wine to hold up to it. The combination of 3 varieties, –Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre,– make up the blend. Because of the mishmash of varieties, you’ll taste both red and black fruit flavors and find a range of medium to full-bodied flavor. These wines are a perfect match for a rich piece of meat because of their complexity. And yet, they are still light enough for poultry. ~source

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2011 Gusher Zinfandel – Lodi – $3.99 ($12.99 elsewhere)

2013 Cline Zinfandel – California – $3.99 ($9.99 elsewhere)

  • Zinfandel – This is the classic turkey pairing wine for 2 reasons: for one, it’s a variety with a long history in America and two, the flavors of raspberry and sweet tobacco are an ideal match for rich darker or smoked turkey meat. It also will do great alongside a honeybaked ham. Zinfandel tends to be much more fruit-forward which is why is does well with sweet meat. The best Zinfandels generally hail from these 5 regions: Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Santa Barbara and the Sierra Foothills. ~source

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2010 Gergenti Sangiovese – Sicily, Italy – $9.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

  • Sangiovese – Love bone-dry savory wines? From Tuscany and Umbria, Sangiovese-based wines have notes of tomato, cherry and leather along with an earthy note of terra-cotta. Expect tingling acidity and moderately high tannin that will compliment homemade gravy like a dream. The original Sangiovese wines were very rarely aged in oak which means they’ll be anything but a vanilla bomb. In short, they are a savory wine lover’s dream. The 2010 vintage was awesome for Sangiovese. ~ source

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!

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Only 7 days Nov 4-10 2015

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Here’s this week’s wine picks

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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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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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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.

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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

‘If you can’t say anything nice….’

My mom always told me, if I didn’t have anything nice to say then I shouldn’t say anything at all.

Here’s some flowers:

 sunflowers

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2011 Worthy Five Clones Sauvignon Blanc Napa $4.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Terry liked the pretty bottle J and commented on the nice color of this Napa Chardonnay. A+ on presentation. Larry said he liked the bouquet. He tasted grapefruit, saying it was a light and fruity refreshing wine. Terry added that it’s real easy drinking. Steve said he really liked it and Scott agreed with a ‘kinda nice’. He also thought it was very fruity & light but not sweet. Ethan said he would pair it with pasta primavera or shrimp scampi.

86 Points from WineEnthusiast.com: Fragrant in floral jasmine and tropical aromas, this light, lean Sauvignon Blanc stays fresh in the glass

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2013 Perry Creek Chardonnay El Dorado $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Steve started us off with this California Chardonnay. He said it was dry and felt warm going down his throat, he thought it was due to the higher alcohol content. He liked it and Scott agreed. Terry liked how it tickled her nose. Larry also agreed but thought it needed to breathe. Arvin called it an ‘out on the patio’ summer wine. Connie smiled and said she’s gonna get some of this tomorrow.

88 Points from WineEnthusiast.com: Bracing acidity, bright apple flavors and a slightly buttery texture and finish make this full-bodied, unoaked Chardonnay interesting and refreshing. Some Chardonnays are too fruity and oaky, but this one hangs back a bit, and this relative austerity encourages another sip

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2010 Mercer Sharp Sisters Red Blend Columbia Valley WA $7.99

Elsewhere price $14.99

Terry called this Red Blend a great sipping wine with an intoxicating aroma. Larry noticed the bouquet as well, saying it was burnt oak. Scott enjoyed the pairing of this wine with berries and truffles. He said blackberries and dark chocolate makes it extra smooth. Connie called it amazing. She said she really loves this wine.

85 Points from WineEnthusiast.com: This is half Merlot, one third Syrah, with a bit of Cabernet and Petit Verdot as well. It’s a very light, fruity wine, with no particular focus. Fine for near-term quaffing.

 

Awards

  • San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, 2014: Bronze
  • San Francisco International Wine Competition, 2013: Bronze

Winemaker’s Notes: Washington State Merlot is supple but retains its structure and minerality in our region due to the cooler climate. This is why it was selected to be the main component of this voluptuous blend being paired up with Syrah and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. This blend shows a beautiful nose of cherry and raspberry mixed with chocolate. In the mouth flavors are concentrated red and dark fruit, with “Herbes de Provence.” The mouth feel is supple, rich and full with excellent length.

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2013 Sterling Albert Syrah Sonoma $5.99

Elsewhere price $24.99

Steve commented on the nice purple color and thin defined legs of this Sonoma Syrah. He tasted tobacco (cigar, not Marlboro). Scott said it needs to breathe for at least 10 minutes, then it’s reeeal good. Ethan simply said ‘nice’. Larry thought the first sniff was pretty strong, but it mellowed with some air. Connie said its kinda different, but very good. Arvin also tasted cigar and liked the pairing of this wine with the dark chocolate.

You can find Sterling Albert Winery in Sonoma California

I could not find on-line reviews for the same year Syrah, but this one is from the same winemaker: 90 Points from CellarTracker.com “Earthy nose. Simple, smooth flavor profile. There’s an interesting spicy zing mid-palate”

Steveisms

Steve is a funny guy. Not always on purpose. He quotes a lot of his favorite lines from T.V. shows, which is usually only funny to me & him, and misquotes/mixes up metaphors like Ricky Ricardo.

Steve: “We have to get all our ducks on the same page”

Steve: “Don’t burn your bridges at both ends”

Steve: “We could stand here and talk until the cows turn blue”

Ricky: Lucy, you remember the old saying “Birds of a feather smell the same”? Lucy: You mean, “A rose by any other name flocks together.”

Hard to tell Steve from Ricky, am I right?

Here’s some good Ricky Ricardo clips

I had to start jottin’ down some of his wisdom it was so good. No, really I have a file in my phone labeled ‘Steveisms’. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to. Here are some of my favorites:

There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise from a golf cart. Pain in the ass hitting into it cause you can’t see your ball, but it’s beautiful. You’re in for a real treat.

Remind me to never order a tuna sandwich in an airport. The best tuna sandwich I’ve had was at the Manteca Golf Course. Albacore, sweet pickles, soft bread and the perfect amount of mayo.

You know it’s all this working that’s keeping me from the Senior Tour.

I like Funyuns in my salad. They’re better than croutons plus you can easily loop them on your fork.

No coincidence that all his wisdom is inspired by either food or golf. His favorite things. If you ever eat or golf with Steve, I would like to encourage you to be on the alert for Steveisms. You can share them with me for the future entertainment of us all. If you have not yet met him, stop by the wine department & say hello 🙂

In honor of Steve’s love for food – Shabby Chic food and wine pairings:

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~ Six Degrees Rose’ ~ Washington Hills Riesling ~

~ Cathedral Creek Chardonnay ~ Tractor Guy Pinot Noir ~ Caminetto Primitivo ~

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2013 Six Degrees Rose’ Wine Napa $4.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Our ‘shabby’ food pairing for this ‘Chic’ Award Winning Rose’ was imitation crab with butter. Larry found it pleasant, he said it was like a summer wine-ade. Like lemonade but from grapes instead of lemons. Terry called it Hip & Trendy, she thought it tasted like a Sangria but fruity. Bob found it refreshing and Arvin agreed. Misty said it was light and refreshing, it’ll cool you off 6 degrees during the summer ;-P

Awards & Accolades:

87 POINTS | BEST BUY BTI Tastings.com World Wine Championships, November 2014 WINE OF THE WEEK Dan Berger, Napa Valley Register, July 4, 2014 DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL Jerry D. Mead’s New World International Wine Competition 2014 BEST OF CLASS | GOLD MEDAL Orange County Fair Wine Competition 2014 GOLD MEDAL San Diego International Wine Competition 2014

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2011 Washington Hills Riesling $5.99

Elsewhere price $10.99

I knew this sweet Riesling would call for a spicy food pairing. We went with some spicy chili lime chips. Bob found it very sweet, but said the spice really counteracts the sweetness. Terry and I both agreed. Arvin called it fruity and Larry tasted pear juice.

 

Winemaker’s Notes: A fragrant, pretty nose filled with floral, nectarine and clover honey notes. A sweet, tantalizing palate of navel oranges and peaches lead to lingering rich fruit and sweetness on the finish

 

90 Points from Wine Enthusiast – “With 7% residual sugar and 11% alcohol, this is a Riesling to enjoy with spicy noodle dishes. Sweetness notwithstanding, it’s a substantial wine with grip and definition. Melon and peach flavors roll smoothly into notes of caramel and honey. This is rich and delicious. Best Buy.”

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2012 Cathedral Creek Chardonnay California $3.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

Popcorn and Chardonnay! Who knew? Terry called this California Chardonnay nice and smooth. Arvin said it was great with popcorn and we all agreed!

I could not find any info on this wine on-line at all, so here’s some Popcorn & Chardonnay pairing info instead:

The Pairing: Years ago Andrea Immer, wine diva, was munching on a typical student’s lunch of microwave popcorn when her mentor gave her a glass of Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay. “In that one sip, I got it: buttery Chardonnay (at last I knew what “buttery” wine meant!)”

The Popcorn: Choose your favorite popcorn – if the corn is buttery, the chardonnay’s butteriness will shine through; unbuttered popcorn will bring out the wine’s toasty flavors.  Side note: toasty sparkling wine/Champagne works similarly flavor-wise, but adds another dimension – bubbly texture – ooh!

The Wine: Select a bold, New World-style (fruit forward) chardonnay that has been stored in oak barrels – chardonnays from Washington, California and Australia are good bets. Lindemans Bin 65, the wine used in this experiment, is a vivid Australian Chardonnay with creamy, tropical fruit and a long, soft oak finish for around seven bucks. Throw in a two-dollar DVD rental and a “special friend.”  Now that’s cheap and easy… the pairing – not your date.

source – http://convivial.org/popcorn-chardonnay/

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2010 Tractor Guy Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast $6.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Soft Brie and berry jam paired nicely with the Tractor Guy Pinot. Connie said the aroma was great, but she was picturing a shirtless farmer. Arvin agreed, just with the nice bouquet part. Bob announced that he liked this wine. Terry and Misty agreed. Connie thought it pair well with lighter summer meals like fish and chicken. Misty decided this is her favorite.

4.0 out of 5.0 Stars from Vivino on-line reviewer R.Hobart: Very nice aromas black currant red cherry notes slight Burgundian smoky mid palate smooth lush cherry cola finish. Air this wine 60 minutes it becomes outstanding. Bought mine at grocery outlet!!!!!!!! Great price…………investigate it For yourself !!!!!!

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2013 Caminetto Primitivo Salento Italy $7.99

Elsewhere price $17.99

Of course we paired this Italian wine with Pizza 🙂 We let it breath for about an hour before we tried it. Arvin identified this red as a wine you can enjoy just smelling it. Connie found it full-bodied and called it ‘Top of the Mark’. She thought it would pair well with steak and pork. Bob said it was bold and had a pleasant finish. Even Chardonnay Larry liked it. This was definitely my favorite.

89 Points from CellarTracker: Faint nose of cherries, plums, and spices. Gains traction in the glass, showing an affable sweetness and a humble complexity. Flaunts lots of red and black berry fruit, a tasty middle spice, and a pleasing finish. This is really good. Give it air.

3.5 Stars from Vivino.com: Arguably more well known by its alter-ego Zinfandel, Primitivo is a huge, ripe Italian grape which is the pride of the Apulia region in the south of Italy. Primitivo is a delightfully brash wine that’s very dark, very juicy and very high in alcohol

TASTING NOTES offers lush aromas of currants, licorice, pepper and spices with a medium body, soft tannins and firm structure.

PAIRS WITH pairs perfectly with sharp cheeses and spicy salami. Also with pancetta, tomato sauce or roasted meat.

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)

Food & Wine Pairing Challenge:

Mexican Food. Generally you’d think beer or a margarita or even a shot of tequila when you’re having Mexican Food. So, the challenge was to find wines that compliment the spiciness of the food. All of the Front Porch Wine Tasters ordered food from the Manteca Police Dept K-9 Unit fund-raiser that was conveniently scheduled on Winesday.

k9 duty to serve

Read more on the Manteca Police K-9 Unit

I read that sweeter wines pair well with spicy, but I also wanted a Spanish Red. Turns out there are all kinds of Spanish wines! It was really hard to choose just one.   So let’s see how I did:

4 wines mexican food

Middle Sister Rose’ ~ Little Rascal’s Sauv Blanc ~ Feeding Frenzy White ~ Antano Rioja

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middle sister rose

Middle Sister Blushing Beauty Rose’ $3.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Terry started us off with the California Rose’, she called it Rosey and Sweet and liked how it went with the spice of the food. Steve found it Fruity and Sweet and thought it paired well with the carnitas. Joe R liked the bouquet and Arvin thought it was more of a desert wine. Larry said it was very mild, I agreed, it was delicate.

On-line review from WineSisterhood.com: What is better than a beautiful pink wine with fruity flavors of cherry and strawberry. Not much! It’s definitely time to get some friends together and drink pink! Try this beauty with grilled hot dogs, white-sauce pizza and picnic foods.

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little rascals sauv blanc

2012 Little Rascal’s Sauvignon Blanc $2.99

Elsewhere price $9.99

Connie found this sustainably grown Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc spicy. Larry agreed, he said it’s got a bite to it. Terry thought it was pretty good, she tasted grapefruit. Steve commented that it was very spicy and he may be tasting pear…

81 Points from WineEnthusiat.com

On-line review from CheapWineSnobs: Although not a complicated wine, I think Stymie would approve for a first meeting wine. It is very flowery and has a little citrus. It is a little heavier than most (Sauvignon Blancs). One might even guess it to be a Chardonnay. My pal, Stymie and I will give this one a strong 2.5

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feeding frenzy white blend

Feeding Frenzy White Table Wine $2.99

Elsewhere price $7.99

Feeding Frenzy wines have been a favorite on the Front Porch in the past, and this California White Blend was no exception. Arvin immediately commented, ‘I like this one!’ Steve said, ‘Best one yet. It becomes one with your mouth.’ To which Terry replied, ‘Whoa, that’s deep.’

Again, I could not find much about Feeding Frenzy wines on-line, but Front Porch Wine Tasting came up in the Google search!

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Antano spanish red

Reseva 2008 Antaño Rioja $5.99     ***Limited Supply***

Elsewhere price $14.99

***Berliner Wein Gold Trophy Winner 2012***

***Concours Mondial Silver Medal Winner 2012***

I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish, let me translate this wine for you: 2008 Antano Red Reserve. Your welcome. ‘Muh Bueno!’ came from Arvin, he added that he noticed tobacco in the bouquet and tasted oak. Connie thought it had a nice bouquet and very long legs. Joe said it was a little dirty, like wine cellar dirt (what!?!), Misty agreed but said more like Spanish dirt. Becky said it had an earthy aroma (oh, that’s what they meant) and she thought it tasted very bold, she liked the pairing with the creaminess of the guacamole.

84.8 points from Cellartracker.com  

Tasting notes via WinesFromSpain: Red currants and black cherries are prevalent, but there’s a little white mushroom note underneath it, so typical of traditionalist Rioja. Tart red cherries are in the nose too, and come to the fore in the mouth; it gives a fresh, crushed red fruits crunchiness to the wine. Fascinatingly, the mouth immediately gets darker and richer, black cherries and even more black plums dominate the finish, along with sawdust and vanilla. Stylish and almost lengthy. Drink soon or in the next several years.

It’s good to have goals

I only recently realized, after I heard Steve make yet another comment about making the Senior Pro Tour, that he has been secretly training for it for the past 20 years. Helllow, Sugar Daddy! I’m not sure he realizes how close he already is to being old enough (50)…. (how to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour) but, I digress. Good ol’ Steve is on a slow steady pace (maybe more slow than steady) of improving his game to the level of providing us (me) with the lifestyle I would like to become accustomed to. It’s good to have goals.

golfing

Steve & his buddies

His secret? He does better with the right combo of perspective and alcohol. Relaxing buzz, he calls it. From what I can gather from his golfing buddies, they may all kinda suck. (find the fix for what ails your game) Settle down, settle down. I meant compared to pros of course. But, I’m pretty sure if you have to four put on even one hole you’re not gonna make the Senior Tour let alone become the Sugar Daddy you aspire to be.

Funny-Golf-25

Lining up the put

He does love the game. When he thinks he’s got time to sneak away from work to hit the course – it’s like it changes his whole outlook on the day. He’s almost giddy. So who am I to dash his hopes? What do I know anyway? Maybe a 96 will be good enough for the tour.

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aaaaa wine pairings

My goal this week- easy food pairings that work. Much more easily attainable.

aaaaa line up

Mission Ines Sauv Blanc ~ Leto Old Vine Chard ~ JanKris Syrah ~ Nova Vita Old Vine Zin

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aaaaa 1

2013 Mission Ines Sauvignon Blanc $3.99

Elsewhere price $12.99

Right off the bat, I liked this refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. It reminded me of my first wine tasting experience, check it out here: MantecaGroceryOutlet, and it paired easily with the summer sausage. Arvin said it was a bit citrusy, which he liked. Steve agreed, he found it mild and refreshing as well. Terry liked it and Larry thought it tasted buttery with a hint of pear.

4 out of 5 stars from on-line reviewer at Vivino.com: Surprised at the mild sweetness! I don’t remember what I spent on this, but knowing where I got it, I know I didn’t spent more than 5.99 most likely, and certainly not more than 8.99, and am quite impressed for the price. I’m not usually a huge fan of non-sweet whites, but this had excellent balance….

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aaaaa 2

2012 Old Vine Leto Chardonnay $5.99

Elsewhere price $29.99

Steve noticed the light color and commented that he found this Old Vine Chardonnay to be dry. Arvin called it ‘Buttery’ and Terry thought it had a punch to it. Its buttery-ness contributed nicely to the Cranberry Apple Spice cheese on Butter crisp crackers, which also took the punch out. Larry agreed with the label, on the ‘grilled pineapple’ after tasted, he liked it.

88 points. Expert review from Virginian Boone on WineEnthusiast.com: The vines behind this wine were planted in the 1960s and 1970s, qualifying them as old in the Napa Valley. Winemaker Lisa Warner uses native yeast as well as one from Montrachet to craft this muted, nutty Chardonnay. Richly textured it is otherwise awash in high-toned citrus, both lemon and pineapple

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aaaaa 3

2013 Jankris Syrah $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Arvin immediately commented that he liked it. He called it corky (?) and said it tastes perfect, Scott agreed with a ‘very nice’. Larry liked the aroma and said he tasted black currant. Steve thought this Syrah made his mouth feel like it does when you bite into a great steak. (Happy). Terry agreed, saying this would pair great with a good piece of steak. I liked the sweet aroma and dry berry-ness, it melts in your mouth. Larry added that this wine is mellowed out when combined with chocolate.

Wine info 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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aaaaa 4

2013 Nova Vita Old Vine Zinfandel $5.99

Elsewhere price $19.99

Terry started us off with this Old Vine Zin, she said, “It’s got a very strong….” I guess she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, lol. Arvin found it peppery; he said it kinda grabs you. Steve thought it would add a spicy zest to a great steak. I agree, but it also paired nicely with the creamy Gouda cheese. Scott commented on the long legs and added that he liked it, it’s not to sharp.

Wine info from Vivino.com: While California Zinfandel can be produced in various styles, ranging from light to full-bodied, they all exhibit a certain fruit forwardness that is frequently described as “jammy”. It is also known for licorice, spicy and peppery notes. Zinfandel has gotten a bad rap from the abundant jugs of cheap, pink “white zin” lining the bottom shelves of many grocery store chains. However, this grape variety produces quality red wines that are food-friendly, versatile and delicious.